Saturday, 31 March 2007

Renewables, windfarms, cabling

First of all, some good news. The Arnish Fabrication Yard is set to reopen, offering 10 jobs from the start, which may increase to 40 jobs later on. The operators are a Dutch / Swiss consortium Altissimo, who aim to preserve the Camcal name. Camcal went into receivership in the last quarter of 2006, leading to dozens of job losses and severe financial hardship for several island business.

Although it is good to see this heavy industry raised from the ashes (again), I wonder who will be prepared to stake his long-term future on Camcal as is now. This is the third reinvigoration of the Yard, after two failures, the last in the face of a boom market for renewables. IF the windfarms in Lewis come to be, this might be the place for the turbines to be built.

The controversy surrounding the windfarms continues to rage. A very interesting letter caught my eye in the Stornoway Gazette last Thursday, in which the correspondent suggested that the landfall for the interconnector be put in one of the sealochs on the Eishken Estate. The most logical choice would be Loch Shell. Kinlochshell is uninhabited, miles from anywhere and will not sully anybody's surroundings with pylons, substations and the like.

I have drawn another map, suggesting a different infrastructure.

Kinlochshell is marked on the map. P denotes the approximate position of the Pairc windfarm, M the approximate position of the Eishken project and X, just southwest of Balallan, is the link-up with the existing high-voltage network in the island. Very few people indeed will be inconvenienced by the cabling if done this way. I think it's the grand total of two houses - one near Kinloch Seaforth, the other half a mile further west at Sideabhal.

Probably too simple...

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