Friday, 12 December 2008

Don Quixote continues

In the week that the Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is given an award for his services to the cause of renewable energy, we also see the imminent release of a report stating that windfarms may yet appear in the Lewis Moor, from the Pentland Road north to the Ness shielings. The summary on Hebrides News makes depressing reading - if, like me, you're opposed to any major windfarm development.

A cluster of windturbines could be built along the Pentland Road between Marybank and the junction to Achmore. Problem there is the proximity to golden eagle nesting sites and the fact that Stornoway Airport is close by as well. Rotating turbine blades apparently interfere with the airport radar, stationed at Plasterfield.

Going north, turbines could also be planted a mile off the A857 at Borve, and either side of the same road between Barvas and Stornoway.

Another lot would turn up at Cuidhsiadar, 4 miles south of Skigersta in Ness, with powerlines running over the moor to North Tolsta. I'll just put in a few pictures of that area, which I took nearly 4 years ago.

Yes I know it's empty moorland. It's one of my favourite spots in the island, precisely because there's nothing and nobody there.

One consoling factor. It is a scaled-down version of the original Lewis Wind Power plans, and the same EU environment directives that thwarted the LWP plans stand in the way of this new plan. Wonder what the point of this whole exercise is.


  1. Chinese water torture? Nil illegitimi carborundum!

  2. I expect the decline in world oil prices and the impending decline in the gas price will render the windfarm project unprofitable given the high cost of building the turbines, power line to the mainland and associated infrastructure. Thats unless the Government puts many millions of pounds into it, which is unlikely at the present time. The recession/depression will cut demand for electricity and I expect that no windfarm project on Lewis can be profitable at the present time. A major oil company pulled out of a similar project near London when the world oil price was twice as high because the Government was not offering a large enough subsidy. Lewis windfarms stand even less chance because of the variability of the wiindspeed. You can see the Arnish turbines from the Pentland Road, and they have been idle the last 12 times I have seen them because the wind has been too weak or too strong. The Lewis windfarm project only exists because some people think they are going to get a big handout of taxpayers money.

  3. @ malkie: While all turbines have operating limits, I think the Arnish ones just keep breaking down. When I drive past them there's often an engineer or two parked underneath. I don't remember the last time I saw all three fully working at the same time, but there could also be a reason for that - the grid on Lewis can't handle the capacity generated.