Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Eishken Windfarm

A fourth planning application has been lodged with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar for a windfarm in the Eishken Hills. Apparently, half the originally proposed turbines have been lobbed off the scheme - as they were on the Sleeping Beauty Mountain and in the South Lewis / Harris / North Uist Scenic Area. Also, the type of turbines will be changed, namely to a variety that has a higher electricity output. Reading the article on Hebrides News (linked to above) requires a contents warning - have a waste paper bag ready.

It is to be expected that this will be rubberstamped by our local authority. There are only two more obstacles to clear: approval by Scottish Ministers and the outcome of a public inquiry into the Eishken Windfarm, which is already 6 months overdue. I wonder whose hands this hot potato will finally emerge from. It should also be noted that approval of this windfarm will also make the interconnector (mainland subsea powercable) an economically viable proposition. As I have noted before, the interconnector will not be able to be built if the Beauly to Denny high voltage power link is not upgraded. This too is subject of a public inquiry, whose result is equally eagerly awaited.

Perhaps I didn't read the small print at the time, but it transpires that the community part of the Eishken Windfarm requires the input of a mere twenty million pounds from said community. I have great difficulty keeping the sarcasm at bay here, but knowing Lochs, and more particularly South Lochs, I somehow don't really see that happening in a hurry.

I realise that Arnish Lighthouse could be accused of Comhairle-bashing in recent times, but I can only hope that the Eishken Windfarm (which nobody really wants) goes the same way as the ferry-not-on-Sunday stance from the local authority - out with the tide.


  1. I have heard that some turbines may have been rubbed off the plan but those that remain have grown just a bit taller so that the total wattage capacity remains the same. The vista will not improve but this will be of no bother to the Comhairle.
    The jolly sounding Muaithabal Windfarm Trust have been willing pedlars of the Eishken wind farm dream emphasising the fact that there would be a community wind farm that would make us mega rich. Those of us who did the sums when we were being asked by the above version of MWT (clever eh?) to back Oppenheim to the hilt, realised that no one gives anything away for nothing. Bearing in mind that the community may also have to find a sizeable amount of money if the Pairc buyout goes ahead (yet another Trust), an extra £21million should be a doddle. Someone is going to be very busy baking cakes and making tweed cushions. I am unable to keep the Sarcasm at bay.
    The other question has to be, has Oppenheim been given an advanced look at the results of the PI and if so, is this strictly kosher? Public money has been used for this exercise and accordingly we should be provided with the results. There has also been no word at all on the Beauly-Denny PI. There is a very bad smell about all of this. As the steam is now coming out of my ears I will hand you back your blog Arnish before I get carried away.

  2. MWT (Moorland without Turbines) and John Muir Trust are both active groups seeking full answers/disclosure but seem toothless. The Pairc Trust are in major internal/member/resident conflict as to whether to proceed in attempting to buy out land from Barry Lomas (Landowner of Pairc) and even then funding may be an issue (even in the land of Grants) so we are awaiting with interest any further announcements from any sources.......If only more thought was given to off-shore and wave energy, this sacrifice of the environment would not be necessary.......FM and clan

  3. Comments/objections/support can be left on the Comhairle's planning website. Useful for those of us who are fed up writing objections each time Oppenheim tweeks his plans.

  4. LadyG.......does that mean our views will be noted in the grand scheme of things(me thinks maybe not!!) but it is nice leaving little ditties for the civil servants to think on perhaps......RJG