Thursday, 23 September 2010


The overwhelming and recurring theme of my nearly five years as Arnish Lighthouse has been: windfarms. And once again, not to be defeated (or not to be seen to be defeated), a large windfarm development has been launched. Its environmental impact has been published at any rate. A 50-turbine development on land, which has been cleared for such a development, namely in the Bermuda triangle, otherwise known as the tract of pristine Lewis moor, bordered by the Lochs Road in the east, the Pentland Road to the north and west, and the Cleascro Road to the south. A community coordinator is to be appointed by Stornoway Trust, the landowners. All very noble endeavours, I'm sure, for an enterprise that nobody really wants. For such was one of the outcomes of the AMEC windfarm in North Lewis, which foundered on an EU habitat designation a few years ago.

I just cannot get over the blinkered approach adopted by those in local government in Lewis who do not seem to get the message that on-shore windfarms are (to quote an internet contact) "so yesterday" and so not wanted. Worse than that, over the past couple of years, novel sources of renewable energy have risen above the horizon of technical feasibility. How about that tidal barrage at Shader (Barvas)? How about the tidal generator that was lowered into the Pentland Firth off Caithness recently? And since that episode in March this year, when the output of all of Scotland's windfarms was enough to boil 1,000 kettles, I have comprehensively gone off the idea of adopting windfarms as a credible source for our energy requirements.

By all means, Stornoway Trust, adopt a policy of encouraging renewable energy. But please, don't be so narrow in your scope. You won't be the one whose pockets will be lined through this windfarm. You'll be left with the mirrors and beads - whilst the fat cats in the energy industry will grow even fatter.