Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Renewables expo

Attended the Martins Memorial Hall this afternoon to view an exhibition by Stornoway Wind, where proposals for a windfarm west of the town of Stornoway were put on display. It is for 47 turbines in the area broadly between the Barvas Hills and the Grimshader road. If all goes according to plan, the windfarm will be operational by 2015.

The expo also expounded on the community benefit, which includes economic and environmental benefits, such as jobs and reduction of carbon footprints.
There were several photo montages, showing how the windfarm would look from various parts of the island, from Ranish in the south of Barvas in the north. And I still don’t like the prospect of a flurry of 300 ft turbines barbed-wiring the skyline. Call me a nimby, but I have not changed my mind since the large AMEC windfarm hit the buffers a few years ago.
On a more positive note, I was pleased to see plans afoot to install a Pelamis (sea-snake) wave energy generator north of Great Bernera. This has virtually no visual impact, although I can imagine that it would be in the way of local fishery. Whether such is the case needs to be investigated.

The only drawback to this project, (and additionally to the windfarm project as well) is that the energy, generated by these renewables assets has to be exported to the National Grid, necessitating the building of a submarine electricity cable, colloquially referred to as the Interconnector. I have expressed my opposition to this project in previous posts - in summary, it would industrialise the village of Gravir (where the cable would come ashore in Lewis), burden the Lochs district with large electricity pylons and have a substantial impact on the West Highlands (from Dundonnell to Beauly).

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