Sunday, 26 February 2012
The Energy Minister in the Scottish Government visited Stornoway on Monday to attend a summit on renewable energy in the Scottish islands. He stated that the interconnector (between Grabhair and Dundonnell) was his personal top priority, and that having the interconnector in situ would help to alleviate fuel poverty. Excuse me? Are we going to get reduced rate for electricity? I don’t think so. And my position on the community benefits of renewable energy schemes is well known; beads and mirrors from the developers. I’m not saying that a million pounds is to be sniffed at, but it is derisory in comparison to the money that the developers are going to pocket from revenues from the electricity, as well as from subsidies from government. Windfarms may bring a little benefit to the islands, but many tourists come to the Hebrides for the wilderness aspect. Having industrial sites, like the one already present on the foothills of the Barvas Hills, or the one proposed for the electrical substation at Grabhair, will seriously detract from that. Tourism is the mainstay of the islands’ economy - it would be foolhardy to dice with that.