On 1 November, SSE published a statement that the interconnector will be rather more expensive (at least £775m) and delayed by at least 12 months. I need not remind regular readers that the interconnector (a high-voltage subsea cable with attendant infrastructure in the Isle of Lewis) is crucial for the many proposed renewable energy projects in the island. Neither need I remind readers of my serious misgivings regards some of aforementioned renewable energy projects.
The local MSP has expressed his concern over this development,
stating that the delay is likely to lead to a further spiralling of
costs. Furthermore, the delay will also (naturally) delay the renewable
energy projects. These are being hailed as essential for the economic
development of these islands, something I somehow take the liberty to
doubt. I am certainly not going to swallow the possible assertion that
all those windfarms would serve to reverse the multi-million pound cuts
that have been proposed by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.
I am the last person to wish to stifle economic development in these
islands, something that is badly needed. But windfarms are not the
solution; the vast majority of profits do not end up locally, and they
do not offer long-term employment.
Rather than having a single focus, perhaps different avenues for
long-term employment and investment should be actively explored.