MoD wash away Scottish Water wind turbine plans

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The Ministry of Defence (MoD) have poured cold water on plans to power island water treatment works with wind turbines.

Scottish Water had lodged four separate planning applications for turbines at Water Treatment Works across the Uists and all four were rejected by councillors last week due to objections from the MoD.

The objections were based on interference which would be caused to the Air Defence Benbecula Radar at South Clettreval on North Uist, the Range Control Radar on South Uist and the Radar on St Kilda.The installation of turbines at Water Treatment Works is part of a Scotland-wide plan for Scottish Water to increase their energy efficiency and reduce costs.

A spokesperson for Scottish Water said they were disappointed that the plans had been rejected and would not be resubmitting amended plans.

He said: “We are disappointed with the outcome of this planning application but we understand and respect the reasons for the decision. The 5kW turbines (three per site) were intended to allow Scottish Water to generate its own power which would be consumed on site and hence directly reduce the amount of power purchased from our electricity supplier.”

He added: “After applying for planning permission initially, which raised the MOD objections due to potential interference with Air Defence Radar and Range Control Radar, Scottish Water and Evance Wind Turbines commissioned a Specialist Consultant to examine the blanket objection in more detail. The outcome of this report found that the line of sight of the radar could be reduced to acceptable levels by moving the turbines in various directions by distances which subsequently mean the new locations would be outwith Scottish Water land, therefore rendering the schemes unviable.”

A report before councillors last week stated that the MoD had carried out trials in 2005 which concluded that wind turbines could have a detrimental effect on radar including the desensitisation of radar in the vicinity of turbines which could create ‘false’ aircraft returns.

The RAF would be unable to provide a full air surveillance service. Scottish Water have already installed wind turbines at their Waste Water Treatment Works near Stornoway.

The 10 R9000 small wind turbines are able to generate around 500kWh of electricity each day to help power the works, so reducing the energy costs.