WESTERN Isles SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has welcomed the decision by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing MSP to approve plans for wind turbines to the west of Stornoway.
Lewis Wind Power has gained permission to build 36 of their 42 planned turbines on either side of the Bennadrove Road, which it is hoped will now trigger an interconnector to the mainland.
Dr Allan commented: “This news holds out the prospect of a 130 megawatt windfarm, a development which would certainly justify an interconnector from the Western Isles to the mainland, benefiting not only this but other renewables projects in the islands.
“I want to see this project bring the maximum possible benefit to the islands, something which I have mentioned in the past to the developers.
“The original plans suggested that construction work could directly support 75 jobs on the island and generate £40 million worth of contracts for the local economy.
“The community benefit fund which the developers have offered to the community would also certainly run into millions.”
He continued: “I hope that this news will lead to further developments on the interconnector soon, but meanwhile I have written to the windfarm developers and indicated I would very much welcome meeting them in the islands. “I believe this is a chance for the substantial benefits payments to the community to be used to tackle fuel poverty in the Western Isles.
“The issue of fuel poverty is key to the future of the islands. The contribution made by this scheme will provide an opportunity to use the power of the wind to tackle the high fuel bills experienced by islands, high fuel bills which are of course in part the consequence of the winds.”