‘Link wind power to green vessels’ plan

The planned offshore wind farm, off the west side of Lewis, could be linked to creating a clean energy fuel point for large vessels in East Loch Roag.

By Brian Wilson
Thursday, 5th May 2022, 9:52 am
Northland, the Canadian company behind the offshore wind plans, are well established in the sector.
Northland, the Canadian company behind the offshore wind plans, are well established in the sector.

That idea has been advanced by Duncan Macinnes, secretary of the Western Isles Fishermen’s Association, who is also standing as a candidate for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar in this week’s elections.

Mr Macinnes was speaking after attending a conference on “vessels of the future” in which the most urgent priority under discussion was the need to reduce dependence on diesel and move towards clean energy for both financial and environmental reasons.

He told the Gazette: “I was very interested to learn about how the Norwegians are looking at the design of new vessels and the ways in which they will be powered. This is undoubtedly now a high priority and it could present us with an opportunity.

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“If we can be involved from an early stage with the offshore wind developers, it should be possible to develop a base, with deep water access, for all kinds of vessels operating to the west of the Hebrides to supply them with clean fuels”.

The idea would also seem to fit in with Northland Power’s plans.

In a statement which accompanied their successful bid, the company said: “As the world grapples with the transition towards net‐zero, our plans to develop green hydrogen capabilities have been informed by real‐world discussions and will be a vital element of securing these areas’ future for the generations to come”.

Tanya Davies, project director for Northland Power said: "At this early stage in the project we are committed to opening up as many lines of dialogue as possible to ensure we have a comprehensive understanding of the needs of the community and how our project fits in.

“Hearing ideas from a range of stakeholder groups in the Western Isles, like ​the fishermen's association, is key to making the most of the many opportunities that will come from our wind project, both in terms of jobs and associated facilities and the power we will be generating.

" We'd be happy to meet Duncan to hear more about his ideas and see where we might be involved."