The Gazette has learned that Comhairle nan Eilean Siar will be recommended to commission a feasibility study into existing West Side harbours, and some greenfield sites, for development of an operations base for ScotWind offshore wind installations west of Lewis.
Ideally, the site identified will be scaleable to take advantage of huge emerging opportunities in the area of Green Hydrogen, produced from renewables. However, the more immediate need will be for a shore base to support vessels involved in surveys for the site allocated to the Canadian company Northland under the ScotWind round.
Northland have been anxious to stress their commitment to local community benefits and have signed Memoranda of Understanding with five community owned estates as well as Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and UHI.
A ScotWind Operations base on the west of Lewis would bring over 40 jobs for the support vessel activities while the potential for employment, if the other aspects envisaged progress, could increase to over 100 people, many of them in highly skilled roles.
An informal paper which has been shared with local grazings committees and landowners comments on the advantages of Flodday which include a sheltered location, deep water and a large basin in the centre of the island where activities could be largely hidden from view.
The paper comments: "There is a real opportunity for the communities around ScotWind to benefit from the production of Green Hydrogen, using ScotWind electricity to split water into Hydrogen and Oxygen with no carbon emissions. Huge markets for Hydrogen are emerging in Europe as the continent seeks to wean itself off Russian gas"
It is understood that there will be a comprehensive recommendation from officials to the Comhairle’s sustainable development committee later this month.