Tha Murray MacLeoid a’ faighneachd: Eil freagairt eile ann ach tuathan-gaoithe?

Gu seo co-dhiù, chan eil cus dhaoine air a bhith a’ togail an guth an aghaidh nan 17 làrach aig muir far a bheilear an dòchas tuathan-gaoithe a stèidheachadh.

By Murray Macleod
Friday, 10th June 2022, 4:55 am

Tha sàmhchair an t-sluaigh furasta a thuigsinn. Feumaidh sinn gluasad gu cabhagach a dh’ionnsaigh cumhachd uaine, ‘s chan eil fiù ‘s an fheadhainn as raige an aghaidh cùisean na h-àrainneachd a’ dol às àicheadh sin an-diugh.

Ach, ma tha an suidheachadh a tha a’ tòiseachadh air èirigh aig ìre ionadail na chomharra, ‘s dòcha nach bi cùisean buileach cho furasta.

Tha coltas ann gu bheil luchd strì nan tuathan gaoithe a-nis gan deisealachadh fhèin airson seasamh an aghaidh na tha a’ tachairt a-muigh aig muir.

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‘S iad fhèin a dh’fheumas innse carson, ach tha cus dheth dìreach mu dheidhinn nach eil iad airson càil fhaicinn air an stàrsaich aca fhèin – agus gu leòr aca gu math daingeann dhen bheachd g’ eil an rud cho ceàrr sa ghabhas.

Mar a tha an seanfhacal Gàidhlig ag ràdh: “An duine a tha cinnteach gur e tha ceart, ‘s ann aige as lugha tha fios”. Bha an aon duan aig Socrates nuair a thuirt e: “Nuair a thuigeas tu cho beag air a bheil fios agad, ‘s ann an uair sin a thig gliocas.”

Ann an seo ann an Leòdhas, tha sinn eòlach gu leòr air a bhith a’ cluinntinn dhaoine ag ràdh cho dona ‘s a tha tuathan-gaoithe, mar gum b’ iad an t-olc as miosa a chaidh a-riamh a thoirt air talamh trocair.

A’ dh’aindeoin ‘s gu bheil an goireas nàdarra as fheàrr san Roinn Eorpa againn an seo leis a’ ghaoith – mar gun toireadh cuideigin dhut ticead an Lotaraidh – chan eil sinn fhathast air ar làmhan fhaighinn air an duais gu ìre mhòr sam bith, agus sin às dèidh fichead bliadhna de dheasbad is de dh’argamaid.

‘S e tuathan-gaoithe - aig muir agus air tir - am freagairt as fheàrr airson cumhachd uaine, ged nach eil sin a’ còrdadh ri cuid.

Tha dhà dhe na pròiseactan aig muir faisg air Leòdhas agus tha sin a’ fosgladh cothrom eile buannachd fhaighinn às a’ ghnìomhachas a tha seo.

Ach….

Leis na companaidhean a-nis a’ dèanamh barrachd bruidhinn mu dheidhinn nam planaichean aca ‘s ann as motha, a-rèir choltais, a tha daoine nan aghaidh.

Chan eil a’ chuid as motha idir, ach ma nì buidheann bheag èigheachd gu leòr, ‘s ann as motha as urrainn dhaibh a chreids' a thoirt g’ eil barrachd taic aca na tha.

Bha aig a’ chomhairle ri coinneamh a fhrithealadh an t-seachdain seo agus casaidean ann gun robh a’ chompanaidh Canèideanach Northland a’ dol a chleachdadh eilean Fhlodaigh ann an Ùig airson hydrogen a chruthachadh bho ammonia – rud nach eil ach aig fìor thòiseach-tòiseachaidh agus aig nach eil gnothach rim prìomh dhòchasan airson cidhe agus goireasan a stèidheachadh ann.

Chan eil na buannachdan a thig dhan choimhearsnachd ann am pròiseactan aig muir cho soilleir ‘s a tha iad air tìr, ach tha iad ann an dèidh sin, ma thig an làimhseachadh gu ceart.

‘S dòcha gum bu chòir dha na daoine a tha an aghaidh ghnothaichean an sùilean a thogail thairis air an sròin – dhan èiginn ann an connadh, a tha air leanntainn gu bochdainn dha gu leòr; gu mar a dh’fheumas an saoghal geàrradh sìos air carbon; gu mar a dh’fheumas sinn sgur a bhith an eisimeil nam margaidhean eadar-nàiseanta; gu mar a tha gainnead obraichean a’ bualadh air na h-eileanan agus air an òigridh – agus ceist shìmplidh fhaighneachd dhaibh fhèin: dè an fhreagairt a tha aca-san?

Murray MacLeod asks: Is there any proper alternative to windfarms?

The licensing of 17 offshore windfarm sites around the seas of Scotland has attracted very little in the shape of real opposition, although there has been some criticism of the Scottish Government for selling off the equivalent of the family crown jewels so cheap to large multinationals.

The seemingly acquiescence public reaction is understandable. The need to move to green sources of domestic power as fast as possible is now undeniable, even for the most ardent of climate deniers, if any of them actually still exist.

Yet experience at a local level suggests all might not be plain sailing. The anti-wind farm brigade - so vociferous against projects on land - look to be sharpening their pencils (or at least warming their keyboards) against what’s happening out at sea.

Why is a question only they can answer, but just as with opposition to developments on land, it has more than a faint whiff of the Not in My Backyard mentality.

There is an old Gaelic saying that translates as “the man who is certain he is right, is the one that knows the least”. Socrates said something similar: “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

Here on Lewis we are quite used to all sorts of fantastical pronouncements about the evils perpetrated on humanity in the shape of wind turbines, as if they represent the worst excesses of Mammon and a conspiracy to drive down the value of our houses.

Despite having the best natural resource in Europe - a winning lottery ticket in the current climate - that prize remains unclaimed to any large extent, even after 20 years of wrangling and trying.

Two project sites within the ScotWind licensing round lie off the coast of Lewis, one relatively close to the shore in the west and another further out to the north, which gives another chance to unleash the potential of a local renewable energy industry.

And yet….

As the companies now actively engage with the community over their plans, including shore bases to service projects, so it appears the opposition to them is gaining momentum.

In truth, they are a minority and likely to remain so, but as we have seen before a committed minority can always give the impression of more substantial support.

The council were this week forced to calm the more alarmist claims over a shore-based site on an uninhabited island in the west of Lewis for Canadian developer Northland, with leaflets in circulation in the community warning over the “catastrophic” ammonia production facility planned, which is still only at an early “concept” stage and entirely separate to the company’s central need for a pontoon and infrastructure to access the project.

The local benefits to offshore developments are much less certain than, say, those on land, but opportunities still exist, if the will is there.

Perhaps those who remain steadfastly opposed should cast their eyes beyond their own immediate horizon - to the crisis in energy supply, fuelling a cost of living emergency; to the global challenge in reducing carbon emissions; to the need for a more robust domestic supply system to avoid over-reliance on international markets; to the haemorrhaging of a working age population right on their own doorstep - and ask themselves a simple question: what’s the alternative?