The Muaitheabhal Community Wind Farm Trust (MCWFT) will receive a final payment of £1.92million from ENGIE’s (formerly GDF SUEZ) following the company’s decision to discontinue its plans to build a 130MW wind farm on Eishken due to external delays, in particular the Western Isles transmission link.
Since that decision in October the Trustees kept in contact with representatives from ENGIE and were repeatedly reassured that the undertakings in place between the Wind Farm Developer and the Community Trust would be honoured.
In a statement MCWFT explained: “On June 23rd representatives from MCWFT met with ENGIE to discuss an amicable end to the contractual arrangements between the two parties.
“It was agreed that ENGIE would make a final payment of £1.92million, which we consider to be a significant sum of money for our community.
“This money will be used to continue the work of the Muaitheabhal Community Wind Farm Trust, safeguarding the availability of funding for community development projects in the area.
Iain MacIver, MCWFT Chairperson, added: “The prospect of securing this significant payment, without exposing the community to any financial risk, is now a comforting reality.
“ENGIE have to be commended for the way in which they have dealt with us, honouring their obligations in the process.
“Of added encouragement is the prospect of another developer now stepping in to complete the windfarm. Fundamental to that happening is the long awaited subsea link to the mainland needed to unlock the Island’s energy resource.”
Steve Riley, CEO and President of Energy UK-Turkey for ENGIE, commented: “It was disappointing that we were unable to pursue the wind farm project due to a number of external delays.
“It is important to us that we honour our commitments to the local community and we are pleased to have reached an agreement with the Trust.”
MCWFT continues to work closely with the Landlord of the Eishken Estate to secure further benefit for the local area.
Should there be a wind farm development on Eishken, the Landlord has undertaken to require the new developer to pay an additional annual payment of 1% of windfarm revenue, estimated to be worth over £600,000 per annum to the Trust.
With the likely energisation date for grid connected projects now envisaged for 2020 the Trust will continue to efficiently manage its existing fund, as well as being conscious of the arrangement with the Western Isles Development Trust.