Community reaction to Stornoway Wind Farm failure

Representatives of the four energy companies (from left to right) ' Angus Campbell of Melbost Branahuie, Donnie MacDonald of Aignish, Rhoda Mackenzie of Sandwick North and Calum Buchanan of Sandwick East. ''Picture by Sandie Maciver of SandiePhotos.
Representatives of the four energy companies (from left to right) ' Angus Campbell of Melbost Branahuie, Donnie MacDonald of Aignish, Rhoda Mackenzie of Sandwick North and Calum Buchanan of Sandwick East. ''Picture by Sandie Maciver of SandiePhotos.

The four community energy companies seeking to develop renewables on their common grazings on the Isle of Lewis have responded to the announcement that Stornoway Wind Farm was unsuccessful in the 2019 CfD auction.

Rhoda Mackenzie made the statement on behalf of Sandwick North, Sandwick East, Melbost Branahuie and Aignish Community Energy companies, calling for “a new approach” in developing renewables on the Isle of Lewis – one that puts community-energy at its heart.

The four companies, which have been locked in a legal battle with Stornoway Wind Farm developers Lewis Wind Power for the right to develop on the common grazings, said it was time for Plan B.

Rhoda said: “Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and the Stornoway Trust have always argued that the Lewis Wind Power wind farm was essential to get a new interconnector to the Western Isles.

“The logic of that argument is that the interconnector cannot now happen, given LWP’s failure in the subsidy auction.

“We believe it is time now for a new approach. There is still plenty of scope to develop renewables on the islands, but we need to do so in a way that puts community-owned energy front and centre.

“The right way forward is to increase the capacity of the existing grid via new demand through electrification and hydrogen, install new storage via battery, and start working on an upgrade of the existing Skye connector.

“It is essential that the new Plan B is built around, by and for community-owned energy, as that is the only way to keep the income and profits in the islands.

“The Comhairle must not see the CfD outcome as a defeat but as an opportunity for them to take the lead in developing a new partnership with the community energy companies in the islands to work together and to unite around a new Plan B.”