Local News for Tuesday 16th April 2019

UISENIS WIND FARM GETTING NEW OWNER

Lewis Wind Power (LWP) is in the process of transferring ownership of the 180MW Uisenis project to the Oppenheim family, owners of Eishken estate where the project is situated.

Although LWP will no longer own the project, LWP believe the Oppenheim family is in a strong position to realise the potential for a large scale wind farm at Uisenis. The change in ownership should not impact on the needs case for the new grid connection with the mainland.

LWP and the Oppenheim family are firmly focused on working to secure approval from Ofgem for the new cable. LWP remains committed to delivering the 180MW Stornoway Wind Farm.


COMHAIRLE MEETS OFGEM ABOUT CABLE
Representatives of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar met with OFGEM officials recently as part of a ‘Final Needs Case’ consultation on a new interconnector to the Western Isles. OFGEM has stated that they are ‘minded’ to recommend a 450 Mega Watt cable whilst the Comhairle, developers and SSE have all made the case for a 600 Mega Watt cable which would offer more capacity for exporting electricity from renewable energy schemes in the Islands.
The Comhairle outlined a robust case to OFGEM including projected figures of the amount of energy likely to be produced through renewable schemes in the next few years. OFGEM are also meeting with Developers during the consultation.

Cllr Roddie Mackay, Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar said: “There are three windfarm schemes already consented and contracted - LWP Stornoway Wind Farm, Uisenis, and the FORSA Druim Leathann Windfarm. However, there is every indication of further schemes currently in the pipeline which will produce a substantial amount of electricity. We presented evidence to OFGEM of a demonstrable need for 530 Mega Watt which, without reference to future needs, is sufficient to warrant a 600 Mega Watt interconnector. The cost difference of installing a larger cable is in the region of £27 million or 4.5% of the costs but if it is done at a later stage it would cost substantially more. Our estimates are that a new supplementary 150 Mega Watt cable would cost around £270 million so it is in the best interests of consumers to ‘future proof’ the means of exporting electricity from the Islands and install the bigger cable.”
The Comhairle also highlighted the risks of installing an undersized cable including the end of the Community Owned Energy Sector, the loss of Offshore wind potential in Europe’s area of best resource and the impact on the auction competitiveness of the Lewis Wind Power and FORSA schemes which would be more economic on a 600 Mega Watt cable.

Mr Mackay added: ‘The Comhairle has been committed to renewable energy schemes in the Islands and has supported community projects through Community Energy Scotland. The Comhairle has arranged a meeting with OFGEM with representatives from the community projects currently in the system as well as our partners at Community Energy Scotland. I am confident that the Comhairle will wish to continue that support but there must be a way to market for the electricity produced otherwise they will simply not go ahead. The Comhairle calls on OFGEM to recognise the robust case that has been made and to recommend the larger cable. We believe that the additional evidence presented to OFGEM enables them to keep the 600 Mega Watt option on the table.’