THEY are four remote streets with a handful of houses among them standing amid the harsh windswept environment of the islands. But the crofting communities on Lewis are poised for a share of a multi-million pound windfall as they bid for Government contracts to supply the National Grid from their own wind turbines. The communities in Sandwick with Aignish and Melbost plan to take control of 21 turbines from EDF and provide annual income 100 times more than what the energy giant proposes. It comes as Scotland is set for a lucrative renewable energy boom which experts say will transform local communities. UK ministers have announced that wind power projects on islands will now be able to apply for subsidies which would remove the element of financial risk that comes with building away from the mainland. Island schemes will become eligible for a “Contract for Difference” (CfD) with the UK Government, which covers the shortfall between the cost of investing in infrastructure in remote locations and the average market price for electricity in the UK market. This ensures electricity generators have stable revenues while customers are insulated against rising bills. This has opened the door for communities across the islands to plan their own wind farms to raise much-needed funds for local infrastructure. Wind is increasingly seen as a key natural resource in the Western Isles, with the potential to boost the economic future of the islands. Now the four crofting townships on Lewis have become the first to bid in the Contract for Differences auction in May. The four townships which will be bidding are Sandwick North Street, Sandwick East Street, Melbost & Branahuie and Aignish. Altogether, they hope to develop 21 turbines, with a total output of 105MW. Although that comprises four different schemes, they all meet or exceed the 5MW threshold for eligibility into the scheme. North Street is planning one turbine of 5MW, while Aignish is planning two (10MW total), Melbost eight (40MW) and East Street 10 (50MW). It is also the latest twist to a saga that has seen the townships locked in a legal battle with EDF and its partner Wood Group in an audacious bid to build their own smaller project. The townships have applied to the Crofting Commission for an area big enough for 21 turbines to be effectively removed from EDF’s control and given to them. But the multinational’s operating arm, Lewis Wind Power, has filed a petition at the Scottish Land Court, asking it to throw out the crofters’ objections and approve its lease.
Herald 2nd Aug 2018 read more »
Four crofting townships in the Western Isles hope to take advantage of the near-£600 million auction in their plans to develop community-owned wind farms. The townships – Sandwick North Street, Sandwick East Street, Aignish, and Melbost and Branahuie – yesterday announced their intention to bid in the Contract for Differences (CfD) auction for renewables subsidies next year. They have already lodged applications with the Crofting Commission for permission to go ahead with the developments on their common grazings. It is believed to be the first time that any community organisations will have put in a bid for subsidy in the CfD scheme, set up primarily for multinationals, to help offset the extra costs that come with developing new technologies.
Energy Voice 2nd April 2018 read more »
Press & Journal 2nd Aug 2018 read more »