Energy giant EDF is living up to its name as it has been revealed that the
power multi-national, through partner ‘Lewis Wind Power’, is considering
increasing the size of its turbines to be located in Lewis.

The turbines would be up to 200 metres tall – far higher than the original
proposals which have planning consent for turbines up to 150 metres – the
200m structures would be the tallest that exist on land in Scotland.

EDF, as part of ‘Lewis Wind Power’ with project partners Wood Group, have
planning permission for 91 turbines in Lewis.

Of these, 45 turbines are approved for their Uisenis Wind Farm, which is
due to be built on the Eishken Estate and approaches the border of the
South Lewis, Harris and North Uist National Scenic Area.

The other 36 turbines would be sited in the Stornoway general area of
mainly common grazings land out on the Pentland Road. This Stornoway Wind
Farm is already controversial, being the subject of more than 200
objections to the Scottish Land Court.

In a statement released about the proposed changes, Lewis Wind Power said
that they were “in in the very early stages of exploring potential changes
to its proposed wind farms at Stornoway and Uisenis”.

The company explained that these initiatives are intended to make sure that
the company looks at all the potential ways to boost the projects’ chances
of winning future auctions for low carbon electricity.

Original project consents remain in place, but two additional options are
being explored:

The first option would be to keep all aspects of the existing layouts and
planning consents, but to seek a variation to allow the project to use
larger generators within each of the wind turbines.

The second option is to seek a fresh planning consent for larger turbines
and a revised layout. This may mean fewer turbines being built but may also
lead to an overall increase in installed capacity.

Taller turbines may mean greater efficiency:

The company is considering turbines of up to 200m at Uisenis, up from 150m
at present and all the same size.

At Stornoway the company will be assessing the potential for tip heights of
up to 187m on some turbines, an increase on the 145m models outlined in the
current consent, with smaller turbines closer to the town.

The two projects currently make up almost 90% of the consented wind
projects in development on Lewis, making them central to the business case
for the new grid connection to the mainland, which is required before any
additional renewables schemes can be built on the island.

The process for the new proposals began yesterday (Monday) with a meeting
led by the Scottish Government’s energy consents unit at Comhairle nan
Eilean Siar, with representatives from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, LWP,
Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and
the Scottish Government.

Project Manager for Lewis Wind Power, Will Collins, said: “The benefits
from developing and exporting wind power from Lewis will only become a
reality if island projects win contracts in a competitive auction for low
carbon electricity.

“It’s therefore important that we look at all the options before deciding
what we think gives the two wind farms the best possible chance of success.

“If we do reach the stage of considering fresh planning applications then
we will be actively seeking the thoughts and views of local residents and
stakeholders at a series of exhibitions and through a wider consultation
process.”

Local reaction to the story has been highlighted by the Hebrides Writer
blog (www.hebrideswriter.com) written by journalist Katie Laing.


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