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Tallest onshore wind farm proposed in Scotland

wind turbine

Residents of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides have expressed opposition to proposals for the UK’s tallest onshore wind farm.

Lewis Wind Power, a partnership between EDF Energy and Wood Group, has proposed increasing the height of turbines at the Uisinis site from 150m to 200m, heights normally reserved for offshore turbines.

The energy giant also wants to increase the size of turbines at nearby Stornoway to 187m from 145m diameter.

The developer has planning permission to construct a 45 turbine scheme at Uisinis and a 36 turbine wind farm near Stornoway. Using larger turbines could mean building fewer of the structures, said EDF.

Lewis Wind Power project leader Will Collins said: “A number of developers across the country are looking at using the latest turbine technology as they seek to reduce the cost of wind power for consumers, and we want to assess the potential for us to consider using larger turbines in order to make the projects as competitive as possible.

“If we do decide to proceed with higher tip heights then we would need a fresh planning consent meaning that all local people and businesses would be consulted on the detail of our plans and have the opportunity to put over their views – positive or negative – to us as the developer and also directly to the Scottish Government.

“If we were to move to larger turbines we are likely to use fewer of them, meaning there may not be huge changes to the overall capacity of the two schemes, and thus no real impact on the amount of spare capacity on the grid connection to the mainland. The key point remains that without our two schemes there will be no interconnector to the mainland and no further community projects connected to the grid.”

Collins continued: “I think that most local people, businesses and organisations ultimately want the same thing – to see major renewable energy development here on Lewis and to secure the jobs and the economic benefit that our two wind farms would deliver. This is about ensuring we look at all the options to secure that.” 

Despite EDF claims that it has community support, the proposals have run into opposition from residents. 

Local campaigner Rhonda MacKenzie said: “It’s going to have a detrimental effect on tourism. The largest wind turbines in the UK? I hardly think that’s going to bring people here.

“The island and the community have been sold out to multinationals who are now increasing their demands because they see that they are getting what they want in every corner.”

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