I referred in an earlier entry to the Lewis Windfarms.
This is extremely controversial in the island. I have written extensively on it in my Lighthouse Blog (see linklist), and not hidden my disgust at the prospect of 190 turbines, each standing 135 metres / 450 feet tall in the middle of the most beautiful wilderness areas of Scotland. There are two windfarms proposed for Lewis, one in the north, stretching 60 km / 40 miles from Ness to Stornoway via Bragar; the other in Eishken, a depopulated district in the southeast, on hills overlooking Loch Seaforth.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, the local council, approved the planning applications for both windfarms last June. This gave rise to a huge storm in Lewis, with councillors being called to account in acrimonious meetings in the various village halls. A ballot was taken in Ness, Airidhantuim [pronounce: Aree an Hime], Laxdale and Kinloch. 50 to 90% of respondents declared their opposition. The application is currently in front of the Scottish Executive.
In order to take the power off the island, a large subsea cable needs to be laid from Arnish to Ullapool. From Ullapool, 200 ft high pylons will be marching 180 miles south to Denny near Falkirk. This is all deeply resented by people in the Scottish Highlands.
The Lewis windfarm was, as I say, approved in the face of 4000 objections. The RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) has stated that the turbines will slaughter the resident population of eagles. The continual flicker of the blades, the illumination of the towers at nighttime (compulsory for any tall structure), the disturbance of the 20 ft layer of peat and destruction of habitat by the construction effort.
The Comhairle has hailed it as a major boost to the island's economy. It now looks likely that the turbines will be fabricated at the Arnish Yard (often featured in my pictures),which will create jobs for 3 to 4 years. Last time they recruited for Arnish, they had to draft people from outside the UK in as nobody could be bothered with short term contracts. The lease of the land on which the towers stand, as well as a cut in the proceeds of the electricity have switched the poundsigns on in the eyes of those who wield power. They have ignored those who have to live with the bl**dy things.
Another argument against is that new technologies, such as wave and tidal power, have been developed to such an extent that Portugal has recently taken delivery of several units of wavepower generators. These are basically interlinked tubes that float on the surface of the sea. The movement of the water is translated into power. The tubes do not have the major environmental impact that the turbines have. This has been pointedly ignored by Downing Street and Holyrood (British and Scottish governments). They want nuclear energy, for goodness sakes. And the waste issue will be dealt with by chucking it into a deep hole in the ground, probably on either Fuday or Sandray, both islands near Barra. In recent times, I've stopped believing what I hear.
Anyway, the Executive will take a decision this summer, and then we shall see what we shall see. Follow the story through the Lighthouse Blog.