Hinkley owners seize Western Isles wind power development on luxury estate

Nuclear giant goes radioactive in England but stays green in Scotland, for now

THE UISENIS WIND FARM on the Isle of Lewis has been bought by Amec Foster Wheeler and EDF Energy Renewables, whose parent company secured the Hinkley Point C nuclear facility, in a joint takeover.

Set to be the biggest green energy project in the Western isles it has already received planning consent for 45 turbines that will be capable of generating enough electricity to power over 124,000 homes.

The joint project, which will be called Lewis Wind Power (LWP), will be added to another EDF part owned acquisition, the Stornoway Wind Farm project which is 20km north of Uisenis.

"The acquisition of Uisenis Wind Farm by Lewis Wind Power presents a fantastic opportunity to see this wind farm constructed and deliver significant benefits both to the local community and the Western Isles as a whole with an option for the council to purchase a significant stake in the project." Angus Campbell

In a press statement Matthieu Hue, chief executive of EDF Renewables which is part of the nuclear power parent company EDF Group, said: "This strengthens the case for an interconnector to the mainland which will unlock the economic potential of the Western Isles and secure the development of the island’s renewables sector."

EDF Renewables' parent company EDF energy currently has a majority stake in the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear facility along with the Chinese state energy company CGN.

Through its renewable division the French utility company and its French renewable arm, EDF Energies Nouvelles, already has five clean energy sites in Scotland, providing 238MW of electricity, and has a further 650MW capacity in planning.

Over the past five years EDF has purchased greater amounts of green energy projects and developments in an attempt to boost its green credentials and transform its image as a nuclear only energy player.

On the Blyth estate in Northumberland in England, the provider has cooperated with the Crown Estate on land purchases and rights for windfarm development.

However the Western Isles council has been given a future option to buy a share in Uisenis through a community benefit fund which will receive a proportion of the revenue.

"This strengthens the case for an interconnector to the mainland which will unlock the economic potential of the Western Isles and secure the development of the island’s renewables sector." Matthieu Hue

Cllr Angus Campbell, Leader of Western Isles Council, said: "The acquisition of Uisenis Wind Farm by Lewis Wind Power presents a fantastic opportunity to see this wind farm constructed and deliver significant benefits both to the local community and the Western Isles as a whole with an option for the council to purchase a significant stake in the project."

The wind farm will be built on the Eishken estate and it is unclear how much the estate will benefit from the electricity generated in comparison to the rest of the isles.

Eishken is a luxury sporting estate on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides with deer stalking, grouse shooting, fishing and watersports on its 43,000 acres where rent for a stay range from £6,500 to £14,0000 per week.

On behalf of Eishken Limited, the owner of the site where Uisenis will be located, Nick Oppenheim said: "I am delighted that LWP are taking forward the wind farm. The resources available on the Eishken estate, and the Western Isles in general, means that it is an excellent location for renewable energy projects and, as such, the company is also developing a 300MW pumped storage hydro project immediately adjacent to the Uisenis windfarm.

"With such potential for renewables and the positive effect they will have on the local community, economy, and the UK as a whole I am are looking forward to positive news on both support for remote island projects and the interconnector."

Picture courtesy of Shirokazan

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