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19 April 2014
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Arnish Lighthouse

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A lot has been made of the projected windfarms in North Lewis, 234 turbines stretching from Ness to Bragar to Stornoway. What people tend to forget is the windfarm in Eishken.

This encompasses 133 turbines on the highest hills (Beinn Mhor there rises to 1,900 ft), with associated infrastructure. Roads, plants, pylons, you name it. For those unfamiliar with the island, Eishken is derilict. In a previous post, some time ago, I wrote about Eishken's 36 deserted villages. There is one settlement left, Eishken Lodge, surrounded by electronic fences, on Loch Shell. From this lodge, stalkers will venture forth into the estate to shoot deer. So nobody within Eishken will object. The only objections have come from those living on Loch Seaforth, in the tiny settlements from Ath Linne to Maraig, all of 50 people.

The estate owner has now proposed to reduce the number of turbines on the Muaitheabhal project (as it is officially called) to 57. It's still going to be a desecration of the mountains of Harris, only a hop and a step across the water. Late in 2004, he established the Muaitheabhal Trust, and any local resident that joined that Trust would be sharing in the profits. Any local resident that would NOT join would NOT share in the profits. Nice one.
In adjacent South Lochs, windturbines are proposed for the moorlands there. It will come as little surprise that the decision from the local community in November 2004 to mount a community buy-out went down like a lead balloon with the estate owner there, a different person from Eishken incidentally. It would mean that the current owner would lose out on a handsome profit to be made on windpower.

Windgenerators are indeed a tried and tested means of making money out of the winds. They are also shown to be detrimental to the environment. The local population of golden eagles stands to be slashed, quite literally, by the turbines. The moorlands will be churned up for the construction of the associated infrastructure, and forever scarred by the towers. Even if they are taken down after 25 years, the scars remain.

As I've queried before, why this obsession with wind turbines? Last weekend, another consignment of Pelamis [wavepower] units left for Portugal. I restate the question why they aren't being used here.
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 11:31


I presume that you don't use any electricity then. Sure the scale of these projects is not right, but the idea is that people like yourself get all worked up about it so that we can all turn round and say, "Oh those turbines are horrible, lets get some clean, lovely nuclear power then". How much steel, cars, electricity, plastic etc does Lewis produce.. Make thy self more self sufficient as an island and then maybe one can be more isolationist (this probably won't get published as the blog meister blocks these things)

nimby pimby from Build some nuclear power stations on Lewis then

I think politicians think of quick fixes and as wind power is already established they have thrown loads of (our) money at it. Snouts in trough and all that. It would sensible to go to sustainable energy though as the mined alternatives will become more expensive. Nuclear power is far from CO2 free, despite all the nonsense its supporters spout.

hrossey from Mainland Orkney

You were published nimby. And for your reference, we are all FOR local renewable schemes. A small turbine here and there, solar powered streetlights in two villages. The huge project is NOT to generate power for the 26,500 people in the islands. It's for the rest of the country, which does very very little to help us build a sustainable economy. When something good is set up, it usually goes to pot in no time at all and taken away from the islands. Read my post Economics for details.

Arnish Lighthouse from Stornoway

Another drink anyone?

. from .

As to your paranoia, nimby pimby: I can vouch that "blog Meister" -Graham is not easily offended, and thick skinned: he did not even when I called him (albeit jokingly) a Norman from down sooth. As to self sufficiency of Lewis in electric matters: how many of those turbines do you think are needed to provide electricity to the island? Not 133 surely (if so, their inefficiency would condemn them outright). I assume you have one in your backyard, nimby pimby, and enjoying the shadow, the hum as well as the regular free provision of hacked birds.

mjc from NM,USA

It's a new régime, nimby pimby. And I think your argument is as valid as mine re Sunday ferries. We all enjoy the benefits, but don't want the bothers. Ochone, ochone.

Flying cat from Orkney Mainland

its a clean energy, use it,

graham from lewis

Just a little bit of provocation from me by the way. I don't like huge windfarms like no-one really does, but a windmill is a reversible action, whereas nuclear fallout or radiation is not. The government has deliberately allowed the non regulation of windfarms in order to get everyone's backs up against them and hence, allow nuclear back into everyones minds, despite the billions that have been poured into this over the years. I look out over windfarms and I have no objection to them. In fact I live right next to a very noisy bit of industry, but it is using local resources to make locally required things so I think that it is good. The thing is that retired people are always going to complain against anything that spoils the view. The argument that the electricity is great - other areas produce the food, steel, concrete etc that Lewis uses, I don't see that labelled. The highlands and Islands get huge subsidies in all areas, so in no way can they complain that they aren't supported. Out of sight, out of mind.

nimby pimby from thanks flying cat

No mention of peat bogs being massive carbon sinks? Have all of the sites for these turbines avoided disturbing these peat bogs?

Burt from Edinburgh

"The thing is that retired people are always going to complain against anything that spoils the view" nimby pimby. Rather fatuous statement, I would say.

mjc from NM,USA

Fatuous but true

nimby from Truth or consequences

At least the BBC are wising up to the dangers of good ole nuclear power, with timely reports on Chernobyl.

Estate agent from Chernobyl from 1000s of houses at knock down prices.

Re scare mongers comments. Perhaps you should consider the choice: 1: we take the gas and leave the third world to build nuclear power stations. 2: We build nuclear power stations ( after all we have some experience) and leave the third world to use gas. We all need and expect energy so its your call. I have been told that more radio active particles have been released by coal power stations than by nuclear power stations.

Burt from Edinburgh

It's not that we on Lewis don't use electricity, more the fact that the electricity produced here won't be of any benefit to us, the power is all going South to England. Sure the people who own the land say that the community will benefit from the money they will earn from AMEC but will they really? Most people here are not against renewable energy, it's the size of the wind factory they are planning, a line of 400ft high skyscaper wind turbines,with blades a 100ft across, the largest yet, across the middle of the island. The blurb on AMEC's site says how they will take it all away and leave it as they found it after 20 yrs,WHERE FEASABLY POSSIBLE, (whatever) and it bothers me that while companies like Tarmac are turned away from here for quarrying the hundreds it will take to build the two main projects alone will go ahead if planning is passed. How come the largest area of protected peatland in Europe suddenly is of no importance when government decide they want to use somewhere thats not in their backyard to meet targets. I'm glad to see that the Eishkin site has reduced it's numbers but now that means even less numbers for the community and as they say themselves..if they get permission then that means they can add more at a later date with less hassle. Their's also the very real worry that once AMEC get a footing on the island it could easily become the home of a new nuclear power station (my opinion,after reading their own site info.)

krista from lewis

The argument about the birds is the weakest anti-wind turbine argument. Why? The RSPB logic is that development should not occur as birds need it- so let's get rid of cars as they kill birds. And in fact let's depopulate the islands as then all the birds will have better chances

Jack from Not on the westner isles at the moment, but return

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