Lewis Wind Power (LWP), a joint venture between Amec Foster Wheeler and EDF Energy Renewables has bought the Uisenis Wind Farm project on the Isle of Lewis. The wind farm has planning consent for the development of 45 turbines with a maximum capacity of 162 MW. This would be enough to power 124,000 homes and would be the biggest renewable energy development on the Western Isles.
LWP owns the Stornoway Wind Farm project located around 20km to the north of Uisenis which has planning consent to develop 36 turbines to a maximum capacity of 180 MW – enough to power 135,000 homes.
The acquisition shows LWP’s commitment to developing low carbon renewable energy on the Isle of Lewis offering significant benefits for the community. The joint capacity of up to 342MW is a crucial part of building the case for an interconnector to the Scottish mainland which is estimated to require over 350MW of committed project power to be viable. The interconnector is essential to make sure electricity can be exported from the island to the wider UK electricity grid.
The two consented projects will offer good value for consumers, benefiting from the abundant wind of the Outer Hebrides. It is hoped that they will be able to enter into the next UK Government auction round for low carbon electricity. Success would unlock the economic potential of Western Isles wind power.
The local community will benefit in three different ways from the wind farm once operational. This will be through Comhairle nan Eilean Siar having an option to partner with LWP to buy a share in the Uisenis wind farm, through a community benefit fund which will receive a proportion of the revenue and through the employment and economic benefits.
Matthieu Hue, CEO of EDF Energy Renewables, said: “The acquisition of the Uisenis Wind Farm shows EDF Energy Renewables and Amec Foster Wheeler’s commitment to developing remote island wind and delivering significant benefits for consumers and the community.
“It 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. Lewis Wind Power will work with the community to maximise opportunities from the development.”
Garry Morton, Commercial Director, Amec Foster Wheeler said: “The ownership of the two wind farms, Stornoway Wind Farm and Uisenis Wind Farm, will bring benefits to the island through community benefit, employment and local procurement. There will also be an option offered to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to take a stake in the project, which is a similar opportunity to that offered to the Stornoway Trust on the Stornoway Wind Farm. EDF Energy Renewables and Amec Foster Wheeler will bring their project expertise and finance to help ensure the Uisenis Wind Farm comes to fruition as soon as practical.”
Cllr Angus Campbell, Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, 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. This is welcome news that can only strengthen the case for the construction of the interconnector. “
On behalf of Eishken Limited, the owner of the site where the Uisenis Wind Farm 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 wind farm. 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.”