The consented wind farm will be among the largest in Scotland, comprising 36 turbines - enough to generate the electricity needs of 90,000 homes, and save about 250,000 tonnes of CO² per year.
The Stornoway Wind Farm project is being driven forward by Lewis Wind Power in partnership with the Stornoway Trust.
The socio-economic assessment estimates that £48 million of materials and labour are predicted to be sourced within the Western Isles during the construction phase. The construction phase will also support 196 jobs in the Western Isles and a further 181 in the rest of Scotland.
The project is critically important for the future development of renewables in the Western Isles, supporting the delivery of a HVDC interconnector that will enable future generations of wave and tidal projects to be realised.
The benefits to the local economy will complement the benefits that will be realised by the local community. The Stornoway Trust will establish a Community Trust which has an option to take a 20% share of the wind farm. This will mean that the local community will be able to direct the funds they receive from the wind farm in order to best meet local needs, ensuring a lasting legacy from the project. The wind farm will have a lifespan of approximately 25 years.
Jennifer Ballantyne, a Planning specialist and Partner in the Energy and Natural Resources practice at Pinsent Masons, says:
"We are delighted to see this project coming to fruition as we believe it will make a significant contribution to the local economy in addition to helping Scotland meet its 2020 clean energy targets. AMEC and EDF have shown admirable patience and commitment to doing business in Scotland - obtaining consent has been a long and sometimes challenging road but we are proud to have helped reach a position which is good for our clients and good for the local community."
The project has also enjoyed significant support from local people as well as the unanimous support of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. Feedback from statutory consultees has also been incorporated into the final design so that the impact on the local environment and protected species is minimised.
Commenting on the positive decision by the Scottish Ministers, Ron Peddie, Project Director for Lewis Wind Power said:
“We are absolutely delighted by the Scottish Government’s decision to grant approval to the Stornoway Wind Farm.
“From the very beginning we have sought to develop a wind farm based on the wishes of the local community. The development team is particularly pleased by the support shown by the public throughout the consultation process and we are confident that they will be pleased when the final wind farm is constructed.
“The investment represented by the Stornoway Wind Farm is significant and wherever possible we will seek to use the local supply chain in order to maximize the social and economic benefits for the islanders.
“We look forward to working with the local community as we move towards the next phase of development.”
Ron Peddie added: “I have huge admiration for Jennifer Ballantyne and her team at Pinsent Masons. They have provided LWP with legal advice for nearly a decade and without her leadership and wise counsel I am sure we would not have achieved the section 36 consent for the Stornoway Wind Farm. I have enjoyed working with all the members of her team and I look forward to doing so again in the future.”
Murdo Murray, Chairman of the Stornoway Trust added: “The Stornoway Trust welcomes the decision by the Scottish Government to grant consent to the Stornoway Wind Farm. The Stornoway Trust has long believed in the potential for a significant wind farm to be built on its land and we believe this project realizes these ambitions."