Local opposition to tall wind turbines on Isle of Lewis

Plans for two major wind farms on the Isle of Lewis have been challenged by local inhabitants after developer EDF Energy said the turbines would need to be higher than expected, according to the Guardian.

The French energy firm said the turbines would need to be constructed to a height normally used for installations at sea in order to be economically viable and qualify for government subsidies.

Kerry MacPhee of EDF Energy told the community that one of the wind farms could be 200m tall and the other 187m, revised from 150m and 145 as previously outlined. The current largest wind turbine in the UK is 193.5m, around 60m taller than the London Eye.

MacPhee, community liaison officer for the project, said the changes were intended to increase the potential chances of winning future auctions for low-carbon electricity and would “unlock substantial benefits for Lewis”.

The company said it was possible that fewer turbines would be needed to offset the increased height, but this was not certain. The higher turbines would need a fresh planning application.

After several years of failing to provide support for onshore wind farms, in 2017 the government came out in support of schemes in remote areas such as the Isle of Lewis.

Bidders for government subsidies are increasingly dependent on the scale of their projects to win support for their schemes, based on achieving the lowest subsidy price. The next auction is due to take place in spring 2019.