Remote island communities to enter UK tender

UK: Four communities on a remote Scottish island have confirmed they will compete against a consortium led by French multinational EDF in the UK's contracts for difference (CfD) auction being held in May 2019.

Projects on the remote islands such as Lewis in the Outer Hebrides are eligible to compete in the UK's next CfD tender

The four community groups from the Isle of Lewis intend to submit bids for 21 turbines to be installed in precisely the same locations as 21 of the 36 machines planned for Lewis Wind Power’s 180MW Stornoway project.

Lewis Wind Power is a joint venture between EDF and energy services company Wood Group.

It is believed to be the first time that any community organisations have put in a bid for subsidy in the UK's CfD scheme.

Sandwick North Street (5MW), Sandwick East Street (50MW), Melbost & Branahuie (40MW) and Aignish (10MW) plan to enter bids for 21 turbines, each with a 5MW capacity.

They aim to have submitted planning applications for all the turbines by October.

The four townships claim owning the turbines directly will mean profits are retained in the Western Isles’ economy, rather than EDF and Wood Group also benefitting.

Lewis Wind Power told Windpower Monthly that the local community could own up to 20% of both proposed wind farms - Stornoway and its planned 162MW Uisenis site - and that it would pay rental payments to community landlord the Stornoway Trust and compensation payments to local small-scale land holders. It would also create a £900,000 (€1.01 million) community benefit fund.

Will Collins, the developer’s project manager, added that the two wind farms were "critical to the business case for the new interconnector with the mainland". The projects would also "unlock further investment in the future", he said. Utility SSE plans to build an approximately 80-kilometre interconnector from the north-west coast of mainland Scotland to Lewis.

The developer has received full planning consent for its original scheme for Stornoway, comprising 36 turbines with a combined capacity of 180MW.

Energy minister Claire Perry announced in May that the UK will hold its next CfD auction in May 2019.

Alongside Perry’s announcement, the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) confirmed remote island wind projects would be eligible to compete.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Land Court is currently considering a petition from Lewis Wind Power over development rights.

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