Community Effort Transforming Lewis Island into Wind Energy Hub
Published By : 13 Feb 2015 | Published By : QYRESEARCH
Lewis and Harris, the largest island in the Outer Hebrides and third largest island in the British Isles, is home to some of the most consistent and fierce winds in the world. The central moorland region of the island gets especially rapid winds in the winter months. These winds, for so long derided and despised by the fishing community that prospers on the coastal fringes of the island, have only now become a source of income and respect for the local community.
In times of a global energy crisis, the winds of Lewis and Harris are being utilized through wind farms in one of the largest wind farms in the world. The first wind turbine in the coastal region of Ghabhsainn (pronounced ‘Galson’) is already functioning and helped the locals make GBP380,000 last year. Two more wind turbines are expected to be operational before the end of this year’s summer, further sweetening the fruits of eight years of planning.
The 2,000-strong community of Gabhsainn is the sole beneficiary of the energy output from the wind farms, with more than half of the Outer Hebrides owned by locals thanks to Scotland’s Land Reform Act in 2003. This income from hitherto untapped revenue sources is a lifeline for the impoverished local communities.
Meanwhile, the east coast of Lewis is about to undergo an even more drastic revolution, with the U.K.’s largest community wind farm about to be built in the village of Point. Other islands in the Outer Hebrides such as Barra and South Uist are also poised to benefit from wind energy projects, with offshore wind harvesting in these islands becoming a hot topic among the energy circles in the U.K.