Skye's Industrial Scale Wind Turbines
A Position Statement
Date: 10th July 2023
Portree and Braes Community Trust with the support of the Portree & Braes Community Council agree that the principle of a net zero ambition for Scotland is important. The Isle of Skye already significantly contributes to this strategy through the existing renewable projects on the island which supply the equivalent of around 55,000 households which is more than 10 times the households on the Isle of Skye, yet our islanders continue to pay some of the highest electricity costs in the UK and has the third highest rate of fuel poverty in Scotland.
The Isle of Skye is a unique and beautiful environment; however, its natural resources are attractive to externally based commercial developers wishing to use these resources to generate profit for their shareholders. The Portree & Braes Community Council and Trust would wish that any future renewable energy development on the Isle of Skye consider the fragility of the island’s environment, its economy and people with real tangible benefits being generated for the islands of Skye and Raasay and their residents. The ‘community benefit’ that the commercial developers are offering delivers extraordinarily little to the community and is little more than a tokenistic gesture.
The cumulative size of the industrial scale wind developments being planned for the Isle of Skye is beyond what the island can cope with and if all the present projects proceed, the island could be producing the equivalent wind power to supply almost 40% of Scottish households. With around 150 turbines of a height of up to 200m planned or in scoping for Skye, which is double the height of the island’s existing turbines located near Edinbane, the Portree and Braes Community Council and Portree and Braes Community Trust believes that this will be detrimental to Skye’s environment and attractiveness and will significantly affect its tourism industry. Furthermore, the wholly inadequate roads network on Skye will struggle to cope with up to 5 years of disruption whilst huge turbine parts are transported through the island during this mass scale development without any thought given to the crippling effect that this will have on islanders and businesses who use the roads network as a lifeline and an integral part of everyday life.
The Portree & Braes Community Trust and the Portree and Braes Community Council jointly call for a public inquiry by the Scottish Government to consider:
· The cumulative impact of the industrial scale turbine projects to be looked at as a whole and not as individual projects.
· Coordinated negotiations with external commercial developers to be carried out in a way that looks after the interests of Skye’s residents as whole rather than the piecemeal community consultation undertaken by each individual developer.
· Any future projects to be on a scale in keeping with Skye’s environment with turbines that are no taller than 100m and with a limit on the number of turbines.
· Why are Skye consumers required to pay a distribution fee to transport the energy produced on Skye to the main population centres?
· Delivery of direct benefits to Skye and Raasay’ s residents thorough lower electricity costs and a model of community owned electricity
· For any community benefit to be delivered in the form of 5% of turnover and accessible to the whole of Skye and Raasay
· The scale of SSEN’s reinforcement project considering the local needs of Skye and Raasay rather than externally generated demand by commercial developers to export electricity from Skye.
If you are a local community organisation and share the concerns outlined in our position statement you can download the following template here to sign and share. Position statements can be shared publicly and / or with your local representatives. A list of relevant contacts can be found here on The Skye Wind website, which has been created as an information source for the communities of Skye and Raasay.
For more information please contact:
Mr Ross Cowie
Trustee, Portree and Braes Community Trust