Discussions are underway that could see increased energy output from community windfarms despite the crisis over the broken power link between Skye and Harris.

That was made clear by Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn in a statement today (Wednesday November 18).

The community landowner said: "Like a number of community organisations across Lewis, Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn has been dealt a major blow by the subsea cable failure.

"Income from wind energy generation varies from year to year depending on a range of factors such as wind speeds and market pricing but is generally a minimum of £250,000.

"Income to date has enabled Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn to build up reserves that will sustain key functions over a twelve month period, while the cable is being replaced. Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn is currently undertaking a review of income and expenditure and has postponed any decisions on grant applications until there is a better understanding of the timescale of the shutdown.

"Turbine operating company Galson Energy Ltd. is facing the most significant impact as it has lost its income but remains locked into ongoing financial obligations such as making loan payments. 

"SSE has permitted turbines to operate at a low output meantime while discussions are underway about alternative arrangements. Community generators continue to work together to review various options that, if permitted by SSE, could enable turbines to operate at increased output in order to gain a more meaningful income until a replacement cable is laid.

 Clearly, some vital community services across the island have been adversely affected and Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn welcomes recent efforts by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and SSE to launch an Emergency Support Fund that will alleviate financial distress for eligible organisations.

 Agnes Rennie, Chair of Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn, said: “It is clearly a challenging time for community generators and the implications of the cable failure need to be addressed carefully to strike the best balance between maintaining key functions and tailoring discretionary areas of activity to fit the financial constraints.

"This is not an easy process and we expect to return to this exercise again as the situation unfolds over the months ahead.”