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More than 30 island businesses attended a ScotWind Offshore Wind Business Breakfast in Stornoway Town Hall yesterday (Thursday). 

The event was jointly organised by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Highlands & Islands Enterprise and featured presentations by the two developers who hold lease options of ScotWind sites around the Outer Hebrides – Northland Power (Canada) and Magnora Offshore (Norway).

At the meeting, Northland Power set out their plans for ScotWind Areas N2 (north-east of the Butt of Lewis) and N4 (closer to shore between Carloway and Barvas) and Magnora Offshore did the same for Area N3 (north of the Butt of Lewis). 

In total, 2.835GW will eventually be generated from these sites contributing to the fight against climate change while enhancing energy security. 

It's understood that these developments can go ahead even if there was ultimately no approval for the long-proposed high-powered electricity supply interconnector between the Isle of Lewis and the mainland. This is because the power from these developments is intended to go ashore at Dounreay by 2033.  

Northland Power’s Project Director, Tanya Davies, told the meeting, “Our goal is to ensure every opportunity for island businesses to get involved, to grow and develop new businesses locally in order to create a long term sustainable supply chain that can benefit from both local and global opportunity in this rapidly growing market”.

CnES hopes that the considerable supply chain and community benefit arising from ScotWind will help address intractable island challenges such as high energy prices, fuel poverty and loss of working population from rural areas.

The Council stated: "Both developers demonstrated a real commitment to delivering supply chain and community benefit in the islands and will require their ‘Tier 1’ contractor to maximise opportunities for local contractors and companies. 

"In the development phase, over the next five years or so, local opportunities will be available in survey work, accommodation, transportation, catering, plant hire, fuel supply and so on.

"In the construction phase, likely to be from 2026 onwards, local opportunities will be available in port services, fabrication, vessel hire, diving, onshore construction, landscaping, catering, accommodation, PPE, wholesale, electrical services, fibre optics, heavy lift equipment, plant hire and a multitude of other services which can all be provided locally. 

"A local Operations Base will then provide a number of highly skilled jobs in marine coordination, asset management, health and safety, data analysis, weather forecasting and so on over the lifetime of the Wind Farms.

"Critically, both developers are committed to a high level of community benefit, over and above the transformational supply chain benefits that ScotWind will bring.  These indirect benefits could include a supply of low-cost electricity for local communities, support with community Hydrogen production for retail, support for crofting and local food security, development of STEM skills programmes for schools and bursaries for energy-related courses in Further/Higher Education and reskilling of island Oil & Gas industry workers to equip them for participation in the local Renewable Energy revolution."