District news, January 21 2022

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ScottishPower awarded seabed rights to offshore windfarm

Energy company ScottishPower has won the rights to develop plans for its first fixed offshore windfarm in Scottish waters – off the west coast of Islay – as part of Crown Estate Scotland’s ScotWind Leasing, announced on Monday (January 17).

ScottishPower says the 2GW MachairWind project will make a ‘significant contribution’ to tackling the climate emergency and achieving net zero, with the potential to generate enough clean electricity to power more than 2.3 million homes.

‘ScottishPower has been working with people, communities and businesses across Argyll and Bute for more than 20 years now, as we’ve built our onshore wind portfolio,’ said Keith Anderson, the company’s chief executive officer.

‘So, it’s really exciting to be expanding into offshore wind in a region where we’re known as a responsible developer and a good neighbour.

‘Offshore wind is set to become the backbone of the UK’s energy mix and will do the heavy lifting as we ramp up the production of clean electricity on the journey to net zero.

‘Our Islay project will play an important part in that and make the best use of the region’s fantastic natural resources to help power the UK’s transition from fossil fuels to renewables and a better future, quicker.

‘It will also help deliver investment, support jobs and boost supply chains – opening up immense opportunities for businesses and institutions across the region and the country – which can register their interest on our online portal now.’

The announcement was welcomed by development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), which believes the economic impact of the offshore wind industry in the Highlands and Islands could be similar to that of the oil and gas sectors.

‘We believe the economic impacts of the offshore wind industry will be along similar lines to what we saw 40 or so years ago with oil and gas developments,’ said Stuart Black, HIE’s chief executive, ‘and will help to create the conditions for a just transition for both the Highlands and Islands, and the climate.

‘We can expect many new, highly skilled offshore wind-related jobs to be created in some of our more rural and island communities.’

Visit www.machairwind.co.uk for more information on the MachairWind project, including a registration area for potential supply chain partners.

Multi-million pound water supply investment onstream

A multi-million pound Scottish Water investment on Islay is now onstream after a marathon journey across land and sea and months of on-site testing.

A Transportable Treatment Unit (TTU) is now connected to the network supplying nearly 2,000 customers in the Bowmore and Port Ellen areas.

Georgina Reid, Scottish Water’s corporate affairs regional manager, said: ‘The new unit is now supplying an additional 70,000 litres of clear, fresh drinking water a day.

‘This £2.5 million investment is just part of our ongoing programme of works for Islay to provide capacity for future housing developments but also resilience and improvements to the existing network.’

The new TTU was transported under police escort more than 200 miles from Ross-shire Engineering’s specialist factory in Muir of Ord, where it was built and partially commissioned off-site.

The unit provides capacity for an additional 70,000 litres, boosting the 810,000 litres already supplied from the existing Torra Water Treatment Works on the island.

As part of the installation of the TTU, a new pipe bridge across the River Torra has been constructed to support a short section of the two kilometres – around 1.2 miles – of new raw water main that has also been installed north of the water treatment works.

Scottish Water is also currently embarking on a £3 million water network improvement project in Bowmore, where nearly four miles of water mains on streets across the town will be replaced over the next 18 months.