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United Kingdom : Grid connection to generate power and profits for the Western Isles.

SIX community owned energy companies in the Western Isles have been given the go ahead to connect 11 turbines to the National Grid generating profits of [pounds sterling]2.5 million pounds a year for the economy of the islands.

The wind turbines, which will be sited in communities from Galson in the north of Lewis to Barra and Vatersay in the south of the island chain, will supply the energy needs of the equivalent of 15,000 households and reduce CO2 emissions from oil by more than 60,000 tonnes.

The developments will boost the economy of the islands by [pounds sterling]60 million over the 25-year life span of the turbines.

Profits will be spent on environmental, social and cultural schemes across the Western Isles that are expected to create 100 sustainable jobs.

Planning permission to erect community turbines has already been granted by the local authority, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, but the companies had feared they would not be allowed to connect to the National Grid until a new sub sea cable linked the Western Isles to the mainland in 2014.

EcoHeb, the registered cooperative that represents all the islands energy companies, has now learnt that a campaign for an early connection to the National Grid has been successful and that Ofgem has approved the link.

Scottish and Southern Electricity, SSE, are expected to write to the successful companies within the next few weeks to give them their grid connection dates.

It is expected the first of the community wind farms will be generating power and profits by 2011.

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Date:Jul 27, 2010
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