Uist small turbines company acquires Stornoway sparkies


A UIST-based company specialising in renewable energy projects has taken over a Stornoway electrical firm.

The deal will see West Coast Energee (Scotland) Ltd, which employs 12 full-time staff, acquire West Electrical Services and Testing Limited (WEST). Working with partners, Energee and WEST have already installed more than a third of Scotland’s micro-wind turbines in 2013.

Angus Macdonald, of Keose on Lewis, set up WEST in 1997. Meanwhile, West Coast Energee (Scotland) Ltd was founded in 2008 by electrical engineer and entrepreneur John Daniel Peteranna.

With its head office in Uist and bases in Stornoway and Wick, Energee covers the whole of Scotland.

In a joint statement, the firms said they were excited about the merging of resources. The combination of additional expertise would be a great advantage to the customers of both companies and the buyout would be of significant benefit to both current and also future customers.

Mr Macdonald added: “I would just like to say thank you to all my customers for your support over the years and assure you that together we will continue to provide a high level of support that you have come to expect. WEST’s warranties with the wind turbines currently in operation will now be transferred and supported directly by Energee.”

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Scottish Cabinet answers questions in Stornoway Town Hall

The Scottish Cabinet Q&A in Stornoway Town Hall. NB: It is more than 2.5 mins in before the comhairle chief exec’s introduction begins.

Posted in council, police, Scotland, Stornoway, Western Isles | Tagged | 7 Comments

Appeal about suspicious person in Kennedy Terrace


Late on Saturday night, police in Stornoway appealed for the public to contact them about any suspicious person seen recently in the area of Kennedy Terrace in the town.

Any person with information is asked to contact them on 101. No further information was given about the reason for the appeal.

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“Carloway says Yes”

News Release from Yes nan Eilean Siar

Carloway says Yes

 Yes nan Eilean Siar have welcomed the result of the public vote following the Carloway independence debate on Friday.

Almost 70 local residents from Carloway gathered in the community centre for the debate hosted by Angus MacDonald of BBC Scotland.  Speaking for Yes nan Eilean Siar was local MSP, Dr Alasdair Allan and Back businessman Gordon “Diesel” MacLennan.

Arguing for Better Together was former MP Brian Wilson and former Isles MSP Alasdair Morrison.

The public Q&A session, organised by Carloway Community Association, heard from all four panellists before the audience put questions to the panel.  Local MSP Alasdair Allan welcomed the vote at the end of the meeting which showed the results at No – 37%; Undecided – 7%; Yes – 56%.

Speaking afterwards, Alasdair Allan said: “Last night’s result is a vote of confidence in Yes nan Eilean Siar’s positive grassroots campaign which is working extremely hard from the Butt to Barra.

“The reality is, that the more our message – that Scotland’s future should be in Scotland’s hands – is heard, the more people are heading in the direction of the Yes campaign and that’s exactly what happened in Carloway on Friday night.

“Although last night’s result was very positive, we will not rest on our laurels and we’ll keep working hard for a Yes vote in September.  We will continue to chap doors, deliver leaflets and hold public meetings all across these islands.  The fact that almost 70 folk turned out on a Friday night for a public meeting shows that the referendum debate is reaching all parts of the community, especially engaging those who are not normally interested in ordinary party elections.

“We will continue to make the case for Scotland’s future being in Scotland’s hands with independence and I’m sure that will continue to lead to more results like we have just seen in Carloway.”

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Have you been unable to read this blog recently?

Some people have been unable to load up pages of this blog in the last week or so. BT said there were problems in this area they were trying to fix.

However, my friend, the Geek, has run some tests and thinks there may be some other reason. He has now tweaked some settings and would like some feedback.

If you have been unable to view the blog recently, but can now do so, would you drop us a quick email to blog@maciver.co.uk. Thank you.

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Eggs-act cause of power cut in Ness

The power cuts in Ness today were necessary because of efforts to remove a crow’s nest from overhead power lines, says Scottish Hydro Electric.

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Spooky transient fault behind Wednesday night’s mystery power cut

The cause of the massive blackout across the north of Scotland still remains a mystery, said the Scottish government.

Ministers were told by Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) that it was caused by a “transient” fault.

Despite inspections by helicopter and staff on the ground, no visible damage or signs of a cause for the fault have been found.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman explained that the ministers were told the fault was transient – in other words, non-damaging to the lines. The system came back online by itself without any repairs or other actions being taken and with no ongoing issues.

“Such faults can be caused by foreign objects striking the lines such as debris in windy weather, lightning strike, pollution or equipment failures,” she said.

A team of engineers have inspected a 55-mile section of line between Knocknagael, south of Inverness, and Blackhillock in Moray where the fault is believed to have occurred on Wednesday night.

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Power restored all over the north of Scotland. No word on cause yet

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Over £2 million for Stornoway media and creative industries centre

Gaelic broadcaster MG Alba will receive £2.1 million of new funding, First Minister Alex Salmond announced today.

It will receive £1 million in 2014-15 and £1 million in 2015-16, the remaining two years of this spending review. It will also receive £100,000 for programming. charissa2

MG ALBA is a public body, funded by the Scottish Government, that works in partnership with BBC Scotland. Together, MG ALBA and BBC produce the channel BBC ALBA.

The First Minister also opened a new £2.5 million Creative Industries and Media Centre on the site of a former Harris Tweed mill. He also met cast members of CBBC’s Katie Morag programme, which is being redubbed in Gaelic for transmission on BBC Alba.

The centre, home to 80 staff, will house broadcaster MG Alba, BBC Radio nan Gàidheal, independent production companies, radio station Isles FM and community facilities.

Since BBC Alba became available on Freeview, its viewing figures have increased and the channel now regularly achieves a weekly reach in excess of 750,000 viewers.

Mr Salmond said: “I am delighted to open these new facilities which will be an important boost to the local economy, to the broadcasting industry and to the use of Gaelic both in the Western Isles and throughout Scotland.

“Scotland is enriched by the existence of different cultures and languages including Gaelic and this Government is committed to creating a sustainable future for the language. BBC Alba plays a key role in promoting the speaking and learning of the Gaelic language in Scotland.

“The Scottish Government has made clear its ambition to develop broadcasting and media industries in Scotland and the £2.1 million in new funding will enable MG Alba to progress and to build on its recent and impressive success.

“This new centre has a critical role to play in developing capacity and helping to acheieve that ambition.”

Maggie Cunningham, chair of MG ALBA, which operates the channel in partnership with the BBC, said: “This announcement is very good news for BBC ALBA and the creative industries in Scotland and demonstrates great faith in the channel.
“Last year was the channel’s strongest performance to date both in terms of viewer numbers and programme-making.
“This announcement by the First Minister will help us do what we do best – make high quality home-grown TV programmes for a channel that is making a significant contribution to Scottish broadcasting.”

Highland and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is contributing a £750,000 funding package for the Stornoway Centre, which is being matched by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) has also contibuted funding of £1 miilion.

MG ALBA has 31 staff providing the commissioning, scheduling, presentation and technical functions of BBC ALBA amongst other roles.

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FFS talks with Certas Energy bosses could lead way to new deal on fuel prices

Campaigners for fair fuel prices in the Western Isles today (Tue) welcomed a series of possible commitments from the main distributor in the islands. certas logo

Members of Fair Fuel Solutions (FFS) met with senior managers from Certas Energy to clarify a tentative proposal it made to the new body which has taken over the responsibilities of the Office of Fair Trading, the Competition and Markets Authority, as part of the latest inquiry into competition in the islands’ fuel market.

After the meeting, the campaign group said that progress had been made. Representatives from the authority, at a public meeting in Stornoway last week, outlined the proposal which Certas, which was previously known as GB Oils Ltd, had made as part of the ongoing probe and to possibly resolve community concerns.

That proposal was to allow:

  • guaranteed access to other fuel distributors to the Shell Street depot in Stornoway for a two-year period
  • improved competition arrangements for local fuel retailers where they would not be restricted by fixed contracts with Certas
  • new open access arrangements for other suppliers to use the Certas depot in Loch Carnan

FFS spokesman Callum Ian Macmillan said after today’s meeting with Certas that progress had been made. He said: “It was very clear from last week’s meeting that those present were not happy with what was proposed as they did not go far enough.
“That is why FFS contacted the firm directly to discuss whether the issues raised at the meeting could be addressed before FFS made its submission to the authority. Certas agreed to meet with FFS and we’re pleased at the outcome which went well on the way to answering the concerns of the meeting last week.”

He said that FFS members heard that Certas would be likely to sign up to:

  • introducing a new Platts Plus pricing system which will provide more transparency and consistency and which should deliver a fairer fuel price than available in the islands in the past
  • extending the supply arrangements for Stornoway from two years to five which is in line with Loch Carnan
  • commiting to a significant investment of around £400,000 for new tanks at Loch Carnan

“The aim of the FFS campaign was to achieve fairer, sustainable fuel prices and supply for islanders. The commitments outlined today by the main distributor go a long way to achieving these objectives. We now look forward to these commitments being confirmed by the company,” added Mr Macmillan.

He said the fuel campaign group will now be making a formal submission to the CMA by the deadline on Thursday of this week.

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