Today, just some background.
The Chairman of Storas, Angus MacMillan, is well placed to understand the algenate industry, as his father was the manager of the plant at North Boisdale seaweed factory many years ago; before the industry crashed in the 70s.
Coincidentally, Storas seem to have been applying pressure to the current occupant of the factory to give up the lease and the seaweed rights. Some might say "pressure", some could say "threats", others have said "with menace", but that seems utterly unreasonable. Doesn't it?
Now, ignoring the inconvenient fact that there probably isn't enough seaweed in the west of Scotland to meet the needs of a factory of the proposed size, just where is the power going to come from?
Coincidentally, Storas have had a huge battle over their inter-connector connection and the ability to develop a windfarm in Uist. There were very strong suggestions - obviously untrue - that Angus MacMillan had financial interests in windfarm developments that might be in some obscure fashion tied into the Storas connection.
Indeed, a libel action was raised - with great publicity - when it was suggested that there might be some personal benefit, whilst the defendant apparently had evidence of financing being lined up via third parties. (Anyone know what has happened to this legal action?)
Thankfully, with former MP Brian Wilson of AMEC on the Board of Storas, the opportunity to use the Lewis windfarm to power economic development in Uist makes it all look good, Conversely, Angus MacMillan sits on the Board of Harris Tweed Hebrides - Chairman? Brian Wilson.
Unfortunately, it looks to me that the maximum power output from any (all?) Lewis windfarms won't be enough to meet the power needs in Uist if the factory goes ahead. The energy requirements are immense - remember your school lessons about electrolysis?
Thankfully, the AMEC cable was suggested to run to Whitehaven, where AMEC have some business interest, including the renewable energy plant at Sellafield.
And where Brian Wilson chairs the "Energy Coast" forum for West Cumbria, in his role as AMEC representative.
Only the insane would suggest that the interconnector to Windscale IN beautiful West Cumbria could be used to import nuclear power to the islands from an AMEC facility.
Meantime, the two existing seaweed businesses in the Western Isles are about to be undercut by subsidies from CnES and HIE to an incoming business, and see their suppliers and markets potentially destroyed. Despite years of trying to get assistance to grow.
Still, attracting new grant-migrating incoming businesses is so much better than supporting the useless locals.
More to follow