Lewis economy to benefit from green conference

Stornoway conference will be boost for Lewis, Alex Salmond has said. Picture: Toby Williams
Stornoway conference will be boost for Lewis, Alex Salmond has said. Picture: Toby Williams
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THE Isle of Lewis is set to benefit from an injection of nearly £350,000 when it plays host to some 220 renewables experts at the end of this month.

The economic impact of the international Environmental Interactions of Marine Renewables (EIMR) conference to be held in Stornoway was announced yesterday by First Minister Alex Salmond, who has been holding Scottish Government Cabinet meetings on the island this week.

The two-day conference begins on 30 April, and is supplemented on either side by two days of workshops and field trips.

The event has been supported by the £2 million Conference Bid Fund set up two years ago by VisitScotland to attract more business tourism to the country. It is also one of the programme of events scheduled throughout the year as part of the Homecoming Scotland celebrations.

Organised by the University of the Highlands and Islands, the conference will showcase the findings of the Hebridean
Marine Energy Futures project.

It will also give delegates from the likes of China, Australia and North America the chance to visit the proposed site of the world’s largest wave farm, off the north-west coast of Lewis.
“Scotland’s islands possess huge, untapped renewables potential and a skilled and enterprising workforce to turn that potential into tangible economic benefits,” Salmond said.

“This conference will provide a significant boost to businesses across the Outer Hebrides and showcase the opportunities to develop a major industry for the islands’ future.”

To date, the Conference Bid Fund has spent £936,000 to help secure 46 international association meetings, with matching funds from various local authorities.

The conferences, which are expected to attract a total of around 62,000 delegates, include those from life sciences, education, food and drink and renewable energy.

The estimated total spend by those attending these gatherings, which run to 2021, is £106m.