Argyll Array Project Update #22 – January 2012

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Welcome to the first Argyll Array Project Update of the year. I and the rest of the Project Team would like to wish everyone a happy, peaceful and healthy 2012.

Community Partnership Fund

The first meeting with Tiree Community Development Trust to discuss this initiative will take place during the week beginning 23rd of January.I will provide a report of that meeting in my next update.

Environmental Impact Assessment

The company are still working towards a deadline of Spring 2013 for submitting the application for consent. To support the application we need to write an Environmental Statement (part of the Environmental Impact Assessment – EIA). A variety of assessments into the human, biological and physical environment will be necessary in order to complete the Environmental Statement. WSP Group were appointed at the end of last year as our lead consultants on the EIA. They will be responsible for managing and co-ordinating these assessments on SPR’s behalf.

What have we done already?

– We have completed two years worth of bird and marine mammal monitoring on the wind farm site, and are now conducting an impact assessment on the basis of the data we gathered.

– During this week consultants Cathie Associates have been carrying out a visual geological survey of the island. The survey was carried out by geologists walking the terrain and observing the surface geology. There may be a follow-up survey later in the year. The results of the survey will be used to complement the sea bed geophysical surveys to be done on the wind farm site itself later this year.

What will we be doing next?

– There will be a survey of benthic (seabed) ecology on the wind farm site and possible export cable route. The data collected will be used to assess the potential effects of the wind farm on seabed habitats and species.

– The three wave buoys and current profilers which I mentioned in a couple of updates last year will be deployed on the wind farm site. The intention is to leave these instruments in place for one year. The data collected from these will be used to assess the potential effects of the wind farm on sediment movement and wave patterns. It will also inform many aspects of the technical design of the project.

– There will be two surveys of marine traffic on the wind farm site. The first of these will be in late winter, probably February, and the other later in the year. The surveys will be carried out from onshore on Tiree itself. Marico are the company carrying out the survey on SPR’s behalf. There will therefore be a couple of vehicles deploying a radio and antenna at various spots near the west coast of the island for the duration of the survey. The survey is expected to take about two weeks.

– Detailed work will commence on both the potential landscape/visual effects of the project and the potential socio-economic effects of the project. There will be more information on both these important aspects of the EIA as they get under way.

Technical Design Work

– Work continues on developing the engineering design of the project. In support of this, in Spring/Summer, a geophysical survey of the wind farm site and potential export cable route will be undertaken. This survey, conducted from a vessel, will measure the seabed depth, and yield information on the seabed sediment types and their thickness. The data from these surveys will inform decisions about where turbines and cables can be placed on the seabed. There will be full consultation with local fishermen regarding how this survey can be carried out with minimal disruption to fishing activity.

– This Spring/Summer we hope to apply for planning permission to erect an onshore meteorological mast on the west coast of Tiree, as described in a couple of updates last year. This mast will obviously provide us with accurate information on wind speed and direction. – Over the next few months work will continue to identify the preferred cable route to take the electricity from the wind farm back to the national transmission system. It was decided late last year not to take the export cables over Tiree and Coll. We still have to assess whether the cable route might pass over Mull or go completely undersea and, once it reaches Oban, the best route to then get it to the connection point at Dalmally. We also still have to decide whether the converter station which will be needed at or near the wind farm will be sited on Tiree or offshore.

Questions or Comments

If anyone has any questions or comments on any of the above, or indeed any aspect of the project, please contact me at

– Donnie Campbell, ScottishPower Renewables Community Liaison Officer, Machair, Kilmoluaig in the first instance. My land line telephone number is 220352, mobile number 07881 983 753 and email donnie@argyllarray.com

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