Argyll Array Project Update #28 – June 2012

Scottish Power Renewables logoPublic Information Day 2012

The SPR Public Information Day for 2012 will be held in the autumn, on a date yet to be fixed. There will be a number of SPR staff on hand to give information on such issues as the implications of the new project timetable, the process of preparing our Environmental Statement and any other matters raised on the day.

There will also be direct consultation on the options for the location of the wind farm converter station. As announced earlier in the year, SPR is currently minded to site the converter station off-shore. However, after consultation with the Tiree Trust, it was decided to present more detailed implications of siting the facility either offshore or on-shore in Tiree.

There are advantages and disadvantages to the island of each option and the information and discussion at the Public Information Day will assist in the making of the final decision. I hope to be able to provide details of the date, venue etc for the day in the near future.

Tiree RESET Fund

An important part of SPR’s liaison and engagement in Tiree has been to highlight the potential economic and social benefit to people in Tiree of employment in the renewable energy sector and to encourage access to the skills, education and training needed for such employment.

During SPR’s discussions earlier in the year with the Tiree Trust regarding the future establishment of a Community Partnership Fund, it was agreed that a separate fund for Renewable Energy Skills, Education and Training (RESET) be established immediately.

The intention is for this to be funded by SPR on an annual basis and available from this year until a final investment decision is made on the project in 2016/17 after which a more broadly based skills fund with a remit beyond Tiree, could operate. For 2012/13 a total of £10,000 will be made available from SPR to the fund for people who attended secondary school in Tiree and/or are currently living in Tiree.

Whilst it is anticipated that a number of recipients of funding will be those in the 16-22 age group attending university or college, it should be emphasised that the fund is not restricted to those candidates. The fund is designed to help people of all ages and of all aspirations to gain qualifications that will help in getting employment in the renewable energy sector. A formal invitation to candidates to apply for support from the fund will be published in the next edition of An Tirisdeach on July 6th, along with a copy of the Fund Rules which give full details of the fund objectives, eligibility and the criteria for the award of support.

Basking Shark surveys

As highlighted in a previous update, further work is required to better understand the potential effects of the Argyll Array wind farm on Basking Sharks and Great Northern Divers.

To help inform this work, Basking Shark surveys will be undertaken on behalf of SPR throughout July, August and September of this year, at sea in the wind farm site. These surveys will be similar to those that have been undertaken previously on the site and will feed into the project’s Environmental Statement.

Future updates

· What’s in an Environmental Statement?

· What’s a pre-application consultation?

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 220 352, mobile number 07881 983 753 and email donnie@argyllarray.com

19 comments

  • “As highlighted in a previous update, further work is required to better understand the potential effects of the Argyll Array wind farm on Basking Sharks and Great Northern Divers”. serious spin on this comment…it is case of fact that at the moment a count is been done within the Array area as SPR propose to fight the selection of the area as an MPA, if it is finally selected in Dec 2012. The area is way up the list of priority locations.

    The selection is not down to SPR but down to the Scottish Government.

    SPR were hoping that the area had been dropped in late winter early spring…only to find out “SHOCK/HORROR” that the search area had been extended…this plus the Great Northern Diver issue helped lead to the delay mentioned in April…the fact is that the Skerryvore area is in fact a primary hot spot…and also a breeding ground…far exceeding the criteria for both Special Area of Protection (Birds) and Marine protected Area accreditation.

    The question now is: do Scottish Power Renewables wish to apply to build in an area of least damaged/most natural note? If they do then the green credential balloon goes pop !…and the Iberdrola shares will be effected by viral disemination of their actions globally. There are massive reputation issues here for Iberdrola and their shop window Scottish Power Renewables.

    I urge anybody seeing a Basking Shark or a marine mammal to report it to the proffesionals : http://www.whaledolphintrust.co.uk/sightings-report-a-sighting.asp

    On another note and in reference to so called neutral parties:

    “The levels of financial support that developers are able to offer local communities in order to persuade local communities to support wind farm developments is little short of bribery to get planning approval and support”.“As we have said before, the integrity of the planning system is at stake.” this is from anon source at the moment but will be expanded on shortly.

    Best regards

    Karl

  • RESET FUND

    http://www.offshorewind.biz/2012/07/11/scottishpower-renewables-invests-in-renewable-energy-skills/?utm_source=Offshore+Wind.biz&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=a9e7722a2f-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN

    In our homes, on our island, in our heads and now in our school.

    I Can’t believe the gall of SPR to use this as advertising (or maybe I can ?) what they choose to omit is that the funding stops if the array does not go ahead..blatant carrot and stick corprate buy out tactics…how can TCDT sit on the neutrality fence now ?

    Maybe NTA should fund a student ? or is that not politically correct.

    Karl

  • http://forargyll.com/2012/07/will-a-subsidised-10k-buy-spr-calmer-waters-in-tiree/

    seems the press has picked up on RESET.

    http://www.offshorewind.biz/2012/07/11/scottishpower-renewables-invests-in-renewable-energy-skills/?utm_source=Offshore+Wind.biz&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=a9e7722a2f-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN

    So there we have it we Tiree is now a pawn in the energy game. Selling out at any level is wrong. Even the supporters of industrial wind can’t believe it:Scottish Renewables said:

    ‘Community benefit contributions are not material planning considerations and, therefore, should not be discussed until after planning consent is achieved. In the interests of complete impartiality and fairness, Scottish Renewables would strongly argue that any community benefit payments be kept entirely separate from the planning process.’

    TCDT neutrality is a seen by all to be not neutral but now bias towards this project going ahead…for 10,000 gbp, talk about selling ones self short.

  • Lachie Brown Jnr

    Karl,

    Thanks for highlighting this, excellent news, we need to see some investment in the youth of Tiree, an issue raised, in another article in the An Tirisdeach around music tuition etc, recently.

    I have to confess that I would not expect SPR to offer this if the Array does not proceed, of course this is carrot and stick, but that is life I am afraid.

    We are looking for investment to try and off-set some of the negative impacts that you believe the Array may bring, maybe by working together with all stakeholders you can look for a common solution because all this negativity towards TCDT and SPR is not doing anyone any good.

    Lachie

  • Hi Lachie. Glad you have noted the negative impacts that SPR are now acknowleging. I refer you to: MPA/SPA issues.Possible micro-climate change for the entire island.

    Ref:”I have to confess that I would not expect SPR to offer this if the Array does not proceed, of course this is carrot and stick, but that is life I am afraid”…and echoing an industrial windfarm website:Scottish Renewables said:
    ‘Community benefit contributions are not material planning considerations and, therefore, should not be discussed until after planning consent is achieved. In the interests of complete impartiality and fairness, Scottish Renewables would strongly argue that any community benefit payments be kept entirely separate from the planning process.’ 10,000 gbp= around 6 puonds a year for each person who “lives” on Tiree. Good deal eh? extremely low investment level = low confidence.

    Cheers

    Karl

  • LJ.

    Ref TCDT. I do not agree with a non “community” elected body making decisions for the entire island under the veneer of neutrality. If you are neutral you have to stay neutral. I suggest they put their cards on the table (in ref to the Tiree Array) and step into the limelight and openly state their tru intentions ie: that they support this development proposal.

    Hope u are around for the TMF and Regatta…pop over sometime and u can have a bumper sticker. all the best Karl

  • Lachie Brown Jnr

    Karl,

    Re TCDT, I understand the Trust Directors are elected annually by Trust members, not sure how this is non community given that trust membership requires residence on Tiree. Slightly different to NTA where there is no such distinction and virtually anyone can join, regardless of whether they could even point to Tiree on a map!.

    Anyway, the main thing is represent the entire community in this discussion, something that TCDT at least have some right to do.

    I mentioned over a year ago that NTA should engage with the community [crofters, fishermen, builders, retailers, small businesses, homeowners etc] to gauge their opinion on the Array, this way, NTA will know whether they have community support because at the moment, I really do not believe that this is the case.

    Can NTA undertake to do this?, hold a public meeting?, write to everybody on the Island [appreciate that this will not include all stakeholders]?.

    See you next weekend.

    Lachie

  • You are way behined the game Lachie,all of the parties you feel we should approach have either approached us, or have been approached.We know we have support from many sections of the community both Tirisdeach and new community members.

    However, I don’t want to go down this path with you again.This development does not only affect Tiree’s on island population and it would be very blinkered to feel Tiree is the sole party affected by the proposed Argyll Array. It has huge strategic implications for Scotland and in relation to possible damage to migrating species, international affects. As such our membership is both international and global.All members revieve ongoing formal updates.

    If you wish to join you are welcome. In regards to the islands crofting sector and farming sector…I assure you that governing bodies are aware of the issue involving local Array generated climate change…given that you have crofting links on the island this is something you might well like to investegate.

    Regards

    karl

  • Forgot to add.

    You might wish to look a couple of years back to when TCDT felt it was given it’s remit to act on behalf of the resident community in regards to matters relating to the Argyll aka Tiree Array. This show of hands took place at an open meeting at An Talla…a meeting attended by TCDT members (such as myself) and folks on holiday or visiting Tiree. The show of hands was close, but the fact still stands that a large proportion of the people who raise dtheir hand in favor of TCDT MO…were not TCDT members and indeed not even residents. If TCDT has since taken a vote via its membership this is news to me.

    Please appreciate that the islanders are not the only party affected by this industrialisation and that it is fortunate that the NTA members who live on Tiree are there to watch/inform/advise for the greater good. Little Tiree is but the hub of a very large wheel.

    Anyhow, got to pack…starting the big journey home later today.

    Cheers

    Karl

  • Lachie Brown Jnr

    Karl,

    Strange, many people on Tiree have spoken to me re the Array and not one of them has been approached by NTA to canvas their views?

    I believe you that NTA have some support, just not sure how strong it is within the island community as no matter what you say or believe, it is the islanders who will will be affected [either positively or negatively] most.

    I am sure the islanders feel grateful that you are there to watch over them for the greater good of Little Tiree, goodness knows how they would manage without NTA and have managed to survive all this time without the guidance of NTA!.

    Also, I am afraid that NTA have refused to allow me to join or to even post on the website.

  • Hi,

    The implications are not just for Tiree Lachie… I wish it was still that simple
    There are possibly massive environmental damage issues too, the full extent
    of which are in the process of been understood.
    The Tirisdeach environmental foot print has been minimal for generations, this array
    Is not in keeping with the environment and will do more harm than good. On a personal
    Note I am not willing to sell out. My heart is with protecting what we have…environmentally
    Least disturbed most natural sea and landscapes are not open to corporate use QED

  • Lachie, the actual fact of the matter is the people
    Of Tiree actually have little say in the matter of if the
    Array goes ahead or not. The Scottish ministers will
    At some stage make a decision ( if SPR don’t pull out)
    as to if they are willing to destroy an established Eco
    System for financial gain…. If they do decide to ho ahead,then they are hypocrites
    of the hugest order. What will Tiree gain….? Far less than it will
    lose.

    Karl

  • re LBJ quote july 15
    ++
    Also, I am afraid that NTA have refused to allow me to join or to even post on the website.
    ++

    Regretably there is a certain economy of actualite here

    Your statement suggests you wanted to join NTA.

    The question of refusal never arose because you never applied, nor asked to join NTA.

    As to posting comments;- you were allowed to, and did post on the NTA website. You subsequently contravened the guidelines to posting.
    The guidelines are clearly displayed on the NTA website.

    Rgds

    Rob Trythall
    Secr NTA

    Rob Trythall
    secr NTA

  • Lachie Brown Jnr

    Robert,

    Economy of actualite, I don’t think so.

    Joining NTA – Fact

    I discussed the possibility of joining NTA with Karl. Karl advised that I would have to agree with all of NTA’s objectives otherwise I would not be allowed to join.

    Website – Fact

    After an exchange of an inordinate amount of e-mails, you were still unable to explain how I contravened the guidelines and furthermore, despite my writing to confirm acceptance of the guidelines, you still refused to post my comments.

    Anyway,

    Lachie

  • LBJ /r

    Re your last :-

    Joining NTA -fact

    A reasonable position to be taken. It is comparable to any application to join any club or association.

    Website-fact

    You did not confirm acceptance of the guidelines. You offered your qualified acceptance of those guidelines.

    The guidelines,which are fairly standard, included the following proviso’s :-

    ++
    Access to the forum is controlled by, and at the discretion of,the forum administrators and moderators.

    2.1.4 We reserve the right:

    2.1.4.1 to suspend or terminate access to the Forum and Message Boards without giving any reason
    ++

    This clarifies this issue.

    rgds

  • Lachie Brown Jnr

    Robert,

    Despite my willingness to continue this discussion on this forum, I think I will pass as this is slightly off-piste from the subject in hand.

    I will however refer you to our e-mail chain of the 1st of October which I will send to you again for ease of reference.

    Lachie

  • Ref: “As highlighted in a previous update, further work is required to better understand the potential effects of the Argyll Array wind farm on Basking Sharks and Great Northern Divers.

    To help inform this work, Basking Shark surveys will be undertaken on behalf of SPR throughout July, August and September of this year, at sea in the wind farm site. These surveys will be similar to those that have been undertaken previously on the site and will feed into the project’s Environmental Statement.”

    Is this factual Donnie ?…are SPR funding the current tagging exercise ? I think not.

    If I am wrong then please clarify what, if any the support SPR are providing…financial or otherwise… to Exeter Uni and SNH.

    Seemed rather odd given your update that the project Manager asked me personally if I would pass any data I placed on the HWDT website onto SPR…I directed him (remember this is the Argyll aka Tiree Array project manager) to Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust…

    anyhow as we all now know…the proposed array location is a primary location for both courtship and feeding of this internationally protected species.

    Rgds

    karl

    Rgds

    Karl

  • From THINK SCOTLAND:

    “SIXTY-THREE individual policy initiatives are employed by the UK and Scottish Governments to address the energy and climate change agenda. Mother Green and her hysteria machine successfully convinced policymakers that the unbridled deployment of renewable technologies would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Only wind power could be rolled-out fast enough to even attempt to meet emissions reduction targets, so there are now 322 operational wind farms in the UK with another 44 under construction, 276 consented and 320 in the planning process. Over HALF of these wind farms are strewn across Scotland.

    Groupthink – the practice of thinking or making decisions as a group, resulting typically in unchallenged, poor-quality decision-making – unquestionably drove the rush for wind and blinded by planet-saving romanticism, the environmental lobby became the mouthpiece of the wind industry. It conjures memories of Lenin, who branded Western socialists as ‘useful idiots’ when their blind ideology aided the realpolitik aims of the Soviet Union. Even politicians were duped. Opposing wind farms was ‘socially unacceptable’ according to former Climate Change Minister, now Labour Leader, Ed Miliband. Thus, the majority kept silent as green scaremongering prophesised impending doom unless we gave way to thousands of turbines.

    Nevertheless, as turbines multiply, objectors are less frequently discounted as out-of-touch aesthetes, sentimentalists and nimbyists. Leading Scottish scientists have lambasted turbines built in forested areas and on deep peatland, which stores 55kg of carbon per cubic metre – three times as much as tropical rainforest. Europe’s largest onshore wind farm, IBERDROLA’s (Scottish Power Renewables)Whitelee Wind Farm, was not only built on the deep peatland of Eaglesham Moor, south of Glasgow, but the Forestry Commission revealed that over 1,500 acres of forest were felled to facilitate the project. The irreparable damage caused to natural carbon sinks means that more CO2 was released into the atmosphere than would ever be saved by turbines.

    Despite the huge outlay on turbines, DEFRA reported that the UK’s carbon footprint in 2009 was actually 20% greater than in 1990 and the Global Warming Policy Foundation found that a temperature rise would be postponed by a mere 66 hours by 2100 despite costing £120 billion per year in wind power investment. This damning evidence has caused many observers to predict the imminent end of the commercial wind farm scam.

    Wind energy has not, however, been completely consigned to the Gerald Ratner book of botched businesses. Developers are now industrialising our fragile marine environment with bigger, more expensive turbines that will supposedly harvest this ‘free’ resource more efficiently whilst appeasing (nor in the case of the ARGYLL ARRAY) interfering nimbyists and luddites. In reality, bigger turbines only mean’s bigger environmental impacts.

    Offshore wind is often overlooked, if not completely forgotten by anti-wind campaigners. Just 1,371 offshore turbines are grid connected in Europe, spread across fifty-three wind farms in ten countries, producing just 0.4% of the EU’s total annual electricity consumption. Scottish waters are yet to house any major offshore wind farms but the development of offshore wind in Scotland is set to expand rapidly as the Government strives to meet renewable energy commitments…(Argyll Array is not needed to meet renewable energy commitments and will not be online by the deadline set by the EU or indeed Alex Salmond)

    At a European Wind Energy Association conference in Amsterdam last November, the Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing announced that 15 areas of Scottish waters have been identified for development of offshore wind farms. Nowhere is safe. North Berwick, the Firth of Forth, the Moray Firth, Orkney and Shetland, the Western Isles, the stunningly beautiful inner Hebrides (TIREE) and Ayrshire coastlines will all be transformed into vast electricity factories. Apart from the visual impacts, the financial implications for Scottish households and the destruction of many local fishing industries, the plans have worrying and consequences for the marine environment…the oceans are dying world wide and the Scottish government intends to add to the speed of this destruction.

    The term ‘blue carbon’ is relatively unheard-of but its environmental importance is unrivalled. Blue carbon stores are the peatlands of the sea – natural carbon sinks that absorb and store millions of tonnes of carbon.

    Every day, 22 million metric tonnes of CO2 is absorbed by the oceans. An estimated 55% of all carbon in the atmosphere which becomes sequestered in natural systems is cycled into our seas. Blue carbon ecosystems, which include seagrass meadows, kelp forests, saltmarshes,mangrove swamps, cold water corals store up to 70% of the carbon permanently stored in the marine realm and Scottish waters are home to over 20% of all seagrass meadows in north-west Europe…and a haven for endangered species elsewhere. (ARGYLL ARRAY AREA)

    Despite their importance, around 2-7% of global blue carbon sinks are lost annually. The rate of loss can be four times that of rainforests. Building massive turbines near such resources will only exacerbate the damage and release huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. The pro-wind lobby will maintain that most UK seagrass meadows grow in depths of 0-5 metres and therefore they won’t be affected by offshore turbines. But shallow water wind farms already exist in the UK – Gunfleet Sands, Kentish Flats and Scroby Sands wind farms all have turbines in depths ranging from 0-11m – in fact seagrass and kelp can grow in depths of 20 metres +. In any case, the issue is that turbines can impact these ecosystems even if they are not built directly on top of them…The cumulative impact of surrounding our shores with industrial sized wind power stations on migrating birds, marine mammals, basking sharks and other endangered species is not been taken into consideration. The Scottish Government wishes to subject Scotlands wild life to death by a thousand cuts. The old methodology of ” Case by Case” planning has to be stopped…and a strategic assessment of the damage they (politicians/international power giants) have already done and plan to to must be established.

    When excavating the seabed for the foundations necessary for turbines to stay upright in stormy seas, huge amounts of sediment will be introduced into the water column. Larger sediment will be deposited close to the turbines, smothering all life and creating a ‘dead-spot’ around the development. Finer sediment will be easily transported by unpredictable waves and currents and deposited elsewhere, often in shallow inshore waters.
    Ill-informed environmentalists claim that new, safe habitats will be created for marine species. But arguing that installing turbines in a stable ecosystem will increase the populations of living organisms is scandalous misinformation, akin to arguing that installing large industrial turbines in the middle of a pristine forest will somehow increase populations of birds and badgers!

    Renewable energy developers are again manipulating green groupthink to industrialise our coastlines with turbines. But the accelerated transformation of our seascapes into vast, rusting electricity factories is a philosophy of fools. Arguing that the cost of inaction is greater than the cost of action may sound convincing at first, but protecting our natural carbon stores – peatlands, forests and blue carbon sinks – is priceless.

    Even in the unlikely event that climate change targets are achieved with wind power (the EU’s not Alex Salmonds), it will be a Pyrrhic victory. The Government gambled with onshore wind energy and we lost. They should not attempt to pick winners. We must find what is right for Scotland and until then, a greener future must be built on the strong foundations of energy conservation and energy efficiency.

    Oscar Wilde famously said that ‘experience is one thing you can’t get for nothing’. Scotland has experienced the unrelenting imposition of wind power and it most certainly did not come for nothing. But renewable energy companies are the only ones who learnt from the onshore wind experiment. They learnt that vast sums of money can be acquired if the lucrative subsidy regimes are harvested before the anti-wind intelligencia is mobilised. They also recognised that the sound carries twice as far when someone else blows your horn and they are happy to sit by whilst misguided environmentalists and ignorant politicians fight their corner.

    Green groupthink must never conquer common-sense. Where is the value in destroying some of our most important and fragile ecosystems in order to build wind turbines that will struggle to last 20 years? The lesson for everyone is that the green lobby does not have the monopoly on environmental protection. You do not need a Greenpeace membership card to care for the environment. No single person owns the environment. Each and every one of us has a duty to protect it because we do not inherit the land, or seas, from our ancestors; we merely borrow them from our children.

    Ben Acheson is a Parliamentary Assistant to Struan Stevenson MEP at the European Parliament in Brussels.

    (Karl; SUPERB)

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