ARGYLL ARRAY PROJECT UPDATE No 18 October 2011

Scottish Power Renewables logoLocal Consultation Events

There have been a number of consultation and information events in Tiree over the last six months. I also write this regular update in An Tirisdeach. However, a number of people have commented that they would like to find out more about the development directly. I have, therefore, been hosting ‘Township Meetings’ over the last month or so. Two such meetings have been held so far. The meetings are by letter invitation to all residents of a number of neighbouring townships and are planned to be smaller and more relaxed events than island-wide meetings.

There’s no formal programme for the evenings; they’re relaxed opportunities for people to ask questions, discuss issues or hear more about the project, as they wish. I’m the only representative of ScottishPower Renewables at the meetings and members of the Tiree Trust are also invited along. Townships to the south and west of a line from Balevullin to Hynish have been involved in the two meetings held so far. Another three such meetings between now and Christmas will see all townships covered and I hope that as many as possible will be able to attend their particular meeting.

As well as these general meetings I also hope to meet with businesses in important sectors of the Tiree economy before Christmas.

Visit to Offshore Wind Farms

As I said in my last update, one of the issues arising from the visit to wind farms off the town of Barrow in the Irish Sea last month was the visual impact of jacket foundations for offshore wind turbines. Some of the turbines seen during the visit had jacket-type foundations.

The most common type of foundation used in onshore or offshore wind farms is the monopile foundation. As the name suggests, a monopile foundation is a single pile driven deeply and firmly into the ground or sea bed and upon which the turbine tower is fixed. This is what we often see in pictures of offshore wind turbines. Another type of foundation sometimes used in offshore windfarms is a gravity foundation. A gravity foundation is simply a large concrete block, sometimes filled with water, which rests on the sea bed and upon which a turbine tower is fixed. The visual effect of both monopiles and gravity foundations is that the turbine tower appears to rise directly out of the sea. A third type of foundation used for offshore windfarms is a jacket foundation. A jacket foundation looks different to monopile or gravity base foundations. A jacket is essentially a three or four legged structure, whose legs are piled into the sea bed to fix them. The legs are further strengthened by a metal lattice and the structure rises above sea level, with a platform on the top. It is upon this platform that the turbine tower is fixed.

No seabed surveys have yet been carried out on the Argyll Array site nor has any analysis yet been made of the environmental impact of the different forms of foundation. It’s therefore not yet possible to say what foundation type is likely to be used in the Argyll Array. SPR is, however, very aware of possible visual impact concerns about jacket foundations and this will be an important factor to be considered when making a decision about foundation types for the planning application.

Another issue that came out of the visit was the visual impact of the wind farms at night. The lights on the turbines were visible from shore and, while the effect was far from industrial, it was more than some on the visit had anticipated. A possible reason for this is the mandatory guidance on safety lighting and the number of individual wind farms in that part of the Irish Sea. An individual wind farm has navigation lighting on some turbines around its perimeter. When there are several separate wind farms, as is the case in that part of the Irish Sea, each individual wind farm has to be lit round its perimeter. This means that when looking at a number of wind farms off Barrow, there are more lights visible than there would be if these turbines were part of a single wind farm. Another possible reason is that the individual identification lights on the turbines seen during the visit appeared to be visible from 10 kilometres, and were much brighter than would be required in the Argyll Array.

For all individual offshore wind farms, including Argyll Array, one turbine roughly every 4 kilometres round the perimeter has a maritime navigation light. A number also have an aviation navigation light, designed to be seen from the air. Finally, each turbine in the wind farm has an identification light, to illuminate the turbine number on the tower, in the event that a vessel in distress inside the wind farm at night needs to identify its location. The identification lights in the Argyll Array would be no brighter than needed for that purpose i.e. visible from only 50 metres away. SPR therefore anticipates that the night time lighting in the Argyll Array would not have as much visual impact as that seen on the visit but is nevertheless aware of the sensitivity of the issue.

Night time lighting will be assessed in the Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment, carried out as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment of the project.

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

9 comments

  • To the SPR Community Liason officer,
     
    I need to vent my anxiety at the totally subjective report dated the 18th October,
    I am totally shocked that such a major international company would allow such ill researched information to be circulated within our community.
     
    Please can you expand on the below as many of your latest points are totally subjective…something SPR assured the whole of Tiree that they would not be.
     
    ‘…monopiles are what we most often see…’

    If this is the sole basis for the visual representations presented by SPR then your SPR visualisations are obviously a best case subjective scenario, are they not? and therefore a total misrepresentation of the current industry methodology…based on selectively of what you wish the community to know and not what the community should know.
     
    Geophysical surveys were concluded by PGS back in the late 80’s early 90,s… the surface and marine weathering layers are Lewisian Gneiss with ignious intrusions of basalt & micro granites…some Gabbro…all of which are iron hard…I drill for a living…jackets are the only option, basically a lattice framework with drilled legs. SPR cannot change basic civil engineering ! please lose the subjectivity.
     
    Re: Night illumination.
     
    ‘Lights are far from industrial ‘
     
    What constitutes an industrial amount…? is it your personal opinion? if it is in reference to the location then set in an industrial area such as Barrow, surely the comment is again totally subjective ? and you might also like to note the following link that shows Barrow an industrial area has had enough too http://www.wind-watch.org/news/2011/11/01/campaign-against-wind-turbines-is-gaining-pace/
     
    What is the number comparison between the windfarm that was visited near Barrow and the proposed Tiree array…?
     
    I need to add that your over use of the word ‘possible’ in regards to a number of points in regards to navigation and anti-collision lighting again is totally based on subjectivity, shows a lack of research and a poor briefing by SPR. SPR know what lights are fitted, their LUX and where where…there are available legal guidelines and these have never been changed in British offshore wind history.
     
    As for the one light every 4 km…have you sat down and actually worked out how many lights that amounts too ? it’s around 100 !
     
    Given the interference via obstruction of the Skerryvore Light, its likely decommissioning, and the arc of obstruction caused by the proposed wind farm…you can add another 3 lights of similar LUX to the Skerryvire light to the periphery of the array lease, these are objective facts based on current maritime practice.
     
    You might also like to look into aviation anti-collision beacons. and take into consideration the location of Tiree airport..I have the facts here in front of me.
     
    I have done my very best since this lunacy was first instigated to be objective…I hoped SPR would do the same, it seems even their island REP is now slipping into the land of subjectivity.
     
    Please if you have to fill a page at least be objective or don’t go to print…I feel the subjective nature of your comments is but a softening of the actual objective horrors for the ill informed…and each of your reports becomes more subjective as time goes by.
     
    Please correct me if I am wrong, but your subjectivety is a personal opinion and not the opinion of SPR ?
     
    Regards
     
    Karl Hughes
     
    Bothan nam Fear
    Scarinish
     
    Currently in Iraq

  • To the community, on and off the Island,

    It is unfortunate that the on island SPR community Liason officer seems to not be able to answer either my own or previous concerns about the issue of ‘subjective’ reporting in the regular SPR news updates. Many emails have been sent..and read by the SPR Iberdrola PR machine…none have been answered…

    As a matter of normal protocols, one would expect a PR person to relate/interface with members of the local community who have genuine concers as a matter of priority. I know township meetings have been ongoing, but again their contents has not contained any quantification of benefits to the island…we already have an ever growing list of problems associated with such behmoth industrialisation.

    I am afraid that without a visible commitment to consult with all stakeholders (whatever their views or fears) concerned with our Islands future, SPR and their employees are obviously commited to veneer over the real issues…

    Being subjective myself: Perhaps SPR Iberdrola simply presume that cash handouts or even access to the profits of a couple of turbines can sway our the majority of the communities future decisions…such actions could only be seen as commercial arrogance.

    Regards

    Bothan nam Fear

  • Karl,

    I read these posts with interest and have to chuckle at your use of the word subjective, I am afraid that never has there been a more subjective forum than that of the NTA.

    This is the NTA who are turning into more of a wind bashing clan promoting all things anti-wind rather than focusing on the Argyll Array and the issues that the Island may face should the Array proceed.

    I consider these project updates to be very interesting and valuable and a welcome change from the curmudgeonly and belligerent manner which other forums address their contributors.

    These updates are for the readers of the An Tirisdeach to digest and consider to help them form a view of the potential impact of the Argyll Array project [should it proceed].

    I am sure people welcome your input input into this debate, however lets try and be constructive!

    Regards

    Lachie

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4PwzvbB3_4

    A constructive link for you…

    Regards

    Karl

  • Karl,

    I have watched this and this is a very good video, missing your point though, sorry.

    Is it to highlight the visualisations?, the Jacket Foundations?.

    The recent update was pretty clear on the monopile type turbine structures and their difference to Jacket & Gravity foundations.

    NTA must also have agreed that “monopiles are what we most often see” given that monopiles appear throughout the visualisations they prepared. I am sure with your knowledge and the offshore drilling knowledge and experience available to NTA coupled with the geophysical study you refer to that you must have considered the use of Jacket Foundations in your visualisations?

    Or, perhaps this is new to us all, perhaps we are all trying to gather information to allow us to form an opinion, perhaps we need to keep an open mind and work together. Tiree is a small community and the community needs to stick together and leave petty criticism behind.

    Regards

    Lachie

  • Hi,

    We went with the information we were given by SPR.

    As for the future I have always stated that we should say ‘NO’ to the Array within 35km…that has been a constant.
    Also, I still believe I am right in that we as a community will gain more by saying ‘NO’ than we would by accepting some sort of buy out.

    Petty critism ? nothing petty about this project Lachie…nothing petty about negative change…nothing petty about a multinational buy out or sell out…and certainly nothing petty about SPR’s inability to provide facts.

    Karl

  • Karl,

    I am a bit confused, how will the community gain more by saying no?. By saying no and having the array 35Km from Tiree then the community will gain nothing, the array will not touch Tiree and Tiree will continue as if nothing happened, so no gain [assuming their would be a gain should the Array proceed in its proposed form].

    I understand opposition groups adopting a negative stance to improve their bargaining position, however this does not appear to be a position NTA can take.

    I appreciate this is not a petty project, however personal criticism of Mr Campbell doesn’t help anyone.

    Regards

    Lachie

  • Lachie,

    The critisim is of an employee of SPR…their PR person. Not a personal attack…I respectfully ask that you readvthe original post again and absorb its content

    Their are valid reasons for having the array 35km offshore…you know this…read our statement again…and please stop trying to spin the whole entity in another direction.

    Karl (Tiree)

  • Karl,

    Maybe you should focus your criticism on SPR and not their employees, just my humble opinion, anyhow, lets leave that to one side and focus on the issues at hand, trust me, I have no interest in spinning anything.

    As you know, through various posts on the NTA website, I am familiar with your statement, however I am merely interested in exploring your statement on Community gain?

    Unfortunately, I am unable to enter into this type of dialogue directly with NTA, hence this opportunity to engage you on some issues.

    Regards

    Lachie

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