ARGYLL ARRAY PROJECT UPDATE No 8 – May 2011

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Masterplanning

The application to Marine Scotland from ScottishPower Renewables for planning permission for the Argyll Array will deal with the plans for the offshore infrastructure and the grid connection to Dalmally. (See Update No 7) However, there are four possible ways the project could be operated and maintained. Each of these scenarios would have different implications (positive and negative) for Tiree.

As many have said over the last year or so, there’s a need to fully identify and plan for these implications. Such planning would help Tiree to fully understand the full implications of the Argyll Array. Argyll and Bute Council and the Scottish Government also need to understand the possible implications because these may have effects on public services like education, health, transport and water. The wind farm, if consented, won’t be fully operational until about 2020.

Moreover, ScottishPower Renewables would not be able to confirm which operations and maintenance scenario is viable for the project until after any consent decision. However, it is recognised that planning for the various possible scenarios needs to start now. A number of organisations, including the Tiree Community Development Trust and ScottishPower Renewables, have therefore got together to begin this process, called ‘Masterplanning’.

A Steering Group has been formed to oversee and guide the process, which will be implemented by consultants working under contract to Argyll and Bute Council. These consultants will be required to consult closely with everyone on Tiree who’s got a stake in the development in order to gather views on the full range of possible impacts. It is anticipated that the consultants will be appointed at the end of June, and they will be expected to start work on the study immediately. The Steering Group is made up of: Argyll and Bute Council, Tiree Community Development Trust, ScottishPower Renewables, Marine Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, The Crown Estate, Scottish Natural Heritage and CMAL. (CMAL is Caledonian Maritime Assets, the company which owns the vessels, piers and ports used by CalMac.)

Wind farm Visit

We’ve agreed to a request by Tiree Development Trust to postpone this month’s planned visit to North West England to view offshore wind farms in the Irish Sea. This trip will now take place after the summer.

Thank you to all the people who responded to my invitation to express an interest in going on the trip. Those people will be contacted again over the summer, as plans for the trip are finalised. Full details of the visit itself will be in An Tirisdeach after our return.

Careers Workshop

One of the most frequent points of discussion about the project is the possible impact on job prospects were the Argyll Array to be given planning permission and then proceed to construction and operation. There are obviously no hard and fast proposals in place yet; indeed the Masterplanning process is only just beginning. However, to give some general information on this subject, we will be holding a Careers Workshop on Tiree immediately after the summer holiday.

It will be useful for a wide range of people – those at the very start of career planning, but also those at the start of their working lives and those in mid career. It will hopefully be of interest to people planning future study, people planning to stay on Tiree to work or those hoping to return home.

It will outline the kinds of skills needed for those involved in building and running a large offshore wind farm. We hope to be able to discuss the whole range of skills-professional, technical, administrative, trade and manual. We also hope to put this in the context of the approximate time-scales for the development of the project if it goes ahead. We will not, however, be able to indicate how many specific jobs will be created on Tiree in the event of the project going ahead, as this is not yet known.

The purpose of the event is to give a general overview of career opportunities in offshore wind and to enable those looking to the future to be able to include offshore wind farm work in their options. This is intended to be the first of a series of information events in Tiree about offshore wind farms in general and the rest will get underway in the autumn of this year. Meanwhile details of the date and venue of the Careers event will be in one of the summer Updates.

Future updates

· More on the Masterplanning process

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

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