Tag Archives: Argyll

1/3rd down 2/3rds to go – SPR consider downsizing

no tiree arraySPR revealed at their TIREE Public Information day on the 30th Oct that they were:

“ considering a revision in the design” of the proposed Array.This would in effect reduce the Array by approx 1/3 rd from 300 to 215 (6MW) Turbines .

This has arisen from surveys prompted by environmental issues with regard to (1) Basking Sharks and (2) the Great Northern Diver. The Skerryvore Reef is a Basking Shark hot spot, also favoured by the migrating Great Northern Diver.

What has prompted SPR to respond to these issues is not clear. SNH’s Basking Shark survey is not due for completion till 2014 NTA is not aware of any statutory survey required at this point in time. SPR is not completing its EIA till 2014. Down sizing is a consideration. It has not been conceded .

onshore_converterONSHORE CONVERTER STATION

How SPR contrived to exclude this building from the ONSHORE SCENARIO MAPPING EXERCISE beggars belief.

If it was onshore, it would be Tiree’s largest ( 6 acres) and tallest onshore building (27m). Construction would require major road and harbour works . SPR offered the converter shown here as an example. SPR states as follows: -“ it is planning to proceed with an offshore convertor station. If SPR changes it’s intention to proceed with an offshore convertor station, we shall advise this publicly.”

TOURISM ISSUES:-

John Muir Trust /YouGov poll results show:-

43 per cent would be less likely to visit a scenic area with a large concentration of turbines, while just 2 per cent would be more likely to visit a scenic area with a large concentration of turbines. Regional variation in those who say they are less likely to visit scenic areas with a large concentration of turbines ranges from 32% in the North East of England to 49% in Wales. In Scotland the figure is 36%

For further information go to:- www.no-tiree-array.org.uk

Argyll Array Project Update #38 – November 2012

Scottish Power Renewables logoPublic Information Day (PID)

This year’s Public Information Day (PID) took place last week in An Talla.

One of the important points discussed was a proposal to revise the design of the wind farm to exclude some of the Skerryvore Reef area, which would reduce the overall size of the wind farm. A revised map of the proposed site for the wind farm was displayed.

There were also revised photomontages available, which illustrated the potential change to the visual impact of the revised site area.

Another point discussed was the options for the wind farm converter station. A slide display explained the basic differences between a facility being offshore and being onshore. (Offshore means being out at sea in the wind farm itself, as currently planned and onshore means being on land, on Tiree itself.)

These were the main areas of interest to the exhibition visitors and there was a lot of informed discussion on the day. There will be a summary of the points made by the public in a future update. Meanwhile, all of the material in the exhibition has been posted on the project web site www.argyllarray.com and I still have the actual photomontages used on the day if anyone wishes to view them directly.

A full colour booklet which reproduces most of the display material is also freely available to be picked up at various public points round the island.

Future updates

· A summary of feedback from the PID

· Progress with the Tiree Community Partnership Fund

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 983753 and email donnie@argyllarray.com

Argyll Array Project Update #37 – October 2012

Scottish Power Renewables logoPublic Information Day (PID)

A final reminder that this year’s Public Information Day will be held on Tuesday 30th October between 2.00 pm and 7.00 pm in An Talla, Crossapol. Refreshments will be available throughout the day.

What’s a decommissioning plan?

Decommissioning is the term for the removal of the wind farm from the site at the end of its life. The lease of the seabed from the Crown Estate will be for 50 years. The turbines will have an anticipated life of 20-25 years. The original turbines may therefore be replaced after 20-25 years, enabling the wind farm to be productive for the whole life of the lease. However, whenever the productive life of the wind farm, or any part of it, ends it will be removed from the site. That removal will be a massive operation in itself. It will be carried out under the requirements of the Energy Act 2004 and in accordance with the best practice at that time. The current best practice requires all elements of the windfarm having visual, sea-use or environmental impacts to be removed. The process is essentially the construction process in reverse. It’s also expected to take a similar period of time and have similar environmental impacts as the original construction phase.

The Environmental Statement (ES), which will be such an important part of the consenting and licensing process, will give equal weight to the effects of the decommissioning of the wind farm as it will to its building and operation. The final design of the wind farm will therefore take account of the need for decommissioning. The Energy Act requires the Secretary of State to approve the project’s decommissioning plan before construction starts. The plan cannot be finalized until after engineering design for the wind farm has been completed and this is confirmed after the licensing and consenting process.

Finally, the decommissioning will take place relatively far in the future and be a very expensive process. Therefore, a financial security arrangement, funded by SPR, will be agreed with the regulators before construction begins. This will guarantee that the decommissioning plan can be funded and carried out when the time comes.

Future updates

· Progress with the Tiree Community Partnership Fund

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 983753 and email donnie@argyllarray.com

ARGYLL ARRAY PROJECT UPDATE No 35- Sept 2012

Scottish Power Renewables logoPublic Information Day (PID) – Change of date and venue

It has unfortunately become necessary to change the date of the forthcoming Public Information Day (PID) for the project.

It had been scheduled for Thursday 4th October but will now be held on Tuesday 30th October between 2.00pm and 7.00pm, in An Talla, Crossapol.

The re-schedule has been made necessary by unavoidable difficulties that have arisen with the production of the display materials. A new date also had to take account of a number of SPR staff’s prior commitments, the school holidays and the change of boat timetable. The new date was the earliest that could therefore be arranged. All other arrangements for the day remain unchanged.

Complimentary light refreshments will be available all day and the format will be the same as the previous PID; members of the public are invited to drop in anytime during the day to view a number of information and consultation displays. These will include displays on;

· How protecting the wildlife at the wind farm site may influence the project

· An update of SPR’s technical and environmental studies.

· Consultation on SPR’s current thinking regarding the wind farm converter station

· Information and consultation on the proposals for sharing the benefit of the project

· Information on the project timetable and the next steps

There will be a chance to discuss these and any other aspects of the project with the project team and a number of other specialist staff from SPR. There will also be a number of ways of making comment.

Future updates

· What’s a pre?application consultation?

· What’s a decommissioning plan?

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 983753 and email donnie@argyllarray.com

Note of second meeting of Tiree Renewable Energy Skills, Education and Training Group (RESET) 26/3/12

Present- R Thornton (by ‘phone), D Campbell, T MacKenzie, , S Isaacson, J Smith

Apologies- K MacCallum, W Wright

1. Introduction

· It was agreed that the action points from the last meeting would be taken as part of the discussion

· It was agreed that any funds provided by SPR for RESET in Tiree during 2012/13 would be allocated by an ad hoc group consisting of 2 representatives from SPR, 2 from TCDT and 1 from Tiree High School.

The funds would be channelled administratively through TCDT, subject to their formal agreement.

· It was agreed that RESET funds would be available to anyone eligible who was over 16 years old and for disciplines that were related to employability in the renewable energy sector. Such disciplines would include all aspects of engineering, pure and applied sciences, business, management, IT and appropriate vocational training/education. Further basic eligibility criteria would also require to be developed in a set of formal rules for the initiative.

2. Estimated demand

· Jayne had previously confirmed that any support from SPR for RESET would not affect other potential funding for post-school students.

· It was assumed that the eligibility criteria would define a workable ‘Tiree connection’

· It was estimated that approximately 7 students on the current roll of THS would be looking to pursue RESET-related activities post-school in 2012/13 and 2013/14.

· Sophie reported that the post?school sector was more difficult to quantify but it was agreed that approximately the same number of individuals over the two years would be the maximum.

· This would give an estimated maximum of 7 or 8 individuals potentially eligible for support over each of the next two years.

3. Budget

· £10,000 would be available for 2012/13 with the intention that the same would be available for 2013/14.

· If numbers eligible for support were as above this would enable a maximum of approximately £500?£750 per annum to be awarded to individuals for full-time year- long courses (or parts of courses) with correspondingly smaller amounts for one-off, part-time or short courses.

4. Other related activities

· It was agreed that if any individual planned to pursue teacher training which could potentially lead to wider RESET-related subject choice in THS then that would also come within the definition of RESET.

· It was also agreed that any Tiree based community group wishing to promote RESET would be eligible for support from the initiative.

· Ralph confirmed that it would not be possible for SPR to make work experience placements available to any THS students in session 2012/13.

· Ralph confirmed that, in the event of a visit to Whitelee Wind Farm being part of the 2013 THS EIL excursion, SPR would be willing to consider supporting the related transport costs.

· It was agreed that, apart from the support for certain teacher training courses, the issue of improved subject provision was outwith the scope of the initiative.

5. Community RESET Event

· It was agreed that a further event, similar to that in September 2011, would be useful and that June 2012 would be a suitable time for it. Sophie had begun planning the outlines of such an event. SPR would support the event as much as possible and Donnie would liaise with Sophie. It was agreed that it would be ideal to time the launch of the initiative to coincide with the community event.

6. Actions for next meeting

· Progress to have been made on organising community RESET event? Sophie and Donnie

· Clarification of how TCDT would administer the annual RESET funding?Donnie to speak with Andy Wright.

· Production of draft rules for the initiative?Donnie

· Distribution to all, for information, of Rules and Constitution of John MacLean Scholarship, of which Donnie is a Trustee.

Argyll Array Project Update #34 – September 2012

Scottish Power Renewables logoPublic Information Day (PID)

This year’s Public Information Day (PID) for the project will be held on Thursday 4th October between 2.00pm and 7.00pm, in Tiree Rural Centre, Crossapol. Complimentary light refreshments will be available all day from the Cobbled Cow. The format will be the same as at the last PID; members of the public are invited to drop in anytime during the day to view a number of information and consultation displays. These will include displays on;

· How protecting the wildlife at the wind farm site may influence the project

· An update of SPR’s technical and environmental studies.

· Consultation on SPR’s current thinking regarding the wind farm converter station

· Information and consultation on the proposals for sharing the benefit of the project

· Information on the project timetable and the next steps

There will be a chance to discuss these and any other aspects of the project with the project team and a number of other specialist staff from SPR. There will also be a number of ways of making comment.

The Environmental Statement (ES)

Avid readers will recall that I outlined the background and purpose of this important document in my last update. It’s a legally required part of the planning application, written by independent consultants. It assesses the environmental impacts that the building, operation and decommissioning of the project could have and how any significant impacts can be reduced or avoided.

So, what are some of the aspects of the environment that it actually assesses? It assesses the potential effect on all aspects of-

· tides, currents, waves, sediments, seabed and water quality at the wind farm site

· seabed life, marine mammals, basking sharks, birds, fish and shellfish at the wind farm site

· the ecology of Tiree itself

· commercial fishing, navigation, air traffic, radar and military activity at the wind farm site

· tourism, recreation, general socio?economic conditions in Tiree and other human activity

· landscape, seascape, cultural heritage, noise, air and climate

Each of these headings will be studied in detail and the final Environmental Statement will be the result of a process that has continually evolved the project design in order to take account of environmental impacts. This is the process which is just beginning now.

The Environmental Statement will be used as a very important (but not the only) piece of evidence to weigh in the balance when the decision is made whether to give permission to build the windfarm. If permission is given, the ES may also form the basis of any conditions imposed on the development.

No responsible developer, such as SPR, will propose an effect on the environment that is outside the law and neither can any regulator approve such a proposal. The Environmental Statement will be used to demonstrate and ensure compliance with the law regarding offshore windfarm development. While there will be no specific presentation at the PID on the process of producing an Environmental Statement, SPR staff will be happy to discuss any aspect of it on the day.

Future updates

· What’s a pre?application consultation?

· What’s a decommissioning plan?

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

Improved Water Pipes To Benefit Tourists And Locals

Scottish Water is to improve its services to customers on the island of Tiree.

Contractors working for Scottish Water are about to start an £850,000 project to upgrade a total of six miles of water mains on the island. The investment, which is due to start in the first week of September, will provide greater security of supply to 700 customers in areas which have been affected by burst pipes and disruption to supply in the past. These include the Crossapol, Silversands, Balephuil and Caoles areas of the island.

The improvements will also reduce leakage from our network. Mr Simon Harrison, Scottish Water’s water operations manager, said:

“Scottish Water is delighted to be starting this important improvement work on Tiree. We are committed to improving our network of water mains and our services throughout Scotland, in heavily-populated urban areas and in the most remote rural communities. This project on Tiree is a very good example of that. When the project is completed it will provide a better service to properties across the island and help the local tourist industry and economy because the improvements will also benefit visitors to the island.”

The project will involve the replacement of stretches of existing pipe, which are made of concrete, cast-iron or plastic, with new pipe made from tough plastic, which is less susceptible to bursts. The work will be carried out for Scottish Water by contractors George Leslie and is expected to be completed by the end of November.

Some interruptions to normal water supplies will be required during the work. We will make every effort to minimise this and customers affected will be given advance notification and any appropriate advice. Some traffic management on local roads will also be required during the work and again we will make every effort to minimise any inconvenience.

Mrs Jane McKenzie, Scottish Water’s regional community manager, said:

“The investment follows the completion in 2011 of an upgrade by Scottish Water at the Tiree Water Treatment Works, which improved the operability of the WTW by updating the process of filtering raw water. This new major investment to improve the pipes that take water from the WTW to customers’ taps will substantially improve our service to customers on the island and we are sure they will appreciate that any short-term inconvenience will be far out-weighed by the long-term benefits this project will deliver.”

Argyll Array Project Update #33 – August 2012

Scottish Power Renewables logoPublic Information Day (PID)

This year’s Public Information Day (PID) for the project will be held on Thursday 4th October between 2.00pm and 7.00pm. The venue has still to be finally confirmed. The format will be the same as at the last PID; members of the public are invited to drop in anytime during the day to view a number of information and consultation displays. There will be a chance to discuss these and any other aspects of the project with the project team and a number of other specialist staff from SPR.

There will also be a number of ways of making comment. There have been some significant changes to aspects of the project since the last PID 14 months ago. This PID will explain the effects of these changes and also consult people on how the project should develop further in the future.

There will be further information about the day, including confirmation of the venue, in my next update.

The Environmental Statement (ES)

· What is the Environmental Statement?

It’s the document used to convey the results of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to the regulator, Marine Scotland, and all others interested in the application. It provides a description of the project (its construction, its operations/ maintenance and its eventual decommissioning). It also describes the environmental impacts the project could have, the ways significant impacts can be reduced or avoided and the research data used as evidence. It is a legal document forming part of the planning application in 2014.

· What’s the Environmental Impact Assessment?

This is the first step towards the Environmental Statement and, as the name suggests, the EIA assesses the environmental impact of the project. The immediate objectives of the EIA are to improve the project’s environmental design, check its environmental acceptability and identify ways to reduce any impacts. The main long term objective is to avoid serious damage to the environment.

It works by identifying any changes needed to the project and then assessing those changes in turn, in order to refine the project design and reduce environmental impacts as much as possible. Most of the Environmental Impact Assessment work will be done in 2013 but work has already started on possible effects on basking sharks and bird life at the site.

· How complicated is the Environmental Statement?

As Marine Scotland and others interested require more and more detail, the ES gets quite large and technical. For this reason a Non Technical Summary (NTS) is produced which may, for example, summarise a 400 page ES in 20 pages.

To keep the ES itself to a manageable size and readable by the layperson, it will refer to Technical Appendixes which are very detailed reports on individual topics. All are usually public documents when planning is applied for.

· Who writes the ES?

It will be produced for SPR by professional, independent environmental consultants, who will in turn employ specialist sub-contractors.

· How can we be sure the ES is accurate and impartial?

Windfarm Environmental Statements are rigorously evaluated by regulators and also non government agencies and the general public. The issues can also end up being discussed at formal planning inquiries so developers must ensure evaluations are accurate. An inaccurate Environmental Statement would invite serious problems for the developer at the decision making stage. Incorrect decisions made by regulators based on an inaccurate Environmental Statement also invite problems for them.

· When will Tiree see the ES?

The final ES is submitted as part of the planning application. However, an early draft will be available in the form of a preliminary environmental report at least 3 months before a planning application to Marine Scotland. This is currently planned to be in mid-2014, as part of the pre-application consultation on the project. (More about pre-application consultation in a future update.)

· What aspects of the environment will the ES report on?

This is what makes it such an important document. This will be dealt with in my next update.

Future updates

  • Detail of what aspects of the environment the Environmental Statement will report on.
  • What’s a pre?application consultation?
  •  What’s a decommissioning plan?

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

Tiree Community Development Trust

Tiree Trust LogoWindfall Fund

The Windfall Fund will be open to enquiries from Monday 10th September so please get in touch with a member of the Trust Team for an enquiry form or for more information.

Using the feedback received from the consultation day on 16th June, we have now split the Windfall Fund into the following categories:

  • Community Support Fund – Community Groups, Businesses and Individuals whose projects provide a clear benefit to Tiree are eligible to apply for funding up to £1,000. This fund will be open all year round and there is a standard application process. All applications are judged for eligibility according to set criteria.
  •  Community Investment Fund – Community Groups, Businesses and Individuals whose projects provide clear benefit to Tiree are eligible to apply for funding for larger scale, longer term projects, e.g. infrastructure projects. Funding in this category is not capped but will be limited by how much money is available at any given time. A minimum of 50% of available funds is allocated to this category.
  •  Comfort Fund – This fund aims to provide additional support to residents of Tiree who have to go to the mainland for hospital appointments. Please contact the Trust for more details.
  •  · Business Start-up Grant – This fund is open to anyone on Tiree who is starting a new business. A grant of £500 is available on approval of a business plan.
  •  Community Owned Buildings – A sum is allocated each year to support the maintenance of our community buildings on Tiree. Please let us know if your group owns or acquires an asset as you may be eligible.

 Community Partnership Fund

Since SPR announced their intention to develop a Community Partnership Fund (CPF) and as part of the Trust’s fact finding work surrounding the Tiree (Argyll) Array, we have been talking to SPR about what the Fund might be and what possible benefits it could bring to the community if the proposed Array was to go ahead. As a first stage of these discussions SPR have agreed to have the Tiree Growth Plan valued by an independent consultant. Unfortunately there have been delays associated with the tendering process which has knocked the original timescales back. Minutes of the initial meetings are available to read on our website and we will provide an update as soon as possible.

No Tiree Array Update

no tiree arrayENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

SNH is currently conducting a Basking Shark survey of the Skye-Mull area, including Tiree & Coll, as part of the environmental study with regard to possible MPA status for, or within, the Area. Tracking details have been impressively revealing in terms of shark location, confirming Tiree-Coll and Skerryvore as a basking shark hot spot. SPR’s survey boat is reported to have sighted 918 Basking Sharks within the proposed Tiree Array Area on 6th August.

NTA will provide a detailed analysis of this data on its website www.no-tiree-array.org .uk

HVDC CONVERTER

SPR has stated it is ‘minded’ to put this offshore. This is based on feedback from last years Public Information Days and the Scenario Mapping Consultations. Notwithstanding this background, SPR still wants to ‘provide more information‘ on locating a convertor onshore in Tiree.

In SPR’s view there may be some ‘benefits in respect of jobs and infrastructure’. SPR advise that it is their intention to provide this information at their next Public Information Day. Irrespective of the reasons offered by SPR to reconsider their ‘minded’ offshore location for such HVDC converters, there are technical ,and operational reasons why SPR would wish to have one, at least, of what could be up to three such HVDC converters on shore Tiree .

NTA has requested SPR to present appropriate visualisations and montages of both options. SPR has refused this request, consequently NTA is requesting Marine Scotland and Fergus Ewing, Scottish Government’s Minister for Energy, to intervene.

NIGHT-TIME VISUALISATIONS

SNH in Marine Scotland‘s Scoping opinion stated :-

We highlight that ‘dark skies’ at night are a major attribute to Tiree. SPR has consistently refused to present appropriate visualisations. NTA will endeavour to present same, shortly, using data provided by SPR.

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