Tag Archives: ecology

Regarding The Array

letters to editor

I am writing this to express my concern at the way in which the proposed Tiree Array is being forced through the consenting process. It alarms me that Scottish Power Renewables want to get consent to develop their project before they actually release the details of what they are planning. I find it hard to believe that they have got as far as they have with their research and planning without being able to give us the least bit of information on what they are going to do. The “Argyll Array Project Update No8-May 2011” only reinforces the point that they are intent in keeping us in the dark until they get consent.

I find it strange that the government would even consider giving them consent without having detailed plans from them. How can individuals, group etc make any sort of informed decision without even the most basic facts. I have spoken to a lot of people who are undecided about the project and will make their minds up when they have some more facts. The harsh reality is that there will be no facts until Scottish Power Renewables have got their consent and by that time your views will count for nada. The time to make your mind up is now before it is too late, and in light of the fact that they are not disclosing any information you have to say no. It is up to us to force the hand of this huge multinational company by saying no now and force them to come clean as to what they have got planned.

When you look at the groups that make up the master planning process you have to question some of the motives and who is actually going to be there to look after the interests of Tiree and surrounding areas. It is obvious how SPR want the planning to go, least amount of cost and hassle to them. Highlands and Islands Enterprise have poured millions and millions of pounds into the turbine factory in Campbelltown. Argyll and Bute council have invested a reported £12 million into Campelltown harbour to make the turbine factory. The Crown Estates are the body that will be taking the money for effectively renting out the sea bed to the developer and are set to make millions from wind farms.

Scottish Natural Heritage have indicated in a document on offshore wind farms that they believe wind farms should be at least 35km offshore to reduce the visual impact on Scotland’s pristine seascapes, however SPR and other developers have ignored this advise and carry on regardless. So that leaves the Trust to represent the views of the people of Tiree. No disrespect to the Trust but in light of the bodies they are up against their voice will be lost at the negotiating table.

I would be very grateful if SPR could clarify what the possible implications of the Argyll Array would be on public services. In earlier scoping documents they stated that they did not intend to invest any money in schools, medical facilities or roads on Tiree as this was the responsibilty of local government. So would it be fair to assume therefore that the Array will have a negitive effect on public services?

It has also been reported that if SPR were forced into paying a levy on generated power this money would by default be paid to Argyll and Bute council. How much of this money would filter its way down to public services on Tiree and how much get swallowed up by A+B’s budget deficit? It would be very helpful if SPR could clear up this issue before any more rumours start.

Now is the time to say no. If we wait for any clear facts and information from SPR until we take a stance it will be far too late. Until they have set promises in stone we as a community have to say no. If the Array is going to go ahead we can only maximise any compensation by fighting. Remember there is a big difference between compensation and benefit and until SPR can prove otherwise this development is not going to bring any benefits to the island.

Adam Milne, Crossapol, Tiree


Hannah Brimelow’s recent letter about the Tiree Array offers wise advice from someone who knows at first hand how things work in the world of high finance and giant corporations.

As she points out, while the island is mulling over promises from Iberdrola, there are deals being done and consents being pursued. Once consent is granted, there will be no practical way to stop the developers from ditching those promises and riding roughshod over the island’s wishes.

So the message from Hannah is that there is effectively only one way for Tiree to have any control or influence over what will happen to it, and that is by coming out in opposition to the granting of consent. Without that opposition the island has no worthwhile authority to make demands.

Whether for or against the Array, I expect most of us would want to force Iberdrola to put the island’s best interests up there alongside its own corporate profit. If we think that they are doing that already, I fear we may be mistaken.

Peter Isdell-Carpenter, Milton.


Dear ma’am
The No Tiree Array (NTA ) Group is formalising its membership, and has drawn up its Constitution. This is essential to take NTA forward as a consultee within the Licensing and Consenting Process. For full details go to www.no-tiree-array.org.uk , then click on “Constitution” in the main Menu.

The membership donation is £1.00 . To make this donation via the website simply click on the ” Paypal Donation ” button, and follow the instructions. You do not require a PayPal account to process this payment.

For those without internet access and/or would prefer to make a donation by cheque then please do so by making your cheque payable to:- No Tiree Array and send it to me at the address below.

NTA has a provision in the Constitution for “sympathisers ” who for all sort of reasons may not wish to become a member but wish to register their support. NTA requests that where there is more than one potential member in the same household, that they make separate donations. That way NTA will be able to keep an accurate membership list.

NTA has, to date, been funded by its founding core members. Your donations will , amongst other initiatives,allow NTA to produce a quarterly newsletter, and upgrade its website. We look forward to your support of NTA .

Yours faithfully, Robert Trythall , Aird, Cornaigmore

ARGYLL ARRAY PROJECT UPDATE No 8 – May 2011

Scottish Power Renewables logo

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

ARGYLL ARRAY PROJECT UPDATE No.6-APRIL 2011

Scottish Power Renewables logo

Community Information Day

The ScottishPower Renewables Community information Day will be held on Tuesday 28th June in An Talla. The Project Team will be available to give information and hear your views between 2.00pm and 6.30pm with refreshments available.

The Project Team will be joined by a number of specialists from Scottish Power Renewables who will be able to give some background on their particular areas of responsibility.

The first photomontages showing what the wind farm could look like from various points on the island will also be available on the day and will be left for public display on the island. More details about the Information Day will be available closer to the time.

Website Update

A major update to our Argyll Array website is coming soon.

This will carry all the updates that appear in An Tirisdeach but will also be able to carry items that are too detailed or too big for the newsletter. It will enable anyone wanting background to the project or the latest news to access it 24 hours a day, from anywhere in the world. The website address is www.argyllarray.com

An Tirisdeach will still be where all the latest news is published first but the website will be a useful addition to that.

Unfortunately, not everyone on Tiree has access to the internet so if anyone would wish paper copies of the website updates, please contact Donnie Campbell.

Marine Scotland

  • Marine Scotland has been referred to many times since the Project was announced but many are still not sure what the organisation is or what it has to do with the Project.
  • Marine Scotland is a new department of the Scottish Government, set up two years ago. It was made up from a number of smaller bodies with responsibility for the sea and brings them all together under the one department. Many marine matters have effects on each other, such as fishing, the environment, oil and gas developments and wind, wave or tidal power. Marine Scotland was created as the single body that understands all these matters and which can plan and oversee the way Scotland’s seas are used.
  • It resulted from a combination of the government Marine Department, the Fisheries Research Services and the Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency. An important part of Marine Scotland’s work is Fishery Protection and it has three ocean-going protection vessels and two aircraft for this job. One of its offices is in Cameron House in Oban and its vessels and aircraft can be seen regularly around Tiree.
  • Another important part of its work is giving permission for wind farm developments. It deals with planning matters at sea, while Argyll and Bute Council Planning Department deals with developments on land.
  • Marine Scotland looked at the Argyll Array project when it drew up the national plan for wind power developments which was published a few months ago. As part of the consultation on that plan, officials visited Tiree twice over last autumn and winter to gather people’s views. (Read more about this national plan on our updated website.)
  • Officials from Marine Scotland will consider the full planning application for the Argyll Array when it is submitted in 2012 and are likely to take a year or so to decide on the application after receiving it. They will either refuse it, grant it as it stands or grant it with conditions attached.
  • There will be a link from our website to the relevant part of Marine Scotland’s website

Met Mast

ScottishPower Renewables is seeking to erect an onshore meteorological mast to measure wind speed.

The type of mast would be similar to the one erected before the community wind turbine was built. It would be just over 70m in height and would be expected to be in place for up to five years. ScottishPower Renewables is in the process of identifying technically appropriate sites, and will contact owners/occupiers soon.

As well as an agreement with the occupier, ScottishPower Renewables will have to apply for planning permission to Argyll and Bute Council. Further details of the proposed mast will be available then. If permission is granted for the mast, tenders can then be issued for its construction and maintenance.

It is hoped that the mast will be in place by the end of the year.

Thank you

Morna Cannon, Assistant Project Manager, visited Tiree earlier in the month for a formal meeting but also took the opportunity to meet a number of people informally over the two days, to discuss the project and hear people’s views.

Thank you to all who took the time to speak with her and for their kind welcome and hospitality.

Future Updates

  • More information on the wind farm planning permission process
  • Information on a planned offshore wind farm visit
  • Information on a Careers Workshop to be held soon
  • An update on the appointment of an Environmental Impact Assessment consultant

Questions or comments

If anyone has any questions or comments on any of the above, or indeed any aspect of the project, please contact Donnie Campbell, Machair, Kilmoluaig in the first instance. Donnie’s land line telephone number is 220 352, mobile number 07881 983 753 and email donnie{@}argyllarray.com

Argyll Array Project Update – April 2011

Scottish Power Renewables logo

Community Information Day

The Project Team will be holding a Community information Day in June to update Tiree on developments in the project. Members of the Project Team will be available during the day to answer any questions people may have and to hear their views.

An important feature of the day will be photomontages of the project. Photomontages are large computer generated pictures of the way the wind farm may look from viewing points on Tiree. We would hope to have 3 photomontages available. These will be left on public display on the island for those not able to attend the Information Day. Additional photomontages will produced at a later stage to form the formal landscape and visual assessment chapter of the planning application.

We will be consulting the public later this year about the viewing points for the formal planning photomontages. The main purpose of the June photomontages is to provide a starter point for consultation. Should similar viewing points be used for the planning application or should they be different? The date and venue of the Information Day are not yet finalized but will be fixed in the very near future.

Wave Buoy Planning Application

The public notice for this planning application was in last week’s Tirisdeach. The application itself is available for public inspection at the Area Office.

The application is for permission to site four wave rider buoys out at sea, at various points within the area of the proposed wind farm. The buoys would be fitted with GPS tracker or similar, to transmit their locations on a continuous basis and warn of displacement. Each buoy would probably be spherical, possibly elliptical with a maximum width of approximately 1.5m.

The buoys would be equipped with a high intensity navigation warning light and would be deployed for an initial period of 12 months. A 250 metre clearance distance for vessels and gear has been requested at each of the deployment sites to avoid the risk of fouling. The buoys would record the height and frequency of waves, atmospheric pressure and air temperature within the zone. This information could provide useful information for the environmental assessment (e.g. to assess impacts on wave regime) and logistic strategies (e.g. construction programmes). The application has been made to the planning authority for works at sea, which is Marine Scotland. Argyll and Bute Council do not issue consents for works at sea.

There will be more information in future updates on what Marine Scotland is and what it does.

Health Impact Assessment

SPR has commenced a Health Impact Assessment Scoping exercise. This work will investigate the merits of carrying out a Health Impact Assessment on the project and highlight topics which would be useful to cover in any Assessment.

It is hoped that this work can tie in with the work for which the Scottish Public Health Network has allocated monies to Tiree.

Contracts

SPR will shortly be placing a contract for Lead Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Consultancy. The Lead EIA Consultants will be responsible for undertaking the EIA on the project, including the Socio Economic Impact Assessment and visualisations.

SPR are also currently tendering for a number of other important contracts including preliminary grid route selection and navigation assessment consultants.

Monthly bird and marine mammal surveys continue on the site.

Future Updates

  • Background to Marine Scotland
  • Date and venue for Community Information Day in June
  • Information on erection of a land met mast to measure wind
  • Results of the Argyll Array Questionnaire conducted last year

Questions or comments

If anyone has any questions or comments on any of the above, or indeed any aspect of the project, please contact Donnie Campbell, Machair, Kilmoluaig in the first instance. donnie@argyllarray.com

The Future?

letters to editor

Picture the scenario. It is a few years down the line. S P R and the government have mistakenly thought that N T A represented the entire Tiree community and have cancelled the proposed wind farm off the coast of Tiree. Instead they have built one off the shores of the island of X.

The inhabitants of X are ecstatic. They now have good roads. Their High School has been upgraded and now offers a wider choice of subjects. They have twice daily sailings from their new pier and twice daily flights from their upgraded airport. The fishing industry is prospering due to the increased numbers of fish attracted to the area by the warm water surrounding the turbines. They have excellent leisure facilities including a swimming pool. The supermarket has been extended and now carries a much more varied selection of food. The population has increased making the island altogether more vibrant. There are top graded hotels and restaurants. Tourism has increased due to all the facilities. There is no unemployment.

This was the injection the island of X needed. But what of Tiree? They can only look in envy at the prosperity enjoyed by the island of X. Tiree has lost out!! They have missed the opportunity to liaise with the government to bring prosperity their way. Young folk are leaving and the decreasing population is becoming more elderly.

Tiree will remain the peaceful haven that those who move there desire. But it will be in a time warp.

M Macarthur

Powerdown Progress

power socket

Last year the Powerdown project was asked to look into feasibility of various projects. Three applications were made to the Climate Challenge Fund following extensive research into options and costs. The fund is now closed.

HOME ENERGY -NEW JOB TO BE CREATED
We have been successful in getting funding to employ a second part-time person to work on the Powerdown project to make better progress in this area. Energy use in buildings accounts for 40% of all carbon emissions and can make a big difference to household bills. Any investment in this area can result in savings year after year as well as warmer homes.

ELECTRIC CARS
The bid for an electric car for community use was unsuccessful. And the Northern Periphery European funding for a tourism hire car project had to be abandoned due to a 6 month wait for the funding to be re-paid after expenditure.
HIE however are still open to hearing from us about the money that they set aside for an electric car hire project for Tiree, to match the European funds. Electric cars would be great for Tiree as their running costs are much cheaper. New electric cars can plug into a home plug with a range of 80 miles and top speeds over 60 mph. From January 2011 a contribution of 25% of the cost of electric vehicles up to £5,000 will be available. This will work in similar way to the car scrappage scheme with discount applied at the point of purchase.

COMPOSTING TOILETS
The bid for a composting toilet trial was unsuccessful. The concept is sound but didn’t stack up in terms of carbon savings which were based on less embodied energy than traditional facilities and less travel to existing facilities. Fingers and legs crossed for another solution.

TURBINES FOR COMMUNITY BUILDINGS
Various community groups have been preparing for funding applications to install small turbines to match their building’s energy use working with Community Energy Scotland. THANKS Thanks to the Powerdown Steering Group Alastair MacInnes, Clare Jones and Ann Kirby and to all the people who have fitted low energy light bulbs, turned down the thermostat, filled in a home energy check form, measured their mileage or borrowed a smart meter. We look forward to more progress over the next year of the project.

Frances Woodhead, Community Powerdown Officer.

Tilley the turbine update

wind turbine

The Enercon engineers have completed their initial tests and will return in the next couple of weeks to carry out the 300 hour tests. Once these and further tests are completed, the turbine will be formally handed over to TREL.

We can expect to see the turbine not turning at various times during the next few weeks as it is put through tests and various connection and voltage issues are resolved.
Although it is obviously disappointing not to be running full time, particularly when it is windy, down time should be expected. The E-44 turbines on Benbecula and Westray went through similar “running in” issues in the initial months before their machines were formally handed over by Enercon.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the turbine for the official launch on 24 April at 2pm and afterwards for tea and refreshments at An Talla where there will be photos and video presentations of the build stages.

A free Family Dance is being held in the evening at 7.30pm BYOB – all welcome.

Tilley the Tiree turbine turning

wind turbine

Tiree Renewable Energy Company Limited (TREL) is pleased to announce that after being put through a number of energising and commissioning tests Tilley the Tiree Turbine was generating by late afternoon on Saturday 27th March.

The project to build a Turbine for the community of Tiree started over 4 years ago. The voluntary directors of TREL have worked tirelessly, and overcome many hurdles during this time to reach this day.

The turbine is now operational and will start to generate an income stream which will benefit the community of Tiree for the next 25 years. This income will be gift aided by TREL to Tiree Community Development Trust and used to support a variety of future community projects. Details regarding The Tiree Windfall fund will be distributed to the community soon.

Please note there will be an official opening ceremony on Saturday 24th April at 2.oopm, followed by a family dance in the evening, which will be open to all in the community. (More details will follow later, watch out for notices)

Congratulations to all who have helped in any way to make this project a success.

Liz Lapsley for TREL

Off shore wind farm

It has been nearly a year since An Tirisdeach first reported on the proposal by Scottish Power Renewables (SPR) to explore the possibilities of an Offshore Wind Farm to the west of Tiree.

The UK Government has set ambitious targets for energy supplied from renewable sources and the Scottish Government targets are even higher. The Government’s Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA) is due in any time now and Tiree Trust has been trying to do a report to assess the impact of building and maintaining a large offshore wind farm on the Island, although this report has been restricted by a lack of available funds. When the two reports are finalised there will be a public meeting to update the community.

If the SEA shows that the area around Tiree/Skerryvore could be used, SPR has to carry out bird, marine, environmental and seabed surveys which could take until 2011. Wind masts to measure the wind, one on land and one at Skerryvore will be set up and there will be at least one more year of counting the numbers of birds, fish and Basking sharks as well as creatures that live on the seabed. If the reports in 2011 show in favour of the wind farm it is expected that planning permission will be applied for in 2012.

The application will consist of three requests; One for the off shore Wind Farm. One for shore based infra structure such as changes to roads and the airport for helicopter use and the building of houses, warehouses and relay stations, one out at sea and one on the mainland, to convert the energy, and lastly an application to connect to the grid to get the power to the mainland. The route of this power line has yet to be decided. The only things that may stop the turbines being placed off our coast are;

  1. Financial: It is estimated that this project will cost around £7.5billion and SPR must prove to their investors that they are able to make a profit from what has been classed as the most difficult area to work in.
  2. Environmental: Kenovara is a nesting and feeding site for birds. If the location of the farm turns out to be on migratory routes or if it is thought that it may cause harm to Whales, Dolphins Basking Sharks or other marine life.

Possible impacts for the Island are;

  • an influx of people during construction – perhaps as many as 250, who may need accommodation on Tiree if they are not housed at sea.
  • It is thought that the wind farm could have a 50 year life span, which would mean long term jobs of operating and maintaining the turbines –although there is no guarantee that there would be employment opportunities for local people.
  • There will be an increase of air traffic, mainly helicopters, flying over the Island from the airport to get to the site and to the mainland.
  • During construction the activities of fishermen in that area will be constrained but this should be a temporary interruption to fishing as afterwards creel fishermen should be allowed to go between the turbines.

One concern is that the people of Tiree have no say in whether or not the off shore wind farm goes ahead. The best we can hope is that we have enough accurate information on the effects of the wind farm on our island to be able to exert pressure on decision makers to ensure the island benefits from this development.

Tiree Trust has been trying to get as much information as possible, with the limited funding that they have, by employing a group of independent consultants to do an impact assessment showing what we can reasonably expect to happen if the project goes ahead, so that when the time comes for meetings with the power companies we will be able to talk with them in an informed manner.

The Trust has formed a partnership called Argyll Renewable Communities (ARC) with the communities of Islay and Kintyre who are facing the same situation. All the information we get gives us a greater understanding of what consequences this development may have so we can ensure that if the off shore wind farm goes ahead we, as an island and as individuals, get as much benefit from it as possible and reduces any possible negative effects.

Scottish Power Renewables has been giving the Trust monthly updates. It is important that they communicate with us as a community to keep us better informed and up to date with what is happening. With in the next few months there will be another public meeting to discuss the progress of the proposed off shore wind farm and it is vital that as many of us as possible attend as this is a development that will have both long term and far reaching effects on the future of Tiree. Meanwhile, the Trust will keep us all informed of any developments through the pages of An Tirisdeach.

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