Tag Archives: energy

New Home Insulation Scheme for Tiree


Home Energy Assessors Alun Jones and Frances Woodhead are visiting every home on Tiree to make sure that every house that is entitled to free insulation measures is identified. They have been contracted on behalf of Argyll and Bute Council and the Scottish Government, working with the Energy Saving Trust.

The Home Insulation Scheme is a new scheme for the Argyll Islands providing an energy audit, a home energy report and energy efficiency advice and is available to people who own their own home or rent privately.

Measures identified will be completed in a cluster basis to reduce the costs of getting installers to visit the islands. The visit will involve a short questionnaire which will allow referrals to be made to Miller Pattison who have the contract to undertake the insulation work. They will also be able to make referrals to the Energy Assistance Package that provides additional measures dependent on circumstances.

Even if your house is not suitable for the basic loft or cavity wall insulation being offered or has already been upgraded, the information collected will help to make a case for insulation upgrades that suit more Tiree homes. Energy monitors for loan, and other energy saving giveaways will also be on offer.

We hope that Tiree will get behind the scheme and that the visit will be of value to you. Houses listed for a visit will have received more information in a letter addressed ‘to the occupier’. The questionnaire can also be competed over the phone by calling the Energy Saving Trust on
0800 512012.

What will Argyll Array do to Tiree

wind array

Over 150 people attended a public meeting on 15th June to discuss the likely impacts of the proposed offshore wind farm at Skerryvore. Tish MacKinnon, chair of the Tiree Community Development Trust, led the meeting and Lloyd Gudgeon, the Trust’s Manager, made a short presentation. Ralph Thornton and Morna Cannon from the developers Scottish Power Renewables were on hand to answer questions, as were Councillors Len Scoular and Donald McIntosh, along with several senior officials from the Planning Department, HIE, the Health Board and the Police.

The wind farm will be huge, costing £6 billion to build (at todays prices) and estimated to provide about 20% of Scotland’s electricity needs. The impact it will have on Tiree will also be huge, with an influx of people coming to work for the wind farm, new housing, much wider roads and bigger harbour and more jobs. It will also bring helicopters, noise and disruption to what has been up to now a peaceful place.

The meeting heard how plans to site between 300 and 500 giant wind turbines (some up to three times the height of Skerryvore) between the land and the lighthouse would require major structural alterations to the Island including a building the size of a football pitch to house the equipment to convert the electricity when it comes ashore and up to 4,000 square meters of office buildings. In answer to a question from a resident, Ralph Thornton admitted that there was no way the islanders could stop the wind farm from going ahead if consent is given by the Scottish Energy Minister.

Opinions of locals is divided, some feel that the development will bring only good to the island – upgrading to health, housing, education and policing and the potential creation of jobs and leisure amenities along with a possible community financial bonus being amongst the improvements on offer. Others feel that the necessary changes to the Island “will destroy our whole way of life, this will be the end of Tiree as we know it” and that “our gaelic culture will suffer and we will lose our peaceful existence. No doubt this scheme will be railroaded through in the guise of national necessity, no doubt some people will get very rich out of this construction at the expense of others”.
Andrew Montgomery, factor to the Duke of Argyll, told the meeting;
“ No one could, in their wildest dreams imagine the impact this development will make on Tiree. Argyll Estates has a duty of care for the people of Tiree and the island and having attended this meeting we now have serious concerns about the plans which will affect the way of life here”
One resident pointed out that “whether we want it or not if the wind farm goes ahead we must get a decent rate of return on our investment. Our whole way of life will change, and it must not be allowed to change for the worse .”

It was also revealed that two other off shore energy installations are being proposed for the seas around Tiree – one a wave power installation, the other a further wind turbine site. This could mean the contract workers and maintenance crews for all three sites could be based here, turning Tiree into a huge terminal for renewable energy possibly changing the very essence of Tiree beyond all recognition and repair.

The meeting finished with a renewed mandate being given to the Trust to continue working on behalf of the community to ensure we do not suffer unduly from this development, should it go ahead.

Background documents and links to relevant sites can be found on the Trusts website; www.tireetrust.org.uk

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Electric Vehicles For Tiree?

Vehicle charging station

Tiree Community Powerdown project has been looking at the feasibility of electric vehicles.
The community identified green transport as an objective in the 2004 Community Development Plan. Electric vehicles have improved in design and battery capacity to give robust vehicles with ranges of up to 70 miles and top speeds of 60 miles per hour. The cars have all the features you would expect in a modern vehicle. And are completely silent! They are cheap to run at approximately 1.5 pence per mile for fuel costs compared to 17.5 pence per mile for conventional cars. They are more expensive to buy compared with conventional cars.

Tiree is well suited to electric vehicles because:

  • There is a premium on imported fossil fuels
  • Most journeys on Tiree are short and over flat terrain
  • We have an exceptional wind resource which can provide an excess of electricity at night when it is cheapest to use
  • The most efficient use of this electricity is at the place where it is generated.

Climate challenge fund

One funding stream, the Climate Challenge Fund, is aimed at community benefit and carbon reduction. An application for two electric vehicles for community use has been made.

If we are successful the vehicles are expected to be kept at the Business Centre and we will also aim to install a small wind turbine there so that the vehicles will provide carbon neutral transport. The vehicles we have requested funding for are one mini-bus and one car. The car would be primarily used by the meals on wheels service and by the staff of community organisations. It would also be available for trial by Tiree residents.

For the first 8 months of the project community use of the vehicles will be free. After this period a hire charge of around 12p per mile is proposed to cover costs. The project aims to raise awareness of and trial electric vehicles for Tiree conditions and to ensure that as many as possible existing community car journeys are made using electric vehicles.

The project proposes to lease the vehicles for a 3 year period and replace up to 22,000 miles each year providing a total carbon emissions saving of 21 tonnes.

Northern Periphery Programme

Tiree community has also been approached by Highlands and Islands Enterprise to participate in an electric vehicle project aimed at hiring cars to tourists.

This project, which could be the first tourist electric car hire programme in the UK, could result in less congestion on the ferry at peak times and help to promote Tiree as a ‘green’ destination.

The Northern Periphery project requires links to be made between different countries including Sweden, Ireland, Iceland and Norway. For this project the lead partner is the Swedish Roads Authority, with other partners in Harjedalen, Sweden, and East Iceland.

HIE wish to identify a community organisation who will be responsible for the project on Tiree and identify who will operate the scheme (probably an existing business) and any other key stakeholders who would be associate partners for the project.
A business plan is required by 24th March and if successful the project would run for 3 years from September 2010.

For more info on either of these projects please contact Frances Woodhead, Community Powerdown Officer at the Rural Centre on 220 677 or 07775 354789.

Community Wind Turbine Update

turbine_site_worksWork is progressing well at the Ruaig site. Stage 1 (Access Road and Crane Pad) has been successfully completed by Agrimarine.

Stage 2 (Foundation Base) is now in progress. In simple terms, this stage consists of digging out a large hole, fabricating a metal frame, and pouring a large amount of concrete. The end result, after two or three weeks to set, is a large circular base on which the turbine will be bolted. It’s obviously a lot more technical than that and the team from Raymond Brown Construction, assisted by I A Mackinnon Haulage/Plant Hire, are working very professionally at the site to complete stage 2 on time.

In the coming few weeks a long articulated vehicle will come to the island to carry out a trial run up from Gott Pier to the Ruaig site. This will help to specifically define areas where road works are required to allow the vehicles carrying the turbine and crane to reach the site. Hopefully, all going to plan, the turbine and crane will arrive on the island around the middle of October. When the turbine and crane arrive on island there will be unavoidable disruption and delay on the roads from the pier to the site. Once dates are confirmed we will be able to give a more detailed time schedule to all.

Hopefully this information provides a general update and we apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused. If you have any concerns or wish more details regarding any stage of the process please get in touch with Liz at the Trust Office 01879 220074 or any of the Tiree Renewable Energy Company Ltd Directors.

Community Turbine Works Progress

turbine_siteAnyone passing by the turbine site at Ruaig could not fail to have noticed the seemingly never ending activity at the site.
The contractors men have been working tirelessly, in all weathers, over the last couple of weeks and the access road and crane pad are nearing completion. The next phase following immediately will be the construction of the turbine foundation base. This is simply a round concrete plinth about 17 metres in diameter upon which the turbine will be erected.
After the turbine is erected the foundation and the crane pad will be covered over and tidied up. The TREL Board wish to thank the community for their patience during the transportation of the aggregate to the site.
There will be some further movements of heavy vehicles delivering foundation materials but hopefully not to the same degree as before. Nevertheless we apologise if this causes any inconvenience. We will keep you advised of how things are progressing.

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