Tag Archives: Scottish power renewables

Tiree (Argyll) Array Consents Application remains Indeterminate

no tiree arrayThere has been confusion as to when SPR may make its Consents Application.

In mid April, in unrelated correspondence between NTA and Marine Scotland (MS), it emerged that MS was expecting SPR’s consents application in the second half of 2014. This was manifestly wrong. In the ensuing correspondence between MS/NTA/SPR, David Walker (Iberdrola’s Development Director Offshore Business) advised NTA, on the 26th April as follows:-

Thank you for your email, our CEO has requested that I clarify on his behalf. We have separately responded to Marine Scotland on the same matter, however I can confirm that following the suspension of the Argyll Array development in 2012 we will review our future plans in late 2013 and therefore cannot advise any planned date for the consents application until that time when detailed scheduling will be reconsidered.

However, in last week’s Oban Times in an article headed “Major West Coast Offshore Wind Farm Developments Face Delays” an SPR spokesman stated;-

SPR is currently reviewing data…. These reviews are being completed with a view to submitting a planning application to the Scottish Government towards the end of 2015..

Consequently NTA reverted to David Walker to ask him if anything had changed since his 26th April clarification. He replied (20th May) as follows:-

Nothing has changed in the last 3 weeks since my email and any date for consents applications remains indeterminate.

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 #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

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.

Argyll Array Project Update No.32 August 2012

Scottish Power Renewables logoTiree RESET Fund

One of the matters that’s come up as I’ve been discussing the Fund with people recently is that many assume it only applies to education or training in engineering. This is far from the case and the range of activities it has been set up to support is very wide.The Background and Rules of the Fund are published elsewhere i An Tirisdeach to emphasise that.

However, a brief extract from them is useful to demonstrate the range of eligible activities-

  • · training and education in general offshore skill sets
  •  · craft skills
  •  · Modern Apprenticeships
  •  · relevant vocational qualifications
  •  · business and management studies
  •  · IT
  •  · all engineering disciplines
  •  · pure and applied sciences and mathematics

In fact, the range of activities is even wider than that and the Rules give more detail. Can I also remind those interested that the deadline for applications to the Fund is 31st August.

Those who have made informal enquiries are reminded that they still need to submit a formal application to the Fund. Because of lack of space, the minutes of the meetings which set up the RESET Fund will be published in the next edition.

Future updates

  • · What’s in an Environmental Statement?
  •  · What’s a pre?application consultation?

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.

Wobbles and Delays In Tiree Turbine Plans

Tiree Array (artists impression)

The controversial proposals to erect giant turbines close to Tiree are hitting delays and uncertainties.

As we know, Scottish Power Renewables (SPR) now will not submit planning applications until the latter half of 2014. Tiree folk have to accept at face value the company’s explanation that this is due to ‘environmental issues’. However, there may be other factors at work to put brakes on SPR’s plans. Citi Group, the global investment bank, warned that investors would be cautious until after the Scottish referendum on independence. These ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTIES were more recently compounded by market worries about the exposure of Scottish Power and its parent company, Iberdrola, to Spanish banks. Spain’s economic crisis is mounting by the day. The issue of the withdrawal of Doosan, the Korean manufacturer who planned to develop offshore turbines in Scotland, was clarified by the company as the result of ‘…the overall economic conditions in Europe’. In other words, the wind energy industry is feeling the windchills of all the economic woes!

TRANSMISSION HEADACHES

A recent SPR update stated it was minded not to place a huge converter station on Tiree. Last week the Oban Times reported that SPR were exploring options via Mull. SPR reasoned that if offshore cabling risked being dredged up it could take months to fix it!

This happened near Tiree two years ago and it took five months to get power transmission back to normal. If this is such a real risk it makes one wonder why the Tiree Array is being proposed in the first place! SPR itself is not allowed to build or own the kind of high voltage equipment needed for these jobs. The transmission network will be constructed by an Offshore Transmission Operator (an OFTO) appointed by OFGEM the energy industry regulator. Had things been on track for Tiree, the OFTO tendering process for the Tiree Array should have been started by now. There is no sign yet of this happening.

The Moray Array made its first moves on this process last November, and it is hoping to submit for planning in 2012. It would appear to the layman, then, that transmission problems for SPR continue to mount and may be contributing to their own planning application delay. NTA has asked for clarification on this from OFGEM and SPR.

EUROPEAN UNION

The issue of the Tiree Array is now at the heart of Europe! NTA made a presentation to an EU symposium on offshore windfarm environmental issues, including the Blue Carbon question and potential destruction of wildlife, flagged up by NTA itself.

These also may have contributed to SPR’s problems. The meeting was attended by folk from the Scottish Government and Marine Scotland, the planning agency.

WHAT YOU WILL SEE IF THE ARRAY IS BUILT

Regrettably, the Tiree Trust has withdrawn from a previously agreed joint approach with NTA to this question of visuals and the selection of viewpoints on the island. Because of delays, SPR will pursue this issue next year. Last November Marine Scotland announced that it was ‘currently reviewing its licence manual and the consultants working on this will include visual impact.’ This shift on visual impact will replace and update current guidelines and when these are published NTA will consult with the various statutory bodies involved. We’ve told SPR we’ll be doing so. PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THE CONSULTATION PERIOD FOR THE ON-SHORE MAPPING SCENARIO CLOSES ON FRIDAY 27 AUGUST. ALSO BE AWARE THAT CONSTANT UPDATES ON ALL THESE ISSUES AND MORE ARE AVAILABLE ON NTA’S WEBSITE AT www.no-tiree-array.org.uk

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