Tag Archives: Scottish power renewables

Concerns Over Tiree Array Survey

letters to editor

Dear Sir – Confusion over SPR’s “flawed” Tiree Survey

The recent questionnaire that was completed by many islanders and others has come in for heavy criticism. No Tiree Array (NTA) has taken professional advice on Scottish Power Renewables’ (SPR) questionnaire, and the conclusion is that the questionnaire appears to be so incompetently designed that the results may be corrupted and inadmissible. The only way for SPR to find out the island’s real issues is to conduct a survey, yet the survey’s questionnaire has already decided what the issues are!

With regard to question 7, the questionnaire tries to find out what concerns people have about the Tiree Array. There appear to be serious mistakes in the way the question is asked. The list is made up of arbitrarily selected items (eg noise, impact on business, disruption from the construction) covering only 10 of the things that might matter to residents. For instance, not one of the items touches on the cultural, community, or way- of- life impacts of the project. The one item in the list that comes anywhere near to this is “potential social effects of the windfarm”, which is then explained as “e.g. newcomers to the island”! Although a space exists for “other”, (I.e. you can add an issue that is important to you but not on the list), you are only allowed to give a view on three including “other”. Suppose there are more than 3 which you are concerned about? Tough. SPR have evidently decided for themselves that these ten plus one are the issues, and that 3 is the most that anyone can have strong feelings about.

Professional researchers know that the correct way to find out what people think and feel about something is to offer them a range of responses that they can chose from. We have all received surveys at one time or another, and we are used to this sort of question: “Please tick one box to indicate how you feel about xyz”. And then the boxes are labelled something like “very happy” “quite happy” “neither happy nor unhappy” “quite unhappy” “very unhappy”. It is done so that you learn how strongly the person feels about something. The SPR survey ignores this basic rule of research. Naively, it simply asks ”What are you most concerned about? Tick a maximum of three”.

These worries about the Tiree survey have been repeatedly brought to the attention of every one of SPR’s directors. SPR have replied that “your suggestions will be incorporated into any further questionnaires”, thus effectively acknowledging their mistakes. You might think they would therefore withdraw or re-run the survey. But no such luck. We have even offered to help them with experienced research advice. Again, no luck.

The frightening possibility is that SPR see nothing wrong in collecting, publishing and relying upon allegedly corrupted and invalid data, yet SPR want us to believe that their “consultation process” is transparent, thorough and professional.

To quote from the Guidelines of UK Renewables, of which the Regulations and Markets Director of Scottish Power is the Chairman, “These methods (gathering information, opinion surveys,…questionnaires….) only gather information in response to the questions asked; they may miss opinions or concerns that are not asked about”. Why is this error so important? SPR will publish the results, not just to the islanders, but to the government, to Marine Scotland, to the media. They will presumably use the results as evidence of what matters most to local people about the Tiree Array. Depending on the results, they may even claim that only one , two or three issues are matters of concern to locals, or that “even these only mattered to x% of the respondents”. Far from gaining true insights into people’s worries – which in reality appear to be widespread, wide-ranging, and very major – they will reduce everything to a handful of items that they can then fix or smooth over. And they can quote this allegedly incompetent and invalid survey as proof that they have taken care of what we wanted.

Why should we care? This survey is not independently assessed, but is part of delivering SPR’s promised “consultation with stakeholders”. It will be used to help shape the outcome of the biggest and potentially most disastrous happening in our island’s history. Nothing questionable must be allowed to influence that outcome. We will continue to challenge SPR to be honest and professional. So watch this space.

Robert Trythall, NTA

Tiree Trust Update

Trust directors are pleased to announce the appointment of Andy Wright as our new Finance and Governance officer. Andy’s roots are on Tiree, and he is looking forward to moving here with his wife Hannah and 12 week old baby daughter. Andy’s post, like Ann’s post as development manager, is funded by the Big Lottery as part of the Harvesting the Wind Award the Community received in 2008 (Sophie’s position is very generously funded by the Robertson Trust, while Lynne’s post is funded by HIE).

TILLEY

November was another very good month for Tilley, generating 232 MWh, which takes the total for the year to date to over 2100 MWh, still ahead of our projections. We will be holding a public open day/evening in mid or late Jan to launch the Windfall Fund. This will also be an opportunity for you to tell Lynne what you want to be included in the new Community Development Plan. We are delighted that TREL has received the 2010 Scottish Renewable Energy Award for Best Community Initiative. This was for “an initiative that has been lead and developed by a community and which supports renewables development in Scotland”. We beat a very strong field of candidates including projects lead by Balfour Beattie and NPower. We should all be very proud that TREL voluntary directors have got national recognition for all the hard work they put into making Tilley such a success as a beacon not just for Tiree but for other communities.

YOUTH

This week we have had the final night of Ch@ Room. We had a Christmas themed evening with games and Christmas challenges. We also served tasty turkey and cranberry toasties! I managed to secure a much appreciated grant of £300 from ACHA. The young people also raised £60 at the craft fair. This money will be used for new equipment for the Ch@ Room. Ch@ Room will commence again in January 2011. Next Wednesday (8th) is the final night of Youth Club. The youth Club is having a snowman drive and a fantastic Raffle. All funds raised are for youth Club! Show your support by coming along and joining in the fun. For more information or to volunteer for any of the youth groups on the island don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at sophie@tireetrust.org.uk

TIREE ARRAY

At the time of writing the Tiree Array developers, Scottish Power Renewables, were due on Tiree for a meeting with the Trust. We will update you on anything new we have learned from that meeting. Also at the time of writing, Lloyd Gudgeon was due to attend a meeting in Glasgow with the Scottish Government, The Crown Estate, Argyll & Bute Council and SPR, to formally demand that the Tiree Community becomes part of the process which directs the design of the Array and considers whether or not it should receive permission to go ahead. We will update you on the outcomes of that meeting. Meanwhile on Tiree, the Forum continues to put together a picture of the likely impact of the Array, should it go ahead. To help with this, Sam Bouchnak has joined the team. He will be concentrating on providing the Forum with support in the run up to a public presentation in February. There is another survey out there trying to get your opinions on what the Array might mean for us. This survey is being run by Argyll Renewable Communities, which is made up of the communities of Tiree, Islay and Kintyre, all of which are facing potentially close offshore windfarms. The survey can be found at
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ARC_windfarm_impacts
and you can find more details on a separate article in this paper. We want to collect as many responses as possible so that when we talk to government about our concerns we can not be accused of representing only a small number of local people or specialist interests. Please do take 10 minutes to fill out the questionnaire. Paper versions are available from the office.

Group formed To protest Tiree Array

No other proposed Array in Scotland, or Europe for that matter, will have such detrimental impacts on its proximate community

Taking into consideration all aspects of Scottish Power Renewables ( SPR Iberdrola S.A.) proposed wind farm, in-shore to Tiree, and following protracted discussion with many stakeholders ,we have concluded that Tiree’s interests may be well served by the formation of a “ NO TIREE ARRAY “ campaign group.

We feel that the decision to place such an Array on the Skerryvore reef, and in-shore to Tiree, is based on commercial gain, with scant regard to the environmental, and socio-economic impacts on Tiree. Such disregard sets a very dangerous precedent for all Scottish coastal Communities.

The ‘NO TIREE ARRAY‘ campaign group is not an anti-renewables or anti-green energy campaign. On the contrary we support these aims. Tiree is faced with a so-called offshore wind farm comprising between 180 and 500 turbines, up to 180m high, as close as 5km from the shore. The impact ratios of the proposed Array are extreme. No other proposed Array in Scotland, or Europe for that matter, will have such detrimental impacts on its proximate community.

artists rendering turbine view from Sandaig

Artist rendering of view from Sandaig

Despite many requests to do so, SPR has refused, so far, to present any montages of the visual impact Tiree can expect from this Array. In most people’s minds, off-shore means out of sight is out of mind. This certainly was UK government’s intention in the 1990’s, when it began to derive its off shore legislation. The DTI has stated out of sight to be more than 24km off shore. Scottish National Heritage has stated, that such is the nature of the Scottish Seascape, the Scottish equivalent should be beyond 35Km. Scottish Power Renewables (Iberdrola S.A.), and maritime renewable energy companies in general, have acknowledged that research and development is in process, to place wind farms in deep water, away from coastal communities and the coastal environment.

OUR OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGY

  • * To persuade Scottish Power Renewables( Iberdrola S. A.) to adopt ,in full , their own R&D goals, and delay the planning process in all regards to the Tiree Array to place it, and any other proposed Array development, with similar detrimental impacts , OFF- SHORE , i.e. 35Km from the proximate community.
  • * To require all associated construction, support, maintenance, operational infrastructure, and personnel associated with any wind farm array development in waters off Tiree, be placed 35km from Tiree’s shore. We require that these operations do not, at any stage, interface and or impact in any detrimental manner, with Tiree’s unique community, culture or natural environment.
  • * To lobby developers and strategists, of any proposed or existing strategic legislation, to derive any such legislation from the community level upwards.
  • * As we expand the ‘Objective Issues ‘we will openly communicate them to all of our supporters and interested parties. This will ensure we are mutually, and consistently, well informed to secure our primary objective i.e. STOPPING the destruction of Tiree’s community, culture and natural beauty.
  • * We will consider legal action, as, when, and if appropriate.

“We do not inherit the land from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children”
All are welcome and encouraged to support us

For further Information go to www.no-tiree-array.org.uk Alternatively Contact: Karl Hughes (220070), Robert Trythall (220646), Ranald Noel-Paton (220613), Phillippe Pierrisnard

* DTI “Guidance on the Assessment of the Impact of Offshore Windfarms”

The preceding was presented to An Tirisdeach, and does not necessarily represent the views of the publisher

Tiree Community Trust Update

“These are exciting and challenging times for the Trust and Tiree”

The Trust welcomes two new members of staff this month. The posts attracted a lot of interest and there was strong competition for both positions.

Ann Kirby will be taking over as Trust Development Manager and Lynne MacKinnon as Local Development Officer. Lloyd Gudgeon is moving into a new role for the Trust as its Strategic Development Liaison Officer. Lloyd will now concentrate entirely on lobbying with government, the Council and SPR to ensure that Tiree’s needs and concerns are central to any development of the Tiree Array. This is a separate post from the one advertised by SPR in the last issue of An Tirisdeach. Trish O’Neil continues as Finance and Governance Officer and Sophie Isaacson as Youth Worker.

These are exciting and challenging times for the Trust and Tiree and we are fortunate to have such a strong team on board. Ann has been a director of TREL since 2006 as well as being a co-opted director of the Trust. She was instrumental in delivering Tilley, the community wind turbine for Tiree. She is a Chartered Accountant, qualified for over 20 years, as well as Vice Chair of Community Energy Scotland. Ann’s home number at Balemartine is 755. Lynne was born and brought up on Tiree and has been looking for the right opportunity to come back to live on Tiree. Her work leaves her job as In Flight Trainer for Loganair to return home. Lynne sees this role as an exciting opportunity to be a part of developing the future of the Island and working within the community.

All staff can be contacted on the office number 220074 or by email tireetrust{@}tireebroadband.com

Turbine update

September was a cracking month and Tilley produced 334 MWh, 40% over the prediction for the month. This was also after nearly 5 days of down time because of a technical issue, scheduled maintenance and training. This takes us 244 MWh above the expected output for the period 27 March to end of September, which gives us a cushion to cover unexpected downtime or calm periods.

October has started even better: 114 MWh in the first 5 and half days. Tuesday 5th was a red letter day, generating over 22 MWh. The wind hit 32 m/s or 70 mph at 4.20pm with an average speed of 19 m/s (43 mph) for the whole day! This week is Wave Classic so we all know what that means, flat calm.

We are still waiting for the first Feed in Tariff (FiT) payments to come through but these are expected shortly. These payments are guaranteed for the next 20 years and are based on how much Tilley produces each quarter. We also receive payment for the electricity exported to the Grid. Once these payments start to come in and the initial costs are covered, TREL hopes to be able to make its first payment to the Trust before the end of the year.

The Trust will be launching the Windfall Fund in the next few weeks. Please look out for more information in An Tirisdeach and posters around the Island.

Website

The Trust’s website is being updated with a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs), which we hope will help to keep people informed. There should also be the ARC monthly reports in full, along with records of the Tiree Array Forum meetings.

Youth Worker

Sophie has started the Duke of Edinburgh award group Monday 3.30pm at the school. There are already 10 keen members who are planning what to do for their bronze award. After the holidays this is moving to Wednesday evening.

The P1-4 Saturday morning club has been advertised and we’re still looking for a few more volunteers to commit to helping out. We really do need a couple more for this to go ahead. Please get in touch if you can help.

Sophie is also investigating the possibility of setting up a Sailing Club. We would like to know how many young people on the Island are interested in learning how to sail and taking part in races or sailing activities.

Tiree Array

This has been a busy time. The date for SPR to submit its detailed plans is getting ever nearer: they hope to be ready to ask for planning permission in early 2012.

We are concentrating our efforts on lobbying to be included in the planning process so we can influence decisions and so try to ensure that Tiree’s interests are covered.

SPR recently held public information days on Coll and Tiree. The event here on 23rd September was well attended, SPR estimate over 70 people during the day. They’ve reported they felt the day was useful, with lots of queries and general discussion from people who have previously been unable to attend meetings or join the Forum.

We are encouraging SPR to hold more of these days as soon as more information is available. Whilst the project is by no means certain to go ahead, with or without the Community’s support, these events are good opportunities to come along and talk directly to the people involved.

Forum

The Tiree Array Forum has been working hard to uncover as much information as possible about offshore windfarms and their impacts on local communities. This information is fed back to the Trust. We still have very little detailed information about what the Tiree Array will look like or its impact upon us, but we hope that the work of the Forum will go some way towards identifying the likely outcomes.

ARC

Argyll Renewable Communities (ARC) has responded to the SPR scoping document, raising a number of the concerns that the Trust raised in its own response.
In addition, ARC has written to the Scottish Government with concerns over its draft plan for development of offshore waters.

ARC is currently working on collecting case study information from 12 offshore sites in order to draw a picture of what happens elsewhere. We will be able to use this information when they have completed the work. ARC will meet with senior officials in Argyll & Bute Council to push for communities’ involvement in the planning process around the Array developments.

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