Tag Archives: wind power

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

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

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.

Argyll Array Project Update #30 – July 2012

Scottish Power Renewables logoWhen the announcement of the amended timescales for the Argyll Array was made it was also announced that this would have no effect on the discussions regarding the Community Partnership Fund (CPF) proposed to be established in Tiree by SPR. This is still the case and the commitment to the Fund is unchanged. What has slipped, however, is the timescales for the agreement about the detail of the Fund.

It was agreed between SPR and the Tiree Trust that the financial implications of the current Tiree Growth Plan should be estimated in order to provide a possible first stage in the process of agreeing the annual amount of the Fund. This will require an independent costing of the Growth Plan. SPR has undertaken to fund this work. The delay has been associated with the tendering process for that independent work. We hope that a contract can be awarded soon to allow it to begin.

It was also said at the outset of the negotiations about the CPF that minutes of the meetings held between SPR and the Trust would be published at the end of each stage of discussions. The discussions have however not followed that kind of pattern so it is appropriate to now publish the minutes of the meetings that have taken place so far. These will be published in the next edition of An Tirisdeach, when more space is available, and simultaneously on the websites of SPR and the Tiree Trust. It is also intended that the first direct public consultation regarding the CPF will now take place when the costing of the Growth Plan becomes available.

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

Argyll Array Project Update #28 – June 2012

Scottish Power Renewables logoPublic Information Day 2012

The SPR Public Information Day for 2012 will be held in the autumn, on a date yet to be fixed. There will be a number of SPR staff on hand to give information on such issues as the implications of the new project timetable, the process of preparing our Environmental Statement and any other matters raised on the day.

There will also be direct consultation on the options for the location of the wind farm converter station. As announced earlier in the year, SPR is currently minded to site the converter station off-shore. However, after consultation with the Tiree Trust, it was decided to present more detailed implications of siting the facility either offshore or on-shore in Tiree.

There are advantages and disadvantages to the island of each option and the information and discussion at the Public Information Day will assist in the making of the final decision. I hope to be able to provide details of the date, venue etc for the day in the near future.

Tiree RESET Fund

An important part of SPR’s liaison and engagement in Tiree has been to highlight the potential economic and social benefit to people in Tiree of employment in the renewable energy sector and to encourage access to the skills, education and training needed for such employment.

During SPR’s discussions earlier in the year with the Tiree Trust regarding the future establishment of a Community Partnership Fund, it was agreed that a separate fund for Renewable Energy Skills, Education and Training (RESET) be established immediately.

The intention is for this to be funded by SPR on an annual basis and available from this year until a final investment decision is made on the project in 2016/17 after which a more broadly based skills fund with a remit beyond Tiree, could operate. For 2012/13 a total of £10,000 will be made available from SPR to the fund for people who attended secondary school in Tiree and/or are currently living in Tiree.

Whilst it is anticipated that a number of recipients of funding will be those in the 16-22 age group attending university or college, it should be emphasised that the fund is not restricted to those candidates. The fund is designed to help people of all ages and of all aspirations to gain qualifications that will help in getting employment in the renewable energy sector. A formal invitation to candidates to apply for support from the fund will be published in the next edition of An Tirisdeach on July 6th, along with a copy of the Fund Rules which give full details of the fund objectives, eligibility and the criteria for the award of support.

Basking Shark surveys

As highlighted in a previous update, further work is required to better understand the potential effects of the Argyll Array wind farm on Basking Sharks and Great Northern Divers.

To help inform this work, Basking Shark surveys will be undertaken on behalf of SPR throughout July, August and September of this year, at sea in the wind farm site. These surveys will be similar to those that have been undertaken previously on the site and will feed into the project’s Environmental Statement.

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

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