Tag Archives: wind power

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

Artistic Turbines

letters to editor

Thank you Robert Trythall

At last a visualisation of the proposed wind farm from Sandaig. I love wind farms and believe it would be good to have our very own environmentally friendly outdoor art installation, which would also provide renewable energy.

The turbines remind me of work by famous artists such as Anthony Gormley, Giacometti and Tinguely. They are quite beautiful. I wish we could consider a more detailed visualisation with coloured turbine blades e.g. pink (as in Sweden) or shiny/sparkly to prevent harm to birds.

The nuclear disaster in Japan should be a reminder that more renewables are now necessary. They are the only alternatives and the argument ‘not in my back yard’ is not acceptable. Any argument against wind farms pales compared with nuclear installations.

Ulrike Rawson

More Wind Turbine Comments

wind array

There has been quite a furor created over the proposed Argyll Array project, both in the comments here on the website, and in the paper edition of An Tirisdeach. Here are some of the latest letters sent to the editor:

From Tiree Community Development Trust

Following the public meeting on 15th June at which the scale of the proposed wind farm off Tiree was discussed,Tiree Community Development Trust would like to thank all the members and residents who attended and all the off-islanders who also contributed.

In particular, we would like to thank Ralph Thornton and Morna Cannon from Scottish Power Renewables, who faced some hard questioning and did their best to answer openly and candidly, even when they knew they would get a hostile reaction.

The Trust would now like to ask anyone who is interested to join an informal group to discuss in more detail some of the main issues. The group will advise the Trust as it builds its negotiations with the developers and the Government. What we are looking for is a relatively large and broadly representative group that can meet for about two hours every two weeks or so to discuss a single topic each time and arrive at an agreed position on that topic.
For instance, one week we might be discussing the hopes and concerns we have about impact on housing, the following meeting could discuss harbour developments, then noise/disturbance and so on.

There will be an initial meeting on 4th August at An Talla at 7.30pm for people to come along and express the support they can give, and define the detail of how the group will work. Please come along to that meeting if you feel you can contribute. If you would like to be involved but can’t get to the meeting please email Lloyd (lloyd@tireetrust.org.uk) with ARRAY STRATEGY GROUP as the subject.

From Alison Brown

Dear Sir,
The Wind Turbine Project Let the Government know what YOU think!

As individuals, we can inform the Government what we think about its Draft Plan for Offshore Wind Energy in Scottish Territorial Waters. This is the plan that will affect Tiree. The Trust is making its own submission. But the public – and that means each and every one of us who cares about this issue – is invited to do the same. Responses must be made by the 16th August to: Offshore Wind Consultation, Marine Scotland, Area 1-A (South), Victoria Quay Edinburgh EH6 6QQ, Tel: 0131 244 1617 Or by email to: offshorewindconsultation@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

All responses have to be considered and replied to. You can see the Draft Plan, and the accompanying Strategic Environmental Report (SEA) that you are responding to on the Government Website: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2010/05/19103706 follow the links to give you the background information you need.

We have to start at the beginning of what will be a long process involving commitment from all of us who care about the issue, whatever our individual views. But that’s how democracy works.

Alison Brown

From Kate Macallum

Dear Editor,
My apologies for not clearly stating my point regarding proposed off shore turbines. At this point in time I am neither for or against the development. What I am against is accepting change for the island solely based upon a government agenda to introduce renewable energy which in the form of wind farms has yet to be proven efficient.

I am also aware of the vast profits to be made and I would like the island to be the main benefactor. As for Tilley I am safe in the knowledge that every penny that comes from the turbine will be ploughed straight back into the community.

With local government slashing services in education and care for the elderly this funding stream maybe the only way we can maintain services. Public funding for development projects is also getting harder to access so thank goodness for Tilley for the youth workers and lunch clubs of the future.

Kate Maccallum.

One More From Tiree Community Development Trust

Dear An Tirisdeach,
Change comes to us all, wherever we live (your report 5th July). Tiree is facing virtually unprecedented change and should the massive proposed wind farm be built just off our shores we, our children and our grandchildren will have to live with the consequences.

We called the public meeting last month to give our community the chance to hear about just how big the impacts might be, and we were pleased to welcome a number of off-islanders to that meeting too, all of whom made useful contributions to the discussion.

The key to our future came when one resident asked the developers if local objection could stop the project going ahead and we were told that no, it probably couldn’t. For us this makes it clear: our job now is to fight for the best interests of the current and future community of Tiree. We have to ensure that if the development does go ahead Tiree benefits as much as possible from it, while also minimising the negative impacts.

A local crofter pointed out at the meeting that the communities of Shetland did not set their faces against the inevitable construction of oil terminals at Sullum Voe; rather, they purposefully and deliberately entered into negotiations with the developers to ensure that community interests were met. They drove a hard bargain, and as a consequence have done well. We intend to do the same.

We understand that holiday-makers, some of whom have been coming to Tiree for years, generations even, will be aghast at the proposed scale of the development. We are, too. We also know that many holiday-makers come here year after year because they love the community of Tiree as much as the physical and natural environment. We ask that they now support us in determining for ourselves what our interests are, and that they support us in fighting for those interests. In fact, we ask everyone who cares about us to do the same: we need your support.

For us now, the fact that this is going to be a wind farm is almost irrelevant. For us what matters is that it is going to be very big and reach every part of what we do and who we are. This could be good: new jobs, housing, better roads and harbours, more young people staying on the island, more islanders returning, more choices. It could also be bad: noise, pollution, crime, disturbance, visual impacts, loss of biodiversity and a loss of the Tiree way of doing things, including our thriving crofting, fishing and tourism sectors. It seems that many people are worried on our behalf, and we thank them for that. The best way for people to help us through this is to get behind us.

In the first instance, go to our website (tireetrust.org) for general information and feel free to contact us with messages of support.

We now have to get through several years of hard bargaining with the developers and the Scottish Government, and knowing that lots of ordinary people, people just like us, are supporting us will help enormously.

Yours faithfully,
The Board of the Tiree Community Development Trust

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

Tilley officially declared open

tilley

After five long, turbulent and emotional years Saturday saw the official “opening” of Tilley, Tiree’s Community Turbine.

The project has suffered many delays and setbacks, weather has intervened, ferries been cancelled, equipment developed faults and a mass of paperwork and forms had to be completed and submitted to various agencies. The fact that Tilley has been built at all is a testament to the hard work and perseverance of many people, particularly the TREL directors and their supporters.

Costing approximately £2.1million and at a height of 75m to the tip of her blades, Tilley is an Enercon E-44 model, specially designed to be located in areas of high winds and she should have a life span of 20 years – all the while generating an income for the Tiree Community.

In the first hour of operation Tilley produced and exported to the grid 0.283mwh of energy. Putting that into terms that we can relate to it means we could boil 1886 kettles making 11,316 cups of tea!

tilley_pipers

As the coach carrying the members of TREL, the Trust, and representatives from The Co-operative bank, Enercon, CalMac, TC Young Solicitors, Community Energy Scotland and our meteorology adviser arrived, it was greeted by three young ladies (Mhairi MacKinnon, Fiona MacKinnon and Eilidh MacFadyen) playing the pipes, and an impressive crowd of locals who had turned out on a grey afternoon to witness this historical event.

Bruce Kemp, Chair or TREL made a brief speech and Rev. Peter Williams gave a Blessing of thanks for the harnessing of God given Natural resources and asking that the community spirit would enable us all to be good stewards of the rewards of the turbine and that these would be spent in a way honourable to God and for the good of the community.

trel_members

In true spirit of the occasion tradition was cast aside as Tish MacKinnon, Chair of the Trust, cut a green ribbon and to the applause of the assembled crowd Tilley was officially declared open.

An invitation was extended to those who wished to meet at An Talla where Champagne was served along with tea, coffee and a truly wonderful selection of cakes.

Following a quick tidy up of the hall the celebrations continued in the evening with a well attended Family Dance, the music was provided by some of the many talented Tiree musicians and a raffle was held with a generous amount of prizes donated by individuals and local businesses.

Now we should start thinking about the future, as Tish said before cutting the ribbon “each time the blades turn Tilley is generating an income for the Island”. Maybe not in the early years but as time goes on and the outstanding loans reduce there will be money available for spending on projects to benefit the community.

How the money from the Tiree Windfall Fund should be used will be decided by the Trust and they would like to know your views on this and they will be holding a further meeting to explain more about how the Fund might be operated, to which everyone is invited.

More detailed information about Tilley is available free from the Trust.

A word from Bruce

I would like to say a very big thank you to Liz Lapsley, Lloyd Gudgeon, all of the Trust directors who helped to organise the official opening of Tilley the turbine on Saturday and to everybody who turned out to support it, including representatives from Enercon, the Co-op Bank, CES, Argyll Estates, SNH and TC Young who all helped us along the way and came to join in the celebrations.

It was an excellent day and a fun evening of music and dance highlighting the ever-present young musical talent on Tiree.

There are many ways to look at this turbine project. You can see it as a community effort to reduce our carbon imprint, and it will certainly do that. Over an average year the turbine will generate 3100MWh of electricity, enough to power over 620 homes. The equivalent power sourced from the grid would produce 1600 tonnes of CO2.

In money-making terms it will provide significant revenue to the Tiree Community Development Trust totalling several million pounds over its lifetime.

But to me it is about empowerment. It is about empowering a community to take charge of its destiny, to decide what it is we want to achieve and to give us the means to achieve it. Now that the turbine is exporting power it is harnessing a resource that Tiree has plenty of and every turn of the blades generates not just electrical power but also the ability to turn dreams into reality. Power to the people!

I would like to thank everybody who has supported this project in any way, with voluntary effort and time, financially, professionally and commercially. The project has taken many thousands of hours of freely given voluntary work on the part of the TREL board and I would particularly like to thank them, it has been a pleasure and a privilege to work with them.

Thanks too, to you, the people of Tiree for supporting us through the process and for your patience and forbearance during and after the construction.

Bruce Kemp

Comment on behalf of Argyll Estates

I was very encouraged to see so many faces, both young and old, at the opening of the new Tiree Community Wind Turbine, which in more ways than one is a landmark achievement leaving no one in any doubt that Tiree leads by example.

When the Estate agreed to give up the land for the project, my main concern was the local reaction to what many may have perceived to be a “blot on the landscape”. In fact this was not the case and indeed on my ferry journey into Tiree I realised how wrong perception can be as Tilley has proved to be a most unobtrusive and graceful design.

The turbine in the main seems to have been embraced by the Islanders, and rightly so, given the enormous financial benefits such a development will generate. Yes it has been a long hard road for those involved, however I think all of us with an interest in the Island should see Tilley the Turbine as a monument to a job well done; a flag flying for an island whose community has taken up the baton and run with it, showing a progressive and forward thinking approach to sustainable community development.

Well done to you all for giving such support and well done to those involved in TREL for making it all happen.

Andrew Montgomery
Factor , Argyll Estates

And a Thank You from TCDT

Tiree Community Development Trust would like to thank everyone who turned out on Saturday to celebrate the opening of Tilley the Tiree Turbine.

In particular, thanks go to Agrimarine, Cal Mac, Rockvale, Chocolate & Charms, Enercon, Co-operative Bank and Martrain for their very generous contributions, and to Atlantic Edge Hotels for the many bottles of bubbly.

The band were great and the pipers were excellent. Thanks also to all the volunteers who baked, brewed and served up the lunches, teas and cakes, and who then tidied up afterwards and donated raffle prizes. We’d also like to thank the supporters who could not make it on Saturday, particularly Mary Jean Devon and the other local councillors, and of course the Big Lottery. Lastly, the biggest thanks of all to you, the community, for being patient in your support for this brilliant project.

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

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