Tag Archives: wind

The Big December Storm

wind blown telegraph poleThe huge storm that hit Scotland on Thursday 8th December left more than 150,000 homes without power during the day on Thursday and more than 70,000 were still off overnight. At least 10,000 homes in Scotland were still without power on the Saturday.
Here on Tiree it took until lunchtime on Sunday before power was restored to all homes! The hurricane-force storm has been described as a ‘weather bomb’, which in meteorological terms is defined as an ‘explosive deepening’.
According to catastrophe modelling specialists, Windstorm Friedhelm “began as a depression over the northern Atlantic, but as it approached the British Isles, it experienced a rapid drop of pressure that caused its wind speeds to soar”. This phenomenon occurs when cold air meets warm air and is characterised by a decrease in atmospheric pressure of at least 24 millibars in 24 hours. The lower the pressure, the stronger the winds become. Thursday’s storm was accompanied by a drop of 44mb!
By 9.50am ‘Windstorm Friedhelm’ officially became a hurricane as winds of 76mph were recorded at Tiree Airport – winds over 74mph are classified as hurricane strength. It was to get worse, with the maximum gust on Tiree being 91mph (146kmh). The mean wind speed for the day was 61mph. At Aonach Mor, just outside Fort William, there was a gust of 130mph (209kmh), whilst winds at Cairngorm Summit reached 165mph (264kmh).
Thanks to Sophie Isaacson for the photograph and to all the hydro boys for restoring our power in such horrendous conditions.

Argyll Array Project Update #16 September 2011

Scottish Power Renewables logoScenario Mapping

The Project Team has been working recently to create detailed ‘scenarios ‘of how Operations and Maintenance of the Argyll Array could potentially work if the base was sited wholly or partly in Tiree.Operations and Maintenance (or O&M) is the work which needs to be done once a wind farm is built and it begins to generate electricity.

Over the 25 year lifespan of a wind farm, turbines have to be serviced and repaired and technicians and spares have to be quickly and efficiently transported to the wind farm. We have outlined a number of options, or ‘scenarios’, for that and these will enable people to better understand what the onshore impacts of the project could be in Tiree.

It’s important to emphasise that these scenarios are concerned with what may happen onshore in Tiree and are not focused on questions about the actual wind turbines themselves. It’s also important to say that the scenarios are not definite plans-they are possibilities or options for how O&M could be done. We have provided these scenarios to the consultants who are carrying out the Scenario Mapping process on behalf of a group led by Argyll and Bute Council. These will form part of the consultation event to be held soon in Tiree.

Like the previous event last month, this is not an SPR event. However, this is a really good opportunity to get more information about the possible impacts- if O&M was cited in Tiree- of such things as new jobs, increased transport activity, new infrastructure and increased economic activity generally. This will enable the community to be better informed about these possible options and allow a clearer picture to emerge of Tiree’s views about them when the consultation is complete by the end of the year.

Benefits from the wind farm

Some of the O&M scenarios that will be presented in the Scenario Mapping process have the potential to be of great benefit to Tiree both economically and socially.

They could bring good quality jobs and improved infrastructure to the island. However, it has been clear to the company for some time that there is an expectation that other direct positive impacts could also come from the Argyll Array. This has been evident from conversations round the island, from views put to us by the Tiree Trust and from the comments at the Public Information Day in June. Keen readers of these Updates will remember that I said in August that the company was working on what form that positive impact could take. So this is something else the Project Team has been working on recently and we’re committed to saying more about this once the Scenario Mapping process is complete.

Public Information Days on Grid Route Selection

A major part of the project will be the system needed to transmit the electricity generated by the wind farm to the National Grid.

The electricity has to be transmitted by an export cable to a site at Cruachan, near Dalmally, on the Argyll mainland. This will require the grid route to go from the wind farm, both on the sea bed and on land, to get there.

Much work has been done over the summer on looking at potential grid routes. The options have now been reduced to a number of potential routes, which will be the subject of Public Information Days next month. These Information Days will be similar to that held in Tiree in June. The public will be able to see a number of possible grid routes and to make comments on them.

Public bodies such as the Scottish Government, the Council and SNH will be asked for comments. Representative groups such as users of the sea and land along the routes will also be invited to comment. Once the Information Days have been held, the company will take account of all the comments and of the technical data before selecting one or two routes to look at more closely. This closer look will involve a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the route(s), essentially the same as will be done for the wind farm itself.

The Public Information Days will be held in Mull, Oban and Dalmally in the middle of next month. There will be no Public Information Day in Tiree at this time. This is because the situation as regards the grid route is different for Tiree.

The first difference is that none of the potential grid transmission routes to Dalmally crosses Tiree and Coll. All of the potential routes go from the wind farm undersea, directly to other parts of Argyll and Bute. There will therefore be no cable transmission route to Dalmally across Tiree and Coll.

The second difference is to do with the transmission of the electricity. The electricity from the wind farm has to be converted from AC to DC before transmission, to reduce energy losses on the long journey to Dalmally. Another converter station at Dalmally will then convert it back to AC. A decision has not yet been made about where the wind farm converter station could be and this could affect Tiree.
The converter station could be within the wind farm itself, on a large platform out at sea. The electricity from the turbines would go to the platform to be converted and then head undersea, for transmission to other parts of Argyll.

Another option is that the electricity from the turbines would go to a converter station in Tiree to be converted before it was transmitted, initially undersea, to Dalmally.

If a converter station were to be proposed in Tiree, SPR would take into consideration the need to minimize the lengths of cables into and out of it. So, because the transmission grid route will not cross Tiree and Coll there will be no Grid Route Public Information Day next month in Tiree. However, when a potential site for the converter station has been identified, either offshore or onshore, a decision will then be made about a Public Information Day in Tiree.

Future updates

  • A report on the visit to an offshore wind farm in England
  • A report on the Offshore Wind Careers Evening.

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 No.6-APRIL 2011

Scottish Power Renewables logo

Community Information Day

The ScottishPower Renewables Community information Day will be held on Tuesday 28th June in An Talla. The Project Team will be available to give information and hear your views between 2.00pm and 6.30pm with refreshments available.

The Project Team will be joined by a number of specialists from Scottish Power Renewables who will be able to give some background on their particular areas of responsibility.

The first photomontages showing what the wind farm could look like from various points on the island will also be available on the day and will be left for public display on the island. More details about the Information Day will be available closer to the time.

Website Update

A major update to our Argyll Array website is coming soon.

This will carry all the updates that appear in An Tirisdeach but will also be able to carry items that are too detailed or too big for the newsletter. It will enable anyone wanting background to the project or the latest news to access it 24 hours a day, from anywhere in the world. The website address is www.argyllarray.com

An Tirisdeach will still be where all the latest news is published first but the website will be a useful addition to that.

Unfortunately, not everyone on Tiree has access to the internet so if anyone would wish paper copies of the website updates, please contact Donnie Campbell.

Marine Scotland

  • Marine Scotland has been referred to many times since the Project was announced but many are still not sure what the organisation is or what it has to do with the Project.
  • Marine Scotland is a new department of the Scottish Government, set up two years ago. It was made up from a number of smaller bodies with responsibility for the sea and brings them all together under the one department. Many marine matters have effects on each other, such as fishing, the environment, oil and gas developments and wind, wave or tidal power. Marine Scotland was created as the single body that understands all these matters and which can plan and oversee the way Scotland’s seas are used.
  • It resulted from a combination of the government Marine Department, the Fisheries Research Services and the Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency. An important part of Marine Scotland’s work is Fishery Protection and it has three ocean-going protection vessels and two aircraft for this job. One of its offices is in Cameron House in Oban and its vessels and aircraft can be seen regularly around Tiree.
  • Another important part of its work is giving permission for wind farm developments. It deals with planning matters at sea, while Argyll and Bute Council Planning Department deals with developments on land.
  • Marine Scotland looked at the Argyll Array project when it drew up the national plan for wind power developments which was published a few months ago. As part of the consultation on that plan, officials visited Tiree twice over last autumn and winter to gather people’s views. (Read more about this national plan on our updated website.)
  • Officials from Marine Scotland will consider the full planning application for the Argyll Array when it is submitted in 2012 and are likely to take a year or so to decide on the application after receiving it. They will either refuse it, grant it as it stands or grant it with conditions attached.
  • There will be a link from our website to the relevant part of Marine Scotland’s website

Met Mast

ScottishPower Renewables is seeking to erect an onshore meteorological mast to measure wind speed.

The type of mast would be similar to the one erected before the community wind turbine was built. It would be just over 70m in height and would be expected to be in place for up to five years. ScottishPower Renewables is in the process of identifying technically appropriate sites, and will contact owners/occupiers soon.

As well as an agreement with the occupier, ScottishPower Renewables will have to apply for planning permission to Argyll and Bute Council. Further details of the proposed mast will be available then. If permission is granted for the mast, tenders can then be issued for its construction and maintenance.

It is hoped that the mast will be in place by the end of the year.

Thank you

Morna Cannon, Assistant Project Manager, visited Tiree earlier in the month for a formal meeting but also took the opportunity to meet a number of people informally over the two days, to discuss the project and hear people’s views.

Thank you to all who took the time to speak with her and for their kind welcome and hospitality.

Future Updates

  • More information on the wind farm planning permission process
  • Information on a planned offshore wind farm visit
  • Information on a Careers Workshop to be held soon
  • An update on the appointment of an Environmental Impact Assessment consultant

Questions or comments

If anyone has any questions or comments on any of the above, or indeed any aspect of the project, please contact Donnie Campbell, Machair, Kilmoluaig in the first instance. Donnie’s land line telephone number is 220 352, mobile number 07881 983 753 and email donnie{@}argyllarray.com

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

Windfall Fund

tilleyOn Monday 13 December TREL was delighted to make its first transfer of money generated by Tilley to the Trust. A cheque for £10,000 has been formally handed to the Trust. Further transfers will be made in 2011.

Over the life of the turbine, TREL will transfer all its available net income to the Trust after meeting its operating costs, including Bank repayments and other reserves. The money is held by the Trust in a ring-fenced bank account at RBS and can only be used for the Windfall Fund and is not used for staff or office costs.

There will be an open day on Saturday January 29 at An Talla to launch the Windfall Fund. The day will probably start at 1pm and finish about 4.30pm and refreshments will be served all afternoon. The application process, eligibility, how applications will be scrutinised and the selection criteria will be explained. Application forms and guidance notes will be available on the day and afterwards from the Trust office and online at the Trust’s website. The deadline for applications for the first round of awards is 31 March 2011. There will be further application rounds later in the year. For 2011, the amount of each grant awarded will be limited to a maximum of £1,000.

Once again TREL and the Trust would like to thank the Co-operative Bank and the BIG Lottery Fund for their support. Lynne, Tiree’s Local Development Officer, will also be explaining at the Open Day the work she is doing on updating the Community Development Plan and will be asking what projects you would like to see developed and how.

TREL

Ian Tainsh has stepped down from the Board of TREL after nearly 5 years of unstinting unpaid voluntary work. TREL, the Trust and the Tiree Community owe Ian a huge debt of gratitude for the determination and incredible amount of work he has put into making TREL a success and ensuring Tilley is here on the Island and generating money for all of us. We will miss not only his technical accounting and governance help but also his deadpan comments and turn of phrase. We wish Ian well and a well-deserved rest.

New Landmark Takes Shape On Tiree

wind_turbine

A new landmark is taking shape on the island. The £2 million pound community project to build a large wind turbine has entered the final stages with arrival on island of 7 lorry loads of parts and two gigantic cranes, transported by Mar-Train heavy haulage based in Ireland and Scotland. A specially chartered sailing of Caledonian MacBrayne’s ferry, the MV Clansman, arrived at Scarinish pier at 10.45pm on Saturday 7th November and it took over 2 hours to unload all the lorries/ cranes and components.

By Thursday 12th the first two sections of the turbine, each measuring over 15 meters, had been erected by the team from Enercon/ Whytes Cranes with assistance from Mar Train employees. Ironically, strong winds then intervened and put a temporary halt to the construction work. This is not surprising, according to Tiree Community Development Trust chairperson, Tish MacKinnon: “Tiree is the windiest place in the UK, so we should expect some delays. It’s just a pity that it has to come now, when we want calm days to get the construction done. Last month when we had the Wave Classic windsurfing event it hardly blew at all!”

Tiree Trust set up a community enterprise, Tiree Renewable Energy Company Ltd (TREL) to work on the turbine project. Chairman of the TREL board, Bruce Kemp, is also not surprised by delays: “The project has taken over 4 years to get to this stage, during which we have faced every kind of obstacle, frustration, set back and disappointment. The reason it is still going ahead is that we have a team of incredibly hard-working volunteers on the board of TREL. Remarkably, the project is still almost on schedule. Construction should be completed by the end of November.

The next steps are the commissioning and connection to the grid which should take place in December and the community should finally start to earn money from the sale of electricity. The turbine is expected to operate for 25 years, during which time it should earn in the region of £3.5 million.

Liz Lapsley, the local project officer working for the Tiree Trust, sees this to be the whole point of the project; “Once we have paid off the bank loan we could be earning over £200,000 a year for the community. We will have a community chest in the form of a local grant scheme that can be used to invest in any social, cultural or economic good cause that the community wants to support.” Tish MacKinnon also said “We are so close to getting our turbine up and running. Some of the volunteers have been putting in 20 or 25 hours a week, week after week for 4 years. There is just the voltage control equipment to be commissioned and we are there. If we hit another delay we will miss the good winter wind, our bank loan will increase and we will have less money for the community. We just need everyone to do their part, and Tiree can start to harvest the wind and look to the future.

For more information and photos of this project check out the Tiree Renewable Energy Website

Community Wind Turbine Update

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

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

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

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

Community Turbine Works Progress

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

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