Argyll Array Project Update 17 October 2011

Scottish Power Renewables logoOffshore wind careers evening

There was a good turnout at the careers evening organised by SPR at the end of last month. There were brief talks from two SPR Operations and Maintenance managers and also from a work boat operator, who had travelled from the Netherlands especially for the event.

The Careers Service gave their professional perspective on future careers in the offshore wind industry. Most of the evening, however, was given over to a number of interesting discussions about the practicalities of working on an offshore wind farm. The main points coming out of the evening were

  •  Offshore wind farm Operations and Maintenance provides career opportunities in all areas; professional, technical, craft, administrative and manual, with all of these equally appropriate for men and women.
  • The current entry method is mainly through having existing skills in any of those areas. · The next few years will see specific training for offshore Operations and Maintenance being developed.
  • The industry provides new opportunities for good quality, secure jobs. This is the case nationally but would have particular impact on Tiree were any part of the Argyll Array Operations and Maintenance to be sited here.
  •  Electrical, Mechanical, Electronic engineering, aeronautical and even car mechanic type backgrounds, to vocational standards (HNC, HND etc) and higher, provide an excellent grounding for work as turbine technicians.
  • Offshore oil and gas skills are also transferable to offshore wind.
  •  Going along to the Scenario Mapping events taking place between now and Christmas in Tiree gives an excellent opportunity to understand and influence how Operations and Maintenance for the Argyll Array could develop.

A number of those who were able to come along found the format and contributors relaxed and informative. The company would like to thank those who travelled to Tiree and also all those who attended for making the evening such a success.

Tiree visit to Offshore Windfarms

Ralph and Morna from the SPR Project Team took four visitors from Tiree to view offshore windfarms from Barrow-in-Furness in north west England on the 26th and 27th September.

The visitors from Tiree were Robert Trythall, Clare Jones, Sophie Isaacson and Ian MacInnes. The aim of the visit was to demonstrate what an offshore windfarm looks like from the coast, to give an idea of the jobs and infrastructure involved in construction/operations of an offshore windfarm, and to demonstrate SPR’s approach to development of windfarms.

On Monday the group visited SPR’s Whitelee windfarm and Visitors’ Centre on Eaglesham moor outside Glasgow, then drove to Barrow-In-Furness, in Cumbria. At Barrow, the group drove along Walney Island, and viewed the Barrow, Ormonde and Walney offshore windfarms from the coast including viewing the turbines at night.

The next day the group visited the Walney Offshore Wind farm’s construction base, and spent the day talking to staff from DONG Energy, who run the site. The group spoke to staff involved in project management, port operations, marine logistics, workboat crew, administration and health and safety. The group members have all given their personal impressions of the visit in the accounts published elsewhere in this week’s paper. I think it’s fair to say that the three main issues which come out of these accounts are

  1.   The potential for economic and social development from an offshore wind farm.
  2. The visual impact of jacket foundations.
  3. The visual impact of the wind farm at night.

These last two points are things the company is taking very seriously and I will have more to say about them next week.

Future updates

  •  Details of local consultation meetings
  • More on the wind farm visit

 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 [email protected]

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