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The SPR photo montages are certainly an eye-opener …

Comment posted Now see for yourself: For Argyll challenges anyone to say SPR plans for Argyll Array at Tiree are acceptable by Tim McIntyre.

The SPR photo montages are certainly an eye-opener to the scale of the proposal. I’m not too concerned about the visual impact because I just don’t find wind turbines offensive to the eye – at least no more so than any of the other visible effects of day to day human life on the landscape – though that is of course just a personal view.

As Karl & Donald Meek say, there are many other much more important potential impacts in terms of navigation, marine wildlife, perhaps local climatic effects among others. These need to be properly investigated and shown to be acceptable. The endless scrapping over whether turbines can be hidden by strategically-held thumbs, or whether base structures can be seen or not, seems little more than a pointless distraction.

It is also a pity that newsroom does not attempt to balance the tone of FA’s coverage of the renewables issue with some research and comment on its potential benefits. Argyll is badly in need of some economic diversification and very little has so far been said on what opportunities the marine renewables industry may present, to help sustain and grow our communities in the wider context of Argyll.

It should also be borne in mind that this single array as proposed will have an installed capacity almost a third greater than the sum total of all the hydro-electric generation plant in Scotland. Its impacts have to be judged in that context: any type of energy installation of that size will have significant impacts on the local area in which it is sited.

If you want to deny the validity of opinions of anyone who does not live on Tiree, then I would suggest that a high proportion of objections to this project will have to be disregarded on similar grounds – certainly if the typical response to onshore wind planning applications is anything to go by.

Tim McIntyre also commented

  • Seems like a strange thing for an engineer to write: “…1MW of energy generated by wind-turbines is 1MW of CO2 emissions saved from conventional energy generation”

    A megawatt is not a unit of energy or CO2 emission, it is a unit of power. Engineers are usually pretty fussy about getting that kind of thing right, in my experience.

  • Malcolm – the installed capacity of hydro plant in Scotland is around 1.4GW, and the typical average load factor across the fleet is around 30-40%. This is about the same as the projected load factor for offshore wind, so the comparison is entirely valid in energy output terms.

Recent comments by Tim McIntyre

  • Holyrood: the disappeared
    “The SNP’s Mike Mackenzie… was clearly not going to get back to Holyrood in an election where the constituency vote would be dominated by the SNP.”

    The constituency vote made no difference – Highland elected the same number of SNP constituency MSPs as in 2011, so the loss of two Highland list SNPs MSPs is solely down to a reduction in their regional vote, from 47.5% to 37.9%.

    The Tories’ astute move to wrap themselves in the union flag and thus, in effect, revert to their original identity as the Conservative & Unionist party has certainly paid them an impressive dividend electorally.

    It will be interesting to see whether the reverse is true – i.e. whether being hard-wired to the Tory brand will do Unionism itself any favours over the course of this parliament.

  • SNP shuts down local branch Twitter proving witch hunt against Carmichael
    Integrity – I believe some have suggested to Mr Carmichael that he should step down voluntarily, precisely so that the money raised so far can go to food banks instead of lawyers 🙂

    Anyway, taking up your point about political ‘blinkers’ – maybe so, but I hastily add that I’m not defending him against the legitimate anger of his constituents, who are really the only folk that have an interest in his future now that he is a lowly back bench opposition MP in one of the smaller parties, and not a minister of state.

    Those constituents – including no doubt a good number who voted for him having believed his claim that he knew nothing about a grubby smear campaign – have every right to feel pretty unhappy at what has transpired, and especially that it was kept carefully concealed until after they cast their votes. That is not a party political point in itself, and it is unfair and simplistic to characterise the legal campaign to force a by-election as such.

    Given the high cost (and no legal aid) of raising an action, and the even more eye-watering potential for the awarding of costs in the event of failure, crowd funding seems to me a fair & transparent way to raise the money needed. Doubtless the campaigners are benefitting quite a bit from politically-motivated donations, especially given that Carmichael was one of the more, er, bruising personalities in the ‘No Thanks’ campaign. However, at the end of the day it is the court that will decide, even if the politics helps raise the cash.

  • SNP shuts down local branch Twitter proving witch hunt against Carmichael
    The First Minister was not a candidate in the election, and therefore the ‘smear’ itself – the creation of the false memo plus leaking thereof – is unlikely to be of any great concern to the court.

    As I understand it, the case will turn on whether the court finds that Alistair Carmichael’s admitted lie – that he knew nothing of the memo until contacted by journalists – amounts to ‘corrupt and illegal’ practice under the Representation of the People Act.

    In other words, did Mr Carmichael try to cover up his own involvement in the smear in order to present himself to his constituents as an honourable and decent candidate for re-election, and thereby affect the outcome in Orkney & Shetland.

    I suspect that anyone hoping for a detailed investigation into the writing of the memo itself may be disappointed…

  • Forget tactical voting for unity. Forget the coming of the one-party state. Your party matters more?
    Newsroom – re: the “wholly constitutionally disadvantaged position of England”, Derek Bateman has a good piece on that subject;-

  • Forget tactical voting for unity. Forget the coming of the one-party state. Your party matters more?
    Integrity – I’m sure you are right that the convention is informal, and obviously the parties can talk to each other as they wish – as the Lib Dems did with Labour last time. However, I assume that in practice, David Cameron would try every option to form a government and would not resign until these had been exhausted (as Gordon Brown did last time, despite coming a distant second). Only then would the SNP’s offer to Labour come into play.

    John M – the SNP cannot ‘vote down’ a Tory government which has managed to assemble majority support – the key phrase in your quote being “if there is an anti-Tory majority”

    Newsroom, I think you are right that stability could be a problem, especially as the Tory press in the south will do everything possible to de-stabilise a SNP-supported minority Labour government. If they can portray it as illegitimate that Labour gets to govern while the Tories got a majority in England, they will do so, loudly and insistently, and regardless of the damage to the Union.

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