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Malcolm – the ‘pet project’ you mention was …

Comment posted Scottish Power Renewables announces another delay for proposed Tiree Array by Tim McIntyre.

Malcolm – the ‘pet project’ you mention was a suggestion that Mr Trump donate the £10m, which he has threatened to blow on anti-wind PR, to help alleviate fuel poverty on Lewis – which is running at 50%, largely due no doubt to soaring fossil fuel prices.

Your famous sense of humour appears to have deserted you – I think the comment about Rangers FC might, just possibly, have been a closing joke by the chairman. Mr Trump certainly appears to have seen the funny side.

Tim McIntyre also commented

  • Lowry – the subsidy you are referring to is very small in the scheme of things. If you live in Argyll, your electricity is already heavily subsidised because the cost of building and maintaining the vast and fragile network of distribution lines is far greater than the income from local consumers can justify.

    If communities can take the initiative to tap into their local resources of water and wind on a small scale in order to generate an income for local projects, what’s not to like?

  • Karl – if Tilley is generating, then effectively its output IS being used locally, as it will reduce the import of electricity through the grid connection. Any plant that is designed to work in conjunction with the grid cannot generate if the connection is lost due to cable failure etc. – a basic technical limitation due to the need for power supply & demand to be at all times matched, and the requirement for voltage and frequency to be kept within the tight limits needed to run modern electrical equipment and appliances.

    I take it what you mean is that you would prefer the contractual arrangement between the owners of Tilley and local consumers to be direct, rather than going through an electricity supply company. There’s no reason in principle why this could not be done – it would require a supply company set up to take Tilley’s output, combine it with backup power bought in from the grid, and then sell it on to any local consumers willing to sign up to it. Not impossible, but it would have to compete with the other suppliers in the market presumably.

    The system on Eigg is completely independent, but that does not come without restrictions – all consumers have a maximum demand trip which costs them a ‘fine’ if they accidentally put too much load on the system. There is also a sizeable diesel generator needed to back up the renewable sources. All this added up to a high capital cost, but not as high as the cost of a grid connection to the mainland. That decision was made on economic grounds, not because of any romantic notion of energy independence.

    In the mean time, Tilley is presumably generating income for community projects?

  • The main innovation seems to be ever-larger turbines, so there may be limited scope for direct re-use of towers until that levels off.

    Steel is very recyclable, though.

  • As I understand it windfarm developers are required to put in place a bond to cover the cost of decommissioning in the event of the owner going bust – similar arrangements exist as part of the planning conditions for other large developments such as quarries, etc.
  • Agreed – a large proportion of energy use and CO2 emissions are related to space & water heating and this is the ideal function for biomass. The potential for dispersed local fuel supply operations also offers rural employment prospects and minimisation of fuel transport.

    By contrast, large scale conversion of biomass to electricity involves expensive and unsustainable transport of the fuel, which has a low energy density, as well as losing around 60% of the energy as waste heat. Small scale CHP systems for district heating and wintertime electricity generation are more efficient & will have a part to play where the economics work.

    Unfortunately the RHI does nothing for ‘conventional’ woodstove installations for space &/or water heating – only automated pellet, chip & log boilers.

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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