Did you say a bottle of Jura…………damn good …

Comment posted Fife Council joins Aberdeenshire in asking for suspension of wind farm applications by henri.

Did you say a bottle of Jura…………damn good stuff

henri also commented

  • Why don’t we focus this discussion on energy reduction instead. How about we cut down our energy needs by 50% by the year 2022. What is about to evolve in the next 10 years is a new tax system to penalize energy abusers and I am all for it. I live in a community where no cars are required. I have everything I need within walking distance. This is the community of the future.
    What thou sayest Dr. McKenzie ?
  • Malcolm…….did I take away your lollipop on you ?
  • Malcom………reactors can and will blow up when the conditions are right. You are good at playing with words. Your historical knowledge about nuclear accidents is pitiful.

    Anyway, we were discussing “windmills”.

  • OK Malcolm
  • I am very surprised that Dr. McKenzie is not advocating energy use reductions more strongly. Reductions in the use of energy won’t be an easy pill to swallow. How we use energy and all the ramifications connected with said reductions is going to be an extremely complex exercise and will take years of adaptation. The social implications will be enornous. Wind farms and tidal power may have a place in this process in the initial stages but those applications will be very limited.

    I think that some of you are not totally understanding the environmental issues we are facing. I cringe at the comments some of you make.

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159 Responses to Did you say a bottle of Jura…………damn good …

  1. And the appalling thing is these monstrosities do not contribute anything like enough power and never will. The only reason they exist at all is because of the subsidies. The poorest in our society get taxed more on their fuel to pay the wind subsidies to the rich landowners. We are taken oney and resources away from the energy solution – buclear power. Nuclear is the only sure way of guaranteeing our energy security – yet we are cowed by the eco taliban and useless renewables.

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    • Ian: it is certainly true that renewables require subsidies but then again so does nuclear – despite the large amounts previously sunk into the development of nuclear power, it is clear that no power company is going to build new nuclear plants in the UK without some form of rather generous subsidy.

      Of course, Malcolm and his ilk would have us stick to cheap fossil fuels, But are they really cheap?

      The International Energy Agency defines a subsidy as “any government action that lowers the cost of fossil fuel energy production, raises the price received by energy producers, or lowers the price paid by energy consumers.”

      Use that definition and the IEA’s most recent figures figures show oil, coal, and gas got $312 billion (US) in 2009 — while renewables got “only” $57 billion.

      Level the playing field and then let’s see what the reality of the cost of power generation really is.

      I actually agree with at least part of what you are saying: without nuclear is difficult to see how we can have fossil fuel free electricity generation but I worry about the cost, who we find to build it and the problem of nuclear waste. Malcolm the other day was waxing about the (financial) burden we leave for the next generation in the shape of PV subsidies but I think these pale into insignificance compared with the problem of nuclear waste that we are leaving for generations to come.

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  2. I wonder if future generations will look back at the scramble for wind turbines and see it as akin to the ‘Great Railway Mania’ – or whether it really will be seen as a timely reaction to a looming energy crisis brought on by climate change? There’s no doubt it’s attracting some opportunists who couldn’t give a damn for the environmental objectives (except in lecturing the local peasants on how grateful they should be) and just see it as providing a fatter return than property development.

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  3. Hi from Basra.
    Interesting to note that in regards to environmental concerns I have been reliably informed via FOI act that ‘Scottish Ministers’ now have the final say on protection of areas deemed to be of significant or national or indeed international environmental importance, such as the delayed SPA/MPA/NIMA around Tiree or SSSI etc and within the proposed Argyll/Tiree Array location….
    So, we have people who have little or no idea of what does harm to the Scottish environment making the decisions (case by case) on if a/or many turbine/s are put up to save us from recognised GLOBAL WARMING or put up for economic reasons/to line the pockets of the energy giants with our TAX etc.
    And if in Tiree’s case, put up in areas deemed by the JNCC to far exceed criteria for accreditation.
    We have the purse holders making the environmental decisions ! and given that the original rationale behined renewables is supposed to be primarily environmental this objectively is a very bad development … at a later date I will or NTA will expand on this issue,
    However, for now, be aware without any spin fore or against… that the folk tasked with protecting Scotlands natural heritage by giving solid advice to the Scottish government in regards to environmental protection/preservation: SNH/JNCC etc are at the core of their organisations not happy at this evolving development.
    A decision to proceed or not proceed with a development should obviously be based on the local environment and not economics. If this change is to become the becomes the case ,then it also becomes factual that any windfarm development now firstly goes through the commercial gain turnstile without deference to the environment…a turnstile that “usually” only moves in one direction.
    The plot thickens like cooling brochan…lets hope it sticks

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    • With predictions of onshore wind achieving cost parity with clean coal and new nuclear by 2016 it is hard to see why the subsidy should or would remain beyond the end of the current decade.

      Far from being ‘a sign of victory for campaigners’ as the Torygraph claims, the eventual removal of subsidies as new technologies become competitive is the natural order of things.

      It is the continuing fossil fuel subsidies that are inexcuseable.

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      • “predictions of onshore wind achieving cost parity with clean coal and new nuclear by 2016″ the use of the word ‘prediction’ seems to fit the bill…in that ‘Prediction’ is closely related to uncertainty.
        Given also that here in Iraq, it has just been confirmed that high grade oil on a massive scale is now accessible and will make Iraq the new kid on the block (also a top OPEC player)…and also the new 3rd largest producer in the world.

        We live in a commercial world and good business sense says remove/reduce subsidies…this is especially relevant given that the subsidies paid to industrial wind, generally make up a fair proportion of profits heading overseas…times are hard and, as you will find in developing nations the environment comes last when cheaper options exist (harsh cold reality for the pro-industrial wind lobby)

        Wind will play it’s part but real viability is based on community scale or for topping up your batteries on your GRP yacht…it is not the panacea to all ills but most likely the ruin of all British wilderness area…so these guys want to save the planet, seems like a load of old codswallop (might want to see where this word comes from ?) and on par with cutting ones nose off to spite ones face.

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      • That date is suspiciously close to when the bulk of current onshore farms become debt free. Most were financed over 10 years. They really could give us the stuff for free after that.

        What’s omitted might be the cost of refurbishment?

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  4. It is easy for councils to cope with them. You just say “No, we don’t want our landscape ruined by these monstrosities”.

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    • erm . . . you seem to have missed one of the fundamental issues, which is that at the moment they can be referred to the Scottish government, who can override local councils.

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      • Yes – and the Public Servants who override local Planning objections have been told to do so by the powers that be – guess who heads that lot. That’s why the ruling in Caithness will go down in history.

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        • Hi Malcolm…Ultimately our encumbant first minister makes the final decision on all larger industrial wind power stations.

          My sometimes dark sense of humor has me grinning again at some of the comments here, folk can be so blinkered…time to put the “Tiree Array NIMBY and proud of it” T-shirt on again:)

          How difficult can it be for supposedly intelligent carbon life forms to simply accept that the primary reason for Industrial power is NOT a quest to save the human race from itself. That this is simply a sales pitch, a tiny weeny spin off of miniscule proportions on a world scale…the primary reason of industrial wind is to generate cash for companies and shareholders.

          This undisputable/undeniable fact, win’s hands down everytime somebody mentions industrial winds pseudo green credentials. Anybody who does not agree on this point needs some form of mentoring :)

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  5. Whilst wind and nuclear energies may both require subsidising in some form or another, which one works best and which one can’t we do without?

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      • I am sorry but I can’t help saying this:
        Best ask Iberdrola…Spanish owners of Scottish Power Renewables/Scottish Power…sellers of the green dream…much to the anoyance of Greenpeace/WWF etc, THEY ALSO BUILD NUCLEAR POWER STATIONS !!!!!!…and (tongue in cheek) would no doubt bomb the Great Barrier Reef and turn it into aggregate for access roads and concrete for their upland /inshore/offshore windfarms…obviously: if there are any subsidies available of course :)

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  6. Well, I’m in no position to decide that, but at least I could be relatively sure that the energy will be consistant and there when I need it.

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    • I’m not sure that wind and nuclear are either or. They both have advantages and some major disadvantages.
      Nuclear must be considered the most reliable and able to deliver a very high power density compared with wind. So from a reliability viewpoint nuclear wins hands down.

      From a cost viewpoint there probably isn’t much in it (though it is very difficult to determine the actual cost of nuclear given that nobody seems keen to build any new plants and the improbability of decommissioning).
      So nuclear one up and a score draw on the second.

      But then we look at environmental impact, NIMBYism and the security risk. Here wind wins hands down. No one is going to commit an act of terrorism with a wind turbine so no need for elaborate security. Worst outcome of a major earthquake or tsunami with turbines is that someone walking their dog underneath one might be squashed by a falling turbine or tower. Worst case scenario with a nuclear accident is some thousands of deaths (some quick, some slow) and a large part of your country that has to be abandoned for generations. A similar story with technology failure.

      NIMBYism with nuclear dwarfs any problems with wind.

      Biggest problem, though, are legacy issues. Wind power has no real legacy issues. Despite Newsroom’s pessimism, turbine blades and towers can be recycled and the footprint of the turbines can be absorbed within a couple of years. Nuclear plants produce radioactive waste that lasts between months (at the low end) to thousands of years. In my view, this is the major drawback of nuclear fission. Is it really right to answer our current energy needs by saddling future generations with a problem that we have no idea how to deal with?
      As I have pontificated oft before, the best solution is to use a sensible mix of renewables and nuclear, at least until we develop a good method of energy storage.

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      • I have been to many communities near nuclear energy plants and was surprised to find that locals tended towards favouring their presence. This was because of the provision of employment as well as support for local businesses, schools etc. MIMBYism is not great. I don’t believe there is such support for windfarms.

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        • Lowry: you are quite correct in that local communities tend to be favourable to nuclear power AFTER they have been built but that is not the case when they are proposed.

          I very much doubt that wind farms provoke the same degree of NIMBYism as a nuclear plant – I don’t remember, for instance, much opposition to the Whitelee Farm despite its proximity to the largest population in Scotland, whereas I remember well the 4,000 people who marched from Dunbar to Torness to protest against its construction (a rather more hirsute and younger self marched that day with them).

          However, I’m not aware of any detailed research comparing NIMBYism associated with windfarms v nuclear so I won’t push the point further.

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          • Talking of Whitelee, the BBC is reporting today that it has joined the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions after receiving a quarter-million vistors over the past three years.

            Reminds me of the hydro dam & fish ladder at Pitlochry, another of Scotland’s biggest visitor attractions. When the survey engineers visited the town during the design phase, they were refused board in virtually all of the town’s hotels, so dead-set against the project were all the locals who thought it would destroy their tourism industry…

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          • Well what can I say the timing falls well given today is the last day of the debate in the Scottish capital.

            I take it from this new “tourist attraction” that visit Scotland are on board…however the shine of visiting industrial wind farms will soon wear off…seen one seen them all ! all 1800 + at the rate things are going…once the hills are smothered at least it will give the munro baggers a new quest :) god bless Don Quixote eh ?

            far more interesting development on:http://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/cost-of-scotland-s-energy-uncertain-after-independence-claims-ed-davey-1-2366314

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          • Dr: Ref your comments on Whitelee our new tourist hotspot:

            The reason folk did not initially complain is three fold…the local populace is in general urban…when Whitelee was built there wasn’t a que as long as Watling street of other windfarms in process….there was also the asumption by many that the wilder places on our shores and around our coast would be spared from the aesthetic rape we see now !!! There was also the typical spin of large scale employment !

            Ref: Nuke opposition…we live in different times to when Doomray/Torness was built. But, yoi might want to add to support from locals for nukes in regards to Sell’a'field/Wind’scale too…Nukes provide long term employment for many, many locals,…windfarms do not!

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          • Karl – was ‘Doomray’ a Freudian slip?

            Dounreay is providing lots of employment for clean-up operations, and will do for generations to come, despite permanently ceasing energy production in 1994. According to wikipedia, “Decommissioning of Dounreay is planned to bring the site to an interim care and surveillance state by 2036, and as a brownfield site by 2336, at a total cost of £2.9 billion.”

            Kind of puts the endless whinging about subsidies for wind power in context.

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          • Henri: found it & read it – so, as it seems to refer to nuclear sites in general, why d’you think that the reactors are going to blow up?
            I know that there have been some pretty grim cock-ups over the years in the nuclear industry, but the only reactor explosions that I’m aware of are Three Mile Island (I think, though maybe it didn’t quite blow up), Chernobyl and – more recently – the Japanese tsunami unbelievably fail-dangerous plants.

            The only plants that I’m aware could blow up anytime are the Japanese reactors built on top of a major seismic fault zone just outside Tokyo – but maybe these have been shut down to the degree where there’s no longer a risk.

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  7. The problem with councils producing guidelines on ‘suitable areas’, and expecting no applications from outside them, is that the process restricts in an arbitrary way the economic opportunities for communities, individuals and small businesses to invest in local-scale generation projects on land which they own or control.

    Scottish Government policy on renewables includes a substantial target for community-owned schemes which will by their nature tend to be smaller (one, two, three turbines or so) and more widely scattered.

    Likewise many applications are being submitted by small landowners such as farmers and other small & medium rural businesses who can use some or all of the energy themselves on-site, and for whom the potential income or savings are a welcome and perhaps necessary boost to the sustainability of their business.

    The important point is that smaller schemes such as these are the main mechanism by which wind power and other renewables development can actually help the local economy where the turbines are located, rather than just lining the pockets of distant investors and absentee landowners.

    If planning authorities are having difficulty coping with the volume of applications, that suggests a need to streamline the planning process, particularly for small-scale developments – not shut the door to applications for all but the biggest ‘strategic’ wind farms.

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    • “The important point is that smaller schemes such as these are the main mechanism by which wind power and other renewables development can actually help the local economy where the turbines are located, rather than just lining the pockets of distant investors and absentee landowners” excellent !

      #suggests a need to streamline the planning process” or reduce the subsidies ?

      Some good hard facts here; I find myself pondering on a couple of things.

      Would it not make sense to subsidise small community projects if they are proven firstly, not to be profit driven/secondly feed the local grid/thirdly, reduce the encumbant communities CO2 footprint?

      Cut all subsidies to industrial scale wind.

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      • My use of the phrase ‘lining the pockets of distant investors and absentee landowners’ was inteded to be a bit tongue-in-cheek – it is a common refrain of the anti-wind lobby. I do not have any objection in principle to large-scale wind power developments appropriately sited, as it is these which will make the biggest overall contribution to renewable energy targets.

        My point was that the undoubtedly large and valuable wind resource of the area needs to be developed in a way which brings a reasonable level of economic benefit to the local inhabitants as well. Some of this will come from jobs created in building and servicing other people’s wind farms but local ownership and control of a proportion of the capacity would seem to be a vital element to encourage.

        Subsidies always create inequalities and distortions but in a market-based electricity system are the only mechanism by which government policy can be implemented. There is a constant tension between the need to provide long-term stability in order to encourage investment, and the desire to constantly tweak the subsidies to reflect falling unit costs – witness what has happened in solar PV recently.

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  8. “Streamline” the planning process – which translates into inviting even more pigs to the trough and that means we’ll have to shovel ever increasing quantities of food into the trough or the piggies will go hungry and squeal.

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  9. S.White – to clarify, I did suggest steamlining, but for small-scale applications, such as those from community organisations and small businesses. Can you explain and justify your characterisation of people who might want to see some local benefit from wind power as ‘pigs’?

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    • And you gave me that thumbs down without even looking at the video – shame on you !
      Oh by the way – anyone noticed that whilst waltzing round California being important,our ‘Dear Leader’ has apparently dropped ‘wind’ from his propaganda speeches. We are apparently now ‘ world leaders’ in tidal energy, when in fact all we have done is subsidise the building of some underwater turbines which have yet to be proven viable or cost effective.

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      • I don’t think anyone can make a claim for Scotland being a leader in wind power, neither onshore or offshore: that, err, boat sailed some years back.

        For tidal turbines and wave power the story is different and the First Minister can claim with some confidence that Scotland is indeed in the forefront of this technology (and well placed to exploit it).

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        • In regards to industrial scale wind: are we not the world leaders in…………SUBSIDIES ?
          I also hear on a recent visit to the Colorado that wee Eck was seen trying to sell tidal turbines…not knowing it was a land locked state :)

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        • Karl – the substructure for the prototype Sound of Islay turbine was manufactured by BiFab at Arnish, so there’s hope yet for Scotland (but a real pity that ferries seemingly can’t be built on the Clyde)

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          • Hi…I stand corrected…
            any websites I should be looking at regards tidal, I need to educate myself ?

            Totally agree on the ship building…however there is always somebody out there barmy enough to throw subsidies at a currently non economic industry (sorry just having a laugh !)


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      • Malcolm, as I understand it the government has given Scottish Power Renewables the go-ahead for the Sound of Islay tidestream turbine project, using Hammerfest Strom (owned by Iberdrola/Andritz/Statoil) turbines. An Islay machine has been operating as predicted at the Orkney test site since last December, and is a development of machines in successful operation in Norway for the past six years. I don’t think it’s true for you to claim that they are ‘yet to be proven viable or cost effective’, it’s misinformation.

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        • Please quote some facts for once – give me figures – if you watch my video above you will see that I have given you facts on subsidies for wind turbines, now it’s your turn. So do you mean they can light a 12v bulb or can power a Tesco store or supply a whole town. How do you define ‘ successful operation’. If they are horrendously expensive for all they produce, then for the consumer, they are a waste of space just like wind turbines. Yes, I know, tides do run 24 hours a day and can reach 7 knots for short whiles in some places – but never the less.

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          • Malcolm: From the little I have so far read deployment is not, as yet truely on a commercial scale . I have concerns about the impact on marine species…but at the moment these are just personal concerns with no real objective basis…

            I would be interested to see a hell of a lot more of this R & D…if they prove viable from all the different angles, then I personally would like to see this become a Scottish Industry…to do this I feel we, Scotland, should go it alone and put all our efforts into initial R & D…and stop supporting industrial wind developments.

            We are not going to meet or 2020 EU targets…and what happens if we don’t…nowt.

            Could this prove to be the base load for wind ?

            (just thoughts)

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          • Malcolm – Sound of Islay tides obviously don’t run 24 hours a day, but they do reach up to 10 knots. The facts are that the Sound of Islay turbines will generate enough power to supply Islay, obviously in conjunction with the mainland link (that will also be linked to the new hydro power project on Jura).
            The ten turbines will generate 30GWh per year, equivalent to the annual needs of Islay – with its high industrial demand – or 5,000 average uk homes. As it’s tidestream power, the output will not be continuous and Islay will still presumably need the diesel power station at Bowmore and the subsea links to the national grid (the Jura hydro scheme is not pumped storage and in any case is only 1-2Mw output, i.e. sufficient for Jura’s needs).
            The point is that the new turbines are already tested and proven in construction and operation in both Norway and Orkney, and thus ready for full scale application, and that’s why I objected to your comment. I don’t know the cost details, but the Sound of Islay scheme is intended to be a commercial working power station to demonstrate the viability of this particular technology; the next step will be to deploy it on a far larger scale in the Pentland Firth. I think that they’ve done their homework, Malcolm – yes it’s pioneering the future but it’s realistic, practical, and doesn’t deserve your blanket criticism.

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    • Still into wind energy, maybe not the model being stuffed down our throats by corporate greed, I say again your form of distribution of information is impressive. The better you get the more corporate minded will laugh at you, so what you are supplying oxygen for positive debate.

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  10. Robert – you started off wrong and then continued – tides run all day. Also the Sound of Islay tide can only make a max of 8 knots and then only on Spring Tides,the rest of the time it is reasonably fast, but not that fast. Its apt that you mentioned that ‘the turbines will generate 30GWh’ – where have we heard claims like that before – funnily enough from Scottish Power Renewables where value for money doesn’t enter their heads. Check out my wee video above – it covers that very point. When the turbine was headlines, I tried to find out the costs to no avail, but I saw the size of the turbine,the boats used to get it here, the cranes, the further engineering work,the number of people,etc etc,and believe me that all cost big bucks. I suspect it would make even wind turbines look cheap !

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    • Malcolm, please: ‘you started off wrong’? – tides don’t run all day – they slow down to ‘slack water’ at the top and bottom of the tide. Think about it, please. If you give yourself a day out and settle down on the pub bench outside the Port Askaig Hotel you can watch it all happen – freighters passing through at improbable speeds even outside the springs, and the Jura ferry scuttling across to Feolin sideways (and also demonstrating the variation in tide flow across the width of the sound). The turbines will have to be carefully sited to ensure they reap the maximum benefit from the tides – obviously it’s not up to ten knots ‘wall to wall’.
      I don’t think you can question the credibility of the 30GWh figure predicted for tide turbines on the basis of over optimism in claims for wind farm performance, but time will tell.
      On the question of cost, of course it’s expensive building and installing machines in this environment, but that’s one of the reasons for the Orkney trial – to find out where the problems are, and refine the cost predictions. The installation of the Orkney turbine in the worst weather for ten years, and its subsequent performance supplying the Eday grid, have both been reported highly successful. And thus, I think, confidence building. And don’t forget that hilltop wind farms always (I think) involve considerable expenditure in a roads infrastructure that is avoided in the marine context

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  11. Robert – as an RYA Offshore sailing Instructor for 20 years and based only 30 miles away I can assure I have sailed the Sound of Islay frequently. So what is the tide doing at opposite ends of the Sound when it is slack for a few minutes at Port Askaig ? Answers on a postcard please to:-
    As an R & D exercise I have no objection to money being spent on one Tidal Turbine to establish the credibility of the idea. But after a considerable length of time,the results have to be looked at in real terms and decisions made on whether it is worth taking further in the consumers interests. That has not been done as far as I can see. They are just charging on presumably whilst there are still subsidies to be had.

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    • Malacolm: I hesitate to call you a Luddite as they were at least protesting against new machinery as it replaced skilled labour (theirs). You just seem down on any new energy technology and ignore the realities of introducing any new product.

      Think back to early computers and mobile phones. Remember how large they were and how expensive. Also remember back to the wide variety of models and companies that produced competing products – many of which are now defunct (Osborne or Acorn anyone?). What matters is not the product per se but the market it seeks to address. Investors are willing to back early designs fully aware of their deficiencies because they have the vision to see that their ugly ducklings can become very profitable swans if they can produce a product that not only meets the market’s demands but also (and crucially) is better than the opposition. No one can 100% pick winners.

      The market that wave and tidal power devices is seeking to address is renewable electricity. Both words are operational: there is a need to develop new electricity generating capacity to meet increasing demand and to replace ageing power stations. There is a plethora of technologies seeking to address this demand but the dominant theme is that we should have a diversity of generating techniques so as to better address the secondary need for energy security. The wider the diversity, the greater the security.

      The renewable aspect is driven by government policy. You may disagree with the policy but you cannot deny the market opportunity that it presents. Tidal power will be expensive (so is pumped storage) but it has the undeniable advantage of being entirely predictable. This means that its input can be factored into the grid extremely accurately and that predictability is worth paying a premium for even before you start to consider its advantages as a “free fuel”, renewable and entirely indigenous generating capacity.

      You ironically point to one of its advantages: tidal strength varies considerable around a fixed point but, as you correctly allude to, it varies at different places around the UK at the same time. If tidal strength was evenly distributed around the UK then you could develop a system that provided continuous power, governed only by the relative strengths of spring and neap tides (which are the same regardless of where you are in the UK). Sadly, there are rather few places that are suitable for tidal power so an intermittency is inevitable, though different areas will be able to produce power at different times from each other. Scotland is blessed with a high number of suitable sites.

      I have noticed various posters here decrying companies involved in renewable power as only being interested in having their noses in the trough. If we look beyond the pejorative, then you seem to be complaining that companies are only backing wind because they can make a profit on it. My daughter is currently watching an episode of the “Simpsons” so I am dutifully bound to say “well duh!”. All commercial companies engage in activities so they can make a profit. Furthermore, ALL energy companies are subsidised in one form or other. It is only the nature of the subsidy that changes. Subsidies are necessary because the energy industry is soooo big. Without government subsidies, the power generation market quickly becomes dysfunctional. The huge capital risks involved in power generation means that the whole market is one where there is structural market failure (and that is just as true of the oil industry as wind turbines). Indeed , you can make a case that the energy industry as a whole should be state controlled as the State (worldwide) effectively funds it. I don’t advocate that, as entirely state owned enterprises are often very inefficient when deprived of competition. However, the important fact is that ALL energy production methods incur and indeed require subsidy as a necessary evil to ensure that supply is maintained. In this sense, energy production is no different from food production.

      I was just reading about British tank design in WW2 (slow day on the work front). We produced a bewildering range of tanks during WW2, some of which never saw action (the A30 “Avenger” ring bells with anyone?). Many were frankly rubbish (and that was not necessarily the ones that didn’t see action) but it was essential to constantly innovate both to improve existing designs and to keep up with the “competition”.

      New products are inevitable clunky; prototypes usually hugely expensive and all vulnerable to becoming obsolete because of some left field innovation by the competition or just a new technology that renders your existing technology obsolete. Film cameras are a good example of this – killed in a few years by relentless innovation by digital cameras. And yet the early digital cameras were rubbish compared with film cameras and quite expensive. Malcolm would have been one of those clinging to his Kodak shares utterly convinced that those digital cameras were just toys that would never catch on and far too expensive for anyone to take seriously.

      We have to innovate and take risks. Failure to do that really is the way to lead us into national poverty. Thankfully Malcolm is kept happy on his yacht and playing with his animations rather than running the country.

      Wind turbines are becoming much more efficient and thus cheaper (and not just because we can build bigger ones – though that helps). Expect tidal and wave power to have similar trajectories. They might all be rendered obsolete tomorrow by some geeky researcher in MIT who finds that cold fusion really is possible. But that’s a possibility we cannot count on and we need as many options as we can find and as soon as possible.

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  12. If you’ve sailed the Sound of Islay frequently you should know better than to talk nonsense about the behaviour of the tide; of course the tide is behaving differently the further you go in each direction from the mid point of the sound, but the array of turbines won’t be spread over such a length that there’s any material difference, other than due to localised variation in tidestream behaviour due to the configuration of the seabed and shorelines. I would have thought that this was obvious, and slack tide will affect all the turbines at the same time, for all practical purposes.
    As far as spending time on establishing the behaviour of the turbine in use, it’s a direct development of a design that has been tested in Norway for six years, and has itself been tested for ‘constructibility’, and in use since last December in Orkney. You seem to be distorting the facts to suit your own dislike of the concept, and you should remember that – while some wind turbine developers are undoubtedly more interested in the ‘easy money’ at taxpayers’ expense, the development of tidal power is at the stage where it’s been entirely legitimate to help fund the initial testing and development stages, to reduce the financial risk and encourage the pioneers.

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  13. Sorry – I didn’t know where the turbines were being situated and how close together – obviously you do, so you could maybe share that info with the rest of us . I love the thought that a turbine sitting in a tidal flow could create enough electricity to keep local populations in heat and light, but I have to confess that I like most of Disney’s make believe movies.

    PS Robert I think you are converting 8 knots into 10 miles an hour- but not realising your mistake.
    PPS- Just noticed the Doc’s on board – to be honest, can’t be bothered reading it.

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    • Malcolm – It’s an ‘array’, with the turbines planned fairly close together – presumably to be where the tide flows fastest, and to minimise the cost of connecting them up – much like wind farm design.
      The array is to extend for one and a half km south from Port Askaig, on the Islay side of the Sound
      There’s a great deal of information on the web – the Islay Energy Trust, Scottish Power Renewables (both including layout plans), Andritz Hyro (a good video), Royal Haskoning, the BBC – and of course a whole host of media sites just repeating the same press releases word for word with no analysis. I definitely found a reference to up to 10 knot currents, no confusion (unless on the part of whoever I was quoting), but I’ve yet to find it again. I’m very surprised that you dismiss out of hand what Dr McKenzie has to say – he’s polite, diplomatic, and invariably worth reading.

      ps the drive to get the £40m Sound of Islay array up and running, and ‘right’, can be explained by the fact that whereas it’s designed to yield 10MW, the further development of the same technology in the Pentland Firth is estimated to yield 1600MW – a rich prize indeed, although, to place it in context, Longannet is 2400MW.

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  14. Tim McIntyre – the reason I call them pigs is as follows. They are taking money, without consent, from those who can’t afford it, camouflaging their greed by dishonestly claiming that they are doing so in order to save carbon dioxide emissions. Anything else I can help you with?

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  15. I just find it ironic that we’re replacing trees and forests with windfarms and claiming it cuts down on CO2. Clearly the tax breaks for forestry aren’t lucrative enough to compete with the wind power subsidies.

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    • Bloomberg News:
      Spain Plans to Shield Repsol, Iberdrola From Hostile Takeovers


      You could not make it up in a Disney movie … it dis’nae make sense.

      In regards to the destruction of our wilderness areas by industrial wind…specifically in regards to Scottish Power Renewables or other Spanish linked pseudo Scottish companies: We must all note some obvious facts now evolving from the Tiree (Argyll) Array farce come spiders web of wider issues applicable to SPR’s British renewables campaign /green dream carpet bagging:
      SPR via it’s owner Spanish multi-national owner IBERDROLA, is becoming a ward of the Spanish state and we (Scotland, Tiree) are potentially handing over our natural assets, landscape, seascape, environment and TAX to a foreign parliament/Senate of which we have no influence what so ever.
      Utter madness if we (Scotland and its population) allow this happen without questioning it’s moral core, it’s economic sense…is this Alex’s idea of Independance ????
      The Spanish Government have figured out that UK/EU subsidies from their subsiduary companies (SPR) are going to help save their fiscal bacon and are stacking legislation to make sure nothing changes to alter the flow of money into their fiscally flawed economy…again a false economy held up by the unquestioning sheep who support the dictorial regime that is the EU…Spain is broke and we’re going to help cushion the blows using our TAX , our environment and our natural resources.
      To those sitting on the fence about what this means for Tiree/Argyll and for Scotland in general…Whatever your views on industrial wind this is immoral industrial/fiscal exploitation on a grand scale ; I suggest we all wake up quickly and get involved in stopping this foreign exploitation that is supported by our government…it could destroy Tiree’s holistic whole and is ultimately leading to the loss of Scotlands grand landscapes…in regards to industrial wind Alex and his unquestioning drones are selling the family silver…

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    • Jake: the Scottish Government are planning to increase forest cover in Scotland from the current 17% of our land surface to 25% and there is plenty of funding (aka subsidies) to promote this:

      It is true that the current turbine designs don’t mix well with trees but the amount of land needed for turbines is tiny compared with that used by forestry, (as an aside, I have seen recent designs of turbines that are much better at dealing with turbulence and thus suited for siting amongst trees and buildings – though these are relatively small turbines).

      So trees and turbines are unlikely to be in serious direct competition with each other.

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      • Jake you are partly correct there are “fire risk” exclusion zones around turbines placed in forested areas…access roads…buried cabling etc. What is more alarming is firstly, further flooding of our glens for pumped storage of electricity generated by industrial windfarms will destroy further percieved wilderness areas…and of course the thorn in the side of upland wind power stations…peat disturbance.
        The doctor is right to a certain level, the Government is planning to increase forest cover in Scotland from the current 17% of our land surface to 25% and there is some available funding…however, there is a bit of a spin going on here…much of the re aforestation will be indigenous (Scots Pine/oak/alder/birch/rowan etc) this is done by exclusion of sheep and re-fencing (exclusion of deer by re-fencing too)…subsides are simply moved from EU sheep grants to forestry grants…there is a great environmental benefit to this…but little or no economic return (I was involved with the schemes on my farm on Ardnamurchan) However, this form of set-aside is something I personnal wholeheartedly support (the Scottish indigenous treeline should be over 500m ! much of our landscape is the legacy of sheep farming)

        Any viable economic returns via re-aforestation generally take place with commercial softwoods/conifers…many of which are not indigenous, re-aforestation with these species does little to our “real” Scottish environment and in many cases is not just a false blot on the landscape and a form initself of industrialisation, but also detremental on mass to peat lands…causes acidification of burns and can also reduces both avian and other fauna usage of these areas.

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        • I cannot take much issue with anything you say here Karl. I have been a bit bemused by the fact that some people are so against turbines on aesthetic grounds but do not seem to be bothered by commercial forestry – which is much more visually intrusive and environmentally disturbing.

          Expansion of broad leaf and Scots Pine forests is very welcome and I think it does have an economic benefit – though not necessarily directly from the timber (though that does have value for small forest businesses and a localised source of firewood). The big economic benefit from forests is derived from enhanced tourism (who come to see the wildlife and enjoy sports such a mountain biking and just rambling around). Interestingly, one of the cachets of “Brave” is the role of the forest in the film: something not emphasised in the english-speaking trailers but is prominent in the Japanese trailer. More forests, more tourism. And before anyone pipes up with “more turbines, less tourism”, I think sensitive development of wind will actually enhance tourism as it will enhance our credibility in the eyes of tourists about Scotland being a clean country – as long as they don’t notice the open cast pits around the Central Belt). I think it was yourself Karl that said once you have seen one turbine you have seen them all but you could say the same about hydro dams and it is often the environment around the site that appeals.

          I think, though, that your protests against the industrialisation of Scotland’s wild places is a bit misplaced and romantic. As Prof Iain Stewart’s excellent documentary “Making Scotland’s Landscape” makes clear, all of Scotland is in fact artificial and shaped by industrial activities be it forestry, aquaculture, fishing, agriculture, hydro power, mining and now wind turbines (and let’s not forget the huge shooting estates and their impact on natural forests).

          It is our duty to future generations to make our footprints as small as possible but it is not possible to leave no footprints given a world population of 7 billion.

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          • “misplaced and romantic” ?
            We have a life span of 3 score and ten…nobody remembers the cutting down of our national forests for fuel/ships/grazing etc…what many can now see is the sprouting of turbines (industrial structures you must admit ?)…what went before does not mean what is happening now is acceptable.
            Let me re-emphasize a couple of points before you feel I have a “shortbread tin picture” of Scotland…I do not…As part of my remit I am employed as an Environmental consultant to Oil/Gas and mining multi-national companies, my paycheck shows I have a broad and balanced view of the issues at hand…that is why I am here in Iraq, why I have done work for two of the Scottish Government depts directly involved in sustainable conservation…US bureau of land management in regards to extraction of Oil shales and a resulting hydro project.
            I am against INDUSTRIAL WIND… where we all have to agree the final economics outweigh the spurious and much vented massive environmental gains, this is complete hogwash…the problem with the current deployment of industrial wind is: the decisions to build are not based on environmental protection, it is based on cash for industrial entities, they are in fact milking the noble environmental cow, dry…re-industrialisation of Scotland’s wilder places “now” does not make it right, now ! this is as much based on your reference to an increase in world population.
            You are definitely missing my point /the below list you provided, does not make these things acceptable and I refer you again to my earlier comments.
            In regards: “all of Scotland is in fact artificial and shaped by industrial activities be it forestry, aquaculture, fishing, agriculture, hydro power, mining and now wind turbines (and let’s not forget the huge shooting estates and their impact on natural forests” again I refer you to my last…
            Some final points: SNH/JNCC/RSPB etc..etc…are worried to their core that the decision to place large scale industrial wind power-stations in, perhaps you prefer areas of low population rather than wilderness areas, is now firmly in, the hands of the politicians/ multi-nationals and economists not environmentalists.
            If we are to reverse the damage such things as “forestry, aquaculture, agriculture, hydro power, mining and now wind turbines (and let’s not forget the huge shooting estates)” have done then we have to do it in a manner divorce from politics and big business. We are in fact in the short term, barking up the wrong tree…prevention of waste of energy must be the primary driver behind not supporting new ‘Heath Robinson’ power sources that are and, always will be ineffective on a global scale in the reduction of both CO2 emissions or global warming.
            The entities that got us into this mess in the first place are again in control of the asylum.
            Back to my shortbread.

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          • Karl: next time you are home we should organise to meet up and have a debate over a few pints. I’m sure it would be fun.

            Big issues here – sorry no time right now to give them the attention they deserve. Maybe later.

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          • Aye…we should. If nothing else the ilk of For Argyll allows us all to debate our corner and in some cases change our corner if we keep an open mind…

            I will be around Oban in mid-July to end of July…sailing my Contessa…if that helps…mind you, being without beer for 28 days here I am likely to either fall over after a couple of pints or agree on all points for a couple of pints…catch you later.

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      • I’m sure you are right and that the FC have all sorts of plans to see an increase in forestry. The fact remains however that they are selling off parts of the national forest estate to the private sector, albeit that they claim these parts to be peripheral and non-core. It’s true of course that some of this land will remain as a forestry investment by the new purchaser for the indefinate future ( ie for as long as the subsidies and tax incentives remain attractive), but it is also true that many purchasers ( and in particular I mean the energy companies who are VERY active in this market) are buying up the land with an eye to future use as possible wind farm sites when their obligations for the tax breaks and subsidies have been met and the forest can be felled. In much the same way as supermarkets are buying up out of town land not for immediate but for possible future development, so too the energy companies are buying up as much forest as they can lay their hands on as a short term place to invest their cash, a medium term cash generator at felling and thereafter as a land asset that can be used to site wind turbines. Energy companies that are investing in forestry land are not putting their money in planting or replanting.

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    • Thanks John.
      Even though the original focus of my concern is specifically directed towards the local affects of the Tiree aka Argyll Array it is impossible not to get involved in the wider strategic issues. Kind of an odd equasion really that saving what we generate needs no subsides…yet if we use less I amd sure the multi-nationals will up the unit cost to the end user…however at least we can take a bit of moral high ground if we stop using that “stand-by” switch on the TV…LOL
      Life in a commercial world eh !

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  16. I’ve read all the above comments and only one contributor has IT right. Thanks John Sinclair for your comment but the emphasis should be on the “REDUCE”. In the previous edition of ForArgyll, I pressed the point that reduction in the amount of energy we use is numero uno but most of you scoffed at this idea. I won’t be around in 2050 to say I told you so but reduce you will, like it or not.

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    • I think you will find most people agree that reducing energy use is vitally important and that also energy efficiency should be a major focus of effort. That is also the most appropriate way to deal with fuel poverty, rather than just defaulting to the cheapest way to produce energy, regardless of sustainability or environmental impact.

      Not sure where ‘reuse’ and ‘recycle’ come into the energy equation – they surely relate more to material consumption.

      People sometimes talk about a hierarchy – that we should reduce energy use first, then secondly find ways to use what we do more efficiently, and only then look at how it is produced. It seems to me we need to do all these things simultaneously.

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  17. I agree that we should all save on the amount of energy we use but would be interested to know your reasons. Is to reduce your energy bills which consume more and more of your hard earned income or are you trying to save the planet ?

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    • Maicolm……….what a dumb question !!!

      Tim……..reductions in energy use automatically result in reductions in reuse and recycle

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    • A fair question, but do you think it has to be the one or the other Malcolm? How about for yourself, don’t you have a view on saving energy, and what is your motivation?

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      • I am very surprised that Dr. McKenzie is not advocating energy use reductions more strongly. Reductions in the use of energy won’t be an easy pill to swallow. How we use energy and all the ramifications connected with said reductions is going to be an extremely complex exercise and will take years of adaptation. The social implications will be enornous. Wind farms and tidal power may have a place in this process in the initial stages but those applications will be very limited.

        I think that some of you are not totally understanding the environmental issues we are facing. I cringe at the comments some of you make.

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        • Henri: If you look back through my posts (an educational experience in its own right – cough) you will find that I have several times said that energy conservation should be the priority activity.

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        • Correct us if you feel we are wrong…I have no problem whatsoever in changing my views if I am proved to b e wrong…paranoia on my part (hopefully not) :)

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    • Malcolm…Reducing energy consumption from any none renewable source should be the aim of all…it reduces your electricity bill (in theory) and also globally reduces our damage to the environment. If we were not wasting 30 0r so % of what we generate or produce we would be doing 30%+ less damage…this might give both the planet time to breath and the boffins a chance to come up with a solid proven renewable/green or low carbon energy source.
      Reducing what we use/conserving what we have should be an automatic action of anybody who uses any form of energy…it’s simple and plain common sense. It will at least slow global warming and co2 output…

      Whatever we decide to do ! we have to stop farting around and do it NOW…however I still feel that industrial wind is not the way to go if the primary driver is economic greed (Greed ! there is that word again) and not genuine environmental concerns.

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    • Malcom………reactors can and will blow up when the conditions are right. You are good at playing with words. Your historical knowledge about nuclear accidents is pitiful.

      Anyway, we were discussing “windmills”.

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  18. I just found some nonsense quoted above – the truth is Nuclear Reactors in Power Stations can’t blow up – for Pete’s sake if you are going to contribute and wish to be taken seriously then check your facts or alternatively maybe approach ‘ Casting ‘ on Eastenders for a job. Since the 50s there have only been 2 leakages in France (80% nuclear) and 2 in the UK -all of which were a while back and were contained.

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    • Malcolm, ‘the truth is nuclear reactors in power stations can’t blow up’?
      I don’t know the exact technical expression for what happened at Chernobyl, but blow up it did. The radiation-fogged images from the first overflight of the reactor, 14 hours after the explosion, will stay with me for ever.

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      • I think Malcolm means that they cannot produce a nuclear explosion and he is approximately correct in this.

        However, as we recently saw at Fukushima, nuclear reactors most certainly can explode – hydrogen and steam explosions are quite likely when control of the reactor is lost. These are not nuclear explosions but they can result in a loss of containment, exposure of the core and the liberation of highly radioactive material over enormous areas (as we saw with Chernobyl).

        The other worrying source of an explosion is a criticality: basically when a reactor’s nuclear reaction starts to run-away in an uncontrolled fission event. This seems to have happened at Chernobyl and was the cause of a second explosion. Mute point whether this was really a nuclear explosion or not – it is certainly the same process that occurs in a fission weapon but the difference is that in a nuclear reactor the heat dissipates the fissile material so the reactor core drops below criticality quite quickly preventing a catastrophic nuclear explosion (though one might want to also quibble over what “catastrophic” actually means).

        In theory, you could get a nuclear explosion in a nuclear reactor: there is enough fissile material present to create a large explosion if the conditions were just right. It would require the fissile material in the core to be brought into close proximity allowing the criticality but then something to hold the fissile material in place while the criticality increases sufficiently to allow a nuclear explosion to occur. But the probability of the right set of circumstances occurring is extremely small.

        Interestingly there is evidence from Gabon in Africa of a natural uranium reactor that went critical 1.5 billion years ago – though the power output was modest.

        Malcolm does his usual trick of being rather selective in his examples: it is true that the UK and French industries have had reasonable safety records in reactor operation but the problem with nuclear reactor accidents is that the potential impact of an accident is very high even though the probability of an accident is very low. We have seen major incidents in the former USSR, the United Sates and now Japan. There is no especial reason to believe that either France or the UK are somehow immune from a major nuclear accident and it should be remembered that the UK led the way in serious nuclear accidents with the Windscale fire in 1957.

        All that said, nuclear power is relatively safe compared with any type of fossil fuel activity (and I’m not meaning environmental safety). But I’d still much rather live near a wind turbine than a nuclear plant.

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        • They do not need to blow up…there is the so called “China Syndrome” melt down…7 mile island…
          The unexpected happens…when this is thrown into the nuclear pot (Japan) the repercussions are global. note: Sheep are still tested in N.Wales Snowdon area for radiation caused by Chernobyl.

          And I also have to say I too would rather live near a wind turbine (community of course!) than any form of nuclear plant…

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  19. O me miserum ! I have erred ! Of course I meant that Nuclear Power Stations could not create a Nuclear Explosion and yes Henri I have some knowledge on nuclear, but I’m not going to start ‘you know who’ off again on another one, by saying more.
    Karl – 22 above – for me 2:1
    Karl – found you a new home if you ever want to move from Tiree to lovely East Lothian. Its in the splendid wee village of Innerwick. You could have Torness Power Station over to your east and a massive great wind farm over to your West,and on the way home from Edinburgh of an evening you would have to pass Cockenzie Power Station. Used to do that a lot ( before wind farms) and never gave either building a second thought and have had no reason to question that view at any time since.

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    • God forbid Malcolm…lol
      I would rather have all of my teeth taken out without the use of anesthetic or crawl down from the summit of Beinn Cruachan on freshly amputated stumps.


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      • Absolutely right – but you don’t find me protesting about how they look too often – there are plenty other good people doing that – my personal crusade is to try and show everyone how much it all costs, for so little return. I also believe that a picture is worth a thousand words so will shortly be posting another animated graph with input from better heads than mine ( such modesty ! ) to illustrate the futility of pouring millions and millions more pounds into further wind farm development. However, not everybody can just drive past – this lady has one proposed for just 1200 metres outside her front door – if you can spare a few moments, have a look – it has audio: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvlqCzwFX-8&feature=plcp

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        • Malcolm – ‘futility’ – have you considered why so very many countries, right around the world, are busy developing their wind power resources? All fools?

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          • Sorry Robert – not your day – what with the Scotsman report above re Tidal Turbines, saying that there has to be a return on invested capital and this little gem on the dire straights of Spain’s wind industry
            http://www.windpowermonthly.com/news/1119312. I’ll add more as I find them – got a bit of time this afternoon as I’m waiting for the all revealing video on the cost of wind farms to render.
            Just found this:- http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-04-24/sinovel-goldwind-profits-slump-as-china-wind-power-growth-slows.
            Not a good day for renewables:- http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-22/vestas-scraps-u-k-wind-turbine-plant-as-industry-seeks-clarity.html

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          • Malcolm: – ‘sorry Robert, not your day’ – really? – your reference to the Scotsman report on the Green Investment Bank’s decision not to invest in renewable energy projects of a value less than £50m for the first three years doesn’t affect my comments on the development of viable tidestream power projects . Try not to add 2 + 2 and create a number greater than 4. There’s a difference between venture capital and this bank’s policy, just as the chairman says.

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          • It’s not all bad Malcolm – another windy day out on the farms!

            I’ve begun to notice a correlation between windy periods and you going all quiet on your ‘look at the pathetic output from wind turbines’ animations :-)

            According to the Elexon NETA BM data, large-scale wind power accounted for 5% of UK electricity consumption over the past 24 hours. This only includes output from those wind farms with operational metering – estimated at around half of the total installed capacity, so it’s probably closer to 10%

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        • Malcolm,: you just don’t seem to get it. Power generation – any power generation – is expensive. Look at this story on the BBC today: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18540178

          Nuclear is at least as expensive as wind and has larger legacy issues. Go gas you say but that means the UK will become entirely dependent on foreign imports and gas prices will rise. Go coal you say but then who is going to pick up the tab for the pollution caused? I don’t know if you have ever flown across the Central Belt and seen the hideously disfigurement of our countryside by open cast coal mining but do you think the people who live near these sites really want to see more coal mining? I might prefer to have a wind turbine near me than a nuclear power station but I would rather have either than an open cast coal pit.

          I’m sorry for the woman who is going to look out some wind turbines but why is that so different from her looking out on a new housing estate, a forestry plantation or a petro-chemical plant? Is the right to a view uncluttered by human activity an inalienable human right?

          Fact is that not only is wind much less expensive than you make out, by pursuing a renewable rather than a fossil fuel route, at some point we will be better off financially than if we kept going on the steady as she goes policy you prefer.

          And before I am jumped on, energy conservation is the priority and that is subsidised too.

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          • Before we get off the well beaten track…and relating directly to my home Tiree,I want to clarify that I am not anti wind…just anti corprate and political greed.

            when home I can see Tilley just over the water from my front door, actually from the vastmajority of Tiree (Gott Bay)…a single turbine working for the community…is in my humble opinion not such a bad thing much better than a chimney stack…but thats my own personal feeling..and others do or will not not agree…that is fair enough.
            Tilley is such a good performer it will shortly pay for itself. I have no problem at all with this sort of venture as our local landscape can handle this structure…but again this is just my opinion…Community wind/renewables has always been for me a great idea…

            All wind farm development should be scrutinized on a case by case basis…if a development is shown to have any detremental effects to existing environmentally sensitive areas it should be dropped…no question about this, dropped…
            The Tiree aka Argyll Array is one such proposal…a step to farwhere the local ecology will be disturbed and will be damaged.. In reality Crown Estates should never of opened the lease…this would have saved millions of pounds for SPR and the Scottish Government (Tax payers)… The aesthetics of the Array will have a massive effect on Tiree…tourists are already stating this. But aesthetics in this case are simply the “head of the boil”…no doubt about it the real issues lie with the environmental disturbance and damage this development WILL cause…which totally flies in the face of the green spin from SPR and the Scottish Governments…

            Much like yourself Dr McKenzie, I belive conservation and stopping waste should be our primary weapon against the mess we find ourselves in…if the governments and power companies were putting as much $ into this as they are industrial wind, I feel we would be seeing huge results in a very short term (say 5 years)…however, given that the consumer is the biggest waster of energy, one can see the economic benefits to the multi nationals of NOT whole-heartedly forceing loss prevention/wastage issues…

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          • You guys have been gumming this subject to death for months and yet not one of you seems to have noticed the small elephant standing quietly in the corner of the fossil fuels room!

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    • Yes a blow and not one I am too pleased with…however note the waste prevention investment…and ask yourself a question “do you think the ref: to offshore wind investment will go north or south of the border ? ” watch this space !!!

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  20. Why don’t we focus this discussion on energy reduction instead. How about we cut down our energy needs by 50% by the year 2022. What is about to evolve in the next 10 years is a new tax system to penalize energy abusers and I am all for it. I live in a community where no cars are required. I have everything I need within walking distance. This is the community of the future.
    What thou sayest Dr. McKenzie ?

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    • Henri, is your house well enough insulated to qualify for inclusion in ‘the community of the future’ or would you need to spend quite a lot of money on improving the insulation, assuming that’s possible?

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      • ” SAVE A KILOWATT and stop A TURBINE” !!!
        in deference to the below comment::
        Very, very tongue in cheek :
        The world is getting warmer, the sea is getting hot, if you want to keep on living you best walk a lot.
        The polar bears are sweating, there are places getting dry, you best change your ways if you don’t want to die.
        The ocean is getting higher ,all the fish have gone…it would have been much quicker with a nuclear bomb !
        But woo oo there Tiger, hold on son, we have a better idea before our world is done.
        We will build a million windmills… to cover this poor earth and dance too Don Quixote and all his worth.
        Whirlygigs are the future, is what they say…mind you I would say that, have you seen how much they pay?
        The only problem with turbines is the offset is so small…best go back to basics like we did before…turn off that telly and talk a bit more…Unplug the DVD, chuck out the washing machine, bath with half the water and still stay clean…park the car in the garage and not at the school, buy a railway ticket and get out a bit more.
        Fit my treble glazing, lag the loft again, put a little less water down that drain, turn off that water-heater and wear another coat…oh my oh my how those politicians get my goat…
        The world is getting stable, the sea seems quite blue…there are polar bears in the Artic and not just in the zoo. The tide is getting lower there is a kipper on the hob…my god with all these savings I might even get a job.
        There are Tigers in the forest and my son is growing up… he never did get that… turbine job !
        We pulled down all the whirlygigs, now the planets is looking sane… it seems they were not worth it in the cold light of day…we have finally learnt our lesson that saving is best…It is time for me to get going and knit a second vest !!!

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    • From a personal viewpoint, the McKenzie family have been pretty successful in reducing our energy footprint. We have reduced our electricity consumption by over half but without any obvious diminution in our life style. Much of it was by just changing personal habits: turning lights off when leaving a room; not leaving devices on standby. Having a smart meter than lets us see what we are using was greatly helpful as it showed us that some of our perceptions were wrong: for instance we had already replaced all our tungsten lights with low energy bulbs and presumed that lights on or off wouldn’t make much difference. Wrong. Next, replacing our old fridge freezer with a new A+ fridge actually paid for itself in less than a year. Better energy saving freezer, washing machine and cooker all helped. (and these were all replaced when the old ones broke). Interestingly one of the major uses of electricity in the house is now powering the pump for the oil fired central heating system!

      I would love to replace the oil fired system but the boiler if 88% efficient so replacement can’t be justified on economics alone and the house isn’t really suitable for a wood fired central heating system. However, what we have done is to use our wood fired stove much more and this can heat the entire house on its own in the evening. So, in winter we rely on the central heating in the morning to heat the house and water before we get up then set the stove going from late afternoon and that pretty much obviates the need for the central heating through the evening and night. We use wood from the surrounding forest that I carry to the house and saw and chop myself so no fuel transport costs. I would next like to have a solar water heating system installed to further reduce our oil needs.

      Of course, we have also increased our loft insulation. Being a modern, timber framed house its insulation is pretty good already.

      We both work mostly from home so we reduced to a one car family, which is occasionally a pain but I tend to take the train to the Central Belt rather than drive for business meetings and try to organise back to back meetings so as to maximise the travel efficiency.

      Being rural dwellers, doing without a car altogether isn’t really an option. Hopefully though in a couple of years time we will have our own biodiesel from the algae (and we have been looking at biodiesel production from waste cooking oils in the Oban area).

      I think the important message here is that it is possible to significantly reduce your energy footprint without changing your comfort level: we are as warm as we were before, have as much hot water and only require a bit more discipline when it comes to travel but we have reduced our energy usage quite significantly. It also saves us quite a bit of money!

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      • It is so constructive to have time out from the commercial wind farm debate.
        We as a family with two houses and two cars are trying to do our bit too…I do run a landrover and I do run a Rhib…but out on Tiree these get used practically and earn their keep. If I am to do a solo trip on the island and the wind isn’t blowing at mach 2 I use the cycle (if the wind is blowing in the right direction I also use the bike)
        Like yourself I have oil central heating in one of the houses but that will shortly be swapped for a air source heat pump…we have also decided to install two solar water heaters and when the house by the Pier gets the revamp mthe S roof will be re-tiled with PV slates. Our biggest CO2 foot print is my air travel…

        looking out of my porta cabin window, right here, and right now in not so bonnie Iraq, I can see what I can only describe as Dante’s inferno…at least 30 huge flares burning of gas and toxins (maybe thats why it was 48c today in the shade)…but as has been said “every journey begins with a first step…

        I feel like I live on two planets ! a little over a week ago ago I was off Skerryvore within 20m of a 10m Basking shark, wondering what the place would feel like with 300+ 200+m high turbines. We might be a small planet but as a single species made up of many cultures we certainly are universes away from each other in our forward thinking.

        I fear for our future as a species, and can realistically but hope that we do not drag to many of natures wonderfull jewels into oblivion in our wake. On mass we are capable of such ignorance.

        Anyhow…on that note I am going to crack the bottle of Jura I was given earlier today…and raise a glass to the age of the peat that it contains. Slainte to all who run around the house tonight turning off every anoying stand-by LED…lightbuld and radiator.

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        • Wouldn’t it be great if all the flare stacks in the world could be harnessed to do something useful – I wonder how much CO2 could be saved and energy generated.

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          • Yes…and the crazy thing here is that Basrah just 20km away has blackouts every night due to over demand and not enough electricity…It’s total madness…
            Kinda nice the war took out one of two ageing diesel power stations one of which is still awaiting re-build…rather than do this our illustrious US friends sendt two huge ships with massive onboard gennies…the madness continued when the discovered the draft of the ships was to deep for the Shat al Arab (canal) that runs into Basrah from the Gulf.

            If ever any of you decide to go to the middle east version of Disney Land, Dubai…look out of the Port windows from Bagdad to about 20 miles off Basrah into the gulf apart from the obvious delta marshes…there are around 200 flares…like I say, no bloody wonder it is so hot here.

            Ryiad in Saudia is to some extent powered by these types of flares…

            Mind you, has anybody been past Grangemouth at night ?

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    • I also live in a community where no cars are really necessary…but I also live in a world/culture where there is a real necessity to travel outside of a community…going retro, spinning my own hessian clothing, knapping my own flint arrows or making beeswax candles is no longer an option…whatsmore my kids don’t wish to be luddites…I am infact a creation of peer group pressure and wish to sue the human race…

      On your other points…well I have to agree wholeheartedly that using less at least could give us a bit of time to get our act together.

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  21. Jim B above seems to be referring to our ‘ Dear Leader ‘
    Robert ( like the Doc ) as always never answers the black and white evidence put before him – come on Robert I spent a lot of time finding non Daily T and non Daily M websites for you to read. At least do so before coming back.
    Tim – utter nonsense – this is the last video I made – very much non selective. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-kDFpy-AEg – shows some real potential – at least for a very wee while. Also we are all aware that NETA does not record all the readings from all Wind Farms ( presumably because some are too scared to submit their outputs ) but if it’s 5 pathetic % for those being recorded than it’s a 5 pathetic % for the rest.

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    • You’re hard work Malcolm; someone who prefers not to provide intelligent explanations of their own claims but who likes to pretend others haven’t justified their comments on these claims, when they have. All three of your references to Windpower Monthly, Bloomberg Business Week, and Bloomberg are to do with wind energy, and nothing to do with my comments on tidestream energy. And if you think I’m going to spend time spelling out the difference, forget it.
      And Malcolm, what’s the reference to ‘non Daily T and Daily M websites’ supposed to infer?

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    • Malcolm: I just read those articles very differently from you. You view the world through a peculiar dark glass that has all stories about wind turbines as being bad and thus any article that seems to purport a problem with the wind power industry as being supportive of your argument.

      But read the articles: we see that Spain has installed an impressive amount of wind capacity already; the price of wind turbines has fallen dramatically (which might not be a good thing for wind turbine manufacturers but it is good news for the rest of us). Look at the job creation figures and look at where the problems are coming from: is it because of technological problems?: no, it is the political environment (and to some extent the economic).

      You can find similar stories about the nuclear industry; the gas fracking industry in the US or indeed the coal industry.

      There is a big Renewables Finance Forum going on in the US at the moment. Hard nosed money guys and serious energy companies. Here is what one contributor had to say:

      From: Jonathan Weisgall, VP of Legislative Affairs, MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company

      The utility now has 3,300 MW of wind under its control. It says not a single turbine was installed because of government incentives — but because it was simply the low-cost alternative.

      It was simply the lowest-cost alternative.

      In the modern energy economy of highly-volatile commodity prices, it’s getting tougher for utilities to negotiate long-term power purchase contracts…

      Natural gas was $5.00 per thousand cubic feet (tcf) in 2003, $10.00 in 2008, and back to $2.00 today.

      Utilities don’t want to sign 30-year contracts when the price changes that much in just a few years.

      Wind, on the other hand, is free.

      All the costs are upfront: land procurement, equipment, construction, etc. So it’s easy to divide that out over 30 years.

      In many markets, renewables provide the lowest levelized cost of energy.

      Bit of a different perspective from yours Malcolm.

      And I also take umbrage with your accusation that I don’t answer the “black and white evidence”. I am constantly rebutting or refining what you bring forward but when I ask you to show us some evidence for many of your more outlandish statements I hear nothing (remember the hot spinning reserve having to be bigger than the installed wind capacity?).

      Less libel Malcolm, more attention to facts.

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  22. Doc – did you have a hand in bankrupting Spain – or did the recent Socialist Government and their renewables policy manage it all by themselves. ‘Hot spinning reserve’ what the heck you are talking about I have no idea – can you not just give simple statements without having to write a full thesis to try and impress everybody – because you don’t. ( Guess that’s me off the drinky poos invitation for the end of July )
    Robert I tried to find evidence where I couldn’t be accused of biased reporting – obviously wasted my time.
    By the way – where is SR/Webcraft/Nick/Tom/Dick/Harry – these days ?

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    • As you should know Malcolm, Spain’s difficulties have nothing to do with their impressive investment in wind power. It is entirely down to the property bubble in Spain that saw its banks lend astronomical loans to fuel the bubble. These banks are now dans le chocolate and the Spanish Government is finding it increasingly difficult to finance its (rather modest) borrowings. They are probably very glad for their wind power as it at least helps their balance of trade.

      Not everything is to do with wind turbines.

      But back to them: you made a claim some months back that wind requires a spinning reserve at least as big as the installed wind capacity. I asked you to provide some supporting evidence for that statement (which you never did) and in the meantime provided evidence of my own to show that the statement was nonsense. If I am misquoting you then my apologies Malcolm but if you trawl back through your posts I’m sure you will come to it at some point.

      As Robert says, you are hard work Malcolm.

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  23. Spain’s problems were caused by total mismanagement – I have always held to the political moto ‘ never give Socialists taxpayers money’ and Spain has proved me right yet again, as did this country for many years. They spent money on Houses, Swimming pools, wind turbine subsidies, solar panel subsidies, etc etc and probably plenty personal Swiss Bank accounts.
    I still have no idea what a ‘ spinning reserve’ is. Wasny me doc !
    Hopefully tomorrow we can get back to the real and highly important subject of Wind Farms and their cumulative effect on our country – Scotland.

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    • “Spinning reserve” is available turning turbines waiting, but not contributing to current demand.

      That was a guess based on the words Spinning and Reserve.

      Somebody I know will correct me if I am wrong and hopefully before I put this cork in my bottle of Jura and hit the sack…

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      • I think you’re right Karl – I recollect being told it applied to generators driven by steam turbines in thermal and nuclear stations, where the turbines can’t just be started up instantaneously and you need to have some of the off-load ones ‘ticking over’ to cover the sudden loss of a generator, or the end of some hugely popular tv soap when everyone puts the kettle on. I think that’s one reason why the Cruachan pumped storage scheme was built, to provide much faster response power supply

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        • For Corri no doubt..

          Cheers,hic ! Have a good weekend…

          PS: if any of the of the contributers to the wind debate have reason to be on Tiree (and I can think of many) look me up, I promise a friendly welcome and some good craic…you can email me/contact me via the NTA website…and if the weather is fair we can take a safe trip out to Skerryvore Reef/Array location…FOC trip FOC B&B, the place deserves more voices…and a visit I am sure clarify our perspective and also help NTA look at all sides of the coin.



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        • For Robt Wakeham, about “spinning reserve”: excellent summary and perfectly correct (speaking from my memory of working for the English CEGB tiddly-umpty years ago).

          As well as loss of a major generating unit (which might occur by technical accident at that power station), Grid Control despatchers had to bear in mind the possible loss of a major transmission line (eg if a helicopter flew into the wires).

          Loss of a single wind turbine (even a 10MW one) doesn’t count as “major”. Loss of a whole wind farm, because the wind has died down, can be predicted by the meteorologists, and doesn’t count in this way,

          But unexpected loss of the grid connection from a major wind farm (because a ship drops anchor on a sub-sea cable, or a helicopter flies into the Beauly-Denny line), must still be covered by spinning reserve somewhere.

          Just for completeness: “loss” of tidal generators in one area (because the tide has reached its highest or lowest height, and the tidal current speed is zero, so the electricity output from those turbines is zero) can be predicted with astonishing accuracy, and (more importantly for immediate purposes) can be covered by other tidal generation on a different part of the coast.

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    • Some of us would like to get back to the ‘real and highly important subject’ before you discover General Franco as the answer to practically everything, Malcolm.

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    • No, Spain’s problems have nothing to do with government mismanagement, socialist or otherwise. In fact Spain’s public finances were in pretty good shape with little in the way of a deficit ahead of the current crisis. Like Ireland (and unlike Greece) their problems are entirely down to irresponsible lending by their banks.

      And that’s not an opinion.

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  24. Back to the Original headline:Fife Council joins Aberdeenshire in asking for suspension of wind farm applications.

    Given that it has been anounced today that there is to be an increase in the cost of planning permisson applications for “windfarms”…will the extra cash go towards increasing the number of admin folk to deal with the number of applications ? I have scant info as the server here is sllllllllllllllllllllllow.


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  25. I was begining to think this was a private club, but to answer the Docs question about the elephant in the room………..

    First a bit of chemistry.

    Carbondioxide is a stable compound, agreed ?

    If I remember my atomic weights correctly, carbon is 14 and oxygen 16. This means that every tonne of carbon that is burned requires 32 tonnes of oxygen to make 46 tonnes of carbondioxide. Thus gradually reducing the oxygen content of the atmosphere. This effect is small at present but will accelerate I am sure.

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    • JimB: You make an interesting point but your arithmetic isn’t correct.

      If we take an ideal carbon source such as graphite (you could use diamond but that would be a bit of a waste) and burn one tonne of it in air, each carbon atom that forms the graphite lattice binds with two oxygen atoms to form carbon dioxide. Your atomic numbers are correct (the actual weights differ slightly because of stable isotopes but let’s ignore that for now as the differences are very small and it’s a Saturday morning). Carbon = 12 and 2 x Oxygen = 2 x 16 = 32 => Total: 44 (12/44 so the carbon represents 27.27% of the total mass of the CO2. However, in your post you are forgetting that the one tonne of carbon is made up of atoms of atomic weight of 12, so rather than needing 32 tonnes of oxygen it needs 3.6 tonnes of oxygen to completely covert it into CO2 (44/12 = 3.6).

      Although your numbers are out, your general premise is correct: burning carbon consumes oxygen and as you burn more carbon you are using up more oxygen from the atmosphere.

      So the next question is does this matter? Figures for anthropogenic CO2 vary but a good estimate is about 30 gigatonnes per annum. So this means an additional _22 gigatonnes of oxygen are removed from the atmosphere. That sounds scary. However, the atmosphere contains 1 million gigatonnes of oxygen so it would take a long time for our production of CO2 to significantly reduce the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere.

      The story is complicated though by the carbon and oxygen cycles. Carbon dioxide on its own is pretty unreactive under normal atmospheric conditions (hence its persistence). However, plants covert carbon dioxide into sugars and liberate oxygen as a by-product of the process. Some climate sceptics think that rising CO2 levels will just mean more plant growth and under this sort of model you would either have atmospheric oxygen staying at the same level or even increasing (more CO2, more plant growth, more oxygen released). However, CO2 is rarely the factor limiting plant growth (nutrients tend to be more important) so increasing CO2 levels may in fact have little or no direct effect on photosynthesis.

      There is, however, concern over one aspect of anthropogenic CO2 and that relates to ocean acidification. Much of the global oxygen is produced not by forests but by planktonic algae in the oceans. As CO2 dissolves in water it forms a weak acid (carbonic acid). many algae are sensitive to changes in acidity so some scientists are concerned that rapid acidification may inhibit algal growth and thus reduce the amount of oxygen being released into the atmosphere. This is a genuine concern but it is very difficult to put some sort of estimate on the probability that oceanic acidification will result in reduced oxygen production because of the complexities of the various atmospheric/ocean cycles involved and in the algae themselves as the latter may adapt to the conditions.

      Food for thought

      If this is a club at least there isn’t a membership fee!

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      • Apologies for the arithmetical error.

        If nothing else it suggests that continuing to burn fossil fuels is a No No whether climate change is related to increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere or not.

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  26. No takers ? Well lets put it this way – the Politicians and Wind Farm developers claim a 30% output from wind farms – this costs us just now over £400 million per annum in subsidies.The Scottish Government want to quadruple the number of wind farms therefore the subsidy would be £1.6 billion per annum on contracts we could not get out of for 20 years. So in an independent Scotland we- the Scots – would have to cover this enormous dept and still have to find the money to buy the bulk of our electricity from elsewhere. As the ‘big man’ said – ‘you will bankrupt Scotland’

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    • Hi Malcolm,
      Lets not forget that new technologies (general comment and not just wind) do need some form of subsidy to be brought up to speed and replace older tech…included and still includes (to some degree) space technology and even mobile phones.

      Governments are inclined to back off once an industry can stand on it’s own feet…this is especially pertinent to technologies that in the longterm benefit the consumer…subsidies generally then change to TAXation of the companies involved….for want of a better phrase “pay back”.

      Speaking from a personal perspective I am not anti-renewables, I am definately a supporter of community wind and would like to see Scotland at the forefront of marine energy if this proves to be sustainable and low impact …and of course ensuring that the projects have real quantifiable environmentally benifits…pay for themselves and do not line the pockets of individual operators at the cost of our uninhabited or wilder places.

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  27. Malcolm – the combination of old power plants retiring and the legally-binding commitment to reduce carbon dioxide emissions means that renewable electricity generation is needed, and it so happens that onshore wind is currently the cheapest means of achieving this.

    Your animations are fun and the graphics impressive, and your figures have a ‘wowee’ factor much in the way of an attention-grabbing headline. However, unless you provide equivalent costs for your proposed alternative energy policy, and also give us an idea of what the actual cost to consumers is, as a proportion of overall energy bills, £400million or whatever is completely meaningless.

    Finally, given that the target you refer to is to generate as much renewable electrical energy annually as we consume overall as a nation, can you elaborate how you have translated this into a need to “…buy the bulk of our electricity from elsewhere.”?

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    • Good to hear from you. ‘Old’ power stations lifetimes are being extended. New Power Stations are on the way. The panic over Global Warming is over – that’s not to say global warming is not happening to a minor extent – but the panic is over.
      Nobody in this world is going to punish us if we walk away from renewables to relieve the financial hardships which face us all at this time.
      Glad you like the graphics. To be honest I couldn’t believe the figures as I worked them out so I sent them to an ‘expert’ who confirmed they were right to the nearest £. The alternative costings are history itself – its what we have been paying every day for decades for a reliable 24 hour supply of electricity. Thats why I don’t think you can compare the two in any way – one is totally reliable and cheaper – the other is totally unreliable and expensive – no argument as far as I can see.
      If the wind don’t blow – there’s no electricity from wind farms – whether there are 2,000 turbines of 10,000 turbines, so any claim to be able to “generate as much renewable electrical energy annually as we consume overall as a nation” is absolutely impossible. Renewables will always require 100% backup from Power Stations, so what is the point in wasting money on them in the first place ?

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      • Malcolm: you go round and round more often than a high efficiency wind turbine!

        Your numbers are meaningless without context and it would help their credibility if you would cite where they are coming from.

        Some context: the UK Government is offering a 1 billion pound prize for a successful CCS demonstrator. That rather dwarves the subsidy figures you give for wind and is just for a project. Subsidies for fossil fuels globally run into hundreds of BILLIONS of pounds annually.

        Why is the “panic” over global warming over. Or do you just mean in your household (or indeed just in your own head?).

        As to fossil fuels supplying us with reliable power production, remember the three day week? Or the “panic” over gas supplies from Russia to Europe in recent years or what about the blackouts in California – one of the most technologically advanced parts of the planet? Simple fact is that one day there will not be enough fossil fuels to meet demand and that day will have evil consequences (and that’s before we get onto the CO2 problem). That time may be soon, it may be decades away – we will only know AFTER it has happened.

        But surely it is sensible to do something about it NOW rather than when we have an acute emergency?

        All electricity producing technologies require reserves to be available – not just renewables. But I think I’ve pointed that out to you before.

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        • The West is against Iran having nukes not because we think they will point them at us or indeed at Israel…much more likely to drop one on Saudi Arabia…the real threat is to the staits of Hormuz/Persian Gulf or Arabian Gulf (pick your nation pick your name)…
          Simply the percieved threat of nuclear attack can close this waterway…a waterway that carries about one third of the worlds oil. Will sky rocket world oil prices and drive nations not simply families into fuel poverty…the closeing of the starights does not bear thinking about…we would see across the world anarchy of biblical proportions…
          This alone says we have to secure alternative means of powering our cultures.
          Global warming is real..and is accelerating, we are the straw that will break the camels back. The issue has not gone away, it is still as bigger issue as ever…the oil barons acknowledge this…many major politicians choose to ignor it or just pay it lip service.

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      • Malcolm – ‘Renewables will always need 100% backup from power stations’ – rather a misleading claim, given that the variability of the ever increasing amount of electricity from wind power makes the development of mass energy storage ever more pressing.
        The Cruachan and Foyers pumped storage stations are just a ‘drop in the ocean’ compared with what’s needed, but I bet there’ll be other ‘green’ techniques developed in the reasonably near future – hydrogen generation seems to be a frequently mooted idea – and your claim surely has less credibility in relation to tidestream and hydro power.

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        • As an example if the Argyll Array went ahead (Ye God’s forbid) its generation when turning, theoretically will be on par with Scotlands current entire Hydro generation.

          Note: on storage…agreed super connector to Norway will be used for pumped storage…?

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  28. Robert – anyone who can recommend a bridge/ tunnel over/under the Clyde to Dunoon is not quite on the same planet as the rest of us.
    Doc – as always utter nonsense – the figures I produced are correct to the £ – and can be proved to be so.
    The UK government is offering 1 billion for CCS development (60million people) whereas my annual figure of £400 million was entirely for Scotland ( 6 million ?)
    Re Global warming – news from South America last week.
    3 day week – that was Scargill and his mob
    Everybody but everybody – even your ‘Dear Leader’ are now claiming that there is more oil than ever, yet to be produced – Karl is the expert and I’m sure he said something similar somewhere above . Biggest Gas Field ever been, found off Australia just announced !
    Your problem Doc is that you think that you have to sort the future because you believe you are the brightest person around. Well I believe our children and their children will not necessarily be more intelligent – but they will certainly have more knowledge and will sort out the future well being of their families and their country better than you, when it’s their turn.

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    • Malcolm…having oil does not make using it right…as I have just said…our reliance on oil is an addiction .
      Relgious politics in the Gulf, Sunni/Shia/Walid etc mean that if the Gulf came embroiled in a war and the gulf stopped moving oil…we could see an increase at the pumps of around 35% overnight…the problem is our strategic reserves (I talk about europe here) would last but a few weeks…rationing would not be an option and the price increase would never be applied…anarchy would follow…this is not some sort of hollywood movie this is a real possiblity, more so now than yesterday…
      There is no alternative than to have a mix of energy source…I believe community generation is one of the ways to go (others do not) I believe saving is the way to go (others do not)…one thing is for certain if we do not act now (yesterday) we (the human race) will have civilisation changing concequences to face within my childrens life times…and most likely in mine too…we have to face the future now and not put it on our kids or their kids…we have to.

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    • Malcolm: You need to get out more, but these days the internet affords you the opportunity of finding out for yourself how tunnels have, in other parts of the world, provided an all-weather answer to the Dunoon-Gourock type of problem.

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    • Malcolm: my wife has a theory that you just deliberately provoke me to have me waste my time thundering away on the keyboard. “Simon” used to have a similar effect. It is a weakness of mine.

      But here I go again…

      First, there is nothing daft about Robert’s idea of a tunnel. I’m sure people said the Clyde Tunnel was a daft idea, or the Glasgow Underground, or the Mersey Tunnel or the Millennium Dome (no, sorry,, that was a daft idea). The engineering isn’t too difficult (we have built a much longer Channel Tunnel after all). The only question is whether or not the economics make it feasible but I for one do not rule it out until I have seen some sort of feasibility study.

      CCS: the 1 billion is for a pilot demonstration plant and is no more (or less) for the whole UK population than is Scottish wind. My real point, Malcolm, is that you just don’t seem to have a clue about the real cost of energy. The numbers are huge – almost as big as bank bailouts. Energy is dictated in decades and in billions. £400M is small change in energy terms (and you still haven’t pointed us to some facts to back up your assertion of the figures).

      The news from Brazil was desperately depressing for anyone who cares about our species, our planet and – above all – our children. Must have missed the bit at the summit where they declared that global warming wasn’t an issue.

      Lots of oil being discovered, true. But how much is sweet light crude? How much is in nice, easy places to get at? (ie not in any place that ends in “tic” or is more than 300m in depth?). And how does the discovery of new reserves match up with demand? That’s rising and rising fast. Problem is that the Chinese have all the money and the demand (and indeed the reserves).

      As Karl says, flare up in the Arabian Gulf, coupled with, say, a big storm in the Gulf of Mexico that knocks out oil production and suddenly we are looking at fuel shortages in the UK.: rationing, emergency vehicles and the army the priority. Suddenly the shelves at Tesco empty because there is no fuel for their lorries (and you can’t reach the shops anyway as your car has run out of petrol). In the UK we are about a week away from starvation and the vulnerability is our transport system because it depends on oil – oil that we have pitiful reserves of. At least we are better off than our Continental cousins in that we could ration North Sea oil production. But you just keep in your complacent world where oil is ever abundant.

      Surely so much better to develop a society that can live on its own energy production, unbeholden to anyone else? That means a good mix of energy for transport and power production.

      As usual you have a poor grasp of the actual facts: the three day week was actually the Tory Government trying to tough it out with the miners (who were led by Joe Gormley not Scargill) at a time of global energy emergency caused by the 1973 Yom Kippur War. My point is that fossil fuel supplies are extremely vulnerable to political action both internally and externally of the UK. Our dependence on gas (50% of our electricity production and the UK now a net importer despite the North Sea)means that we are now vulnerable to the whims of Mr Putin. What Stalin couldn’t achieve with his armies, Putin could do with a large spanner.

      I’m not the brightest person around Malcolm. I have had the good fortune to have rubbed shoulders with many very bright people to whom I struggle to hold a candle. It is interesting that you constantly try to denigrate me: if it is not my boring prose it is my intellect. Makes me think the person with the problem here is not me Malcolm.

      I think where we really differ though is not our intellect nor our passion or belief but on ethics. You reveal so much in your last sentences where you say that it is justifiable to leave problems to our children to solve. I was brought up to believe that it was the role and indeed duty of the current generation to do all we can for the next: our children. Instead we have given them huge public debts, nuclear waste, rising CO2 levels and global warming, a population heading towards 9 billion and an energy policy based on a rapidly shrinking natural resource.

      So, forgive me Malcolm, if I use the time I have left and the talents I have been given to at least try to make a better world for my two wee daughters and all of their bright-faced contemporaries worldwide.

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      • Doc: I’ve been wondering whether Malcolm should be invoiced for the time it takes to educate him about matters that most people seem to be able to comprehend fairly easily, but there seems to be an element of wilful misinformation driven by some fairly strong prejudices. And as – when challenged on these – Malcolm gets a bit shirty I suppose it’s best to leave well alone, and just hope that some of the reasoned argument does eventually sink in.

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        • Robert: I certainly wish I could invoice someone (anyone!) for the time I spend on here.

          I was trying hard to ignore Malcolm as I recognise he is a hopeless case, unwilling to genuinely debate the issues but, eventually, he manages to find some new outrageous assertion that makes me reach for my laptop. This is not out of some hugely strong belief that I am right, it is much more his apparently unfounded and messianic belief that he is. Messianic I can live with but only if it is backed with rigorous facts and argument. But I have no truck with blind faith when all the facts point in the opposite direction.

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  29. Karl – when you meet up with the Doc at the end of July please forward my good wishes to Mrs Doc- she’s a gem !
    The only person to offer HARD INDISPUTABLE PROVEN REASONED FACTS appears to be my good self – as always.
    Karl – Tilly and others do a good job and were realised as a potential gravy train before others cottoned on. If I remember rightly you have no access to youtube so I will roughly cover what I say in the video. Why should a kid switching on their computer,or an old age pensioner in Bournemouth switching on a light,or someone switching on the electric motor in a petrol pump to fill up their car with already expensive petrol, pay for little extras on Tiree. Why should a local Village Hall gain subsidies from every energy user in the UK when there are plenty recognised methods for obtaining funds for local communities through the Big Lottery Fund etc etc, or of course they can always put their hands in their own pockets.

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    • Malcolm: subsidies for renewable energy do not exist in order to provide an income for community projects. They are there to encourage investment in renewable energy capacity.

      If that means that communities with a strong wind or other natural energy resource are able to harness it to generate a modest income, that is a bonus – a side effect. It’s not ‘free’ income anyway – the community has to raise the capital to build the turbines – that is where the grant-funding/lottery agencies can have a role. Such grants are well-spent because they provide the means for a long-term income which can then be invested in other community projects or energy efficiency or conservation measures.

      Karl: I would be interested to know how Tilley was funded in the first place, and so I’m sure would Malcolm.

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    • “potential gravy train before others cottoned on” ???

      Without involving NTA…and totally from a personal perspective:

      I tell you why Malcolm…because we showed the initiative to share a resource and put the profits directly into our community and not into the hands of off island share holders. If legislation and finance allowed we would use the all the generated power (directly) rather than indirectly on the island…and not see substancial line loss. Our diesel generator would until an alternative arrives back the system up.
      Tilley is sustainable and stand alone…I feel our landscape can handle such a structure and also feel that “onshore” we could and should continue to install smaller domestic and agricultural turbines…Such as Coll is also doing…my stance has remained stead fast on this point since I visited CAT in mid-Wales some 25 years ago.

      I defer to Tims following comments.
      And re-emphasise my commitment to “community Renewables” projects.

      Malcolm (Tim) you might want to look at this:


      It explains how we raised the cash…basically we borrowed the cash from the bank and are paying it back at a rate lower than the income it is generating…the cash benifits we see now are small in comparison with what she will earn in the not so distant future…

      Please read the info and tell me if we, in your opinion are on the aformentioned Gravy Train or not

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  30. The only person to offer HARD INDISPUTABLE PROVEN REASONED FACTS appears to be my good self – as always.

    And so modest with it . . . actually, your postings are remarkably devoid of fact Malcolm. I find them, to quote the Bard,

    ‘Full of sound and fury
    Signifying nothing’

    And – while there are some arguments to be made against some ‘big wind’ developments your attack on Tiree’s community energy project is misinformed to say the least.

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  31. Morning Karl – I am very fond of Tilley and hope to be out Tiree’s way again in a months time. There is no ire, angst or emotion attached to my use of her as an example. I am fully aware of her history and the great success story she has become for the island and of course I am not suggesting retrospective changes to the present system.
    Tim – I presume you have not had to approached a Bank for a loan over the last few decades or you would know the difficulties you face if you don’t have ‘ iron clad ‘ collateral. However,if you say you need to borrow a million for a wind turbine with a return at twice the existing unit price for electricity, and for a period of 20 years guaranteed by the whole population of the British Isles, you will leave the Bank with the cheque in your hand. Re-read Newsrooms leader above – wind turbines are easy money, hence the rush in Planning Applications. Whether the profit goes to a community or into an individual’s pocket ( with a wee bribe to the locals ) I really don’t care – it’s wrong.
    I understand my video ” Scottish Wind Farms – the real cost ” mentioned above has been approved by my elders and betters for distribution far and wide, so will getting on with that today.
    Have a nice one !

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  32. Sounds good – I am off in my neighbour’s Redbay Stormforce 11 for a week about that time but as yet we have not finalised the actual departure day – so will be in touch nearer the time.

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