Not the case. This is a general disclaimer …

Comment posted Pilots concerned on wind farm generated air turbulence by newsroom.

Not the case.

This is a general disclaimer applying to everythiing Minbullets does. It underlines the fact that Mindbullets is concerned with hypotheses on a variety of scenarios, not only wind energy consequences.

Hypotheses are, by definition, possible future scenarios. If we had modelled more hypotheses we might be in a more stable situation today as far as wind energy is concerned.

The comment by Captain Searle of BALPA on the visible air turbulence generated by large wind farms is also not hypothetical but actual.

Recent comments by newsroom

  • Oban North Pier development – try this
    Thank you, phill.You’ve always been a markedly fair contributor – and that includes when you are critical of us. We do learn lessons.
  • Oban North Pier development – try this
    Apologies for forgetting the Regent- which is something of a gem in its own right. We will add it at once to the article above.
    And yes – we absolutely support the Macleod enterprise. Not many businesses invest so much of their own money into their own development. The norm is ‘other peoples money’. And these are attractive, high quality businesses that stoutly support the Oban experience for visitors and help to create the foundation for the repeat visits that benefit the town.
    Also yes – when we support businesses, the free advertising this does give them is neither sought nor paid for. It is based on our independent judgment and, as such, is a considered endorsement of business initiative we judge to be exemplary and important for Argyll.
    If any fell short of our expectations, we would be the first to challenge that negative slide.
    Because there is real ability, real quality and real hope in a wide spectrum of Argyll businesses, one of the very positive contributions we can – and do – make, is to bring what they do to the attention of our substantial and lively audience. And, as with the Ninth Wave restaurant on Mull they don’t have to be big businesses.
    As for the council, there is no value in gilding a decomposing organism.
    As with our positive response yesterday to the Council’s initiative in developing air routes to Argyll and the Isles, we do look for signs of imagination and economic development attack – and support them. Here too we back our own judgment – and some have expressed their very different views on this particular development.
    But this is a diseased council with no more trustworthy or any more capable alternative administration – and that is Argyll’s problem.
    The best that we can do on anything is to use evidence to arrive at independent conclusions and positions on every issue we deal with – to make available the evidence for the conclusions at which we arrive and the positions we adopt.
    There will be no-one and nothing we will not have both supported and offended – because no one and nothing is right all the time or wrong all of the time.
    We are honest brokers, like us or detest us.
    And. by the way – we were not suggesting putting a roof over McCaig’s tower – but roofing over a central area of it – well inside and below the height of the outer wall – and we did say that this is ‘blue skies thinking’.
    We do not expect risk-averse and conservative Argyll to go for this [nor are we saying it should]. And we did not expect people to go for our sugestions of a road extension down to near Gallanach, a bridge there to Kerrera, with road development on the island, building a community there across the bay, with a twinkling night-time conversation going on – and stimulation for all sorts of new businesses.
    We still see this as a more giving solution to the future of the bay communities of both Oban and Kerrera than is the frightful, heartless ghetto of the ‘Dunbeg corridor’ plan which will blight the signature deceptive approach to this surprising town, raking down and around its bay.
    And at least these ideas, however dismissable, are thought propositions generating both debate and, we hope, new alternative solutions.
  • Quarriers who put Easdale Island on the map may do so again
    Congratulations on a dedicated and quite staggering volume of work well done – and on a voluntary basis.
    We too look forward with excitement to new access to funding that will see this genuinely unique island heritage secured – and to access to expertise and promotional respurces that will see its value much more widely recognised.
    Liaison with the Atlantic Islands Centre on Luing will be mutually beneficial.
    With scheduling for Easdale and all that it can bring, the Atlantic Islands Centre will have a fabulous living museum, as well as the Slate Museum, on its doorstep to refer visitor to go and see.
  • Analysis of Gourock-Dunoon ferry services confirms imperative for change
    There is a technical problem with Argyll Flyer which amy account for this.
    It is not expected to be prolonged and the company has said that it expects MV Coruisk to sail for her core duty on the Summer season run between Mallaig and Armadale on Skye, which starts on Friday 3rd April.
    Coruisk has been acting as winter supplement on the Gourock-Dunoon service since December – as she did last year.
  • When is Council going to replace the A814′s missing warning for HGVs?
    As the article makes clear – large vehicles canot be prevented from using it because there will always be a genuine need for such vehicles to access a place or a property somewhere along that road.
    But a clear ‘limitation of use’ notice puts the onus on drivers and gives Police Scotland’s traffic division reason to stop inquire and act accordingly.
    Making the road one way for large vehicles, say south to north, would allow such access, deter casual convenience use by such vehicles and prevent stalemates when two meet.

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130 Responses to Not the case. This is a general disclaimer …

    • Not the case.

      This is a general disclaimer applying to everythiing Minbullets does. It underlines the fact that Mindbullets is concerned with hypotheses on a variety of scenarios, not only wind energy consequences.

      Hypotheses are, by definition, possible future scenarios. If we had modelled more hypotheses we might be in a more stable situation today as far as wind energy is concerned.

      The comment by Captain Searle of BALPA on the visible air turbulence generated by large wind farms is also not hypothetical but actual.

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      • Perhaps I should have been less concise. The article contains the evident truth that, under certain specific conditions of temperature, humidity and wind speed, visible condensation trails can form in the wake of physical obstructions including wind turbines (and aircraft for that matter).

        It’s only the rest of it that is made up.

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    • Hi. Within the overlaying exclusion/investegation zones pertaining to the placement of the Argyll aka Tiree array is an approach corridor(plus Basking Shark Hotspot/Plus the UK’s primary Great Northern Diver wintering ground etcetera) that SPR and the CAA are investigating…this I am told is in regards to collision.
      In regards to turbulence there are real “reasons” to expect wind shear…generated in much the same way as any high building/structure or geographical features can and do create. One would hope that an exclusion zone would be extended if this proved to be right…currently given that the information on the type and height of the proposed turbines and their number is not yet decided (for numerous reasons)…we are told however/and have seen by the images finally drawn out of SPR that the turbines will be higher than our land massess higest point.

      Of new concern is the fact that the NATS radar station would be de-commissioned and most likely re-instated at the original proposed location in N. Ireland (it was shelved because of the past security issues)…this fact would reduce the direct employment on ythe island by at least 4 directly and have a knock on effect for service industries… My brother inlaw is the chief engineer at the “Golf Ball”. SPR could recommission the establishment as the control centre for the Array (god knows they would have a good view of it !)

      The aviation matters are hopefully yet another nail in the coffin of this “test case” array proposal…and will at a later date be addressed or rather exposed by NTA.

      But the above also links in nicely with the admission by SPR that micro-climate change caused down wind of the Array (ie:Tiree to the NE of the array) is a real possibility…SPR have stated they will investegate the matter…what this quite means NTA are not yet party too.

      But there is plenty of research saying we could easily see a change in our weather via atmospheric mixing and condensing…this can go several ways…wet/warm/cold/dry…all of these have implications to our agricultural sector and our onshore flora and fauna…onshore SSSI’s and our internationally protected machair grasslands.

      We have all seen a vapor/mist trail caused by condensation on mountain tops (Table mountain SA is a good example) One thing is totally sure…we will see some form of climate change on Tiree caused directly by this Array in it’s current guise.

      How SPR plan to research it we I say again, are trying to ascertain…sense dictates a pre-construction study generating real control measures, economics will very likely have them saying they will do a base line study and monitor the situation…this will not be acceptable to anybody either for or against the array who lives on Tiree.

      It is quite easy for anybody to do a search of the Horns Rev images and see just what is happening in and around the atmosphere of a mega array…

      Tiree could quite easily become the first island in the Atlantic directly affected by preventable mico-climate change caused by an industry and government who are only too aware of the implications for our isle.

      I would like to expand on the Micro-climate issues at a later date…but they really do have the possibility to substantially change our local climate.

      NTA are fighting this proposal now on an environmental footing…SPR have had to swallow the bullet on this one…there is much going on behined the scenes in Scotland to streamline the application process for such projects…but a broad stroke rather than a specific case by case approach to both development and planning in regards to environmental concerns is wrong.
      You end up with average effects to the environment over large areas been taken into consideration rather than specific localities. This means poorer less important bio-diverse large areas get the same amount of Cherry pie as the smaller gems….

      We have a serious developing situation in Scotland where the environment is taking second priority to big business. For example take yesterdays shock news in the Scotsman…


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  1. Windfarms undoubtedly affect the air around them. Just the fact that they remove energy means there is a possibility of wind shear that could affect aircraft.

    People who know more about aviation and aerodynamics than newsroomn are looking into this – here’s one study. Where there iks a possible conflict the area of concern will be delineated on the charts and aircraft will avoid it, just as they avoid hills and buildings and keep a 2-minute separation from aircraft in front of them in case of wake turbulence.

    This constant desperate search by Newsroom and others on here for something negative to say about wind energy is a little tiresome. This is another non-issue – and certainly one that is hardly likely to affect flights into Tiree, where the airport is situated on the south east coast of the island well away from the proposed turbines.

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    • Correction Webcraft (but I will let you off as you know Tiree has some specific and genuine concerns): The Airport is on the Reef…in the centre of the Isle.
      and is affected by condensed air/mist from the hills to the SW…the same direction as our prevailing winds.

      The approach path to the SW/NE runway (the newly re-surfaced main runway…is in certain conditions directly over/through the array area…this direction is obviously used if we have NE winds and the cloud base is around 300m…google earth has a good image.
      I also hasten to add you can see the corridor in green the image on: the deep purple is the location of Great Northern Divers (Proposed SPA) and incidently the entire area is also overlaid by the proposed MPA for Scotlands premier Basking Shark hotspot…

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    • Negative? The wind industry is doing that fine themselves without any help from anyone on here.

      And the airport’s in the centre of he island with the main runway aligned NE SW almost directly downstream of the wind farm

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  2. Shock horror!

    Windfarms cause global warming

    Windfarms are not the solution they are part of the problem

    “Large windfarms can increase local night time temperatures by fanning warmer air onto the ground, new research has revealed. The study used satellite data to show that the building of huge windfarms in west Texas over the last decade has warmed the nights by up to 0.72C.”

    “The scientists say the effect is due to the gentle turbulence caused by the wind turbines. After the sun has set, the land cools down more quickly than the air, leaving a cold blanket of air just above the ground. But the turbine wakes mix this cold layer with the warmer air above, raising the temperature”

    “The result looks pretty solid to me,” said Steven Sherwood at the climate change research centre at the University of New South Wales, Australia.

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    • I am not sure if they cause global warming…and strongly doubt it ! Hydro-carbons/fossil fuels are the cause…renewables/wind included have their part to play in slowing mans part in the global warming process…

      We are talking about Tiree’s specific geographical interaction with the proposed Argyll Array…the developer Scottish Power Renewables acknowledge the problem but do not know to what extent it will affect us. Picking a subjective example: the Machair is an alkali based grassland…additional rainfall could cause acidification of the shell sands…this would destroy the grasslands and everything that goes with it.

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        • The jury is out until SPR come up with some form of study…I can get my head around the condensing of moist air caused bu atmospheric mixing/cold dry + warm moist….but we could I suppose just as likely see the reverse if rain is forced to fall further off shore…either scenario has implications…there is much info arround the average seems to be a +/-2c shift…and generally this takes place during the hours of darkness in steady wind streams.
          The affects are obviously expedential to the size of the array…Horn’s Rev and a couple of locations in the states have recorded noticable changes 20+ km away…and I seem to remember a location in China that has the local farmers up in arms…on a local scale this is not scare mongering, it is another item on the list that needs solid research. Given the vast variations in our planets local micro-climates; it is not something that can, to any relevant extent, be researched in a lab…it needs field work…how the developer intendv to do this pre-deployment is beyond me…SPR said they will get back to us in due course.
          It has certainly got the local crofters attention …
          Incidently and from a local perspective: when the wind blows from the SW and through an arc of about +/-15o either side…if we have had cold weather we often get a condensing line of cloud running from the high ground of Bienn Gott/Hough across the length of the island….yet the skies can be can be pretty clear else where…this often leads to a bit of drizzle, so I can quite easily see what the affects of placing an array 3 times the size of the island and only 5km out could cause….you only have to look at how lush the plant life is on the down windside of our miles of garden wind fencing is to know there are obviously going to be affects.
          This is as far as I can ascertain a very special case…relevant, again, as far as I have managed to chase the issue, to the unique placing of a mega array next to a remote island…. that has a full on maritime climate and is generally accepted to be virtually a flat as a pan-cake grassy sward on a reef and set out in the briney blue.

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          • It is unlikely that the Tiree Array would have much of an effect on the micro-climate (at least in terms of mixing vertical masses of air) for the same reasons that it is a good place to situate wind turbines: it is pretty windy!

            Basically, the localised micro-climate effects of wind turbines are most noticeable where there is good stratification of the atmosphere around the turbine. In highly energetic areas such as Tiree, turbulence is likely to prevent any great degree of stratification and so there is no great differential for the wind turbines to effect.

            I qualify the above statement by saying that it obviously depends on the height of the base towers and on prevailing weather conditions – though the conditions that would lead to stratification (ie settled weather) are also the conditions under which the turbines will be least active.

            I am more intrigued by the possibility that a turbine array could cause increased cloud cover and precipitation behind the array. I’ll go and have a think about this.

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          • The formation of clouds by mountains (or indeed hills) is not the same effect as clouds being formed by turbines. The former is orographic lift and is basically the warm air being forced upwards by the obstruction then condensing as it hits the cooler air.

            The air stream around turbines is not being forced upwards by the towers or the blades but it is being formed into a vortex. If the vortex is producing a cooling effect then you could get cloud formation. However, I would have thought that the turbine blades would heat rather than cool the air through friction (not by much). Energy is clearly being extracted by the turbine from the air stream but this is in the form of kinetic energy (which turns the blades and thus the turbine). The kinetic energy is converted into electrical energy but this process isn’t 100% efficient so some energy is converted into more heat and into sound energy. Net heat should be a small rise rather than a fall.

            On the Horns farm photo, the Aeolus site says that the cloud formation was because of “unique” atmospheric conditions implying that this sort of cloud formation is uncommon.

            So could it happen on Tiree? Yes, I guess so when a warm (wet) front moves in. Of course, the whole island may have this effect and the array would only add to it. How influential this effect would be is an interesting question.

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          • I should have said that the condensation that is seen at the Horns site may be because the whole turbine structure is cooler than the incoming air stream (so the condensation is caused by the structures rather than the action of the turbine blades). What the condensation did reveal were the vortices.

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          • Karl, you say that “additional rainfall could cause acidification of the shell sands…this would destroy the grasslands and everything that goes with it.”
            I’d be particularly interested to learn why additional rainfall would be any more acidic than the current rainfall.

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          • In reply to Alex: I said ‘could’ not ‘will’ as the jury is out until SPR finish their studies…increased precipitation is inclined to leach certain minerals out of the soil (base cations) calcium, magnesium and the likes…water logging also can cause break down of organic matter again assisting acidification (I am digging deep into my agricultural years here)…there is I suppose just as much chance of less precipitation…this could lead to a change in the sward type and can cause to dune loss…machair is associated with dunes…Machair takes thousands of years to develop…and one would assume that the plant species evolve over time to their conditions…a sudden change in this environment would cause fast changes in the plant species…

            If we get a wet winter on Tiree (last is a good example) you can see a change…generally due to poaching by cattle…but also later in the year due to more leatherjackets(cranefly larvae) these eat the roots, the grass dies…and we get blow outs in the machair (holes and sand deposition) I suppose this can be seen as what happens short term…

            Please remember that these comments only point at possibilities…and are subjective…and again I defer to SPR’s planned studies..and again I state that Tiree and its interaction with a mega-windfarm like the planned Argyll Array only 5 km from it’s shores is unique…if anybody knows of a similar completed venture I know of a lot of stakeholders who would like to see their environmental impact assessment.
            One thing is for certain…large turbine arrays cause changes to their nearby environment…this is obviously going to happen given that they take energy from the wind…whether these affects can be classed as detrimental would take research…if they are offshore 20 km or more then the affects should be, I would presume not noticed onshore…much like the location of the horns Rev photographs mentioned.

            Anyhow it’s up to the scientists and environmentalists to allay fears…and up to Scottish Power Renewable to tell us how they will facilitate this.

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    • It may be a bunch of BS to you…It is certainly not BS to the developer Scottish Power Renewables, or more importantly to the 850 or so souls who live on Tiree.
      The planned Tiree Array is different in it’s geographical placing to anything that has gone before.
      I suggest you research a little before you come up with such statements…after all the world is no longer flat..

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      • Karl………….every airport I know is in some way affected by turbulence, air currents, downdraughts, etc
        We are talking about turbulence here, are we not ? call them vortices or whatever.
        Are you a pilot ?

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        • “when condensation forms, can see the trails and vortices of air turbulence thrown up by large farms, making their take offs and landings at some airports more difficult”.

          i read For argyllsopening gambit as containing two points.

          I refer you to my initial comment…rgds Turbulence…condensation is another issue which “could” be caused by mixing of atmospheric
          Layers…as previously mentioned

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      • It’s the bit at the end of that piece which suggests ALL the UK consumers will happily pay for all this wind nonsense.

        By the way, re the subsidy. When the first gov climate change levy was announced in 2000, I asked Scottish Hydro from whom we were buying more than £m of power how they felt about being a tax collector (especially as it appeared to be the fossil fuel levy by another name). We agreed that there was sod all we could do about it.

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    • The wind industry and it’s supporters often tell fibs – but to multiply reality by 1000 is even for them, not acceptable. How could all the so called experts ( including here) and all the media who used it, not realise that the figures issued this morning by some learned numpty in the renewables business were for MWh’s not GWh’s, a difference of several decimal points. Is there nobody in that industry who is competent to tell the truth rather than just issue nonsense propaganda.
      Again from this morning’s media: – The committee on climate change said greenhouse gas emissions fell by 7% last year,but only 0.8% of the drop was due to climate change measures. Emissions fell apparently due to milder weather and higher energy prices.
      On the basis of the apparent increase in potential wind farm output,the £400 million annual subsidy referred to in my video – “Scottish Wind Farms – the real cost” should now be increased to somewhere in excess of £475 million per annum.

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        • Karl would it not be cheaper to increase the effort into saving .8% of our energy usage, rather than spending – in Scotland alone – £475 million per annum on wind farms, plus umpteen millions more on ridiculously expensive solar panels etc. How many new homes could be built from scratch with all the latest technology for saving power and heat, with that sort on money ? Taking it further this Government wants to multiply that renewables figure by four times. Over a few years at that expenditure you could rehouse much of Scotland and end being the most energy efficient/environmentally friendly country in the world and thus satisfying certain overweight MSP’s personal egos in the eyes of the world. At least you would have bricks and mortar to show for your efforts and rental income to put back in the kitty.

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          • Hi, I feel we have to do two major things…replace existing carbon based energy…by gradually embracing renewables… and we also need to quickly learn to save what we are wasting.

            I do not agree with large commercial wind ventures driven by companies that are more interested in making a buck (and generally have a foot in both camps) than realistically helping us change our ways…

            Amongst all of this the governments of the planet have to stop the support rhetoric and actually sign up to realistic targets: It is paramount that China/US/India etc…do something otherwise we in the UK are just spitting into the wind…knowing this though should not make us stop what we are doing…I do fear that in a lifetime or less we will be wearing the t-shirt saying we told you so when the final straw breaks the camels back.

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          • Perhaps surprisingly, I partly agree with you here Malcolm. A massive investment into a house building programme would have hugely desirable consequences. Not only would it replace a lot of frankly useless housing (from an energy perspective – thus reducing energy demand)but it is the fastest way to kick start the economy, providing employment throughout the UK.

            However, the immediate problem is how to finance this? The various subsidy programmes used to stimulate renewable uptake (and for nuclear if we get round to building any) comes not from the taxpayer but from the electricity consumer. It is thus not Government expenditure. There is some Government expenditure in the system but much of the system is effectively self-funded without Government expenditure. The governments of the UK and Scotland could directly fund a housing programme by making a massive investment into social sector housing (and that would also have lots of other beneficial consequences) but the funding would need to come from direct taxation.

            One last point though is to remind everyone that domestic electricity consumption is only a component of national demand and industry along with the public sector uses a large amount. Industry use of electricity is already fairly lean so there is less scope for reducing the amounts used (though plenty still for shunting them onto renewables). Bottom line is that even with a very successful conservation programme we will still need to be pursuing renewables to reduce our CO2 emissions (and that’s another area you need to watch your figures Malcolm – you cannot look at emissions without also looking at energy output. Increased energy output will mask significant gains in reducing carbon dioxide emissions as a percentage of total emissions).

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      • Malcolm: sometimes it is wise to check your facts before sounding off in case you end up looking foolish.
        The BBC report is quite correct in what they are reporting and the figures are indeed GWh not MWh (which would be rather pathetic if it were the case). And the figures were not coming from some “learned numpty” but from DECC (whose documents come from the Office of National Statistics). It may be that you yourself are mixing up MW and MWh? The whole UK production of renewable electricity in Q1 was just over 11 TWh (and yes that’s terawatt hours). The full report on the UK quarterly results can be found here:
        It is full of interesting facts such as the subsidies for small scale renewables (FITs) are almost entirely going into solar PV (meaning that wind is being subsidised almost entirely from ROCs). I suppose this isn’t surprising when you think about it (most houses can fit solar PV but few people have the space or the water source for mini-hydro or a wind turbine and the rest of the renewable technologies that qualify are a bit esoteric for domestic use).

        Malcolm: you didn’t answer my question before as to where you get this £400M subsidy figure from. You assure me it is correct but you don’t give the source or your working.

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        • Malcolm doesn’t sully himself with things like facts I’m afraid.

          You know what I find amusing? All the context-sensitive Google ads for wind and solar companies that are generated here by these anti-renewables articles Newsroom starts.

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          • Its perfectly simple:- 3383 x 24 x 365 x 0.3 x 45 = £400,073,580
            You will have to watch the video to get the starter figure.

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          • To both you and the Doctor, Malcolm is about right. ROC wind subsidies to Scotland are running at £400m pa. Your figure of value per ROC is wrong (there are 2 components which vary but are typically £50 per MWhr in total) and your 0.1 ROC? I can’t understand where that figure comes from. Other than the 2 Robin Rigg farms which together receive over £40m in ROC, there are no other offshore farms in Scotland.

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        • There should be a medal for patience in the face of intransigence for anyone trying to educate Malcolm, who clearly prefers to call people numpties rather than bother to get his facts right.

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          • Malcolm: thank you for the working, Can you please tell us what the different values are? I recognise 365 as days but it would help if you could tell us what the other measures are (without us having to look at the video).

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          • Given that there have been occasions when I’ve been absolutely certain that Malcolm-generated facts aren’t realistic, I’d rather not go with his figures.

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  3. ref: original article.”The future scenarios featured in MindBullets are purely fictitious and intended to be an exercise in strategic thinking only”..

    There are genuine fact based concerns on Tiree about localised weather change caused by the placing of the large Argyll aka Tiree array so close to the island…and these are reflected in Scottish Power Renewables assurances that they will include this amongst other matters in their EIA…we do not need the support of ficticious articles…
    There are plenty of real issues out there in regards to all forms of energy generation and we should always listen to objective input…and as far as I am concerned treat each wind farm development on a case by case basis…(and thats coming from a guy who does not like the methodology implemented by big wind/energy companies…lets stay local and support community renewables)

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  4. Please get back to the main topic which is about wind farms posing a threat to aviation ha!!! ha!!! ha!!!…………

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  5. HansBlix – We decided on 45, that being about the average price at the time. The figures were supplied by – or my calculations were confirmed by – honest, knowledgeably, dedicated people who give much of their time to trying to stop wind farms destroying the Scottish countryside and economy.

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    • HB: Thanks for your input. Malcolm is nearer the ballpark with £45 as the value of ROCS: Here is a list of their trading values over the past few years:

      They are currently trading at £42 each. These are for auctions and they can be sold other ways so the prices will vary. The buyout price is lower than what is being obtained at auction (£36) while the nominal value is indeed at just over £52 (but I don’t know how that figure is reached)

      In any case, we can agree that they are trading at somewhere between £40 and £50 each.

      I took that conversion factor of 0.1 from here:

      you can see that there is a conversion factor that is applied to convert MWh to ROCS and that is a variable. However, on looking at this in more detail I think I’ve misinterpreted this and it shouldn’t be applied in my calculation. There is a conversion factor that is applied depending on the fuel type, so not all MWh = 1 ROC but this is quite complex. So ignore my earlier calculation. (I’ll go back and edit it for accuracy).

      If you look at the table we can see that there was a total of 13M ROCS issued for wind (onshore and offshore combined) so that would have a value of somewhere between £520M and £650M but that is for the UK as a whole. I’m not sure what the ratio of Scottish wind to UK total is but the Scottish figure will be lower and especially so as we don’t have a lot of offshore wind (which attracts a much higher ROC value per MWh). That would suggest Malcolm’s figure is a bit high but not extraordinarily so.

      Another way to approach it is to look at how much the total cost of the ROCS system is and work out what contribution Scottish wind is making to this. DECC figures say the total renewables ROCs came to £1.3 billion for last year. The last quarter figures were that the UK as a whole produced 11,1 terawatts of renewable power and the Scottish component of that was 4.5 terawatts. If we assume that the division of finance is evenly distributed then Scotland’s “share” would be approximately 40% ie £520M. This is for all renewables (including hydro). I’ve still not uncovered the ratio of hydro to wind for Scotland yet but applying the 3/4 guess I used earlier then this would give a value of £390M – not far off Malcolm’s original figure.

      However not all MWh are equal. Onshore wind is 1:1; hydro is not always eligible for ROCS (and I guess much of the Scottish hydro plant is ineligible but does count towards the renewables target. Biomass is 2 ROCS per MWh. Because Scottish renewables are predominantly wind and hydro then we probably get a lower “share” of ROCS than generation elsewhere.

      Anyway, sum total of all of this is that working out exactly the Scottish Wind sector receives in subsidy is quite complex. I was never challenging Malcolm’s figure, I just want to know how he arrived at it.

      However, it has to be remembered that even if the figure of £400 M ROCS subsidy to Scottish wind per annum is accurate, this is not borne entirely by Scottish consumers. ROCS are traded throughout the UK and so the cost of the system is borne throughout the UK regardless of where the ROCS originate. Scottish electricity consumers (domestic, public sector and industry) will pay a share of the ROCS based on their percentage share of total electricity demand. Presuming that is in line with the population then Scottish consumers will pay approximately £110M for the ROCS scheme with a wind component of approximately 50% of this, so £55M.

      And to forestall the inevitable comment, there is no reason to expect this situation not to continue post-independence as the ROCS are already issued on national obligation targets but traded throughout the UK.

      To put the £1.3 billion a year ROCS system into context: if the Chancellor had gone ahead with the 3p a litre price increase in fuel duty then this would have cost consumers an extra £1.5 billion a year.

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      • For one who has written so much on the subject, you seem to know remarkably little. The ROC value in 2010/11 was £51.34 and is the sum of 2 components: the government buy out price of £36.99 and the non-payment or recycle payment of £14.35.

        Your context is wrong, completely so. Fuel consumption will never increase in the way that generation of electricity by wind farms is planned to. The Tiree Array alone would add £400m in ROC subsidy. You will get to well over £1.5bn in Scottish ROC wind subsidy quite quickly.

        Fortunately, none of this will happen. Nobody, not even the clowns in the City of London, will invest in offshore wind given the problems that beset more than half of the current wind farms which are half the (turbine) capacity of future installation.

        Your other context, post-independence, is another ‘aspiration’. There is every reason to suppose the UK consumer will oppose having to pay for constrained wind power in Scotland whilst paying for rUK wind power. You are asking them to pay twice for heavily subsidised electricity. Nor is there any reason for Scotland’s surplus wind power to be purchased at anything greater than at the margin.

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        • And a good morning to you too HB.

          With regard to the value of individual ROCS (and we are perhaps arguing about the numbers of angels on a pin here) I gave you links to the relevant sites which show the traded value of ROCS as well as the nominal value. You are just quoting the nominal value (though thank you for an explanation of how this is calculated). As the calculations I gave are now based on the total value of ROCS, the individual value is not particularly important.
          I’m not sure what you are driving at with your second point. Renewables are intended to displace fossil fuel use. In that sense it doesn’t matter what the overall growth of electricity consumption is. Perhaps you could elucidate your point further?

          I agree that funding offshore wind is much more problematic than onshore and may find it difficult to attract sufficient investment to meet UK and Scottish Government targets. In this it is no different from new nuclear plant or indeed new refinery capacity. This market failure is why you need government intervention in the energy markets to ensure that sufficient energy is produced and at affordable values. Energy (like food) is just too important to leave to the vagrancies of laissez faire capitalism (if only people had realised that about banking).
          Your last point would presume that the rUK government would alter its targets for renewables – otherwise how would they realistically meet them without the contribution of Scottish renewables? The UK consumer already buys electricity from France so why not Scotland? Spite? While the ROCS system is in place and an interconnector between Scotland and rUK there will be a market for renewable energy produced in Scotland in the wider rUK. I strongly suspect it would be against EU law for electricity suppliers in rUK to refuse to buy ROCS from Scottish suppliers while favouring the rUK ROCS suppliers. Post ROCS, who knows but given the yawning gaps in projected demand and supply in the UK I would have thought that there would be plenty of demand for renewables even at a premium. A lot of that does, however, depend on the availability and price of gas but with carbon taxes about to bite deeply into fossil fuel generation, the probability is that renewables will in any case be cheaper than fossil fuel production by that point.

          Ensuring a coherent electricity market post-independence is of course a concern of the major power companies but their continued investment into Scotland suggests that they are not too worried about the probability that this will be achieved.

          As to my expertise: I don’t claim any, just what I read and I am always happy for people to point me towards a greater understanding. That doesn’t mean that I swallow meekly propaganda from any direction.

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          • Everybody who supports industrial wind spouts figures like leaves in a gale…the basic fact is the consumer is sponsoring development…and so is the TAX payer. Whether it is one quid or a million I should have a chice in where my taxes and surcharges are spent…It would not be commercial large scale wind ! show me one large commercial wind development that can stand on its feet without handouts…

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          • You might want to check out the developing pumped storage issues….?

            Please show me one stand alone commercial windfarm that is not bailed out by joe public…Try the states for starters…it is not a new tech Doctor…the new part is the hi-jacking by large multi-nationals.

            Community renewables including wind make far more environmental sense…do they not ?

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          • Everybody who supports industrial wind spouts figures like leaves in a gale…

            . . . and its denigrators do not? Come on Karl!

            Mr. Bilx always has a few figures up his sleeve,and Malolm has been known to mumble numbers in a fairly random fashion.

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          • I’ve not heard of it as a ‘nominal’ price before. It is the actual and is rather important.

            What I thought you were saying was that the value of ROC in Scotland was negligible when compared with, say, the recently delayed fuel escalator. This is patently not true in the future when the subsidy will rise very rapidly. If this is not what you were saying, you might like to do some elucidating yourself.

            You misrepresent the position of offshore farms. It isn’t a market failure. It is a technical failure. They aren’t reliable.

            You have (at least) 2 problems with Scottish demand and supply: firstly the average temperature of the UK has risen and electricity consumption dropped 3% last year and secondly, to be relevant, you have to turn on the wind supply between 4 and 6pm; any other time, forget it. The rise in temperature is also, I presume, occurring in Europe and is bound to impact gas prices and even those coupled to oil prices must be dropping – or should.

            If you’re experienced in International law and believe that then I can’t argue the matter but ROCs aren’t bought so I’m not sure there either.

            We would make a dreadful mistake if we were to trust he power companies to even tell the correct time of day. SSE have publicly made their position clear and you can safely assume that applies to all others. There are 2 ways of looking at what they’re saying; the easy and I believe incorrect view is that they’re taking a swipe at Salmond and independence. This misunderstands what drives them. For example, the regulated side of SSE’s business is huge. They intend that the uncertainties over Scottish independence be used to extract a higher price for their regulated business from Ofgem. Investment in their liberalised business will continue, why shouldn’t it, but not for the long haul stuff like offshore.

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          • I’m not getting involved in the discussion of figures – that’s for yourselves to scratch your heads over – but surely the statement that ‘…the average temperature of the UK has risen and electricity consumption dropped 3% last year..’ might be misleading because – though I’m not a global warming denier – it depends when the year was measured, as we’d just come out of the second of two much colder than usual winters, and our relatively badly insulated houses are one of the biggest energy users.

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          • HB: I’m beginning to think it is yourself who doesn’t understand ROCS. Here is how DECC explain the system:

            “The scheme is administered by Ofgem who issue Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) to renewable electricity generators for every megawatt hour (MWh) of eligible renewable electricity they generate. Generators sell their ROCs to suppliers or traders which allows them to receive a premium in addition to the wholesale electricity price.

            Suppliers present ROCs to Ofgem to demonstrate their compliance with the obligation. Where they do not present sufficient ROCs, suppliers have to pay a penalty known as the buy-out price. This is set at £38.69 per ROC for 2011/12 (linked to RPI). The money collected by Ofgem in the buy-out fund is recycled on a pro-rata basis to suppliers who presented ROCs. Suppliers that do not present ROCs pay into the buy-out fund at the buy-out price, but do not receive any portion of the recycled fund.”

            Note the word “sell”.

            I’m afraid your conclusion that warmer temperatures mean lower electricity usage doesn’t really hold water. Heating in the UK is mainly through gas, oil or wood with electricity making a smaller contribution. So a mild winter will depress gas prices but won’t have much of an impact on electricity usage. Higher summer temperatures will, however, drive up electricity usage as about the only technologies that can cool are all electric. I suspect the recent drop in electricity demand has been down to the recession rather than average temperatures.

            I wasn’t suggesting that ROCS payments are trivial but it is important they are put into perspective. A new nuclear power station will cost (probably) £5 billion. The 3p fuel escalator was worth a larger but similar amount to ROCS. Scrapping Trident would save £87 billion; sorting out the banks…priceless.

            Energy is huge and so are the numbers involved in it. Malcolm puts up a big number to scare people without putting that number into perspective and that’s what I object to.

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          • HanxBlix: “You misrepresent the position of offshore farms. It isn’t a market failure. It is a technical failure. They aren’t reliable.”

            It is true that there have been reliability problems with some of these offshore turbines, but surely that’s a reflection of the fact that offshore wind is still in transition between the “R&D/demonstration” and “deployment” stages, rather than any inherent problem with harnessing offshore wind.

            My understanding is that test facilities such as the EOWDC (so objected to by Mr Trump) are urgently sought by the industry precisely to allow further field testing to overcome these problems.

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          • I’m finding it quite difficult to get the replies to correspond …

            Doc DM: ROC’s are, of course, bought and sold. I was away wandering …

            The important point with UK demand is that it is falling. A 3% drop is 2 big power stations knocked off peak demand. More than one Scottish gov minister has assumed that rUK would need our power but that can not be taken for granted.

            Tim M: It isn’t only “some” windfarms that are experiencing trouble. More than half have grout problems and half (6 out of 15) have Siemens 3.6MW turbines which have corroded bearings. There are about 200 of these in the field and it can not be coincidence that the Gunfleet farms produced virtually nothing last year. The loss for just these two is £60m. SSE are suing Fluor for £300m over Gabbard’s mono-piles and that farm has still not produced anything. For perspective, the banks have all but taken over Vestas for Euro 300m to keep them afloat so the financial and reputational damage done to Siemens is considerable in a market which doesn’t have far to seek its troubles.

            That destroys the business case for scaling up.

            The one bright spot is the Beatrice Demonstrator Project. 2 x 5MW Siemens’ turbines on completely conventional 4 leg jackets – just looks like a drilling platform – in 40mtrs on the Smith Bank in the North Sea. 4 piles hammered into each leg of a jacket made in Methil with the Siemen’s turbine and pillar put together at Nigg in 2007. Nice sandy bottom … 42m cost with some saving from using the Beatrice AP platform for routeing the power ashore.

            Other than SSE planning a 1GW farm near Smith Bank using either 3.5 or 7MW turbines instead of 5MW, the Demonstrator Project seems a success from beginning to end … a bit expensive maybe.

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        • .

          Nice to know that the commercial wind supporters here support the above content.

          I am off to the glens next break, to show my kids what you are supporting…Pylons/turbines & hydro…all of a size that will dwarf our landscape…I am afraid they won’t remember the way is was.
          It’s an immoral and samefull episode in the history of this nation…nothing to be proud of…!


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          • Karl: I think we would all like more say in how our taxes are paid but railing against development incentives for wind (and other renewable technologies) seems misplaced.

            As I have said oft before, ALL forms of electrical generation are subsidised to some extent or another. Some of the current “conventional” technologies received generous support during their development. This is most obvious with nuclear but is also true of other generating technologies *remember that all electrical generation in the UK was publicly funded until the Tories privatised it in the 90′s.

            My second point is about putting things in context: people have differing views about the merits of wind both as a technology and in terms of its strategic deployment. This is fine. As we know the current subsidy costs of renewables is some £1.3 billion a year for ROCS and then there is some millions of FITS to add to this. In return we are able to produce larger amounts of electricity through renewables that will improve fuel security and make it possible to meet our carbon reduction targets. Longer term, we should have cheaper electricity than if we go with a fossil fuel generation fixation.

            The cost of upgrading Trident seems a very moveable feast but a recent and influential report suggested savings of £83.5 billion if it is scrapped: over £80 billion for a weapon system that can never be used.

            City of London bankers’ bonuses: over £4 billion a year – money basically coming from our pensions.

            Military operations in Afghanistan £4 billion per annum.

            Tax avoidance schemes: £70 billion in lost revenue each year.

            All puts the renewables incentives into a bit of perspective?

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          • Karl,

            The landscape was changed more by the hydro developments and their associated pylons in the fifties and sixties. There is virtually no natural landsscape left in the Highlands.

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  6. I think we are winning Karl – he recently has been changing the subject or making excuses all to often – the signs of a man on the defensive ! I am sure he will come up with a further umpteen paragraphs on how this is not true – but ! And as sure as anything SR and Wakeman will join in with their denigration of your truly.

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    • You flatter yourself Malcolm.

      As to winning, win what? In case you haven’t noticed, Karl isn’t on your “side”. He isn’t a climate change denier, isn’t keen on burning fossil fuels ad nauseum and doesn’t mind wind but doesn’t like industrial wind. If the three of us were in a room together and we totted up all of the things we agreed on and disagreed on then I suspect we would find that Karl is closer to my world view than yours.

      As to changing the subject or making excuses, just what is it that you think I’m ducking?

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      • Having read the article in the Telegraph today…I think it is shamefull that anybody can support commercial wind power stations, the system that supports them, the people who build them, the folk who take share bonuses from them…there will be a reconing at some later date…will you willingly then to be honest, to be the people who put your hands up and say “we were responsible for that….”

        Shamefull….madness…you have sold our wild places and our national heritage down the river…

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      • I am neither Malcolms man or yours Doctor…
        As I have pointed out here a couple of times I think that anybody who supports the current COMMERCIAL multi-national rapeing of our wild places is by association no better that the people building these monstrosities in our wild places…
        I think it is shamefull to support such antic’s and niave to boot !

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        • Didn’t say you were Karl.

          I don’t think anyone on here is in favour of irresponsible wind development and each site has to be taken on its merits. However, you aren’t doing your case any good by such an outburst of hyperbole as it just alienates all of us who believe in a responsible approach to our energy needs, our communities and our country (including the natural world that forms such an important part of it).

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          • Dr it’s not an outburst…there is nothing responsible about commercial wind…it is even less responsible to support it!.. Since when has the case by case revision of such powerstations been applied in deference to the local communities who have to put up with them ? and since when have local habitats and environments realistically had a say from an environmental level ? Commercial wind is based on economics first… not saving the environment. Surely, and educated man like you should be able to see past the spin…? How much difference to global warming is Scotland going to achieve by covering its self in these parasitic tributes to corprate greed..please tell us all…how much ?….I will answer for you..ZERO. They will not make the slightest bit of difference given that the worlds larger nations and our selves included, want more on an energy on an hourly basis.

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    • Just spotted your invitation to comment, Halcolh, and I’m too polite to refuse. The times I’ve criticised you it’s because I’ve been quite sure that your pronouncements were half-baked, and it’s rather worrying that you really do seem to believe you speak with great authority, and when others pick holes in what you’e said you sometimes resort to the sort of rudeness that’s really rather childish. Over to you, SR.

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      • “you really do seem to believe you speak with great authority, and when others pick holes in what you’e said you sometimes resort to the sort of rudeness that’s really rather childish”.
        My God – talk about pots and kettles!!!!

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        • No Bill – there’s been quite a lot of intolerance amongst a few commentators on the Dunoon ferry saga on the the views of others, and I don’t apologise for arguing my corner in the face of boorishness.

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    • Malcolm…This is not a tag team :) I am anti-the commercial hijacking of wind…by multi-nationals…always have been. I am not anti-wind, far from it. I feel that governments should push wind…but not in the current manner. Widespread small scale wind (and other renewables) could work and does in fact make rational sense…it can also feasibly be deployed globally…it can be self sustaining but would take major changes in energy related generation/network and end-user legislation (in the uk at least). By the time commercial wind “globally” is self sustaining we will be up the environmental destruction creek without a paddle…wishing we had embraced solar/bio fuels/hydrogen/wave and tide/hydro…leaving the big Carbon fuels for aviation and heavy industry…
      Thoughts that have been running through my grey matter: Folks who use less electricity…use less oil based diesel/petrol…should pay a fixed rate. Incrementaly a heavy surcharge (tens of %) should be paid by those who go over assessed usage.. This also leaves a safety net for those been pushed into energy poverty. Taxation of CO2 emissions directly…Industry would also be assessed and industry would be open to subsidy if they genuinly invest in carbon offset programs. (this is a simplification of what could be possible at least in the moden world) Developing economies and the US should be involved in mass re-aforestation projects of the temeprate and rainforest zones…an area the size of Wales is cut down each year…to offset their CO2 footprint…this is attainable without stopping global development. 60% of forests cut down in tropical areas (for agriculture and fuel) are left fallow within 3 years…they become over grown scrub land.

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  7. So to conclude . . .

    We all seem to be agreed that the issue of air turbulence caused by wind turbines and its possible effect on aviation is insignificant.

    The rest is hot air and wasted electrons.

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    • Yes…except the tenous link with micro-climate change expected on Tiree…

      Good point on the electrons ! my legs are getting tired from pumping this dynamo LOL :)

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        • No Solar panels…which is crazy…and maybe 100 or so high pressure gas flares burning of noxious gas 24/7/365…oh, and power cuts daily
          All sat on the 3rd largest oil reserve in the world…and while we are at it, a daily onshore/offshore wind N to S/ S to N…

          This place was once the Garden of Eden…it is now the opposite.

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      • This shows your level of concern for the environment Webcraft…it is all very well to spout figures/numbers and statistics…the real fact is folks who support multi-national commercial wind ventures…can cover the page with these numbers..the other fact is they are quite willing to put a commercial price on our least spoilt/most natural places…this is the one constant in supporters of commercial wind…they are willing to hang a price tag on the areas destroyed.
        What price the Glens and Mountains of Scotland ? Priceless. What price the wilderness coasts of Scotland ? priceless.
        I have sat before me on the table this morning copys from FOI of transcripts between departments within SNH…it highlights the pressure Scottish Power Renewables is and was placing on SNH to drop JNCC recommended SPA’s and MPA location in the waters of Tiree….Since when has it been acceptable for the tail to wag the dog. These are not environmental management companies…they are like the nuclear industry and the Oil and Gas industry energy companies in the business to make money…generate cash…and they do not care where they put these hideously large power plants as long as sombody else is paying…

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        • My understanding the in thing is having a matrix of social, economic and environmental factors. I am waiting for FOI from SEPA on the new River Awe Flow rates. I may be wrong but those government bodies are generating so much regulations so that they can juggle the rules to fit the required outcome. Now who sets the required outcome, I say money, power and greed.

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        • The hydro schemes of the fifties and sixties and their associated pylons that brought power to the glens changed huge areas of the Highlands. These developments are nothing new, and in fact there is virtually no ‘natural’ landscape left in Scotland – it is almost all man-made.

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          • Shame on you both… Webcraft/Dr you are both saying it is ok to flood the glens/cover the tops in Turbines…webcraft, you state “virtually no ‘natural’ landscape left in Scotland” total rubbish.JNCC/SNH state…use the term” most natural/least damaged” in regards to National Parks/SPA’s/MPA’s/SSSI/NIMA/Natura 2000/AOB…of which there are many,… and many of which are now at risk, for the very same reasons you support large scale industrial wind power stations…you see $$$ first and not protection of the environment, total Hypocrisy.
            Anybody who has to continually drag up the Clearences as a defence for the current industrial wind drive trend is still living in the 1800′s…..!

            Maybe if you both put your heads together you can give the commenters the true facts here…you both have plenty of figures and stats….: On a Global basis how much CO2 will be reduced from the atmosphere when Scotland is covered in turbines…?
            Globally, name one industrial wind powerstation that can stand on its own fiscal feet and say it is not subsidised. ?

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          • Karl: I can’t speak for SR but I have never advocated “flooding the glens/covering the tops in turbines”. Nor will you find in much of what I have written that espouses “industrial” as a good thing. I just don’t see it as the terrible thing that you do but I am also firmly in favour of community control of renewable assets and a sensitive approach to our deployment of renewables.

            I think what both SR and myself are reacting to though is your emotive language and in particular your premise that the West of Scotland (in particular) is some sort of pristine wilderness. Both of us are making the reasonable point that pretty much all of Scotland has been shaped by the hand of man. The big stuff – the mountains, the glens that make up the topography – is geology that has been shaped by climate but everything else – the vegetation, wildlife, land use and distribution of settlements – is man made and this has a profound effects on our scenery.

            I’m certainly not suggesting that because Scotland’s scenery can be considered artificial that this means that it should have no bearing on the deployment of renewables. I’m as proud and protective of our landscape as you evidently are but I do have a keen sense of its origins and an understanding that what we see is not the natural state. nor indeed is it necessarily what we should leave it as.

            You are too quick to presume on what others think and you are certainly misrepresenting my position. I feel that this thread and indeed this whole topic has gone on too long (and I’m as guilty as anyone of being the cause of this) but here are some parting thoughts that actually represent my views rather than the box you seem so keen to put me in:

            1: Hydro is an excellent renewable energy source but it does have large scale environmental impacts; Scotland has already used up the best locations for large scale hydro deployment so further acceptable development is likely to be incremental.

            2: Onshore wind is the most versatile and easily deployed renewable technology available; it has limited environmental impact but is visually intrusive; Scotland has excellent wind resources and there is scope for increasing the contribution of onshore wind to our renewable mix; further expansion, however, needs to be balanced against the need to maintain the air of “wilderness” in the more remote areas of Scotland and in areas of scenic beauty. Organisations such as the John Muir Trust are right to be concerned over the loss of “wildness” and there needs to be a national debate and stronger policy formation around how to strike the balance between visual amenity and energy generation.

            3: Offshore wind has the greatest potential for making a major impact on renewable generation; Scotland has some of the best wind resources in the world ; offshore wind is, however, very expensive compared to onshore wind and there are concerns that project financing may be difficult to find for all of the planned installations; offshore should mean just that – the proposed array for Tiree strikes me as unacceptably intrusive and not in keeping with the scenic beauty of the area and it may also have an unacceptable impact on the marine life in the area (at least in the short term); offshore wind that can use floating structures rather than rely on shallow reefs would be a much more satisfactory solution.

            4: Biomass should be prioritised for domestic and light industrial heating (and CHP) rather than large scale electricity production. Importing wood to fuel biomass plant is just silly.

            5: Solar PV is currently expensive and not particularly appropriate for northern latitudes; solar PV generating costs are, however, falling significantly and the technology is also advancing rapidly so that it may become the primary renewable technology in temperate and tropical latitudes; even more than other renewable technologies (other than biomass) it urgently needs a complementary storage method as the technology is useless at night.

            6: wave power is still in its infancy but offers a useful source of electricity; wave power generators will require considerable areas of sea to be devoted to them if they are to make any significant impact; though this is not likely to pose much of a visual intrusion it may cause concerns to other marine industries.

            7: Tidal power is an excellent renewable because of its complete predictability; Scotland has excellent tidal resources and these can probably be tapped into without unacceptable environmental impacts though these require more study; the technology is, however, likely to be expensive.

            8: Anaerobic Digestion (AD) and waste to power plants are useful but not likely to be significant players in renewable generation in Scotland though they may have more impact elsewhere.

            9: Nuclear remains the only mainstream, non-fossil fuel source that has a high power density suitable for providing secure base load; it has good levels of operational safety but carries with it the risk of catastrophic failure and the unsolved problem of radioactive waste; there are severe doubts over the availability of project finance for new nuclear plants without significant subsidies that will likely make nuclear a more expensive option (certainly to the consumer) than many of the renewable technologies.

            10: Gas remains the fossil fuel of choice and will become increasingly important globally for electricity generation; it is more environmentally acceptable than coal but is still a major CO2 producer; while global reserves methane are enormous, extraction methods are controversial and may pose unacceptable demands on water resources; energy security is a major issue with gas supplies; fuel price fluctuations limit its usefulness from a national perspective and high demand is likely to push prices up beyond many forms of renewables within this decade.

            11: Coal should be phased out as a power source because of its unacceptable environmental impacts. CCS is unlikely to be cost effective and in any case does not mitigate the direct environmental impacts of coal mining.

            12: Energy conservation should remain the priority focus but it needs to be recognised that much of the UK’s housing stock is unsuitable for practical energy conservation; while new housing will have excellent energy conservation this comes at the price of higher building costs. Deployment of technologies that will significantly increase electricity demand (such as electric cars) are not prudent until we have solved the problems of generating enough clean electricity.

            13: Power transmission by overhead power lines has major impacts on visual amenity; where possible, sub sea transmission should be used in preference to overland; transmission lines should, where practical, be underground even when this means higher utility charges; the Beauly-Denny line was a missed opportunity in this regard.

            I hope this clarifies my own position in regards to energy development. It is a complicated area and we are faced with many difficult choices. What I would hope is that people can debate these them without the need to personalise the issues, resorting to unhelpful and misleading hyperbole or lack respect for other people’s positions and thinking.

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        • National Parks are excused turbines.

          The clearances are mentioned because that was a human activity that dramatically altered the countryside for many generations.

          Re. hydro – I am sure you would prefer that they had never brought ‘power to the glens’ – but do you not think it is a little selfish to expect Highlanders to still be using oil lamps? We are all used to the ‘new’ landscape aesthetics brought into existence by hydro schemes.

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          • Dr/Webcraft:
            The protection of emotive land & seascapes deserves emotive language…and for pity sake please do not go back to industrial wind saving the planet…it’s a non-sustainable argument.
            Please answer the two fundemental questions I have asked.
            “Re. hydro – I am sure you would prefer that they had never brought ‘power to the glens’ – but do you not think it is a little selfish to expect Highlanders to still be using oil lamps?” The power to the Glens is not used in the Glens, what nonsense. we are talking pumped storage here…as I direct concequence of industrial wind…Hydro back then was stand alone…you simply do not grasp the consequences to the environment do you? (rhetorical)
            “We are all used to the ‘new’ landscape aesthetics brought into existence by hydro schemes” PUMPED STORAGE Who is the “We” you refering to ?
            The folks displaced, the wildlife destroyed…again you simply do not grasp the consequences do you? (again rhetorical)
            As for your reference to National Parks being exempt from Turbines…what about power cables and pumped storage…
            yet again you simply do not grasp the consequences do you? (again rhetorical and now monotonous)
            The landscape man has created on the tops and in the Glens, along our coasts is the outcome of many thousands of years of occupation and use…the remaining flora and fauna/farming methology has reached a status quo…you can go multiple generations back in time and it has not changes
            To quote:”The developers lie. They are here to make a profit. Windfarms produce little and intermittent electricity. Most of the time they do not work. They serve no local need, not even for the farms and homes here where, in 2012, there is still no mains electricity.(Galloway)
            How can the blade of a bulldozer ripping up 6000 years of beautifully preserved archaeology from the interaction of man and grazing animals – 6000 years beautifully preserved by hill grazing due to our climate – be saving the environment? How can the massive industrial infrastructure and millions of tons of concrete on peatland, aided by forestry clearances serve the few local people left in the culture of agriculture to cherish the iconic landscape where they live and work?”
            Anyhow… I will leave you both to it. It shouldn’t take too long for you both to come up with an honest answer to my two questions….

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          • Karl: I stand by my earlier comments: there is little in the way of available sites for future hydro schemes in Scotland so you are fretting about a non-existent threat.

            SSE have plans for two new pumped storage schemes details of which can be found here:

            I cannot comment in detail directly on either scheme but on first glance I don’t think either will have much impact on wildlife nor will they displace people. One uses an existing lochan. There was a proposal for a scheme on Ben Lomond but that was buried decades ago. Beyond these two schemes, I’m not aware of any other plans for pump storage schemes in Scotland. A recent report concluded that the cost of pump storage was marginally higher than the cost of just putting in the necessary additional generating capacity and that better interconnectivity and demand restraints were more cost effective.

            For a detailed look at storage options see:

            In conclusion, there is unlikely to be any major increase in hydro, including pumped storage in Scotland beyond small, localised schemes. Your concerns over an environmentally damaging increase in hydro thus seem misplaced.

            I’m beginning to find your repeated accusations that I don’t understand the environmental consequences of renewables a bit irksome and perhaps a bit rich coming from someone who makes his living from an industry that really does cause gross environmental damage.

            I’m not going to respond further to this thread.

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          • I take it there will not be an answer to the two questions I have asked.
            Note: I work for any industry that is trying to reduce it’s impact on the planet. I have worked for renewables/oil and Gas/minerals…I am often recommended by NGO’s…I was recommended for this contract followiing work at Mt Nimba UN “world heritage closed reserve”. Guinea West Africa…by the UN.
            Actions I find speak louder than words…and that is why I am here in Iraq.
            In regards to your coments on hydro…pumped storage. The repercussions are not simply restrained to Scotland…ref: North Sea HVDC link.
            Watch this space.
            as ever best regards

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  8. And let’s not forget the clearances which produced so much of the “wilderness”. and the planners do not allow us to return and rebuild homes on.

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    • In recent years it seems to have got easier to build a house in the ‘countryside’ – in Argyll at least, although it does help if you’re building on the site of a previous dwelling.

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    • :)

      Edit: On first look the cartoon is hilarious…as for the rest of the content, I will have a look later Malcolm, thanks for the link


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        • Who said I approved…you again jump to the blinkered conclusion.
          I believe that mankinds actions have and are contributing to changes in our atmosphere…a smiley can quite as easily mean I am laughing at the site…I will edit my post. cheers…
          Anyhow back to real issues:
          I don’t suppose you could dig deep for an answer to my previous two questions could you ?
          To refresh and simplified:
          On a Global % basis how much CO2 will be reduced from the atmosphere if Scotland meets the 2020 targets?
          Globally, name one industrial wind powerstation that can stand on its own fiscal feet or foot and say it is not subsidised. ?
          Edit: Ok..just had a quick look at the site Webcraft…they are “sceptics”, which means they are in want of more proof, far more not “anti- anything” than you are pro-industrial wind. Some of the articles are quite funny.

          What is wrong with the below ? it is their mandate.

          “We are sceptical. This doesn’t mean we are “anti” anything; it means we are in favour of basing policy on evidence and not on the viewpoint of any individual or group. All real scientists are sceptics, or as the Royal Society motto puts it, we “take no one’s word for it”. So, we are neither pro, nor anti man made global warming, just as we are neither pro nor anti wind, nuclear or any other climate or energy issue. instead we want all the evidence to be available government policy based on the evidence”.

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    • I don’t think that your comment is much use, Malcolm, as he seems to be comparing just Australia’s ‘man made’ contribution to world Co2 production with the whole lot – and while this is seemingly intended to reassure a small and reportedly very co2 profligate population in a big country, it’s not representative of the world picture.

      You might say that we in Scotland / Britain aren’t, either, but it’s the overall world picture that counts, it’s the whole world that sinks or swims depending on how the population behaves, and nether we nor the Australians can really afford to play the ‘we’re too small to count’ game.

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      • Agreed…but we also have to change in a sustainable manner…like you say, we are a small, in geographical terms, nation…and as such, we are far less able to absorb large physical changes (industrialisation) in the way we deploy instruments of change industrial wind power stations
        Local up is the obvious answer…not state down…and definately not state sponsored commercialism down. This methodology has a proven track record in some developing nation,,,for example, many of the rural areas of Western Africa…even her in Scotland…

        We can lead by example…but deployment of large scale industrial wind power stations is a plinian victory in the face of massive and ever increasing energy use and co2 release related to China, India and the US, etcetera…seriously, what do we gain except empty moral high ground, the destruction or damage of our own environment…for the sake of $$$$$$$$$$ in foreign pockets.

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    • The ‘logic’ in that is absurdly flawed – a total non-argument I’m afraid. If you can’t see why the guy in the video is speaking nonsense then you really shouldn’t be commenting on climate change issues Malcolm.

      The whole point is not the absolute quantity, it is the dramatic rise in the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere. If you can’t understand that then I’m sorry.

      Even most rational climate change ‘sceptics’ believe that a doubling of CO2 as a percentage of the atmosphere will result in one degree of warming.

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  9. And its ‘little us’ who are paying out near enough £475 million pounds per annum at the moment to subsidise useless windmills – a figure which thanks to the SNP will be trebled or quadrupled within a few years. Global warming is not that bad that’ little us’ have to be sacrificed. If Scotland didn’t have any wind farms do you really think the rest of world would be worse off ? You will of course say yes – but there is a gathering majority that are realising the obvious and will say NO !
    For Scottish politicians to put the the rest of the world before the well being of their own people, their finances, their country side, is absolutely disgraceful.The world is not about to end because of what is mainly happening naturally in the atmosphere. Global Warming is being bandied about by mouths looking for a cause, and that includes the so called professionals who continually try and talk down to their elders and betters.

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    • the so called professionals who continually try and talk down to their elders and betters

      What a bizarre thing to say.

      Who are these ‘so-called’ professionals Malcolm, and who are their ‘elders and betters’?

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      • Webcraft: You call yourself ScotsRenewables as such can you now answer the following:
        On a Global % basis how much CO2 will be reduced from the atmosphere if Scotland meets the 2020 targets?
        Globally, name one industrial wind powerstation that can stand on its own fiscal feet or foot and say it is not subsidised. ?
        Or are you happy to go with the “ZERO” option.

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        • :( in this case your silence speaks volumes…ok lets go with ZERO…maybe you will publish this ” Inconvenient Truth” on your website. :)

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        • I see you are as ever determined to pick a fight Karl. Oh well, here goes . . .

          Scotland’s overall global contribution to CO2 reduction will be a very small number as a percentage. It will however be disproportionately large compared to her population.

          To me this is something for Scotland to be proud of. To continue pouring pollutants into the atmosphere just because other people are is not the mark of a civilised country.

          It is important to remember that the majority of anthropogenic CO2 currently in the atmosphere and causing the problem is not China’s, it is Europe’s and the USAs.

          Data from 1900-2004 shows the following historic emissions:

          US : 314,772m metric tonnes of carbon dioxide Germany :73,625
          UK : 55,163
          India : 25,054
          Brazil : 9,136
          Indonesia : 6,167

          China at 89,243 metric tonnes of CO2 has a long way to go to catch up with the West, and in fact may well never do so.

          So – our focus on emissions reductions is an acknowledgement of the historic burden we have placed on the planet, and of course pour encourager les autres.

          Of all the reasons for not doing anything this one is the worst. We create a problem then blame it on China – fantastic show of responsibility there Karl.

          I don’t intend to enter into a discussion with you about subsidies, except to say that most authorities agree that onshore wind will be competitive without subsidy by 2016. It seems strange to me that you and your fellow travellers want to scrap a new technology just before it becomes competitive.

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          • When does picking a fight equate to asking for an answer from a supporter of industrial wind power ?
            “Scotland’s overall global contribution to CO2 reduction will be a very small number as a percentage. It will however be disproportionately large compared to her population.”

            Yes I agree, out of scale in comparison with both it’s land mass and population…the problem is even though we may meet our targets…the global CO2 emmissions still rise. As a further break down you might want to take other renewables out of the pot..and focus solely on wind…after all is this not what this discussion is about.

            In regards to China…please get your facts right…they are the fastest growing producers of CO2 and are expected to over take the USA’s emissions within a 10 year period. The USA will also continue to produce more CO2..(trends up in both cases)

            “I don’t intend to enter into a discussion with you about subsidies, except to say that most authorities agree that onshore wind will be competitive without subsidy by 2016. It seems strange to me that you and your fellow travellers want to scrap a new technology just before it becomes competitive.”

            It is not like industrial wind has just appeared ! go take a look at a time line. There we go…ZERO. and also you revert again to the economist spin of “competitive”…and have the gall to seperate onshore and offshore wind…they are the same industrial/commercial beast.

            Please do not tell un-truths, it does nothing for your credibility…. I have never mentioned scrapping a new technology “wind” (not that wind is that new eh :) ) I have always and always will support community wind/renewables ventures…I suggest you re-read all of my posts..and note that common thread.


            I will revisit the issue in 2016…I think you will find that this, if not before, will be the year in which the coffin nail will finally be driven home…

            Time to move on to a new issue.


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          • Glad to know you are bang up to date webcraft/SR – we bow to your superior knowledge – well at least up to 2004. The rest of us however are aware of China’s massive expansion since then – at one point they were reported to be building a new coal fired power station every week – and may very well still be doing so. Please try and avoid your usual personal abuse if replying – or actually at this stage you could just exit stage left – just like the doc.

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          • They were reported to be‘ is about as reliable as ‘A man in a pub told me‘.

            As usual Malcolm your bland assertions are completely devoid of any source or factual backup, and therefore equally devoid of any credibility.

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        • To say onshore and offshore wind are the same technology is facile. Offshore wind is very much more expensive than onshore wind and will consequently require subsidies for longer.

          Your attack on me for using economist arguments seems very strange when the discussion was about subsidies.

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    • Thanks Peter, excellent data. It does not give the historic totals however, which need to be taken into account if – like some on here – we want to play the blame game.

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    • Thanks..saved me the trouble…note China V USA webcraft. QED
      Aye webcraft…”excellent data” for the case against industrialisation of our “least damaged most natural places” I would say…
      I suggest you print this out and place it above your laptop. Errr where is Scotlands co2 out-put…oh there it is… that misplaced pixel off out towards the Iceland !
      As for historic data…excuse me but there seems to be something at odds here…are we not trying to reverse current trends to gat back to pastures once green… Webcraft ? or is the entire renewables campaign and search for alternative power sources wrong in your books…f
      Anyhow there I go again wasting another nano-second..
      off to pastures new , Take 2

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  10. There’s a new Scottish voice in this debate which you will all probably find well worth a visit.

    Mission Statement:

    The Scottish Climate & Energy Forum is an Association which aims “to support government, communities and the people of Scotland to make the best decisions on climate and energy for the benefit of us all.”

    As a refreshing demonstration of its willingness to listen to all sides of the debate it even provides a link to the pro-wind scotsrenewables website.

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    • W.S. – Malcolm beat you to it I’m afraid – see post 14

      The link to Scots Renewables seems no more than a sop. Almost all the links are to usual-suspect anti-wind and climate-denial websites. It’s SCEF’s website, so that’s their prerogative, but it does slightly stretch the credibility of their statement “we are neither pro, nor anti man made global warming, just as we are neither pro nor anti wind”

      As we say in Argyll: “Aye, right”

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    • Just had a wee look at SR’s website headline which says :- ‘ Why bother when China is building new Coal Fired Power Stations’. Says it all really !

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        • “Another place, another argument with a Scottish anti-wind activist who wants to know how much CO2, on a global percentage basis, will be removed from the atmosphere if Scotland meets her 2020 targets”…
          I simply can’t let this go…you are the author of spurious mis-information on your website. Now this can either be down to your inability to accept an individual does not agree with commercial wind, and is yet at the same time able quite easily to actively supports community wind; to the point where he was actively involved in building a turbine…(come to Tiree, it’s the large grey structure with 3 blades)…or a blatant lie brought about by your inability to tell the truth….
          On this basis alone you have no credibility as a useful or indeed honest source of objective information.
          If anything your website is totally counterproductive to the renewables cause.
          The article you have written then continues to be riddled with mis-information that the ill informed could be fooled into actually thinking is objective fact. Is this the way you expect to be able to change the current problems we find the world in Webcraft…who are your mentors ? it certainly is not the renewables industry, they show far more intellect in their arguments.
          In future and free of charge would you like to forward me such articles and I ensure you they will become objective/informative/ and above all truthful :) and indeed useful.
          Your are also lacking a total for your cumulative emissions what happened to the other 28+%…oh, don’t answer that…it’s too blatantly obvious !
          Take care

          (edit: Scots Renewables/webcraft subsequently removed inflamatory references.)

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          • I presume you don’t like being referred to as an ‘anti-wind activist’ – but that is what essentially you are, as demonstrated by your support for CATS and Trump and your gleeful participation in every anti-wind thread on this blog.

            As I didn’t mention you by name I don’t see what you are getting your knickers in a twist about anyway, but to spare your sensibilities the phrase ‘Scottish anti-wind activist’ has been replaced by the word ‘someone’.

            As for ‘the article is riddled with mis-information‘ – why not prove it instead of resorting to throwing mud in the hope that some will stick. The source of the figures in the article is quoted and there are plenty of other sources which show that to date the cumulative responsibility for the post-industrial rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration rests squarely with the developed nations.

            (There is a more detailed analysis of historic emissions HERE)

            I understand that you don’t like the article because it contains an argument that undermines your frequently re-iterated ‘no point in doing anything, it’s all China’s fault’ argument. However, you need to accept that you are not going to convince everyone that you are right about everything. If you are going to resort to slagging me off with a flood of unsupported allegations whenever I publish something you disagree with then I have to conclude that you have indeed joined Malcolm’s tag team.

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          • Your are also lacking a total for your cumulative emissions what happened to the other 28+%

            erm . . . it’s the total for the other countries that didn’t make the top ten. As you say, blatantly obvious.

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      • Thanks Cpt Kirk, I rarely look at the site,…quite an insight and definately on par with the worst articles I have seen on such spoof websites…

        Off for a cuppa. “beam me up Scotty renewables”.

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    • Perhaps what we need is a well informed and diligent anti-bullshit activist – I recollect there used to be one, a good one, but he seems to have bailed out in exasperation but maybe one day he’ll be back…

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  11. China has a very large population, and the UK has quite a small population (well, by comparison at least), so the ongoing comparison between the two in respect of CO2 emissions has always seemed to me a bit ridiculous. Even more ridiculous is the attempt to compare China with Scotland.

    Our emissions may be but a pixel in the corner of the map, but they are still around 40% higher than China’s on a per-person basis. And that is before you look at the historical position (as SR has done). The West will never get anywhere lecturing China and other developing nations on their increasing emissions while we are individually still producing more than them, and continuing to enjoy the long-term economic wealth arising from our past use of fossil fuels.

    We led the way with the development of the industrial carbon-based economy, now we have to lead the way with the low-carbon transition. We should be viewing it as an opportunity, not bleating about how insignificant we are in the world CO2 stakes.

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    • Tim rewind:this was the catalyst
      Karl Hughes says:
      July 2, 2012 at 7:04 pm
      Agreed…but we also have to change in a sustainable manner…like you say, we are a small, in geographical terms, nation…and as such, we are far less able to absorb large physical changes (industrialisation) in the way we deploy instruments of change industrial wind power stations
      Local up is the obvious answer…not state down…and definately not state sponsored commercialism down. This methodology has a proven track record in some developing nation,,,for example, many of the rural areas of Western Africa…even her in Scotland…
      We can lead by example…but deployment of large scale industrial wind power stations is a plinian victory in the face of massive and ever increasing energy use and co2 release related to China, India and the US, etcetera…seriously, what do we gain except empty moral high ground, the destruction or damage of our own environment…for the sake of $$$$$$$$$$ in foreign pockets.


      Is this so wrong ? We are leading the way in a reduced hydrocarbon use and thats admirable…and we can go back historically and say sorry we did not know an industrial revolution would kick off global warming and accelerated climate change…much the same as we can say sorry for slavery…it gives some close-out to historic events, but does not achieve anything if developing nations are not willing or unable to stop themselves doing the same

      …it’s cyclic driven by want rather than need.China and the US etc may not have been the big poluters in the past…but they are now, and they will be in the future…1.3billion Chinese are looking to have the same lifestyle as we have in the west…and why not…the big difference is they have already noted the cyclic elements of development = pollution

      ” between 1791 and 1831 the population of England and Wales grew at an unprecedented rate: from about 7.7 million to 13.2 million and it was to double again to around 25 million by the 1860s. The Scottish population grew much more slowly doubling from around 2 million to 4 million during the whole period from the 1780s to the 1860s.” now put this into the contex of growing industrialisation in for example: China…

      If the commercial giants of wind want to make a change…they should look further a field…and make a real change. Using Scotland as a Shop window is wrong for Scotland (and I refer in total only to commercial windustrial wind)

      China is already doing it’s own thing (state owned in entirety of course)…so why do folks feel we will lead the world by example…they already accept we messed up.

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  12. Do you mean that, pompous, over bearing, self obsessed,self opinionated, chap who can’t resist telling everyone else exactly why they are in the wrong – do you mean that chap ? Maybe he bailed out because he was losing – that’s the usual reason.

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  13. Sticks and stones Malcolm, sticks and stones.

    I stopped contributing because it was becoming very repetitive and more than a little self indulgent of little interest to anyone other than those contributing (as indicated by the rather few thumbs up/down).

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