No Tiree Array campaigner invited to write for Think Scotland

Robert Trythall is a core member of the No Tiree Array campaign, fighting to see off the formally titled Argyll Array- an offshore wind farm so brutalist in scale and proximity that even the most unquestioning aficionado of wind turbines would have pause.

He was asked to write on the subject for Think Scotland and his piece is now published: Scotland’s Basking Sharks threatened by 300 enormous turbines.

The title points to his major focus – the impact of Scottish Power Renewables’ proposal on the marine and bird wildlife in this Atlantic area.

An extract from the article summarises the overall position with this planned array and the developer’s decision to delay the progress of its submission until – wait for it – after 2014.

Does that date ring any bells?

Robert Trythall’s piece says:

‘If consented it would be the biggest offshore wind farm in the UK, one of the biggest in Europe, comprising up to 300 turbines the size of the London Gherkin, the closest only three miles off Tiree, in an area more than 3.5 times the size of the island, generating 1800 MW by 2020.

‘In March 2012, SPR announced delaying its consenting submission until late 2014. Possibly, and coincidently, till after the independence referendum. The cumulative effect is the array cannot be fully operational until 2022, and beyond the Scottish Government’s unilateral 2020 renewables target. The reasons for delay were specific ‘environmental considerations’, notwithstanding SPR highlighted them at the outset in 2010.

‘There is a raft of technical, financial, and possibly political reasons for SPR’s delay .’

For Argyll had been quite an enthusiastic – but discriminating – supporter of wind until we examined the proposal for the farm around Tiree. Its sheer preposterousness stopped the breath.

The number of turbines proposed; their height; their closeness to the island; their utter swamping of the Skerryvore Lighthouse, judged the most beautiful in the world one of Britain’s ‘pyramids’ built by the fabulous Stevensons; the scale of the farm compared to the island itself; the micro-climate it may bring – rain to the sunshine isle; the potential impact of the turbines on marine wildlife, birdlife, night time rest for islanders and potentially their health.

Common sense alons said ‘No’. This array is indefensibly out of scale, a life changer, an environmental intervention whose consequences we cannot guess at.

This scheme, with the equally abusive, if smaller, one planned for the shores of south Kintyre, drove us to research, question and reflect in a way we might not have felt the need to do had they the developers been less greedy or more competent in testing honestly the validity of their proposal before proceeding to planning.

This direction we were then propelled towards uncovered facts and arguments clearly needing to be recognised as weighty and to be explored further.

The Kintyre Offshore Wind Action Group [who comprehensively won their case, with the proposal withdrawn] and the No Tiree Array campaigns have been admirable in their serious approach to science, their interrogation of arguments advanced by government and developers  and the extent to which they have shown these to be wanting.

They need to be listened to with respect – and, of course, interrogated  with the rigour they rightly apply to the wind-at-all-costs brigade.

Note: The FAQ page on the No Tiree Array website is useful.

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243 Responses to No Tiree Array campaigner invited to write for Think Scotland

  1. Outwith my involvement with NTA, and if the Spanish developer does not back out for reputation reasons:

    One overiding question may at some time be faced by the 1st Minister and his followers. “…is the destruction of all of this, worth “X” amount of revenue for the developer, a few jobs & a few quid for Scotland…” ? It is so obvious in the case of the Argyll aka Tiree Array that the pseudo “environmental benifits” of the development will never repay the environmental damage done..

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  2. ThinkScotland is of course a mouthpiece for the Tory party.

    It’s a pity that once again NTA demonstrate they are prepared to jump into bed with anyone who is ‘on their side’. This does not look good after their previous dalliance with the Bouffant Buffoon.

    Similarly the constant attacks on the current Scottish government by NTA is unlikely to further their cause – better to go with the flow and work from within than to seek to undermine a still popular administration from a precarious ledge on the sidelines.

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    • Must be the air on Tiree,,or the wind, ’cos I never knew Think Scotland was a Tory paper. I am quite sure Basking Sharks don’t know either, and don’t care.

      In that respect I must be confessional. I have never, in my life, voted Tory. On the same confessional theme I have never jumped into bed with anyone because they are ‘on my side’. In fact I think it is physically quite difficult to jump into bed with someone, if that someone is on the ‘same side’.

      I was a child of the 60’s I was never a fan of the bouffant. All that hairspray!! And as for a dalliance..just think about the morning afterwards ..please … lets not go there!

      Your political perspective is naïve. If one is a critic of government policy “working from within” may work if the government concerned is demonstrably willing to listen, engage and effectively respond. There is no evidence to suggest the current Scottish Government is willing to do so, on the contrary the evidence suggests it becoming more strident and doctrinaire.

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      • I am not surprised that you have never voted Tory. I am not accusing you of being Tory or indeed of being a fan of Donald Trump. What I said was that NTA could appear to the cynical to be somewhat indiscriminate as to who it takes support from.

        NTA published Trump’s letter to Salmond and you yourself posted the first comment in support.

        I am afraid I agree with your correspondent John Smith who posted on the same thread:

        To post a letter by Mr Trump as support for your campaign against the Tiree Array is imo rather foolhardy given his track record of environmental sympathy!

        You need a long spoon to sup with the devil.

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        • U guys all seem to forget that but for Wee Eck supping D Trump’s spoon his dunes golf course may have become an intangible concept.

          What emerges from your input is that unless NTA agrees with your perspective then you declare it invalid . Hints of stridency and maybe a suggestion of becoming doctrinaire?

          It’s Friday night ..maybe there is a bouffant sashaying about Seil that you may want to jump into bed with .. ..enjoy

          good w/end

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      • Rob, you say Your political perspective is naïve.

        As naive as someone who never knew Think Scotland was a Tory paper ?

        It is the child of Brian Monteith, who was a Conservative Member of the Scottish Parliament between 1999 and 2007. In his early career Monteith worked as a researcher for Thatcherite London-based think tank, the Centre for Policy Studies. He moved on to work for Michael Forsyth Associates and in fact shared a flat in London with Michael Forsyth. He went on to be the leader of the unsuccessful Think Twice “No-No” campaign in the 1997 devolution referendum which opposed the creation of the Scottish Parliament.

        All this information is easily found. I know it is tempting to jump into bed with Tories like Monteith and Struan Stevenson because they are anti-wind and you see them as being ‘on your side’ – but they aren’t. The ‘readership’ of ThinkScotland is extremely small and powerless – the Tories have no authority or mandate in Scotland and it is unlikely that they ever will again – or at least, not this side of independence.

        I am not wholly unsympathetic to NTA’s aims and objectives . . . but I think you should choose your allies with greater care.

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        • Thank you for this information.But what has it to do with the issues my article addressed?

          I could offer a much harsher historical perspective as to why your political perspective is naive.For my part I am quite happy to be, in your eyes , some kind ingenue just because I was unaware that Think Scotland was a Tory paper.

          In fact it comforts me, because it is so, so trivial and totally irrelevant

          Have a good w/end

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    • The current Scottish Government is who we have to deal with, they are the people driving commercial wind…if it was the Tories or the Labour Party Or the greens…we have to deal with the party in power.

      “go with the flow and work from within ” ? weird comment this SR…are you suggesting we keep quiet and go covert. I have a voice and I want it to be heard…the problem at the moment is the SG is hell bent on deploying industrial scale commercial wind powerstations (generally owned by overseas companies) and on previous TRACK RECORD alone the current SG is proven to NOT be listen to affected communities…read the latest guidelines.

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  3. Karl

    I see you’re back to spouting rhetoric without feeling the need to back it up. I wonder if you’d have the courage to respond to the previous points I made on this:
    http://forargyll.com/2012/07/will-a-subsidised-10k-buy-spr-calmer-waters-in-tiree/

    When I wrote that, it prompted the longest silence we’ve had from you on this website for some time. It may just be coincidence, of course.

    No need to belittle me or shout. An honest response would be appreciated though. I’m sure it would do your cause some good.

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    • Any Silence on my part is due to the fact that I have a life outside of windfarms and For Argyll…as to any questions you asked in relation to the 10k SPR bait…spend it as you will Lachie…it will not change the facts that the AA will, if it is ever built,do more harm than good.
      As for my courage…I have enough for us both.

      As for needing to back up facts, as ever I refer you to links in :http://www.no-tiree-array.org.uk/

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  4. Robert Trythall’s article in Think Scotland is a clear, well-expressed outline of the case against Scottish Power’s nightmare plan for Tiree’s coastlines. The construction of this number of monster turbines would alter the micro-climate, pulverise the sea bed, create havoc in the ecology of the wildlife in and around the island, bring almost certain death to thousands of basking sharks, the ‘gentle giants’ of Scotland’s western coasts and begin the industrialisation of the Western Isles, one of the nation’s greatest natural assets. How the Scottish Government and their pals in the energy industry can even contemplate the placing of a giant windfarm of this nature in this location is beyond understanding. Any attempt to destroy these islands and the lives of their human and non-human residents will cause enormous concern to the people of Scotland and it is hoped that the powers that be go back ‘tae think again…’.

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    • No point in having any kind of scoping or investigation then – ‘AK’ already knows the outcome.

      Can we please see your sources and evidence that the miocroclimate will be altered?

      Can you please explain exactly what will kill the ‘thousands’ of basking sharks?

      Sorry, but this is unscientific, emotional twaddle and will not help NTA’s cause one bit.

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      • Micro climate ..have a look at the NTA website

        NTA is currently gathering the evidence.

        You keep repeating ” not helping NTA’s cause ”

        Where and what is your evidence?

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    • I don’t understand the basking shark problem.

      How is the ‘almost certain death’ going to come about? Is it the boats? They manage ok with fishing boats and ferries. Is it the electrical cables? The cables at Gunna Sound don’t seem to bother them. Surely you don’t mean that it’s because of them running into the towers…

      Again, I would like this to be explained properly. At the moment it feels like scaremongering.

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      • I think the problem is related to the number of years that heavy industry will be pulverising the sea bed to create foundations for the turbines and all the extras that go along with that. Also no doubt the work will be ongoing 24 hours a day during occasions of calm weather – would you like that next door to you – No ! – well neither would the sharks.

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      • Lachie…if you don’t understand that… is because you are not following the information pubilsed on the web. Or the information provided by SNH, JNCC, HWDT, MS andindeed Scottish power renewables.

        As for your comments about scaremongering…well what can I say…the facts are there, if there was not a problem then why spend X thousands of $ doing surveys ? i

        How is the ‘almost certain death’ going to come about? EXPLAINED in full numerous times.

        “They manage ok with fishing boats and ferries”…Ferries and fishing boats (other than a max of 5 small creel boats) do not enter the array location…you know this !

        Is it the electrical cables? The cables at Gunna Sound don’t seem to bother them. I will not stoop to answer this nonsense…2 cables ? Lachie…2 Cables.

        “Surely you don’t mean that it’s because of them running into the towers”… ??????????

        Refere you to : http://www.no-tiree-array.org.uk/

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  5. The destruction of the sea bed at Skerryvore which would be required to level it for the placing of these giant turbines would not exactly be conducive to the preservation of the basking shark, which is an endangered species in UK waters. This area has recently been identified as a mating and breeding ground for the sharks. Indeed, SPR’s own survey spotted more than 900 sharks in ONE DAY on the reef. In addition, it has been suggested that underwater explosives may be required to carry out this work. If you recall, the rock there is Lewis Gneiss, the hardest rock in the world. Imagine what explosives would do to large numbers of these gentle creatures. They could be killed or injured, for that is what explosives tend to do. At the very least, their environment would be destroyed for ever.
    As to micro-climate changes, it has already been scientifically proved that temperatures could alter by at least 1 degree when a windfarm of this size is constructed. Try googling this and look especially for US university research.

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    • As to micro-climate changes, it has already been scientifically proved that temperstures could alter by at least 1 degree when a windfram of this size is constructed. Try googling this and look especially for US university research.

      No AK, it is you who is making the assertion – you give us a link to the ‘scientific proof’

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    • Wild and completely unsubstantiated claims about “almost certain death to thousands” of them, or that using explosives would mean that “their environment would be destroyed for ever”, when their environment is the sea and not the seabed, is not the way to object to this development. This can only be done on the basis of facts and, if facts are in short supply, as here, well-argued probabilities. I doubt anyone has studied the effects of building a windfarm in an area frequented by large numbers of basking sharks, but until they do, I’m confident that the way to stop this development is not by coming out with hysterical claims of this kind.

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      • AK, I refer you to articles on the http://www.no-tiree-array.org.uk/ website.
        You are slightly misinformed as to the probable affects on the Basking Sharks that congregate yearly within the proposed Argyll Array location. While they are known to congregate due to the abundance of food they also congregate at the location to court…it is the disturbance/displacement of these animals from a hereditary breeding grown that causes affect.

        The only known mitigation open to the developer is to not build there during the visiting season may > Sept…this is the best time of year to build as the sweel and poor weather days are reduced…The problem Iberdrola (Scottish Power Renewables) is up against is that the Great Northern Divers arrive in Sept and stay until April…again another internationally protected species, and again the largest numbers in the UK and EU are within the proposed location of the AA. Scottish Power Renewables cannot mitigate against disturbance of this species…

        Seabed damage does affect food source, does affect known spawning grounds…yhe likes of the Spiney Lobster and a heap of other species will over the next few years come to light.

        In regards to nano or localised microclimate change…the affects are well known to the developer and they will present information to the Crofters Commission/ Tiree Crofters once they have completed their NTA driven studies.

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      • While there may or may not yet been any studies done on the effects of explosives and high pressure piling on the breeding patterns of Basking sharks studies and best practices in other parts of Europe would suggest this is a bad idea. In Norway large parts of their sea are excluded from oil exploration due to the effects of seismic signals have on the breeding fish. If these signals can be disruptive to breeding fish just what damage letting off explosives and prolonged periods of piling would have on breeding basking sharks does not bear thinking about. I think it is up to SPR to prove to use that these large rare sharks will be uneffected by their operations not for us to prove the damage they will do.

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  6. You can check out the work of Somnath Baidya Roy, who is Assistant Professor at the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Urbana Champaign, University of Illinois. His e-mail address is sbroy@atmos.uiuc.edu
    For a general outline of his conclusions, too long to type out here, take a look at MasterResource energy blog site, the article on Nano Climate Change : Another Issue for Industrial Wind.

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    • One of the concluding paragraphs of the article you refer to in support of your nano-climate concerns is interesting:

      As with many issues involving man’s impact on the climate, the jury seems to still be out on the impact of wind to create nano-climates. A more important issue is whether those nano-climates are better or worse for local residents than the broader climate of their area, the climate without the nano-climate effect of wind.

      So it seems that we don’t know whether or not there will be a nano-climate crated by the array, nor do we know whether any such possible nano-climate would be better or worse than the existing climate.

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      • SPR know there will be a change in local climate caused if the array gets the thumbs up…it’s not rocket science…
        The fact is SNH and SPR did not acknowledge the fact in the original Scoping Report….NTA raised the issue….SNH and SPR now acknowledge that they have to study the affects.
        But you already know this SR….!!!!so why start picking hairs or is this just showboating ?

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  7. As with every kind of research, scientific and otherwise,there is a wide range of debate and opinion. It would appear, however, that the very recent findings of this particular researcher are gaining ground. Even a small change in climate on Tiree would create problems for the island. The windfarm would be in the path of the prevailing south west winds over Tiree. A change in temperature, even by a degree, and an alteration in rainfall could result in difficuilties for crofters, their crops and their animals.
    Our tourism is to some extent dependent upon the island’s reputation as ‘the sunniest place in Britain’. This reputation could be wiped our by alterations in wind directions resulting in more rainfall, as could the wind surfing for which the island is world famous. There has been widespread research into the effects of huge windfarms on micro-climates and opinion is still diverse. However, if you take the time to look at the work of this brilliant young researcher you may learn something.

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    • A change in temperature, even by a degree, and an alteration in rainfall could result in difficuilties for crofters, their crops and their animals.

      It could do, or it could improve things. Or there could be no micro-climate change at all. You (and NTA) will need to come up with a lot better case than that, otherwise this is, as AB said, no more than scaremongering.

      Mr. Roy’s description of his own research on his website sounds impressive:

      Wind power meteorology:
      A major focus of my current research is how wind farms interact with atmospheric flow. My 2004 paper on impact of wind farms on regional hydrometeorology was the first to investigate this problem. I have developed a subgrid parameterization to represent wind turbine rotors in a mesoscale model. I use this model to study impacts of wind farms on near-surface hydrometeorology and also siting solution to minimize these impacts. Currently I am also developing algorithms for very accurate and computationally efficient short-term predictions of wind speeds for wind power applications for onshore and offshore sites.

      Sounds to me like you need to get this guy to do a study for NTA – THEN you might be able to claim that there would be an impact. Until then you are seeking to annul this project on a vague possibility, no more and no less.

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      • Well put SR.

        AK, re the basking sharks – the impacts you discuss, while you correctly point out are not “conducive to the preservation” of basking sharks, hardly equate to “almost certain death to thousands of basking sharks”.

        “their environment would be destroyed forever” – The footprint of a wind turbine is (at a guess) about 20m x 20m. That means 300 of them would destroy an area of 12km sq, in an area of 360km sq. – less than 4% of the site area. In any case, SNH’s fascinating survey has shown that these creatures go at least as far as Galway, I struggle to see how their environment is destroyed.

        Can they not be scared away during construction? I know this is standard practice for other species. I doubt SPR could go around blowing them up anyway – this is obviously illegal.

        I don’t know if these things will be a problem for basking sharks, but nothing that has been written here has led me to believe that they will be. If there is a genuine problem, please tell us what it is.

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        • If the construction is likely to harm the basking sharks then the obvious way to avoid this is to restrict the work to those months when the basking sharks are not present in the waters around Tiree. Basking sharks are migratory and so are not always present. This would be a nuisance for the constructors but it is in line with how vulnerable species such as bats and nesting birds are dealt with.

          I have to say that I agree with SR: making outrageously over the top statements about mass destruction weakens rather than strengthens the case as most people can recognise hyperbole when they read it. Both SR and myself seem to also be in agreement that we are not convinced that the location of the Tiree array is justified but find it difficult to support the campaign against it given the alarmist, even lurid, statements that some people are making in relation to the array.

          For me, the telling arguments are:

          1: Unacceptable visual impact. The plans for this array do not compare favourably with those announced today for the Moray Firth. The Tiree array turbines are too close to shore.

          2: The possibility that construction of the array will cause unacceptable damage to the benthic fauna around Tiree (here I would be worried about slow growing encrusting species such as stony corals, stony bryozoans and possibly Amphioxus (the lancelet) which i seem to remember is common in the sandy patches between the reefs.

          3: Possible negative impacts on tourism. This needs to be looked at carefully. While there is no evidence that on shore wind farms are harming tourism (and some evidence indeed to the contrary), the visual impact on the wind surfing community might deter them from coming to the island. On the other hand it may transpire that what brings them is the great wind surfing conditions and they are indifferent to the proposed turbine park. This needs study.

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          • You mention the Moray offshore farm. It troubles me that we have 2 Spanish companies, Iberdrola and now Repsol, with a very troubled home market and huge holes in their balance sheets, ‘tariff deficit’ and Argentina respectively, turning up on our shores. Are we such a soft touch? The SG have no offshore wind farms at all and no likelihood of one before 2020 and need them otherwise they will not meet their renewable generation targets. I think it valid to question who we’re jumping into bed with.

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      • Hans Blix: we seem to welcome jumping in bed with anybody but England this time around…I wonder why? All the major commercial wind power generation companies are foreign owned…all have investments in oil/gas/nuclear…Saudia of renewables (wind) Mr Salmond has promised…I wonder if that was also meant in relation to a dictatorial government who have an atrocious human rights record ? lets not mention his bed sahring with China too !

        Firstly…I am not sure who AK is, but they obviously have concerns…and be-littleing the lack of objective structure in their concerns is distastefull….but expected.
        AK…contact the NTA and we will give you what objective facts we have
        “You (and NTA) will need to come up with a lot better case than that, otherwise this is, as AB said, no more than scaremongering”
        Get real !!! SR…you are a victim of your own beliefs and the current SG own MO…WE the affected party do not need to come uop with answers!!! SPR need to consult with Islanders on this a genuine concern…if members of the public raise an issue then it is up to the developer to answer the questions…not the community.
        If they do not have the answers then they should find them…
        I was sked by Ralph Thornton the project manager of SPR if I could provide any studies on windfarm generated micro climate change, which I have done (industry based and in relation to Horns Rev)…and that was the catalyst for SPR to acknowledge that affects can be expected…who decides if they are detremental ? is the open question. However, acknowledgement of an affect was what we, the NTA were after, and we got it….
        please SR and AB do not adopt a spin attitude to what is a real concern for people who LIVE on Tiree.
        AB and SR I take it you are supping off each others spoon eh ???? or are you sharing one spoon :)

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        • AB and SR I take it you are supping off each others spoon eh ???? or are you sharing one spoon

          I have no idea as to the identity of AB Karl and resent your implication. Perhaps you could do me the decency of getting your pal Newsroom to confirm this with a check of post timings versus IP addresses then issue an apology.

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          • I hope I didn’t hit a nerve…little paranoid…come on Nick you are better than that.

            I meant supping from a spoon shared with the supporters of commercial industrial wind electriacl generation (I quite liked your quote earlier)…not that you are one and the same…though this would be an interesting concept, but sincerely I feel no paranoia about posts here…as it’s always the same round-about..anyhow AB is known to me, as are you…I do my research.

            Hey, I see your in the SUN directory http://directory.thesun.co.uk/11044082
            are they not a Tory Paper ?

            Karl

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          • You are in Playboy as well !
            :) It seems SR that our sense of humor will get us through :)
            And I would advise the SNP to use a very large catapult !
            Karl

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  8. Hans Blix: I think you are right to be sceptical about the various Spanish developers. I don’t think that we (the UK/Scotland) are a soft touch but we do have the best offshore wind resources in Europe so there is more of a chance3 that the developers will recoup their investment if they make it here rather than elsewhere. Remember, they have to commit to the capital expenditure before they say a penny of subsidy.

    However, I am personally sceptical about the ability of these companies to raise the necessary capital under current conditions. It may be that they intend to develop the proposals to the point they have been granted then sell the project on. Or it may be that these companies are in a stronger financial place than they seem at present. It will be interesting to see what pans out.

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    • Tory, Nationalists, Labour etc…Given the quality and values of current politicians…I would rather judge a political party on what they have done rather than what the say they will do…as for the Scottish Nationalist, I am not sure what they have done yet…?
      As for their energy policy…well I am afraid it is flawed with a bias towards foreign investment and pipe dreams of mass enegy export, the cost for Tiree at least, does not add up..

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    • Malcolm – you might benefit from listening to James Naughtie’s critique of ‘Wee Eck’ on the ‘New Elizabethans’ series on Radio4 yesterday at 12.45. Good for your general education.

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    • A GUIDE TO KIRKSPEAK (vol. 3)

      Learned (adj)
      - applied to anyone whose views confirm or bolster Malcolm’s predjudices

      Bilious (adj)
      - applied to any and all points of view Malcolm disagrees with

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      • Of course the easiest way to stop the expansion of wind farms is to get rid of the SNP majority at Holyrood – and that will most definitely happen after the SNP suffer the catastrophic results of the Independence vote.

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        • Don’t look now Malcolm but practically everywhere in Europe it’s open season for building windfarms, so a change of government here is unlikely to signal a halt to planting turbines.

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          • You are so wrong Robert – go and check your facts – is that not what you are always telling me to do – in fact listen to this mornings radio broadcast that I have posted above ( SR can’t seem to tune into it but he is probably still using a crystal set ) – check the facts about what is happening in other parts of Europe.

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          • I’m not ‘so wrong’, Malcolm, I listened to the Radio Scotland discussion and I can only think that you’ve applied a partisan ‘spin’ to what was said – Denmark, Spain and possibly Holland have been developing windfarms at a far faster rate than we are, and you must have heard the presenter’s comment that the speaker against windfarms seemed to be selecting statistics to support his contentions and rubbishing those that didn’t.
            I couldn’t help thinking of someone else who adopts those tactics, Malcolm.

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    • Neither party put their argument across well; Mr. Graham failed to deliver any punches and Mr. Stuart offered a weak opposition to nuclear power by pointing out the costs of decommissioning reactors. I dare say Mr. Stuart would be the first to object if I offered criticism of the proposed Tiree Array based on the cost, performance, lifespan and reliability offered by a wind turbine built in 1980.

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    • Karl: why didn’t you reference all the articles on this subject in the Scotsman? I had a few hours to kill in Glasgow yesterday and read all of the Scotsman which had very balanced coverage. Stuart Young’s contribution was pretty weak – same old same old, (waste of money etc) The Scotsman itself was guardedly welcoming of the development.

      Later on when I was on the train I read the very depressing news from New Scientist that this year’s sea ice in the Arctic is already the lowest on record (with weeks of melting to go yet)and they reckoned that we could see the Arctic completely free of sea ice by 2050. Malcom will know doubt chirp on about natural variation but the last time this happened was apparently at least 3 million and perhaps as long 13 million years ago. Worth reading the full article or getting hold of the magazine. I am a natural optimist but the consequences for our species and many others is pretty dire.

      Worse may be to come. 2012-2013 is predicted to be strong El Nino event so we are looking at new record highs in global temperature (unless there is a big volcanic eruption).

      Malcolm is probably right that our wind farms won’t manage to put much of a dent in the rising global temperatures but it is a lot better policy than his refrain of “burn baby burn”.

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      • Simply didn’t see the other articles. Also it’s interesting to note that the Moray proposal is 12+ miles offshore. Tiree is 5 km inshore…of a similar size and with a similar capacity…Why is everything bigger on the east coast ? more important ?

        Anyhow…going to leave this thread alone before we slip down the endless spiral…

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      • Burn baby burn ?

        “Malcolm is probably right that our wind farms won’t manage to put much of a dent in the rising global temperatures but it is a lot better policy than his refrain of “burn baby burn”.

        It will not even tarnish any percieved acceleration that man has /is causing…which begs the question…why stuff up more “most natural/least damaged” areas ? why? because we doff our cap to the mill owner still…we all are so stupid to allow multi national mega companies to dictate our cultural changes…an all driven by commercial greed and the green back.

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      • Not upset anybody ?…you are showing the shallow end of your analitical prowess there…I suggest you start trolling the posts !

        Also

        So the tech still needs to prove it’s self ? lets hope at some stage it does eh ? at least it’s a fair way offshore…

        I can’t see it contributing to Scotlands 100% uni-lateral nonsense target…can you ? the thing will not be fihished in time…therefore it is purely another foreign commercial windfarm generating cash and doing little in regards to reducing percieved climate change…

        Any chance on you giving us the carbon footprint of this heathrobinson codswallop Nigel ? or th carbon footprint of say Whitelea ? we can then work out the payback time.

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        • It’s a long way offshore – though ‘The Donald’ is apparently convinced he will be able to see it from his golf course.

          According to the Guardian report the project director says it wil be onstream in 2018, thoughn other sources say some time in 2020. I agree it could be touch and go if it helps meet the 2020 target for 100% equivalent from renewables.

          (Missing a target by a few months would be pretty good as government projects go though)

          Let’s hope we are both around to review our positions in 2020 – we live in interesting times.

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          • Frightening times !!! SR…noted the sea ice melt…Anybody who denies the climate is changing (for whatever reason) needs a serious reality check…also interesting to note that Russia/Canada/Norway etc are already to move in and not put up wind farms but to drill the largest oil reserves in the world !

            Interesting and worrying times.

            And for your information the Southern Oil Company of Iraq are about to drill 500 oil wells…upping daily production from a measly 250,000 a day to +1m.and thats just from the Zubayr field !

            You think a few monuments to commercial greed (commercial windfarms) are going to make a difference…think again. We are been hoodwinked.

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  9. Having had the best summer and mildest temperatures enjoyed in this part of Argyll for several years ( not the absolute best ) then bring it on – I could enjoy a few years like this.
    Doc – I know and respect Stuart Young – he is a very exact sort of person with a brain far ahead of yours – so I would really appreciate you not maligning your betters.

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  10. Malcolm: my daughter (13) has just read your post and her reaction was: “Is he the local idiot?” (and she thinks your Facebook page is rather sad).

    Being polite, I would of course say none of these things but I would say that respecting other people’s rights to express their ideas is the first (and necessary) phase to winning the argument.

    Focus on the argument, not the invective (besides, you should know by now that it is all water off the Argyll duck’s back).

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  11. Karl,
    Can I just clarify that I am not AB. I don’t hide behind pseudonym’s despite how much research you do.
    And for the benefit of this forum, I am neither in favour nor against the Argyll Array, however I am against the tactics that NTA deploy in opposition to the Array as well as their lack of community engagement.
    Lachie

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    • NTA is not alone in interrogating SG policy, its interpretation, and its implementation. Similarly NTA is not alone in interrogating Developers conduct in their interpretation and implementation of SG policy.

      Re Community Engagement:-

      1) TCDT’s( Tiree Community Developpment Trust) last community meeting re the proposed Tiree Array was over 2 years ago,in June 2010.

      2) NTA presents a regularly updated comprehensive website.

      3) NTA publishes regular updates in An Tirisdeach, the community newspaper.

      4) As to specifics of community engagement, NTA’s inititiative re visualizations and viewpoint selection was discussed, endorsed and copied by TCDT . It was taken forward with community engagement , by both NTA and TCDT.

      5) Subsequenty the TCDT director ,who was, chairman of TCDT ‘s ARRAY sub group made a proposal to take this issue forward , into detailed discussions with the relevant statutory authorities with further community engagement. NTA agreed to this proposal. Regretably TCDT did not endorse their own director’s community engagement proposal.

      6) You did not attend last weeks AGM of TCDT. Criticism was made,and acknowledged ,of the absence of any reportage in TCDT minutes of the substance of any TCDT/SPR joint meetings re the proposed Array.

      It is self evident where substantive community engagement is coming from on the proposed Array.

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  12. Facts about the Moray Firth Wind Farm as approved of by all SNP supporters (only 24% of the population) and using their political biased efficiency figures :- Using the REpower system’s latest 5 MW offshore turbine the cost of annual subsidy for just one turbine will be £1,182,600 and there will about 300 of them. The electricity each will produce – again on the fanciful figures approved by the SNP – will cost us £591,300 – making a total of £1,773,900 per annum – net profit in the region of £1,064340 per turbine.
    Having looked up the details of that particular turbine on Repower’s site I found picture upon picture of huge industrial workshops manned by hundreds of employees – all in Germany. The quoted figure that the wind farm could produce 2640 jobs may be true enough ( although I doubt it ) but those jobs will be European – look at the pictures of any offshore wind farm being built – big boats / small boats all being handled by professional crews – they are not Scottish owned. Watch some of the videos – you can hear the onboard conversations – no Scottish accents there that stand out.
    Think fish farms, when it comes to assessing the job potentials of an established offshore wind farm.
    So – much of our money is going directly to Germany – lucky them – and the company who will be making all the guaranteed profits over the next 20 years is owned by the Spanish and Portuguese. Nice one Herr Salmond ! Is Nationalism not about looking inward – doing the best for your own countrymen – not having them subsidise Germany, Spain,Portugal and no doubt several others, when they themselves have to watch every penny.
    The system used to work out the costs is the same system used by all sides of the wind farm debate.
    As always – No Gas,Coal,or Nuclear Power Station will be shut down because of this ridiculous waste of money.
    In case you didn’t catch it above – Germany has just opened a brand new Coal Fired Power Station and has a further 22 under consideration. So when needs must – stuff global warming.

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    • Another Groundhog day from Malcolm…….

      I suggest you go and look at the definition of “profit” and how you use a balance sheet.

      As for foreign jobs, how does your alternative of burning more coal and gas boost Scottish jobs?

      And as for nationalism being inward looking, that’s your definition Malcolm not the view of any SNP supporter I have met in the past 30 years. It is a strange world where the nationalists are the multi-cultural internationalists and the unionists (not all by any means but you for one) seem to be xenophobes.

      As for “Herr” Salmond, what has become of your advice not to malign your betters? Not that it will bother the First Minister. He did not reach where he is now without developing a skin thicker than a Ceratotherium simum.

      And yes, I know I’m “ducking the issues” but that is because we have gone over all of this before ad nauseum (starting with the percentage of public support for the SNP and moving onto the economics of power generation) and I have better things to do with my Sunday.

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        • Hello Malcolm.
          ‘clever wee girl’ here – sitting on Dad’s account while he does interesting sciencey stuff – and there’s a load I’d like to say but apparently I’m not allowed to use bad language on here d:
          By the way, what exactly were you replying to? Because it’s been a day and six hours or so since I said anything.

          Fail you.

          By the way, why do you hate wind farms so much? I’m sure they’ve never done anything to you. And if we keep using gas & coal power we’ll just mong up the atmosphere even more until we wipe ourselves out.

          And that wouldn’t be particularly good.

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    • There are no British firms building nuclear reactors either. In fact there are currently talks in progress with a view to China building the UK’s next five nuclear power stations now that the French are getting cold feet.

      It is hardly the SNP’s fault that UK heavy engineering lies in ruins.

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      • UK engineering is quite healthy thank you. There are no indigenous reactor builders for the same reason there are no indigenous wind turbine builders(or indeed any other large scale capital intensive engineering or civil works that can’t return a profit on commercial terms); a lack of long term commitment and clear leadership from government. Plus ca change.
        UK engineering is perfectly capable of building either, or indeed both, but it would require a display of support and leadership on the part of government hitherto unseen for it to happen. I’m not holding my breath.

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      • Rolls Royce have and still are building nuclear reactors. Astute Class submarines have RR reactors.

        Not at all sure why you should think EDF are getting cold feet. The Chinese are unlikely to be the principal partners. Stick to the known facts, please.

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      • Lets add Iberdrola the “GREEN ENERGY” giant…owner of Scottish Power Renewables to the list of nuke builders….errrr ? maybe a clash of interest here for FoE.

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  13. “how does your alternative of burning more coal and gas boost Scottish jobs?”

    There are a lot more jobs available at nuclear, coal and gas power stations than there are at any wind farms. Many communities, individuals and businesses benefit from local power stations – none from wind farms, especially after they have been built.

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    • That’s an assertion Lowry: do you have some statistics to back it up in terms of jobs per MWh and jobs per million pounds invested?
      I took my girls up to Whitelee the other week (got to get the in-doc-trination in early) and I saw a number of engineers around not to mention the exhibition and catering staff.

      You may be correct in your assertion but I would like to see some facts to back it up.

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      • As always, it depends on where you get your ‘facts’ from.

        According to a paper published in 2009 by the Green party the figures are as follows:

        Energy Source              Jobs per year per TwH
        Wind                             918 – 2400
        Coal                                 370
        Gas & Oil                       250-265
        Nuclear                           75

        Forbes on the other hand will give you a different story.

        According to Malcolm I expect the green party are ‘bilious’ and Forbes are ‘learned’ – while for Mr. Blix only one of these sets of facts will be ‘known facts’ The other will be something else altogether.

        The truth is, jobs are not the main driver for the development of renewable energy, climate change is – with peak oil and other (non-CO2) pollution as secondary reasons.

        Rernewables are inevitable sooner or later, so it is up to us to create as many worthwhile jobs in the process as we can. Using conventional economic arguments to bash renewables is to some extent missing the point.

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        • Here are some more estimates:
          http://qualenergia.it/UserFiles/Files/Rn_Ge_23_Putting_Renewables_to_work_Berkeley_2006.pdf

          Seems to be the case that the renewable technologies in general supply more jobs per MWh overall than fossil or nuclear but that most of these are in construction and development with nuclear coal and gas providing more jobs in actual operation.

          It would be interesting to see a similar calculation on a jobs per million pound invested comparison.

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        • I think you will find that these figures were based on conventional and nuke shut downs…so they actually show a transfer of personnel, or jobs, from one sector to another…

          “The truth is, jobs are not the main driver for the development of renewable energy, climate change is – with peak oil and other (non-CO2) pollution as secondary reasons.”

          Truth ? if climate change was the major factor, rather than profit…nuke would have been the first option. There is no transfer of power generation at all…renewables as well as conventional cannot keep up with demand, they are simply at very best a top up…. Energy Waste management is the sensible course of action…but efforts are half soaked and poorly managed…Why ? Well lets face it, no energy compant wants the planet to use less energy…they are in it for profit and any percieved improvements in emissions are simply a spin off….Also remember emissions are on the upward trend, infact accelerating at alarming rates…

          “Using conventional economic arguments to bash renewables is to some extent missing the point.” Yes it is, we need to stop farting around and do something as a planet, but without stuffing the place up further…but unfortunately the planet is run by multi-national companies and financial targets and not moral sense.

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          • we need to stop farting around and do something as a planet, but without stuffing the place up further…but unfortunately the planet is run by multi-national companies and financial targets and not moral sense.

            Couldn’t agree more Karl.

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  14. Polar bears are going to be gone in 5 years, they once inhabited our shores ? their numbers have been dropping since the end of the last ice age, partly due to hunting but in the main to do with climate change…who pined for the mammoth ? were they not killed by global warming ?

    Climate change accelerates once it hits a certain misbalance…sort of the straw that broke the camels back…this is a proven fact. Maybe we are just around at that point in time…and our terrestial activeties have simply accelerated natural change…change that was alway and will always occur…cyclic.

    Just thoughts to ponder on.

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  15. “The truth is, jobs are not the main driver for the development of renewable energy, climate change is – with peak oil and other (non-CO2) pollution as secondary reasons.”

    So why does the SNP keep bleating on about how renewables re going to be the saviours for jobs and the economy – and where’s the evidence that wind farms reduce carbon emmissions and have any effect on climate?

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    • Renewables are of course wider than wind. Domestic measures (solar PV, solar thermal, biomass, heat pumps and improved insulation all create jobs.

      The Germans are ahead of the curve. This article is a wee bit out of date but notice the numbers of jobs already created when it was written:

      http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2008/04/renewable-energy-jobs-soar-in-germany-52089

      As for the economic and CO2 reduction impacts, have a look at this:

      http://www.boell.org/downloads/Wuppertal-engl.pdf

      Back to work!

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      • That’s more than a bit out of date; the german solar industry is in tatters and the chinese solar industry is following them into administration after an unseemly squabble over subsidy and a price war.

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    • In 2011, wind turbines in the UK provided 15.5 terawatt hours to the grid. Due to its lower marginal cost this power would have displaced fossil fuel power from the grid, meaning that wind energy saved a minimum of 5.5 million tonnes of CO2 if gas was displaced and a maximum of over 12 million tonnes if coal was displaced.

      Slice it whichever way you want, wind turbines reduce carbon emissions.

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      • In another thread, you offered a link to a peer reviewed paper which claimed to prove that wind generation saved 380 kg/MWHr, the typical CO2 figure for a closed cycle gas turbine. This is much the same numbers you now claim. This isn’t very convincing, is it? Quite obviously, while these things are running, there will be a carbon saving but they only run for effectively 25% of the time so what happens for the other 75% of the time and is it zero carbon?

        It isn’t of course. An intermittent source such as wind will require backup with sufficiently quick response and that is an open cycle gas turbine which generates 600kg/MWHr CO2. The maths are fairly simple and the answer is always the same: wind saves no CO2 at all.

        The UDO study found, in practice, this to be the case.

        What you and DrM are depending on is all of these things: smoothing of supply as intermittent generation increases, very accurate weather forecasting such that Closed Cycle generation which produces 400kg/MWHr CO2 can be better utilised, possible interconnections with Europe but Northern Europe has a surplus, storage technology, smart metering and, frankly, some luck.

        Smoothing is oft repeated here. On a month scale it can easily be proved to not exist. For example, Thanet’s peak and minimum generation occurred in November and June 2011 respectively; as did Barrow on the west coast and 300 miles north. Digging down to very small time scales has not, as far as I know, ever been done. I suspect that, like the old iron curtain countries, the deeper you go, the more this begins to look like a planned communist economy and as unachievable.

        When the mathematics are against you, give up because you’re in trouble; it’s an uphill battle without any certainty of success.

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        • I’m out to my panto rehearsals tonight (of yes I am) so I don’t have time to address this at the moment but if SR doesn’t manage it I may have a try later.

          At least (HB) you are putting up an argument rather than constantly spouting made up figures and contradictory nonsense the way Malcolm is.

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        • The UDO study is a b it of a one-off, isn’t it?

          I know you are a fan Mr. Blix, but Fred Udo’s report on wind and emissions in Ireland wasn’t published in a peer-reviewed journal; it appeared in the Europhysics News, which is a non-peer-reviewed news magazine that posts news articles on physics topics submitted by volunteers.

          The study has come in for a lot of criticism, with many saying that Udo’s methodology is severely flawed.

          Fred Udo’s bogus numbers on wind energy and emissions savings

          There are many other studies – particularly from the USA – which show that wind does substantially reduce CO2 emissions.

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          • and anything written by the American Wind Energy Assoc is gospel? I’ve had this argument before with you over Udo and i can’t be bothered going through it again. Udo isn’t, as far as i know, dependant on his tenure to produce peer reveiwed papers. For what it is worth, the AWEA rubbished the Bentek study which produced similar results and, as far as I know, only the AWEA were critical which is hardly surprising.

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          • Pehaps I can refer you to this document by WindWatch, an industry watchdog in the US that is definitely NOT pro-wind. They estimate an average CO2 saving of 0.6 tonnes of CO2 per MWh – and remember, this is an ‘anti-wind’ organisation.

            (One of the things that makes their figures more believeable is that, unlike Udo, they took temperature and consequent electricity demand into account)

            The Bentek study you quote produced similar figures. CO2 savings where gas was the predominant fossil fuel power sourcwe were in the region of 0.25tonnes per MWh, while in regions where coal predominated the savings were up to 1 tonne per MWh. The average was over 0.7 tonnes per MWh

            Bearing in mind that these are worst case figuers produced by anti-wind cam paigners, this means that a typical 2MW turbine in the UK (producing 5,256MWh in a year) saves around 3,000 tonnes of CO2. You may regard this as representing zero or negligible emissions savings, but I don’t.

            (UK per capita carbon emissions are around 8 tonnes per person)

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          • You are missing the point. The Windwatch and, indeed, every other study you’ve offered gives the CO2 saving as the average eg if the UK on average produces 380kg/MWHr from a mix of coal, nuclear, gas etc generation, then this is the average saving you will get from a wind mill. But, it isn’t. What you have is an inefficient power source which requires support or backup. It is the carbon cost of this which renders a wind farm’s CO2 saving to nil. Take a look at Sharman’s paper
            http://docs.wind-watch.org/sharman-winddenmark.pdf
            And look at the output table fig 8 for a 2GW system. You appear to think that wind output is a nice neat curve such as appears on NETA. It isn’t.

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        • Hans, my main interest is ferries :-) but aren’t there a couple of flaws or at least weak points in your argument;

          “An intermittent source such as wind will require backup with sufficiently quick response and that is an open cycle gas turbine which generates 600kg/MWHr CO2.”

          Firstly what is a “quick response”?
          We all know winds gust but they don’t suddenly cease over large areas. They tend to build up or die down over quite a long period. So alternate plant can be brought on over a period of an hour or more. Indeed does the grid not keep “spinning reserve” and in fact cannot even wind be used in that capacity?

          Secondly even if you did need quick response how frequently would that occur?

          Most people probably agree coal is out unless something can be done about carbon capture. I am not crazy about being downwind of a nuclear plant that is past its design life (though I suppose a serious incident would affect the whole UK anyway). Wind has issues if it is not done sensitively. The problem is we cannot say no to everything.

          The hydro schemes when they were done were I think seen as very intrusive. Now most probably see them as a huge benign asset borne of foresight.

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          • Our grid system rightly or wrongly is required to accept all power generated by a wind farm. The Grid has to cope with 100% or nothing. Either can be as difficult. The Grid can not store power so it has to be in balance at all times. Quite small changes in wind velocity will cause significant changes in power output. Onshore turbines have the friction of the land creating inertia; offshore wind has no such smoothing and can change very rapidly. These offshore farms (will) dwarf the onshore farms.

            The issue is the same where ever the farm is, the degree of difficulty is different. Up to now, what is happening when capacity is too great is that the Grid are shutting the farms down. Somebody here has posted this is as a great idea that makes the grid flexible. Utter rubbish. The farm owner is negotiating phenomenal rates, far in excess of a fair price, to shutdown. This is troubling because there really isn’t that much intermittent capacity today but there will be in a few years time. This is partly through laziness on the part of the Grid and partly a lack of distribution capacity. In Germany, they need several thousand km of new HV transmission lines but have built something like 90km. Wind farms have been idle for the best part of a year waiting for a grid connection and now the German government is planning to pay developers to erect the farm even though they can’t run it.

            Where capacity is too great, the Grid can’t allow over voltage or changes to the frequency; it has to act. If it had Open Cycle, it would turn them off virtually instantly. For under capacity, the OCGT gets turned on virtually instantly. You can not do this with coal, nuclear or Closed Cycle Gas Turbines. The latter just revert to Open Cycle. It is simple, easy and uncomplicated but it is bad news for CO2 emissions.

            You couldn’t make half this stuff up. It’s an utter shambles and all the EU do, who are the culprits, is produce 2050 roadmaps.

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    • That’s strange, I seemed to respond to db but my post seems to have vanished.

      Anyway (and for Lowry too), apologies for the link to an older paper – I was in a hurry. Here is something much more up to date from the German Government:

      http://www.erneuerbare-energien.de/english/current_press_releases/pm/48517.php

      It should give us pause that not only do the Germans have the strongest economy in Europe but theirs is one of the few showing any growth. Perhaps we can learn something from their investments priorities?

      (Lowry: I’ll have a look at your link and comment in a while if need be).

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    • Lowry: I’m not sure what point you were trying to make with the link to the DENA study?

      To summarise the paper and give comments (in brackets):

      1: the Germans are saying they will need to have conventional capacity available to meet the minimum demand for electricity in case all renewable sources are unavailable (this is the case everywhere: in Scotland we will have plenty of existing thermal capacity while we have Torness active but may face a gap if there is no replacement thermal capacity for Torness.)

      2: The Germans are saying that they will need fossil fuel plants to supply this capacity because they are ruling out nuclear. The report suggests that a small amount of additional thermal plant will be needed over and above the current capacity as well as the complete replacement of all their existing thermal capacity. (This is funnily enough the same position as Scotland – but not the UK – because the SNP Government is ruling out new nuclear. As I have said before, I cannot see how our CO2 targets can be met – as opposed to our renewable targets – without nuclear as I believe CCS technology to be impractical).

      3: The report goes on to say that this thermal capacity would not be needed frequently enough to make it economic to operate because renewables would be supplying most of the power most of the time. So although there would be a need to maintain fossil fuel plant, the actual CO2 emissions would fall.

      4: What the report is really on about is signalling the need to have a rethink about how best to accommodate the renewables in an orderly fashion within the grid without the need for such a large amount of fossil thermal capacity. (This is partly down to Germany’s enthusiastic adoption of solar. Unlike wind power, solar is only useful during the day so its capacity is worse than wind. Possible solutions include smart grids, storage capacity (such as electric cars) and better integration of the European grid.

      Anyway, thanks for the link Lowry – it is useful for something else I’m working on.

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      • CAES seems to offer some hope for improving the ability of renewables to match supply to demand, but a lot of r&d is required before it’s in any danger of entering service.

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  16. I think the report also mentions Germany becoming a net importer v net exporer of electricity which surely brings up some issues. Issues of cost should also be considered.

    You may have said several things before, which could be right (or wrong), but it seems dear Alex doesn’t read this blog.

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    • Lowry: the report is predicting what will happen if Germany hits its target of 80% national electricity consumption coming from renewables and abandons nuclear and does nothing else. In that case, it is predicting that Germany will become a net importer of electricity and overall prices will rise. However, the point is that the report is calling for the situation to be recognised and appropriate R&D to be undertaken to prevent this outcome while still meeting the German Government’s target of 80% renewables (and no nuclear). I also think that it is flagging up that the thermal capacity will have to come from fossil fuels given the target to remove nuclear from the mix.

      The bit that interested me was the assertion that there would be times when renewables would be generating a large surplus of electricity and that this electricity would have no (or minimal) export market. One of the possibilities would be to use this surplus energy to produce either hydrogen or algal fuel, which can then be used to either generate electricity at a later time or, and more sensibly in the case of algal oil, be used for transportation fuels.

      There is nothing in the report that suggests renewables are a bad idea, just that integration into the mix throws up complications as they reach high levels of penetration in the mix.

      One other thing to ponder on: despite the French having a large nuclear capacity (75% of national consumption) they are building wind farms at great pace. Why are they doing this? Well, one of the great advantages of wind (as alluded to by SR some time ago) is that it is easy to adjust constraint and supply very quickly and so is more useful than nuclear in balancing the grid. France has more installed wind capacity than the UK despite having a smaller population.

      Wind is along way from a perfect generating technology but, as we have being saying for months now, it is a very useful part of the mix and not just because of its ability to reduce CO2 emissions.

      I’m sure that the First Minister has better things to do than read For Argyll (sorry Newsroom) but I’m constantly surprised by who does read the comments on here.

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  17. Oh dear indeed. There is someone else whose grasp of the economics and workings of the grid system is clearly on shaky grounds.

    In case you haven’t noticed Malcolm, there is already an inter-connector between France and England and England already buys French nuclear energy. Buying electricity from France has nothing to do with wind.

    Ho-hum, another week and Malcolm still with nothing new to say on the subject. What happened to that devastating scoop you were going to bring us?

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    • Buying electricity from France has nothing to do with wind.

      Actually it does a wee bit – but not in the way Malcolm imagines. See my post below. Interconnectors are friends of wind, not enemies. The NorthConnect interconnector with Norway is going to be very important in this respect.

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    • Buying electricity from France is everything to do with making up for a lack of wind / renewables. How many times recently have the figures shown wind production below a 1% contribution to the Grid ( costing Scots an unnecessary £400 million per annum in subsidies ) so that we have to buy 6% from France on the present inter-connector where it is I believe a lot cheaper anyway. You call that balancing ? I’d say rip off – lets do without the 1% and save all those zillions.

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      • You never seem to see the glaring inconsistency in your own argument Malcolm: you complain that wind farms are a waste of money as we pour huge subsidies into them and you also claim that they are rubbish anyway as they don’t produce much electricity (though you always duck the question of what you would consider to be a worthwhile contribution).

        However, all the subsidies on renewables depend on generating electricity: if you don’t generate you don’t get paid. So, if wind is rubbish and is not producing electricity then it costs us a round fat zero and only the developers suffer. If it is producing electricity then it is contributing to our energy security, flexibility of the mix, reduction of CO2 emissions, hedging against big price increases of gas and helping us towards our legally binding renewable obligations.

        It does cost us more than gas (and even more so coal) but that is missing the point. It also costs less than new nuclear (and probably existing nuclear too if decommissioning is taken into account).

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  18. Oh dear indeeed Malcolm. Oh dear oh dear oh dear !

    Eurotunnel said that the ElecLink project will increase cross-Channel capacity by 25 per cent to 2.5GW when it comes online in 2015. It will also make connecting more variable wind power to the grid easier by providing a balance so that electricity can be imported and exported across the Channel at peak times or when the wind is not blowing in one country.

    €250m Channel Tunnel interconnector to boost wind power

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    • Thanks SR.

      More inter connectors are a good thing as it enhances grid stability throughout Europe (when it comes to the grid bigger is better). I think the article you link to is being a bit dewy eyed on the importance of the link to wind. It is quite a small inter connector (though welcome none the less). It’s biggest effect will be that it makes it easier for France to export their surplus nuclear power (which they have a lot of), meaning they won’t have to shut as many of their nuclear plants down at the weekend.

      All grid enhancement will make integrating wind easier 9and cheaper) as it reduces the need for ADDITIONAL thermal plant as the penetration of wind increases to a high percentage.

      But we are both correct: despite Malcolm’s glee, this is actually a good news story for wind (and electricity supply generally) rather than a negative story.

      Keep it up Malcolm! (or maybe not)

      Right, no more FA for the rest of the day.

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    • If some ( it will be very very little ) of the imported electricity is from French windmills then so be it – it will be the French people paying for it through their own rip off subsidies- not every consumer in the UK.

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  19. For a matter of record ThinkScotland.org is not a Tory website. It promotes debate and discussion from a centre-right free market perspective but that comes in all shapes and sizes with party allegiances being irrelevant – indeed it has published some of the most coherent and articulate attacks on both the Scottish and UK Conservative party in the Scottish media.

    Of course if some people believe that Scotland should not have anyone that believes in individual liberty, Capitalism, free markets and a smaller state then that’s fair enough – but as of yet believing in these things is not a thought crime! Ironic to think that the philosophical development of these ideas owe so much to Scots and Scotland.

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    • Hmmm . . . my comment away back at the start of this thread seems to have touched a nerve Mr. Monteith.

      Congratulations on getting so many of your centre-right free marketeering colleagues to give me the old ‘thumbs down’ right back there at Post 2. (14 so far, more than the total number of contributors to this thread!)

      Took you rather a long time to notice it though :-)

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      • Dont be silly.

        Brian M, was only this morning was advised by me, of your perspective of “Think Scotland”.

        He was unaware ,up to then, of the ” For Argyll exchanges

        Basis this time frame BM cannot be be guilty of your accusation re getting ‘so many of his centre-right free marketeering colleagues to give u the old ‘thumbs down’.

        Anyway , As I said at the outset, what has it to do with the issues raised in the article.

        I have been contacted by the Guardian re my article. Does the Guardian create similar problems for you?

        rgds

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      • It Seems that the current government is suffering a lot of woe’s…had they done a better job of this (Link) a non-partisan attempt to reduce our energy waste and fuel poverty, via a method that would actually benifit all, I may have different views about the SNP as an entity. However, they are proving to not be able to deliver a structured energy policy…or deliver anything else for that matter. They are simply making it all up as they go along…

        http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/feeble-snp-blamed-as-fuel-poverty-soars.18764532

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        • Not much substance to that article.

          Fuel poverty in Scotand is caused by high gas prices, poor housing and the climate, not by the Scottish Government.

          The Scottish Government have pledged to ensure that by November 2016, so far as is reasonably practicable, people are not living in fuel poverty in Scotland. Time to judge them then.

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          • People are not living in fuel poverty in Scotland” falls into a different context when you add the entire summary. SR…how can you say there are no governmental causal factors to fuel poverty ? If a government has the power to remove fuel poverty it should not be dragging it’s feet…the current Scottish Government has and is failing in its ability to deliver anything but hot air.

            “The Scottish Government have pledged to ensure that by November 2016, so far as is reasonably practicable, people are not living in fuel poverty in Scotland.”
            http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Housing-Regeneration/TrendFuelPoverty
            Anyhow to remove the spin on the last comment…I will add the paragraph you did not “Cut and Paste”
            “Central heating is an important factor in reducing the incidence of condensation, resulting in improved comfort for occupants, as well as contributing to enhanced energy efficiency of the dwelling. Between 1991 and 2009, the percentage of dwellings with full central heating has risen from 62% to 95%. Fuel poverty fell sharply between 1996 and 2002, mainly due to increased income and falling fuel prices. However, fuel poverty has been rising in more recent years, largely because current increases in fuel prices are only being partially offset by rising incomes and energy efficiency increases. In 2009, 33% of households were in fuel poverty, compared to 13% in 2002.”

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          • fuel poverty has been rising in more recent years, largely because current increases in fuel prices are only being partially offset by rising incomes and energy efficiency increases.

            Couldn’t agree more. However, I would be interested in what specifically you think the Scottish government could be doing that it isn’t doing – bearing in mind that renewables – according to UK DECC figures – add only a tiny amount to fuel bill increases and that gas prices are the main culprit.

            There are plenty of insulation grants still available, Scottish building regs demand higher standards of thermal efficiency than English ones etc etc . . .

            Of course, the Scottish Government could do more if it had its hands on more fiscal levers, but I guess you wouldn’t agree with that anyway.

            Frankly I think you are mistaken in attacking the Scottish Government on several fronts when all you are really against is the Array. A small protest group like NTA only has so much energy and I feel it would benefit from select its targets – and its allies – more carefully.

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          • Very good article Mr Blix…and a warning of where we are, and more frightening still where we could find ourselves in 2 to 3 years time…Lets face it…Germany’s GDP is a damed site better per head of capita than Scotlands could ever be.

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          • A little ‘off-topic’ but food for thought . . .

            The development of civil nuclear power took over a decade of intensive government research and expenditure from 1945 to 1955, culminating in the world’s first commercial nuclear power station, Calder Hall, opening with a derisory capacity of 50 MW.

            By 1960 world installed nuclear capacity was only 1GW. We can only guess what the accumulated costs to the public purse were by this time.

            I wonder what the ‘sceptics’ would have had to say about that – 15 years of very expensive development to achieve 1GW capacity.

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          • That is a poor example; in that timeframe the nuclear programme in the UK(as in the US) was mainly about building weapons, generation of electricity was merely a convenient byproduct. The average size of powerstations was small as a result; Calderhall and Chapelcross were 240MW, less than half the size of contemporary coal-fired stations.

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          • @db

            My point is that the last time a significant new generating technology (i.e. nuclear) was being developed for incorporation into the grid it cost an enormous amount of money and took fifteen years to get to 1GW capacity worldwide.

            I understand your contention that in the minds of the military the primary role of nuclear power stations was to create plutonium, but the military were not in charge of the grid. Claiming that it is a ‘poor example’ sounds a bit like Kirkspeak to me I am afraid.

            My point is, expecting new technologies to be instantly competitive is a bit daft really. Society needs to invest in the future, and renewables are at least part of that future.

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          • SR “My point is that the last time a significant new generating technology (i.e. nuclear) was being developed for incorporation into the grid it cost an enormous amount of money and took fifteen years to get to 1GW capacity worldwide.”

            And now we are planning de-commissioning…do we take the same path with wind 25 years down the line ?

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    • Malcolm, I read the first few paragraphs but gave up at the point where the BBC was accused of referring to ‘sceptics’ like the writer as ‘paedophiles and sex traders’. ‘Lunatic’ might be nearer the mark.

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    • Ah yes, another impeccable source Malcolm.

      SCEF and its patron Mike Haseler are supporters of the Heartland Institute, Lord Monckton and various other members of the climate change denying lunatic fringe. Check out their published articles.

      It is becoming increasingly obvious Malcolm that you do not believe that human CO2 emissions are a problem. You try to hide your climate change denial agenda under a cloak of turbophobia, but we can see it . . .

      You really are not helping the NTA cause at all I fear.

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      • SR:

        Why do you feel using a reference to “NTA” everytime you are lost for words is doing ‘YOU’ any good ?

        Members, Supporters, affilates etc..have already made up their minds as to if the array is bad from their own perspective…they don’t care about your blinkered nit picking !

        It is up to the individual to decide…that is democracy at work…for one moment compare our MO with that of the Scottish Governments…dictatorial and non-democratic…centralised government that is increasing the East West. North South divide in Scotland…are these the people you would like to govern your country, your council even ?…Lay off the rhetoric it is boring and totally vacuous.

        Your posts are always totally politicised.

        Drop the deliberate spin: Please try to remember the SNP is not offering you independence…they are offering Scotland a referendum ! at the moment the SNP has to prove itself..something all are awaiting.

        Do you really think England will buy electricity from Scotland when it can get it cheaper overseas…and as a final thought…say we cover Scotland in Windfarms…are we going to import our base load from England ? we certainly will not be able to generate the necessary amount ourselves…turbines sitting idle…aye, I can see where this is going. As sensble as paying half a million a year for two pandas and telling everybody they were a gift from China… :)

        Sorry about the earlier bad grammar…have you ever tried using an arabic key board !

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        • “as long as they arrive at the conclusion the majority feel… I don’t really care… that is democracy at work”

          This doesnt make sense…

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        • Karl,

          How you have the nerve to accuse me of spin when every second post you make – either here or on your own NTA site – is full of anti-SNP rhetoric is quite beyond me.

          Pot, kettle and all that.

          All I am saying is that if you choose to ally yourself with Tories, climate change deniers and ‘The Donald’ then fine, but don’t expect it to endear you to others who might otherwise be tempted to support your cause.

          I am afraid that because of your constant attempts to drag party politics into it I am finding it difficult to support NTA in its present form and am suspicious as to the purity of its motives.

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          • i know it is very quiet on your blog, but if that is the case, why not move onto something you can comprehend without bias towards commercialism?

            Leave you to it…I have more important “nuts” to crack.

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  20. God – you guys are so predictable – Robert what are you going to do without your beloved BBC if Independence comes along – because your master has said he will do away with it and replace it with his own Salmond approved BC.
    SR – I keep having to remind you that only 24% of the Scottish population voted SNP so can you not understand that the other 76% obviously have differing views to your own. I believe a democracy still exists in our country – at least for now.

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    • Malcolm, if you cast your mind way back to the original ‘independence’ referendum, when the BBC went native for a while and the then version of ‘The World at One’ was replaced by a very poor imitation – or if you compare Newsnight Scotland’s diet of frequent boredom with the real thing – you’ll realise that the chances of the real BBC being driven out of Scotland are about as remote as someone finding the money to relocate Coulport, Faslane and Glen Douglas south of the border.

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  21. This is a report put together by Stuart Young Consulting in answer to those that keep repeating that other forms of Electricity production receive subsidies on the same basis as Wind Farms. They take their info from a screwed bit of misreporting by the Guardian newspaper.
    The basic information was extracted from a report done by Jehan Sauvage of OECD – http://www.oecd.org/site/tadffss/48786785.pdf – who we corresponded with and who supplied further information for Stuart to carefully take into account when writing his report. http://www.communitiesagainstturbinesscotland.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/Coal-gas-and-oil-subsidy-28-Aug-2012.pdf
    The report is 13 pages long but with big writing for little people and several graphs – it does not take much time to read.

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  22. I can’t but laugh at the sell out that is happening in Scotland: From Spanish/Danish/portugese/ industrial wind companies, to Spanish Forth road Bridge companies, from Polish labour contractor for Forth bridge companies to this…

    The new BAR in Hollyrood:
    “The bar, which was opening for business today, has cost £125,000 with the other £50,000 being met by catering contractor Sodexo”….Sodexo are french and the Scottish Tax payer forked out the 75 grand so the wee Eck and his ilk can chomp at the buffet….Independence ! Scotland will be left with nothing at this rate to be independent.

    And to ad injustice to insult…I can’t even sup a pint or down a dram, or even munch my way through a tray of Tunnock cakes in a bar that I have helped (not that I was asked) to pay for….bloody shame…125,000 would go a long way towards paying for a few more nurses…Teachers etc…

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  23. The amount of money that MSPs spend on themselves is sickening. The SNP had promised better but they are all the same. Salmond claiming expenses for a chocolate bar was appalling, greedy and shows no respect for those of us who have to live on much smaller incomes.

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  24. “The SNP had promised better but they are all the same. Salmond claiming expenses for a chocolate bar was appalling, greedy and shows no respect for those of us who have to live on much smaller incomes.”
    I am not going to argue this point, how much did the war criminal Blair cost this country, supported by the likes of David Cammeron and the WMD on our land. Not saying Wee Eck is good or bad, but please don’t pick and choose where money is wasted. Wee Eck was against the Gulf War 2, against WMD on our land and is not a war criminal.

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    • The problem is the ilk or the wee eck and indeed Blair and his croanies..get to choose where to waste our money without recourse to the people who employ them…US..! I want to see something different for Scotland but all we have ended up with is the same old parasitic entities in different suits…if the Torys hadn’t screwed things up so much their vote would not have collapsed and we would not have ended up with a bunch of neds running our country…for personal kudos.

      I had decided to judge the SNP on a policy that would benefit me: local income tax. The procrastination around that issue was infuriating. The lack of transparency and consultation in regards to the Tiree Array is as un-democratic as their energy policy is flawed.

      The more I hear from the SNP, the more I find that their policies don’t stand up and I can’t escape the conclusion that their agenda is driven more by a desire for confrontation than for actually running a progressive country…they are solely focusing on an independence rerefendum, to the detriment of anyform of solid governance… their addiction to scoring points over our English neigbours and giving up our countries interests to foreign investors is shameful

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        • No..and judging by the thumbs… it must get lonely in yours :)
          Fact the Argyll aka Tiree array is politically driven…it has nothing to do with environmental protection (either local or global)…and it is difficult to seperate politics and the array…it is hard to dance with the devil on your back…but we are doing the best that we can. Thanx…and while I can see some logic in de-centralisation from westminster…all of my Scottish freinds, workmates, and family see no benifit in splitting the Union…and lets face it if it ever did happen we would not need a Nationalist Government and would actually end up with a pretty hard line “thatcherite in Tartan” wee eck.
          The SNP are good for one thing only “an independence referendum” … they have neither a current clarity of vision or the mass IQ to run a country (other than into the ground).
          They have but one purpose…and then we move on to real issues for real people…poverty, unemployment, health, education and an everyday standard of life that allows them to live…
          He never ceases in his loathsome show manship.
          How many homeless people has Salmond invited to Bute House, yet he invited the Scottish Lottery Winners to Bute House, to see how much money he and the SNP could squeeze out of them.
          Lets just list a few more of his broken promises: Here is the truth behind some of his most shameful failures prior to the last election and still not closed out.
          Broken promise
          Give all first-time home-buyers a £2000 grant.
          Excuse
          It was “more effective” to introduce a shared equity scheme instead.
          True?
          No. As predicted, the grant scheme proved unworkable and had to be ditched. It was little more than a con-trick played on people desperate to get on the property ladder.
          Broken promise
          Increase free nursery education for three and four year olds by 50 per cent.
          Excuse
          Councils could not afford to do it because of the recession.
          True?
          No. Councils could not afford to do it because the SNP did not give them enough money.
          Broken promise
          Deliver two hours of PE per week for all pupils.
          Excuse
          No excuse offered for the failure. SNP say it will happen by 2014.
          Truth?
          Only 55 per cent of kids get two hours of PE. This was an irresponsible promise to make in the first place.
          Broken promise
          Cut class sizes to 18 or fewer in first three years of primary school.
          Excuse
          No excuse offered. SNP say they are “makeing progress”.
          Truth?
          With school rolls falling the Nats said they would cut class sizes by maintaining the number of teachers. But there are 3000 fewer teachers than four years ago.
          Broken promise
          Scrap the council tax and introduce a 3p local income tax.
          Excuse
          “Blocked” by other parties.
          True?
          Yes. Local income tax was shelved amid mounting concern from businesses, trade unions and opposition MSPs over sky-high bills for families and extra red tape for firms.
          Broken promise
          Redirect resources from the Edinburgh trams.
          Excuse
          Opposition parties “forced the project through parliament”.
          True?
          No. MSPs voted for the trams but it was not binding on the government. The SNP could have axed the troubled scheme but chose to press on.
          Dr just face the fact that Alex if he wasn’t a nationalist would be simply ” a thatcherite in a kilt”. Lets not forget this saga: Two Pandas Salmond,Alex Salmond’s government getting rapped by the advertising watchdog for claiming the Edinburgh Zoo pandas as a “gift” that demonstrated a close relationship between Scotland and China.
          The arrival of the bears was in fact part of a “commercial arrangement” between the zoo and the Communist authorities, according to a ruling from the Advertising Standards Authority, which banned future claims by the SNP that the animals were provided without payment.
          In press adverts, Mr Salmond’s SNP administration boasted that China’s “gifting” of the two animals showed that Scotland had developed an especially close relationship with the world’s fastest-growing country…and also one of the most oppressive regimes on the planet! This man will jump in bed with anyone..
          After investigating the funding of the pandas, the ASA ruled that “ordinary people” would deem them to have been acquired as a result of a commercial agreement. In exchange for the pandas – the first to arrive in the UK for 17 years – Edinburgh Zoo’s owner, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, is paying China £640,000 annually for 10 years to fund panda conservation ! what about Scottish wildlife…
          The ASA banned Mr Salmond’s government from repeating the claim.
          Edinburgh Zoo, was experiencing falling visitor numbers, is was hoped the pandas will revive its financial fortunes. But this has not happened and the Victorian animal prison also spent £250,000 on a new cadge and the animals’ food, including imported bamboo, costs £70,000 a year.
          Anyhow…if you want support the man thats your perogative…me and mine are too busy trying to rectify the damage he is planning to do to Tiree and the West coast.
          Now if any of the above is not true…please correct me.But do not expect an answer as I am taking a page out of the wee Ecks book…as for political tome’s…thats me done…I find that the thought of the man and his croanies makes my bile rise….especially given that I was such a fool to vote for them last time around.

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          • Well done Karl – a lengthy response of great interest. And well done for being able to recognise that your vote may have not resulted in outcomes that you had hoped. I believe there are many people in the same position.

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      • “The lack of transparency and consultation” not much to ask for, and I have found this in most organisation, could this be due to the model of decision making we have. I have tried to find a different model, each time I find the same flaw, the me, me syndrome. Been watching http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01mgyh9/Our_War_Series_2_The_Lost_Platoon/ this link is only available till 17 Sep 2012. One soldier said something like we only survived because we thought of the no.2 and no.3 person and they looked after me. The whole documentary is very powerful and I saw linkage into the many debates we have here. Final one, we have just spent millions on the Olympics, but could not supply OUR soldiers a 50p replacement cable for their radio. Shame on all our “old parasitic entities in different suits”.

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        • I totally agree with you John…I have serving friends, young guys in their mid teens in Afghanistan…they got an uplift in salary in Helman province of 2.50 GBP a day a few months ago (earn around 175 after tax a week)…self serving and parasitic is not harsh enough words for the people we have put in power.

          Anyhow…off to pack…back to Tiree in a couple of days…having spent another month clearing up Blair/Bush mess here…seems I will be back in Libya next year doing the same there…Syria will not be an issue as it’s humanitarian and not multi-national energy company territory…and neither will Tiree be.

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    • Malcolm – ‘absolutely correct and truthful’ or not, I suspect that no-one was all that interested by it. The point is that the subsidy issue is a relatively small part of the argument, and those who rail on about it do so because of either A) a pathological aversion to the principle of subsidy as a means of achieving an investment deemed socially desirable or responsible, or B) a pathological aversion to wind turbines.

      As has been pointed out to you many times, the burden of this subsidy on a per-household basis is a relatively trivial sum in the context of wildly swinging prices of natural gas and other fossil fuels. SSE has recently announced more electricity price rises this autumn, and indicated that the wholesale cost of gas is the primary reason for it.

      I will concede that I never understood why the ‘subsidy’ to fossil fuels quoted in the report was being used by the pro-renewables groups in the first place, as a comparison with renewables subsidies. The proportion of our energy use supplied by fossil fuels is so much greater at present that such comparisions were inherently meaningless anyway. A much more interesting comparison would be with subsidies for nuclear power, which is the only major competitor to wind in CO2-reduction terms.

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        • Malcolm – Scotland is part of a single market for electricity with the rest of the UK. Separating out the Scottish proportion of the renewables subsidy is meaningless. Most UK wind capacity is in Scotland because, er, it’s windy here. The subsidy cost is shared by all UK consumers, so yes, it is a trivial sum in the context of overall UK energy costs.

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          • Haven’t got the figure in front me but for the whole of the UK the subsidy figure per annum must be about £800 million ( yes – I know England has fewer turbines than Scotland but they have large numbers of offshore turbines which earn double ROCs subsidies ) and supposedly that figure is to treble even quadruple and of course the subsidy is guaranteed 20 / 25 years..
            A trivial sum for electricity we don’t need – repeat – WE DON’T NEED ! !
            Of course should you get Independence, Scottish consumers will have to pay their own subsidy bill – now – what was that again?? Oh yes £400 million at the last count and getting bigger by the day to be paid by ‘the few’.

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          • Ah well, at least you have finally conceded that it is a trivial sum :-) I’m not sure what you mean by ‘electricity we don’t need’ – if there is surplus in the system, some gas turbines can be shut down, thus saving the cost of the gas.

            You don’t know any better than I do what will happen to the electricity markets in the event of Scottish independence, so you should really have appended “I reckon” to your assertion that Scottish consumers alone would be responsible for paying all the renewables subsidies.

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    • At this moment – no idea – but if you look at the NETA website you will see that the steady flow from our Nuclear Power Stations make up the backbone of our guaranteed 24 hour electricity supply. That’s worth paying for.

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    • Lowry – as suggested by SR, plus the decommissioning costs of the existing nuclear fleet which currently mop up the bulk of the DECC’s budget – effectively a gargantuan retrospective taxpayer subsidy.

      The new generation of plants are supposed to provide for their own costs of eventual decommissioning, which may in part explain the figure of £145 per MWh recently floated by EDF as a starting point for the wholesale cost of new nuclear electricity – somewhat unlikely to be achieved without substantial subsidies do you not think?

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  25. You are wrong there – certain people made a great deal of it on these forums although advised that they were wrong on so many occasions. So now it’s of no importance Huh ! Even Niall Stuart trotted out the same old drivel in his radio interview a few mornings ago – perhaps he should have read Stuart Young’s report first – actually he probably did but it would have made no difference to the propaganda machine that is Scottish Renewables

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    • Malcolm – Stuart Young was commissioned by CATS to produce his report, so you wouldn’t perhaps have expected a balanced piece of investigation or writing.

      That’s not to say that his conclusions are incorrect, which they may or may not be, but obviously he’s not going to end the report by saying “however, actually this is all pretty academic since the proportion of energy price rises due to renewables subsidies is dwarfed by the effects of fossil fuel price hikes, and so it is the endless conflation of renewables subsidies with fuel poverty that is the most glaring bit of disingenuity in this argument”

      The latter point is what, I think, you will find has been emphasised over and over on these forum threads.

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      • Stuart Young was not commissioned by CATS – the report was written carefully over several weeks from information I had followed up and then passed to Stuart for assessment – his comprehensive report was subsequently issued through CATS.
        We will have to pay whatever we have to pay for a continuous reliable supply of electricity in the future . We have enough generation power at the moment that makes all renewables unnecessary.

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        • Sorry Malcolm – I was a bit confused by the subtitle to the report: “An investigation on behalf of CATS”

          So if you’re saying it’s not actually on behalf of CATS after all, then who is paying the piper?

          We may have ‘enough’ power just now, but as you’re doubtless aware, a large number of coal fired plants have to shut down by 2015 due to the Large Combustion Plant Directive. These will inevitably be replaced with gas plant, making us even more dependent upon a fuel source which has proved in the recent past to have a highly volatile price. Investment in renewables, as well as reducing CO2 emissions, can dilute the effect of that volatility. In effect, in return for a higher up-front capital cost, we get better long term price stability.

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          • Malcolm – a link to an article about the oil industry which has… precisely no relevance to your post – and to think it is you who is always accusing others of bodyswerving!

            You miss the point (again). Stuart Young has every right to hold strong views against wind farms if that is how he feels. It’s just kinda hard to give much credence to the conclusions of a ‘scientific’ or ‘economic’ paper written by someone who starts with a determination to prove a particular prejudice, rather than a determination to find the truth.

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          • People always blame the messenger when they can’t deal with the message. It is irrelevant what Stuart Young’s view on wind are – the only thing that would discredit the conclusions in his paper are either if his premisses are false or his logic faulty. Please confine your comments to what the paper says instead of disreputable personal attacks. Incidentally stuart young was not paid a penny by CATS or anyone else – unlike the many consultants who produce pro-wind reports for the massively well-funded wind lobby.

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          • Linda – your second sentence is exactly right, and if you go back and read all that I posted about this, you will see that I said much the same. As I made clear, I don’t know (nor do I much care) whether he is right or not on this particular point.

            My point was that, in the lack of any context about the actual burden of renewables subsidies on consumers, a paper devoted to disproving the contents of a single media article does not ultimately contribute much to the overall debate.

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  26. Scots Renewables, Nigel, Dr etc…
    I suggest you read this, and tell all that ;all will be well with industrial Offshore electricity generation, you might even like to post the link on your wee blog SR…probably the best place to hide it EH?…?
    It could in another guise…apart from the distance inshore/the terrain and the atlantic ocean and not the north sea..be based on the Spanish Argyll aka Tiree Array.
    it highlights numerous points that you revoke, damage to nature for example, grid conection costs, blah, blah, oh and cost to the end user…it also highlights complications on mass…tell me it’s a load of bunkum if you wish…but check the sources…the developers themselves…Oh’ and I will just add this is Germany, with a massive GDP, a heavy industry sector, and a non-nationalist narrow minded (wonder why ?) short term focused government. (interesting to note the Hendry move in westminster & the wee ecks side kick move in Bute House)..Germany…the country that is currently trying it’s best to bail the EU out and also the strongest by far economic power in western Europe…

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/german-offshore-wind-offensive-plagued-by-problems-a-852728.html
    Enjoy..signing off. Karl

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  27. Is not “Anti-wind rhetoric”, simply the phrase “common sense” spun out to be distasteful by supporters of commercial wind ? methinks so.

    “The final rub. Once allowance is made for the inefficient use of back-up generating capacity, wind-power is a poor means of reducing CO2 emissions when compared with Combined-Cycle Gas Turbines or indeed nuclear power. Wind farms seem to have precious little going for them. If Britain were not committed to crazy renewables targets and if Scotland was not committed to the one-upmanship of a mis-informed leader… they would have nothing at all going for them”

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    • Karl – I have heard it said that common sense would be a great thing if it were a wee bit more common.

      Unfortunately you disprove your point by the quote in your second paragraph, which cannot be described other than as ‘anti-wind rhetoric’ – whose pearl of wisdom is it anyway?

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      • Common sense dictates simply; cut and paste the statement into Google … plenty of answers there, no ?
        http://www.civitas.org.uk/economy/electricitycosts2012.pdf
        CIVITAS It is a British registered charity financed by private donations. It receives no government funding and has no affiliations with any political party.
        So is this still anti wind rhetoric ? or plane and simple common sense ?
        There are a legion of other hits reflecting the CIVITAS report but ultimately CIVITAS was the original report.
        However…to save micro-volts here is the executive summary:
        “Britain’s energy policies are heavily influenced by the Climate Change Act (2008) and the EU’s Renewables Directive (2009). Under the Climate Change Act Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions are to be cut by 34% by 2018-22 and by 80% by 2050 compared with the 1990 level. These are draconian cuts. Under the Renewables Directive Britain is committed to sourcing 15% of final energy consumption from renewables by 2020. (Chapter 1)
        These commitments add to energy costs and undermine business competitiveness. (Chapter 1)
        Britain’s zeal in cutting carbon emissions should be seen in a global context. Britain’s CO2 emissions are about 1.5% of the world total and even the EU27’s share is only 12% of the world total. No other major emitters have binding policies to cut back their emissions. China’s emissions are, for example, rising quickly. (Chapter 1)
        Using estimates on the costs of electricity generation compiled by engineering consultants Mott MacDonald (MM) (chapter 2):
        o Excluding carbon costs, coal-fired power stations are the least expensive technology for generating electricity for both near-term and medium-term projects.
        o Including carbon costs, gas-fired power stations are the cheapest option for near-term projects, but nuclear power is the least expensive in the medium-term. Other things being equal this would suggest that investment should be concentrated in gas and nuclear technologies. A mix of technologies is preferable for operational reasons. Coal-fired power stations become relatively uneconomic, reflecting the heavy carbon costs, especially in the medium-term.
        o Onshore wind looks relatively competitive on the MM data. But MM exclude the additional costs associated with wind-power. When allowance is made for these additional costs, the technology ceases to be competitive for both near-term and medium-term projects.
        o Offshore wind (even before allowing for additional costs) and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies are inordinately expensive.
        Nuclear power and gas-fired CCGT are therefore the preferred technologies for generating reliable and affordable electricity. There is no economic case for wind-power. (Chapter 2).
        iii
         Wind-power is also an inefficient way of cutting CO2 emissions, once allowance is made for the CO2 emissions involved in the construction of the turbines and the deployment of conventional back-up generation. Nuclear power and gas-fired CCGT, replacing coal-fired plant, are the preferred technologies for reducing CO2 emissions. (Chapter 3)
         Wind-power is therefore expensive (chapter 2) and ineffective in cutting CO2 emissions (chapter 3). If it were not for the renewables targets set by the Renewables Directive, wind-power would not even be entertained as a cost-effective way of generating electricity and/or cutting emissions. The renewables targets should be renegotiated with the EU.”
        Which begs the question as to why the wee eck has shuffled off toadlike on his uni-lateral decision at 100%…is this a first vision of the NEW dictatorial Scotland he is going to give us…if it is then we are totally stuffed !
        My executive summary is as simple as the question I ask…What rationale is behined the proposal to build the Argyll aka Tiree Array or indeed any industrial scale wind generated powerstation in Scotlands, least damaged most natural places..our mountain ranges and our inshore waters ? …. it makes no environmental or economic sense in either the short or medium term. And this is where my local NTA involvement inevitably has to step into the wider conflict ring of the strategic implications of “commercial” wind ventures…

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        • I think the quality and indeed political bias of the CIVITAS “report” is summed up in the two sentences:
          “…but nuclear power is the least expensive in the medium-term. Other things being equal this would suggest that investment should be concentrated in gas and nuclear technologies.”

          I don’t know anyone who believes that nuclear is ever likely to be cheaper than gas and that includes nuclear industry advocates. To reach this conclusion you would have to strip out a lot of the actual costs (such as decommissioning). As soon as you read one piece of obviously politically inspired fantasy you can be pretty sure that the rest is garbage too.

          I find it interesting that anti-wind has become a right-wing cause celebre. I read an interesting axiom today and that was that “real solutions don’t take sides”. Once you let politics cloud your judgement you fail to put technologies in perspective and balance. I haven’t noticed any of the pro-renewables advocates on here duck any of the realities, problems or real costs of wind but we all appreciate its utility in an energy mix and its contribution to global renewable targets .

          For the opponents of renewables (and especially wind) wind is evil, a left-wing/green/greedy industry plot with no redeeming features whatsoever. A weakness of the “turbophobes” is the temptation to ascribe wind policies to political groups they detest. Thus we see the constant attacks on Mr Salmond and the SNP (frequently salted with absurd references to the Nazis and totalitarian behaviour). This conveniently ignores the fact that wind is actively being pursued by virtually all of the major economies regardless of political ideology. A total of 83 countries are currently pursuing wind on a commercial scale. Global installed capacity is now around 250 GW, up from 17 GW in 2000. Wind contributed 328 TWh globally in 2010 (compared with about 2500 TWh of nuclear and rapidly closing the gap between the two). The UK is in sixth position globally for wind production (though 8th in its installed capacity, illustrating the high quality of wind in the UK). In terms of installed wind MW compared with population, Scotland (and the UK) are well down the table. Despite the First Minister’s enthusiasm, the truth is that Scotland and the UK are followers rather than leaders with regard to wind and renewables in general.

          My point in those statistics is to show that wind is not some sort of daft scheme dreamt up by Mr Salmond pursuing some Celtic ego tripping fantasy. It is being pursued by serious people tackling very serious problems worldwide. If you want to argue against wind power on technical, financial or just aesthetic grounds then fine but can we drop the tedious political BS?

          Thankfully the vast majority of people rightly pay no heed to this sort of right wing clap trap. They recognise the small additional costs that renewables actually put upon them and judge that to be a price well worth paying for a cleaner and greener world.

          You guys can fulminate all you want against wind, renewables and climate change but the truth is that the world is sailing on without you in the dash for clean energy. The only worry is that it is all too little and too late to avoid the misery that climate change is likely to inflict on all of us on this small and overcrowded planet.

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          • What a load of absolute pooo. I thought by your recent silence that you had been appointed by Salmond to indoctrinate the Youth Wing of the SNP. Was it the brown shirts or the black that were proving the most popular ?
            On the Subsidy revelations – or lack of – for alternative power producers you have been very quiet – cat got your tongue ?

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          • Malcolm: I dealt with the subsidy question some time ago and don’t intend to repeat myself ad infinitum just to massage your ego.

            I was brought up to believe that adults debate by point, counter point, response etc; not by point, counter-point, point repetition of counterpoint, same bloody point again, wearied counterpoint etc etc. Everybody gets bored (except you it seems).

            Never interpret a silence from me as meaning anything. I was away for three days helping build the future. Doesn’t look as if you were doing anything anywhere as useful in that time other than try and slag other people off. It’s just not pleasant Malcolm.

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          • Doctor Who…?
            You no doubt prefer Shubert /John Denver and the Corries….I prefer Nivana, Talking Heads and Kasabian…..

            Errr who politicized renewables in Scotland ? SNP and their illustrious leader “Chairman 2 Pandas.”
            “They recognise the small additional costs that renewables actually put upon them and judge that to be a price well worth paying for a cleaner and greener world.” who are they ? and , are you talking wind (surely not) or renewables in general ?

            I suggest you read the entire report and not just the exec summary, shun your hubristic elitism tendencies, and put your teddy back in your pram…and move on.

            Your comment: “A total of 83 countries are currently pursuing wind on a commercial scale” Exactly…and until commercialism is removed we are simply sailing up a parallel creek using a different type of paddle…funding the CEO’s with x million pay bonus’s,their own personal art galleries full of how things used to be…renewables has to be driven by environmental sense…not $$$$.

            You agree that energy saving should be a priority / therefore this is where the cash should be going…wind energy on a commercial scale does little for our environment and bugger all for our economy. We are infact creating a fiscal “Perfect Storm”…we cannot afford wind in it’s current guise at this time…neither can the companies deploying it.

            If you want to do something constructive for “our” future…then lobby the government for less wastage/re-nationalisation & community renewables…do not support the sell out of our least damaged most natural places to multi-national energy companies cashing in on peoples “green” perception of large scale industrial wind energy…you are selling Scotland to absentee landlords all over again…

            If you think that wind is not a politically driven action in Scotland then you are living in la’la land, if you think 2 pandas does not see the tie in with the independence debate and an independent Scotland then you are living in a place far removed from grass roots reality !…Wee acidic Alec and his orcs want to see scotland as the power house of Europe/the Saudi of renewables…to do this they are industrializing our countryside and coasts…if you want to support this (?) what can I say…(apart from: go and physically & philosophically visit Saudia ..you might want to take somebody from amnesty international with you too…but I hear they are busy in China where the pandas get treated better than a family that decides to have 2 kids !!!)

            :
            I am a self taught objector of the Tiree Array, this has evolved into an objector of full scale commercial wind full stop. No politics involved on my part sir…if I have to support a party opposed to the deployment of commercial wind in Scotland…then that is where my vote now resides…I messed up voting for the SNP clan Chief last time around…I will never make that same mistake again…and if I have to vote for the Union to remain (something I would not have previously considered) and help stop this nonsense.. I will…after all, the land remains wherever the border is placed… .

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          • AS for the doctors link:

            “…and if anyone wants to read an authoritative report on subsidies for electrical generation globally then I would recommend this:

            http://www.iisd.org/gsi/sites/default/files/power_gen_subsidies.pdf

            Expect spluttering from Malcolm”

            Er ? I’m spluttering the document is inconclusive ! I suggest you read your own recommendation … especially the last section in :7. Conclusions: Lessons for Policy-makers

            Must try harder…go to the back of the class.

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          • Karl: No-one has party politicized renewables in Scotland. Scotland’s commitment to renewables (including wind) was made by all party consensus during the tenure of the previous Lib-Lab coalition at Holyrood

            http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/171491/0047957.pdf

            What the SNP Government has done is up the targets but, again, this was ratified by the Parliament in the last administrative period (ie when the SNP were a minority Government). Again it was supported by all parties in the Parliament. I was at a workshop earlier this year when former First Minister Wendy Alexander said that one of the good things in Scotland is the cross party consensus on the drive for renewables.

            As for popular support for renewables, this is confirmed in every major poll that has been done in the last two years (and as an aside a level of support that exceeds that for the SNP).

            When you become enthused about a cause it is difficult to accept that the majority of others do not share your views, especially when you receive reinforcement of those views by other “enthusiasts” on blogs like this. But the solid facts are that your views are minority views. This does not mean they are valueless or should be ignored but it is worth putting them in the context of what the general public actually feel and believe. I respect your views Karl and you are entitled to them. perhaps you should have equal respect for the views of those who do not share your outlook.

            As to the First Minister (who always speaks highly of you), just read back to yourself what you have written and ask yourself if that sounds like a mature approach to debate.

            Pompous sounding? Perhaps, but I would rather focus on the real issues and the facts surrounding those issues than indulge in cheap personalisations.

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          • Regarding the IISD report: I offered that because it contains facts, not an argument. Situations are rarely black and white. It is also quite good on WHY Governments use subsidies. It also clearly shows that fossil fuels are subsidised (which is the contrary position to Malcolm’s argument). They are not as heavily subsidised as they have been in the past but subsidies still exist. But as Tim was pointing out earlier and I have previously written on at some length, the question of subsidies are (another) red herring. You have to look at what the subsidies are meant to achieve (and what they actually achieve) before judging them. The mantra that “subsidies are bad” is simplistic and naive to the extreme. Subsidies are a way of ensuring that private enterprise delivers on Government policy (which hopefully reflects the common good) and prevents market failure. It would be nice if this was unnecessary but time and time again we have seen the failure of the markets to deliver on the public good when de-regulated and removed from subsidy regimes (carrot and stick).

            Energy is just too important to leave to market forces.

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          • Generally I Refer you to my last…

            In regards to poll’s you might want to look at the questions posed (Likewise with the independence vote.) rather than the answers given…and also look at where the polls were taken…

            In regards to “Pompous sounding? Perhaps, but I would rather focus on the real issues and the facts surrounding those issues than indulge in cheap personalization’s”. Read your past posts ref: personalization.

            …off to the oil field now to see 4 new rigs that have just arrived from CHINA…you are sincerely barking up the wrong tree doctor…supporting commercial wind industrialization is doing diddly squat to stop the worlds reliance on oil/hydro carbons…you recently noted sea ice melt in the arctic…you may have also noted that Statoil/RWE are planning to follow the Russians up north…taking Scotland down the path of industrial wind simply buggers up more areas…and adds to the damage.
            If you want to make a difference based on your support for multi-national /globalization companies you will have to support Gas or Nuke.
            I will continue with community and micro generation.
            Enjoy

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  28. Sorry Karl, but I have to add to your message:

    …and Tilley wouldn’t/shouldn’t exist either.

    I have read that some folk on Tiree are planning even more wind turbines on the island. Is this true?

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    • Hi, I do not know about other turbines on Tiree…the focus for myself is on the Array…in the main because this is both a strategic industrial development and that the final approval is governmental. Small scale home generation or grid feed in comes under A&B council planning…check with them they “should” be able to update you.

      As for Tilley……”and Tilley wouldn’t/shouldn’t exist either”.
      you already know the community and my personal view…

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  29. I’m actually asking you, Karl, because I agree with everything you say against wind turbines but somehow you seem to avoid relating the same information to Tilley and other wind turbines proposed on Tiree.
    It seems a little absurd to me that folk are happy to have such large structures on the island yet do not want to see them in the distance. Although I admit that the offshore turbines will be a darn site bigger than Tilley, to people living near Tilley those offshore will seem much smaller.

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    • I was not involved in TREL. I do not like having Tilley sat across the bay from me…I have a grandstand view. I can see the financial spin off for the island and our community. I do think the way the “windfall fund” is distributed shows a lack of sustainability and vision…this is managed by TCDT. Given the lack of funding from A&B for the Island I am not suprised she was built…

      This does not mean I like the thing…(I do not…even the name is anoying) and does not mean if I had been more involved in Island life I would have opposed the venture. The fact is I was not involved in any form of anti-wind activities…the Argyll Array proposal spurred my current actions.

      On any level the environmental/socio economic/cultural impact of Tilley cannot be compared with the Argyll Array and to try to do so is absurd.

      I am not anti community wind and definately not anti micro generation…surely you can see the difference between…Community onwed and Multi national ?

      Anyhow I think I have explained my feelings enough…If you are anti any forms of development on Tiree…small turbines/Solar etc…contact the planning dept A&Bc but I am afraid as for Tilley, the horse has already bolted, and I advise you to make the best of it. At least it gives some visual reference for what might follow….1 x 45m turbine : 300+ x 200m turbines…

      On another note:

      I was up at Tilley last break….anybody who says they do not kill birds is an arse…I found a dead herring gull and a dead Black-back within 100m of the generator.

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      • Thank you for your honest response. Of course I can see the difference between Tilley and the Array but I can also see the similarities and connections to: subsidies, greed for money, effect on neighbouring properties, need for base load when it doesn’t work, cost, subsidies and fuel poverty…

        In my view, Tilley, and other such community projects, are all part of the problem – but understandable when taking large industrial windfarms into consideration.

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        • That cup of tea/dram offer is still on the table. I get home next week…please look me up and we can chat outside of this forum…I do not post everything I feel…Karl

          And you are right…the mess we are in, the mess we are trying to get out of, and the questionable solutions to our problems are driven by commerce…sad but true…

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      • Karl. I hoped you informed someone (?RSPB, TCDT) about the two dead gulls. This kind of information needs gathering and collating. I’m certainly not “an arse”, because it is well recorded that turbines can kill birds, though the scale of it is usually small, unless the turbines have been particularly badly sited.

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  30. First, tax breaks are not subsidies. Second, oil and gas are subject to extra taxation – which other forms of energy are not. the second sentence in the report makes this clear – The allowance for “brown field” areas will shield some income from the supplementary charge on their profits. So the situation remains that not only does wind enjoy a level of subsidy (roughly 100% for onshore and 200% for offshore) denied to fossil fuels, but oil and gas were subject to a level of taxation which wind was spared.

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    • Linda: you are missing the points:

      1: wind (and many other renewables) are subsidised because they are desirable new technologies. The subsidy is given to make them competitive with existing (but less desirable) technologies)

      2: Fossil fuel technologies continue to enjoy subsidies albeit at a lower level than they previously did. However, in the past they enjoyed massive subsidies. I suggest you have to look at the subsidy regime over the whole life cycle of a technology

      3: By restricting what you classify as subsidy you are skewing the argument in your favour. Tax breaks are subsidies in most people’s definitions (and definitely in the view of both the EC and WTO).

      4: As I have previously pointed out, Scottish renewable generation are subject to a transmission “tax”. Oil is heavily taxed, that’s true, but what are the comparative levels of profit between renewables and oil? At the end of the day, it is not teh tax you pay that matters but the profit you make.

      And, at the risk of repeating myself, subsidies are in any case a red herring. Pretty much everything is subsidised in one form or another.

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      • “1: wind (and many other renewables) are subsidised because they are desirable new technologies. The subsidy is given to make them competitive with existing (but less desirable) technologies)’

        you should not be looking at this from the perspective of saving the planet Doc or even trying to sell this nonsense…it’s a commercial spin you are up to your neck in…wind recieves subsides to increase deployment…deployment increases revenue for the government…it’s a commercial venture…not an environmental solution…that is why it is desirable!!!

        if any deference was given to the environment they, the current SG ,and the developer Iberdrola would not even be contemplating the Argyll aka Tiree Array…you might want to check who contacted CE for the option to scope…your illustrious leader (wee eck) and Iberdrola….! SELL OUT

        If you really want to do something for Scotland and it’s west coast why not stop your infuriating elitist waffle, go here and physically do something usefull for Scotland… sign the petition:

        https://secure2.wdcs.org/protect/critical_habitat/mpa_petition.php

        Sign the petition !!! you know it makes sense.
        Seems FoE and WWF will soon be at loggerheads with the SG over the Argyll Array…that should make good reading ….

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        • Karl: No I won’t sign your petition. Not because I believe the Tiree Array is the right way to go but because of your disrespectful attitude to the views of others. As others have intimated to you, your attitude is damaging your cause.

          And I don’t need any lessons from yourself on marine conservation. I was one of the founders of the West of Scotland marine Naturalists way back in the late 70′s which later became the local branch of the MCS. I’ve surveyed and published on the marine fauna of the West Coast and given public lectures on the need to protect our deeper water species such as cold water corals from fishing. I’ve researched and published on new methods of detecting environmental stress in the marine environment and helped develop new technology for this purpose that has been commercialised and sold. I’ve also worked on marine toxins, helping us better understand these and the impact they have on the shellfish industry.

          I could go on but perhaps this is enough to make you consider an apology for your continuing slurs that I am some sort of environmental wrecker of the Scottish West Coast. You may be tiring of my “infuriating elitist waffle” but I have long tired of your cant.

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          • You do not have to justify your Doctorate.

            I am however amazed that your conviction to protection of our marine environment is swayed by a few comments I make in a thread on a website…Your convictions seem based on what we can take from the oceans rather than what we can give back to the oceans…you are an expert in mitigation…not preservation, your skill base is obviously built around commercial enterprise Re: Toxins and mussel farming etc..

            Lets be completely clear : Mitigation is not a method of damage prevention…it is a method of commercial justification…I know this is fact because this is what I do for a living…I am sorry if this is wrong but this is the impression you are giving me and others reading these posts over my shoulder….the truth sometimes comes as a cold shock does it not ? f

            I think you’ll will find the others you refer to are also hard core supporters of commercial wind generation….

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      • It’s all about money, money and more money.

        How exactly will the wind factory tackle fuel poverty on the Western Isles? Will there be a local grid connected to islanders’ homes giving them cheap or free electricity? Or will the income generated go directly towards paying islanders’ electricity bills? If so, is either a taxable benefit?

        What are the ‘great benefits’ that the community will receive? Will these benefits put heat in islanders’ homes, food on the table and clothes on their backs?

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        • Lowry: it is up to the islanders how they spend the money but I would have thought that a good start would be a programme to insulate their houses (or perhaps even build new, community owned ones) and equip all the houses with solar thermal water heaters.

          In Barcaldine we have considered the BCA purchasing heating systems that we give free to those households most in need of heating improvements then using the income from the RHI to fund more heating until the whole community has cheap hot water. Given the scale of the community funds that will accrue from this wind farm then the islanders should have no difficulty in pursuing similar measures.

          It doesn’t require much of an imagination to see how this money could be transformational to the lives of these islanders.

          At times I think there are some who would prefer that we were all still in blackhouses, a curiosity for tourists, a land and a people dipped in timeless aspic.

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          • Who foots the bill for this doctor…? do you not think folk have other priorities ? you are a high earner, I earn a good wage too…what about the folk who are struggling at the moment to put food in their kids mouths and coins in the electricity meter….ok they can spend revenue on this…but when you look at the huge profit margins these behmoths of energy earn do you not think it is them who should be footing the bill for your “energy saving” program

            “At times I think there are some who would prefer that we were all still in blackhouses, a curiosity for tourists, a land and a people dipped in timeless aspic.”

            Your comments about folks living in Blackhouses are distastefull in the extreme, I can’t belive you dare to impose your cultural views on other (must be an SNP trait ?)…. you have little if any perception of Island life…or culture…I have friends on Tiree who live in older type blackhouses…they do not see themselves as either a curiosity or backward…they live in these homes because of financial necessity…

            You might want to explain how onshore communities such as Tiree…who are only 5km from a proposed inshore huge industrial windfarm will be paid “community benifit”…there is no legal requirement for SPR or CE or the Scottish Government to pay one farthing….

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  31. Yes, indeed, the tide is turning against industrial wind farms. The ‘green’ people appear to be illogically supporting financial greed and burying their heads in the sand about the real climate change issues.
    I have always seen myself as someone who cares passionately about the environment and initially became confused when I found myself at odds with the ‘greens’ over wind turbines. Now with a better understanding of all the issues I am comfortable to challenge the madness of mass industrialisation of our countryside and the greed that has been encouraged to access huge sums of money, especially when there is so much poverty and hardship.

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    • Lowry – what you write strikes a chord with many thinking people across Scotland. That’s why being against turbines and Salmond’s crazy wind policy unites people across the political spectrum, from ancient Lefties who went on the first CND marches to early anarchist greens (such as the poet John Burnside) and Welsh kids in the Occupy movement to UKIP. It really is hard not to wonder whether a couple of people on this thread are not being paid by the wind lobby to spout misinformation and discourage other posters from putting contrary information into the public domain. I have to say the admins/eds of this site have to be congratulated for tolerating their antics.

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      • Linda: in what way have people with a contrary view to yours in any way discouraged anyone else from putting contrary information into the public domain? All we ask is that we debate around facts and everyone (from both sides) should expect their views to be rigorously challenged on the basis of these facts. I encourage you to put whatever information you view as pertinent on here and only ask that your respect the rights of others to hold views contrary to your own. If possible, it would be nice if we could all avoid personalisation of issues and stick to the facts but that might be asking to much….

        I’m not aware of anyone in the “contrary” camp who is a lobbyist paid or not.

        If you have specific complaints about anything that you feel is deliberate misinformation then I would encourage you to both highlight that on here then, and by all means, complain to “Newsroom” who will, I’m sure, take any complaint you have seriously.

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      • Well said…the antics of the wind industry and it’s supporters have spurred on people to raise their hands and say “this is all very wrong” A close friend of mine Dr J.Vetterlain who now lives in Orkeny was one of the founders of CAT. Center for Alternative Technology in Dollgelleu Wales…He left the entire project when it was hijacked by the likes of Iberdrola and SSE….he felt then that a noble cause based on community renewables and reduction in production of CO2 was been hijacked by BIG business…that was nearly 20 years ago…look where we are now.

        Lets just get it straight…supporters of commercial wind came out first…objectors only arrived after developers antics started affecting the environment and the communities….be it political direction, going to war, poll tax etc ….lack of consultation and democratic process, and dictatorial policies always raises the quiet legions…

        We the NIMBY are subjected and still are subjected to a tirade of abuse and mis-information…spin and lies…why ? because of commercial and capitalist extreme greed…and political posturing.

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  32. I think telling people that the way they express their views is going to harm the cause they are espousing is pretty discouraging. I think the tone taken on this thread is pretty discouraging to people who wish to point out manifest shortcomings in SNP wind policy. As for debate,there is a great deal of patronising finger-wagging and steam-rollering through of the party line but not much listening or critical examination going on. I’ve looked at this site from time to time, and posted occasionally, but frankly, given the dominance of yourself and Scotsrenewables, I doubt many people revisit it. I also have other fora where I can contribute where there is genuine and respectful debate occurring, and where I wouldn’t feel I was wasting my time.

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    • Linda: I’m genuinely sorry you feel that way. As for telling Karl he is hurting his own cause, that is just me telling it how it is. You may be surprised to know that I don’t think the location of the Tiree array is appropriate – thus I agree with NTA and might be prepared to support them if it were not for Karl’s continual berating of those of us who actually believe that wind has a place in our energy mix. I’m not alone in suggesting to him that he is damaging his own cause by his style. It is important in an argument to know when you have won. That was actually several weeks ago but Karl is still banging on and all he is doing is alienating those of us who are sympathetic to the aims of NTA.

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      • Condesending pompous nonsensical elitist humbug.
        If you will not support NTA or the WDCS petition because I have upset your feelings with a few hard facts then I am afraid you are not a man of solid convictions.

        Lets refresh ourselves doctor:

        Doc:
        “Karl: No I won’t sign your petition. Not because I believe the Tiree Array is the right way to go but because of your disrespectful attitude to the views of others. As others have intimated to you, your attitude is damaging your cause.
        And I don’t need any lessons from yourself on marine conservation. I was one of the founders of the West of Scotland marine Naturalists way back in the late 70′s which later became the local branch of the MCS. I’ve surveyed and published on the marine fauna of the West Coast and given public lectures on the need to protect our deeper water species such as cold water corals from fishing. I’ve researched and published on new methods of detecting environmental stress in the marine environment and helped develop new technology for this purpose that has been commercialised and sold. I’ve also worked on marine toxins, helping us better understand these and the impact they have on the shellfish industry.
        I could go on but perhaps this is enough to make you consider an apology for your continuing slurs that I am some sort of environmental wrecker of the Scottish West Coast. You may be tiring of my “infuriating elitist waffle” but I have long tired of your cant.
        Like or Dislike: 1 3″

        And my Answer:

        “You do not have to justify your Doctorate.
        I am however amazed that your conviction to protection of our marine environment is swayed by a few comments I make in a thread on a website…Your convictions seem based on what we can take from the oceans rather than what we can give back to the oceans…you are an expert in mitigation…not preservation, your skill base is obviously built around commercial enterprise Re: Toxins and mussel farming etc..
        Lets be completely clear : Mitigation is not a method of damage prevention…it is a method of commercial justification…I know this is fact because this is what I do for a living…I am sorry if this is wrong but this is the impression you are giving me and others reading these posts over my shoulder….the truth sometimes comes as a cold shock does it not ? f
        I think you’ll will find the others you refer to are also hard core supporters of commercial wind generation….”

        Like or Dislike: 2 1

        I would also like to make it completely clear that standing up to folk like yourself is a simple task…I do it every day, my conviction and honesty may sometimes hurt your feelings…but rest assured I can live with this.

        Following such threads (over the last 2 years) I have only ever recieved support from anti Tiree Array supporters…the only two folk in the hundreds I correspond with, ever to mention “harm to our cause” have been you…Nigel of Scots Renewables and one other.

        I sleep well knowing that my small part will help preserve the Skerryvore Reef rather than using the SPR/Doc/and SR based phrase of “.. mitigate any percieved damage…”

        Wish you well…Catch you later

        karl

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        • Karl – I think I know the Doctor well enough to observe that, as a scientist, ‘hard facts’ are unlikely to hurt his feelings. Quite the opposite – what gets him worked up (and me too, as it happens) is people using nonsense arguments, which don’t stand up to the most basic technical scrutiny, to dismiss an entire technology. I hasten to add that I’m not particularly referring to you, Karl. However, for what it’s worth (probably not much) you need to add my name to your short list of people whose general sympathy for your specific cause (the Tiree Array issue) is undermined every time you get going on generalised opposition to wind power based on the ‘teachings’ of outfits like Civitas or CATS (or Malcolm Kirk), or banging on in a personal way about individual politicians etc.

          Of course you may not care what the likes of the Doc, SR and myself think about the Tiree Array, in which case, fair enough…

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          • Like I said Tim, Doc/SR and one other.

            To disengage Mr Salmond from the debate is a crazy concept as he is one of the most hardcore devotees of commercial wind.

            Also to try and remove the Argyll aka Tiree array from the wider debate is impossible…it is classed as a strategic development and has to unfortunately be addressed from a strategic view-point.

            On a personal note and not in conjunction with NTA (please see our mission statement) I am against commercial large scale wind deployment within the least damaged most natural areas in and around the UK. I am a lifetime member of the SMC and BMC and as such support their call to stop deployment in the hills and glens of Scotland…I also support the John Muir Trust and the Dark Skies campaign, HWDT/WDCS/RSPB/BTO…following their blanket support for commercial wind.I have however cancelled my membership to FoE and WWF…

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          • Karl – I had wondered if I might be the ‘one other’ :-)

            Mr Salmond may well be a strong supporter of wind power, but I wasn’t disengaging him – just saying that by concentrating your fire in a very personal and sometimes rather abusive way on one individual, you avoid the inconvenient fact that not only his party but the Holyrood parliament as a whole appear to support him on this. I’m not aware of any significant grouping of MSPs who are trying to derail the development of renewables in Scotland, as has happened at Westminster.

            I also think you can indeed separate the Tiree project from the wider strategic ‘debate’ on whether wind power is worthwhile. It’s quite possible to persuasively argue that Tiree is the wrong project at the wrong scale in the wrong place without having to resort to the implication that all big windfarms are wrong in principle, is it not?

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    • Linda – discouraging maybe, but inescapable all the same. For example, you intimate the fair point that there are genuine questions to be asked about government policy on renewables, but then choke off the possibility of ‘respectful debate’ by implying in another post that anyone who disagrees with your anti-windpower agenda must be a paid lobbyist.

      Genuine and respectful debate is what we would all like to see – please link to some of these other web forums you mention, where we can find it. As long as those who take a positive view of wind power are welcome, of course.

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  33. “In Barcaldine we have considered the BCA purchasing heating systems that we give free to those households most in need of heating improvements…”
    Is it just me or does anyone else find this a somewhat frightening statement? So, the good people of Barcaldine have to make themselves known to some of their neighbours and others from their community if they are in need of heating improvements – to a group defined as “we”. Who are “we”? Is this application means tested or can anyone declare heating difficulties – wealthy or not? How are they identified – does someone point a finger? What about the folk who do not wish to be identified yet are struggling to pay their fuel bills?
    Surely this is an example of how the so called “community benefits” can be used by some members of a community to patronise others. Frankly I’m appalled. It’s not fair, not equitable and, in my view, simply wrong.

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    • Well said Lowry…it seems an elitist few are deciding the future again…I am agast at some of the pompous snobbery that has entered into the debate.

      Anyhow…I am having a month off…bit of sailing off Tiree, bit of hill walking…and time with my kids…

      A month out here is enough to see how lucky some are in Scotland…and also how folk can take the simplest things such as food on the table/water in the kettle/and power in the plug for granted…wishing you well…Karl

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    • Lowry: I think you are seeing issues where none exist.

      The BCA is open to all residents in Barcaldine and committee membership is open for election every year. It is a registered charity and dedicated to the benefit of the community. We have been a bit quiet of late because of illness, death, emigration and the rather happier occasion of some of our more active committee members having new babies. We try to be as inclusive and as communicative as possible. There are no secret societies or agendas in Barcaldine.

      The “free-heat” scheme hasn’t got off the ground yet as we haven’t secured the seed funding necessary but you will notice that the intention is to eventually roll it out to everyone who wants it. The people who would be offered it first would be the elderly – we can recognise them quite easily. It’s hardly patronising. People around here often help each other out when jobs need doing and this sort of thing is just an extension of that community spirit.

      I’m sure you and Karl will see it as patronising but I take comfort from the following words:

      “People are illogical, unreasonable and self-centered.
      Love them anyway.
      If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
      Do good anyway.
      If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
      Succeed anyway.
      The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
      Do good anyway.
      Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
      Be honest and frank anyway.
      The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
      Think big anyway
      People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
      Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
      What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
      Build anyway.
      People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
      Help people anyway.
      Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
      Give the world the best you have anyway.

      – Kent M. Keith

      I hope you are enjoying a good weekend Lowry and I hope Karl enjoys his holiday.

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  34. That is a rather standard approach that I’m sure a good many people use in an attempt to validate their activities, including politicians and religious leaders. However, the harm done from such thinking should also be realised. I’m sure the missionaries who thought that by imposing their beliefs on tribal communities were doing the same thing – however instead they introduced disease and devastation. Similarly, those who brought the idea of patented seed to some third world countries have left them with huge costs and threat of legal actions if they used their own free seeds.

    I constantly reflect on many “wise” sayings but perhaps the one I have tried to observe most since coming across it in Delhi in 1990 is:

    “It’s better to be harmless- than helpful.”

    Think about it.

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    • Lowry: that is one of those phrases that make equal sense either way round as in:

      It is better to live a lifetime as a sheep than a day as a tiger
      or
      It is better to live one day as a tiger than a lifetime as a sheep

      and your’s can be rendered as:
      “It’s better to be helpful than harmless”.

      Your position is a bit of an counsel of despair. Is it really not worthwhile doing anything in case you do harm? We wouldn’t get round to doing much as a species if we followed that course of action. That is not an argument for just rushing in and trying to be helpful. A bit of planning and forethought is always advisable. Measure twice cut once as my dad used to say.

      On reflection, I think I’ll continue trying to be more helpful than harmless and thank God there are plenty more in public life who think the same.

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      • Lowry: I’ve thought about it; I don’t know what it is about Delhi, but there’s a great affection there for quirky aphorisms – e.g. the sign on a children’s bookshop: “Twice Upon a Time”, and on a furniture shop : “Tomorrow’s Antiques Today”. Surely there’s a difference between ‘interfering do-gooders’ and people who really can and do contribute to the quality of other people’s lives.
        You seem to be tarring everyone with the same brush, and what you say you’ve ‘tried to observe’ sounds pretty smug.

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  35. And I am sure missionaries will think the same.

    I will continue with my way of thinking in the same way as I’m sure you will continue with yours. However, I also believe that are some people who understand the phrase that I have offered to have a far deeper meaning than the superficial one you appear to have applied.

    I wonder – how do you deal with the divisions caused in your community, if you recognise any at all?

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  36. I’m no fan of early missionary work: I’ve seen first hand the damage that they caused to Pacific communities through a failure to recognise the validity of islanders’ belief and cultural systems.

    Fitting some solar heaters s hardly in the same category,

    As for divisions, the trick is to ensure you have community buy in before starting a project and then keep it through good communication and ensuring that people feel ownership of the project. Engagement is key and also the humility to recognise that if you are in some position of responsibility then you are the servant of the community not its master.

    Plenty of good examples of communities improving their lot: Gigha immediately springs to mind. Should their “do-gooders” have sat on their hands?

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  37. So the BCA has been a bit quiet of late because of illness,death,emigration and births. How much of that have you been responsible for Doc ? First and third seem definites for starters !

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  38. I hasten to reassure everyone that I haven’t been responsible for any of the recent births!

    I hold my hand up to being the ill one. My year-long eye problems (three operations and counting) have slowed me down a bit. However, I’m sure you will be pleased to know that things have stabilised so we can look forward to all my various projects motoring a bit faster from now on. I’m sure that brings a warm glow to your heart Malcolm (or is that just indigestion?).

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  39. Are you certain that there is complete buy-in by the Gigha community? That’s not what I’ve heard lately – first hand.

    And, as is a common misunderstanding in many such communities, some islanders thought that they were going to get cheap/free electricity when the plans for the three wind turbines were proposed. It was only after they were built that they found out otherwise. I believe a similar thing happened on Tiree but I’m sure Karl can provide information on that.

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    • Lowry: I can understand people thinking they’d get cheap electricity, but free? Did they think that the cost of building and operating the turbines would be entirely covered by someone else?

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      • Sadly, yes. Not everyone understands the way that things work in the same way that we do.

        The same thing happened on Easdale Island. It was very hard to persuade those with the belief otherwise when their “friends” who were proposing the wind turbine did not put them right or state the facts in any communication. Fortunately, the Easdale Island wind turbine was not only rejected by the community but also by planners, planning committee and government reporter. However, I understand that the community group still felt they were in the right, hard done to, justified in the planning application and to this day still declare that they represent the community.

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    • Lowry: My point was that Gigha is now a much better place today than it was two decades ago and that was because some members of the community got off their posteriors, rolled up their sleeves and took action, not just for themselves but on behalf of the whole community. I would be surprised if everyone was 100% happy with all the decisions made but a good community listens to everyone’s opinion, discusses the differences, tries to reach a workable compromise then votes on the issue. In a good community everyone gets behind the democratic decision whether they agreed with it or not.

      In their own words:

      “..all major decisions on the community owned Isle of Gigha are made by the community. In this way a well-attended trip to a nearby windfarm was arranged by the Trust and a full discussion and debate held, culminating in a meeting at the Gigha Village Hall where the vote in favour of the windmills was 100%.”

      They reckon that the profit from the windfarm accruing to the community (after loan repayments and allocation to the capital replacement fund and other costs) is £75,000 annually.

      I would say that Gigha is one of the best examples of a community owned windfarm in Scotland.

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  40. The wind turbines on Gigha are pretty unobtrusive and make a significant contribution to the island economy. I find it hard to believe there is much local opposition, but there are always a few malcontents in every small community of course.

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  41. At least the community group on Easdale do not process folk wishing to move on to the island – however, I expect they wish that they could.

    Surely this process ensures that you get a majority “yes” vote? Is it really a good thing?

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    • Why should it not be a ‘good thing’?

      Gigha is in essence a planned community. I don’t see what is wrong with that, and I don’t see what is wrong with people wishing to live there being ‘approved’ by the Trust.

      The Gigha Heritage Trust make decisions, but they are genuinely representative, being elected by 80% of the adult population. The situation is not, as far as I can see, analagous with that on Easdale in any way.

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  42. The residents of Gigha were fortunate to be able to purchase second hand wind turbines. If they originally had to purchase brand new turbines then they would not currently be making £75,000 per year.

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