The sea area proposed for the gigantic Argyll [or Tiree] Array offshore wind farm is now to be subject to an area search with a view to part of it being designated a Marine Special Area of Conservation.
Given the survey results that have shown this area to be a hot spot for rare and threatened species -particularly the Great Northern Diver and the Basking Shark, for which it is a breeding area. it is likely that this area search will culminate in so designating at least part of the proposed sea area for the wind turbine array.
If this were to happen, the Marine SAC would be proposed by Scottish Natural Heritage and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.
As we reported yesterday, Iberdrola, the Spanish corporate owner of the wind farm proposals’ developer, Scottish Power Renewables [SPR], is in difficult financial circumstances, selling assets to pay down a high dent burden.
This is thought to have been a strong contributory factor in Scottish Power Renewables’ recent announcement that it was putting the project in limbo for a year while it researched the current state of technologies related to turbines and to offshore wind installations.
EU habitat protection legislation prohibits development within Special Areas of Conservation so such an outcome of the area search would add yet more height to the bar SPR will have to clear to proceed with this proposal – if they are ever in a position to do so.
In its current financial vulnerability, Iberdrola is known and knows itself to be a potential target for takeover bids. This leaves Scottish Power and Scottish Power Renewables also in limbo with uncertain futures.