No Tiree Array campaigners play the Trump card

Tiree Array facsimile looking form Hough to Ceann a mhara

In a battle to save the offshore Isle of Tiree from vanishing behind a modern-day marine forest of onshore to offshore wind turbines – the Tiree Array will be around five times the size of the Island itself, wrapped around sunny flat little Tiree from the south east to the north west and both enveloping and towering over the glorious Skerryvore Lighthouse.

The image above is a facsimile of how the Array – which starts from 3 miles off shore – would look between Hough and Ceann-a-Mhara.

The determined No Tiree Array campaigners, with a planning decision on the near horizon, have quickly made use of the battle the American tycoon, Donald Trump, has just carried to Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond.

Trump, who is developing a golf resort the size of a small town at a 200 hectare stretch of the beautiful Balmenie dunes on the northern fringe of Aberdeen. It will have two golf courses – one an international competition standard course, the other a second 18 hole course, both pay-to-play.  The resort will have a club house, hotel, apartments and  several hundred houses.

This is, of course, a huge investment for the north east, with Scotland’s golf courses – built upon the country’s claim to have given birth to the game itself, an successful emblematic marketing feature.

Trump in incensed by a plan for an offshore 11-turbine test farm which will be in view of the Menie resort.

He says he was given private assurances that it would not get permission, a claim denied, not entirely plausibly, one has to say, by the First Minister.

With the government now refusing to stop the test site wind farm Trump has opened hostilities.

His letter to the First Minister is here: Trumps letter to Salmond – a duneful triumph of overt intent, abandonment of corporate-speak, most rhetorical tricks in the book, threats of funding an international protest campaign, dire warnings, some facts that cause pause for thought and the evocation of his Stornoway mother in a closing phrase where you can almost him say ‘Scatland’.

The No Tiree Array team are circulating the letter to all those concerned about offshore wind farms in Argyll waters, saying that Mr Trump’s anxieties are of considerable relevance to Argyll and to the Argyll  economy.

The man who does not like to lose has also evidently sent this letter to every MSP,  to Prime Minister David Cameron (a deliberate irritation) and to Prince Charles, hoping, one imagines, for some black spider handwriting to wend its way to Bute House.

The Tiree campaigners say that the Trump letter resonates with many issues they themselves have raised in the last 18 months.

They say: ‘When Trumps states in this letter  ” ..it will be looking through the bars of a prison …” please look at the attached Tiree image (top) and you will come to the the same conclusion  with regard to the SPR ( Iberdrola ) proposed development off Tiree of  a  180-300 Turbine  wind farm, each approx 160-200m high, the closest of which will only be 3 miles from Tiree’s shores and its community.’

And yes, we do think this requires a pause for serious thought. The overall pan for the waters around Tiree, include this massive offshore windfarm running SE to NW, another to its north, and a wave farm and marine turbine farm to its east, ringing an island majoring on its naturalness with an artificial environment whose impacts no one has seriously measured.

Then there is the scale of the landside infrastructure to handle the power coming ashore and it transmission…

But then we don’t live there – although community sustainability issues in remote places are a daily reality to everyone living in Argyll who understands the fragility of life in these beautiful area. How long would the immediate economic uplift last? And what would be the legacy when the last lumberjack, so to speak, left town? Who knows?

A problem is that there is no contra-campaign putting its views widely in the public domain. We cannot therefore know whether this is because  the pro-lobby is quite small or because it is, as islanders culturally can be, quiet.

I what we openly recognise to be an unresolved conflict in our own stance on renewables and on energy provision, it has been the brutalist overall plan for the Tiree marine area which has driven us, unimaginably, not to dismiss the nuclear option.

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Related Articles & Comments

  • I think the No Tiree Array campaigners have a very good case and I wish them every success – but I’m not convinced linking themselves to Trump is the right way to go.

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    Alison February 11, 2012 9:20 pm Reply
  • The NTA campaign may well have a case, but linking themselves to obnoxious lunatics like Trump, promoting climate denial claptrap and generally being insdiscriminate in picking allies and evidence to support their cause is not necessarily helpful.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Webcraft February 11, 2012 10:26 pm Reply
    • Nice to hear that Webcraft thinks that NTA ” may well
      have a case ” but NTA has been addressing the issues of environmental and economic damage arising from Scot Govt off shore windfarm proposals,long before D Trump realised there was an issue here.

      With respect to Webcraft, NTA is not linking itself to D Trump .

      NTA might suggest that Webcraft’S use of word like ” “obnoxious ” and ” claptrap” would suggest that Webcraft may be intolerant of any opinion contrary to his own.

      The issues Trump refers to merit national debate . NTA has been asking for that debate. Scotland requires that debate.

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      robtrythall February 12, 2012 9:07 pm Reply
      • Trump is obnoxious and his opinions are claptrap. That means I am intolerant of Donald Trump. It does not mean I am ‘intolerant of any opinion contrary to (my) own’.

        I am slightly alarmed though by groups who have an objection to a development in their own area who then seek to justify that objection by aligning themselves with climate change deniers, renewables rubbishers and similar forces of darkness.

        The inhabitants of Tiree have obvious reason to be concerned by what is a very large industrial development in the waters off the island. There are surely all sorts of reasons for taking the planning process to task in terms of the local environment and economy.

        However, like many other local protest groups suddenly it seems NTA is fighting a ‘huge national scandal’ rather than a local planning issue. All too often, such groups suddenly aren’t content with stopping their local development; now all wind farms are wrong, the entire technology is rubbish and anyway what do you know, there isn’t any CO2 problem.

        No Tiree Array started with the usual statement made by such groups – ‘We are not against renewables per se’ – then went on to explain in fairly reasonable tones why this particular development was unacceptable.
        Nowadays it does sometimes seem, reading the NTA website, that any stick will do to beat the turbines with though.

        Trump is a genuine lunatic, a failed GOP presidential candidate who made a fool of himself shouting for Obama’s birth certificate, a climate change denier, a man who has tried to drive people out of their homes in Aberdeenshire . . . and that’s before we even mention the hair. You do not IMO do yourselves any credit by publishing his idiotic letter to Salmond on your website.
        .

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        Webcraft February 12, 2012 10:22 pm Reply
        • Approval of Off-Shore wind farms is not a simple “local planning issue”.

          Off-shore wind farms are derived from national Government policy. The consenting process is unique. It is executed ,exclusively through a newly created government department,implementing legislation only passed 10 months ago. Local government is not involved. The ultimate consenting authority, in Scotland, is vested with the First Minister.

          The Licencing and Consenting process is advisory,and lacks any mandatory strictures.

          Go to http://www.no-tiree-array.org.uk for a detailed presentation of the process.

          Tiree Array represents 40% of Scottish Government’s 1st phase offshore development. A Government agency has indicated the ” political pressure ” to consent Tiree Array is “immense”.

          In such circumstances NTA raises many serious questions re Scottish Government’s policy. Scottish Government’s answers to date,have,in the main,been platitudinous.

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          NTA February 13, 2012 8:41 am Reply
          • You haven’t mentioned the Crown Estate – is their involvement insigificant?

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            Robert Wakeham February 13, 2012 9:53 am
    • I too think the No Tiree Array lot should be very careful who they are seen to be citing in their campaign. Particularly when you read Trump’s letter and realise that he has made a number of serious errors in what he says, including claiming that the Netherlands has abolished its offshore wind programme which is robustly denied in a letter in today’s Scotsman.
      Ministers and MSPs receiving the NTA’s endorsement of Trump’s letter just days after receiving the diatribe itself, might well feel less than supportive of the NTA.

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      Alex McKay February 13, 2012 2:01 pm Reply
  • If Trump’s a lunatic he’s a clever one – he even got Sir Ian Wood to give him an honorary degree from RGU – but to call him obnoxious is surely being disgustingly polite.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Robert Wakeham February 11, 2012 10:50 pm Reply
  • Would your bitter attitude change if the name had been Andrew Carnegie ?

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    Malcolm Kirk February 12, 2012 7:34 am Reply
  • Not so much bitter as disgusted – and Carnegie was back in a different age.

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    Robert Wakeham February 12, 2012 9:58 am Reply
  • I don’t know much about the Tiree Array, it may well be excessive in scale. But three miles is more than half-way to the horizon. For comparison here’s a picture of Robin Rigg windfarm in the Solway firth from an elevation of about 90 metres.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ztephen/3804758609/

    and here’s one from sea level.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ztephen/4734833837/

    The loss of the sublime open spaces of the Solway was an aesthetic blow of course, but Robin Rigg has a very high level of availability, it just sits out there chugging out electricity in all but the stillest weather.

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    Stephen Mackenzie February 12, 2012 1:02 pm Reply
  • I am afraid you are incorrect with your distances – from a height of 90 metres distance to the horizon is almost 24 miles ! Google ‘ No Tiree Array’ and you will find out a lot more – watch the video !

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Malcolm Kirk February 12, 2012 1:28 pm Reply
    • Tried to watch the video as suggested Malcolm…

      To no avail…!

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      Barmore2 February 12, 2012 1:57 pm Reply
    • I meant at sea level! Honest. Well, that’s what I get for posting comments without checking everything first.

      http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/01/15/how-far-away-is-the-horizon/

      This is quite handy. According to Phil’s table, the horizon at 2 metres altitude is nearly 4 miles away. Which makes me wrong, coming and going!

      I certainly will look into the Tiree Array in more detail now; but did you actually look at the pictures? The point I was trying to make is that picture at the top of the article may have exaggerated the “thickness” of the turbines… maybe someone with more time than me should have a go at modelling the Array in Google Earth?

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      Stephen Mackenzie February 12, 2012 3:19 pm Reply
      • To avoid any further confusion as to what one can see or not see with regard to an offshore wind farm, please refer to SNH’s report Noo 103 ” An Assessent of the Sensitivity of the Scottish Seascape in relation to Windfarms ”

        p13 ” The towers of 5MW turbines are likely to be 5m diameter .If we take 5m as an example then a viewer could theoretically see the tower at 50Km ”

        This report recommends p 14 ;- “… a seaward outer limit of 35km for seascape units .. as a precautionary principle”

        Re Robin Rigg : Its 60 turbines are 3MW /130m high
        minimum 8km off. Tiree is faced with the possibility of 300/6MW or 180/10MW turbines in excess of 200m (600ft), the 1st row of which will be only 5km from shore .

        rgds

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        NTA February 12, 2012 9:58 pm Reply
        • At the Tiree heights the exact conversion from metres to feet makes quite a difference – 200 m is actually 656 ft

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          Robert Wakeham February 12, 2012 10:41 pm Reply
  • The video is entered off the NoTireeArray website or here at youtube
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4PwzvbB3_4

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Malcolm Kirk February 12, 2012 4:53 pm Reply
  • I was wholly against the nuclear option, even when Lovelock highlighted its obvious need. Now, however, with the threat of wind farms, on and offshore, across Argyll and with all the facts about their usefulness/green credentials along with the link to fuel poverty, I think we should stop further windfarm development and rethink the renewables strategy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Lowry February 12, 2012 4:55 pm Reply
  • Good man ! ! ! There are about 48 local communities in Scotland fighting against planning applications for useless, expensive wind farms. You can do a google search and come up with loads of them all over the UK. I have a face book page which I try to keep up to date with new developments, if you are interested.

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    Malcolm Kirk February 12, 2012 5:08 pm Reply
  • Tiree already has a community wind turbine of its own. Have we a picture of that? How much are the redidents of Tiree benefitting from their machine?

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    David Pollard February 12, 2012 9:10 pm Reply
    • Read about it and see pictures at:
      http://www.tireerenewableenergy.co.uk/

      It says there that it is earning £100,000/annum for the community, but it also says that they have just been allowed on to a higher feed-in tariff, so it could be higher. One can imagine some of the No Tiree brigade being rather shy of saying whether or not they supported it at the time.

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      Alex McKay February 13, 2012 1:53 pm Reply
  • The tragedy is that whether or not we like or dont like Donald Trump his economic arguement is correct and our govenment is positively helping the exploitation of our natural heritage by non local businesses without a proper debate. Our leader just handful of years ago announced that the best thing for Scotland would be to become like Ireland. This was before the Irish bubble burst and whilst he may have been convincing most economists of any worth knew that this was a piece of nonsense. This same intellect has convinced himself that a mass of windfarms is going to deliver green energy and economic strength to Scotland. Again most green enviromentalists have now accepted that wind is not a satisfactory answer to the problem and the economc beneficiaries of the proposed windfarms are the English the Danes the Spainish and a whole heap of other non scots. As for the jobs promised, these are jobs for lawyers and accountants in Edinburgh to push through the legislation and the contracts with the foreign nationals.
    So is Donald right – yes he is. LIke him or hate him he is right. Scotland is going to lose its natural heritage (which brings income to many locals ) for a pipe dream that has not been tested to the rigours of a full debate. Let there be a proper and full public enquiry so that we do not blow a thousand years away on one foolish mans dreams.

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    Hannah Sutter February 13, 2012 8:10 am Reply
  • @ Hannah Sutter:

    our govenment is positively helping the exploitation of our natural heritage by non local businesses without a proper debate

    So instead we should allow our energy future to be dictated by one mad-haired self-important foreign businessman with delusions of grandeur, should we?

    I am sure no-one would deny the people of Tiree a say in their future, but they should choose their allies and their arguments carefully.

    I lived in and around Aberdeen for thirty years, and have often walked on the dunes at Balmedie. It’s a bit of a godforsaken place most days with the wind from the North Sea cutting across the dunes and through you like a knife , but it did not deserve to be turned into a playground for wealthy Americans.

    As the oil capital of Europe is is only fitting that Aberdeen become a focus for renewable energy. As for aesthetics – well, there is absolutely nothing to see when you look out across the grey North Sea from Aberdeen, nothing as far as Norway. The placement of eleven turbines offshore on this rather bleak stretch of coast is hardly going to damage an ‘iconic’ view, neither is it going to damage tourism . . . in fact, in this situation and with Aberdeen’s ‘energy capital’ status I would imagine it might even increase visitor numbers to Aberdeen’s rather chilly and unfriendly beach.

    If people can’t tell the difference between the Tiree development and the development planned for Aberdeen then it is difficult for me to credit them with a rational standpoint.

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    Webcraft February 13, 2012 10:17 am Reply
    • You are right that there is a massive difference between the proposal off Aberdeen and the one proposed off Tiree but the truth is that we need to have a proper debate in the public eye which will show the errors of the policy being pushed through.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Hannah Sutter February 13, 2012 4:15 pm Reply
      • @Hannah Sutter:

        we need to have a proper debate in the public eye which will show the errors of the policy being pushed through

        What is the point of having that debate when you, like Mr. Kirk, have already decided the outcome?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        Webcraft February 13, 2012 4:43 pm Reply
      • Hanna. It all depends on where you get your facts from. You say ” This was before the Irish bubble burst and whilst he may have been convincing most economists of any worth knew that this was a piece of nonsense.”
        Norway, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, even Iceland are all higher in the Legatum Prosperity index than the UK, and there is no reason to believe that an independent Scotland could not be likewise.
        Professor Mike Danson is a respected economist at the University of the West of Scotland. Here is what he says.
        “But then we are fed other myths which, if repeated often enough, are also taken to be self-evident truths. Here in particular I am thinking about the notion that joining an ‘Arc of Prosperity’ of northern Europe would be a disaster because, as we all know, they have been going through a torrid time with exposure to the bitter winds of recession, globalisation and falling living standards. The truth is somewhat different.
        According to the IMF, World Bank, CIA all of the Nordic and Celtic countries continue to have higher living standards than the UK, and Scotland is even below the UK average. Each household would be better off by at least one-third if we had the economic performance of Sweden or Finland, and have far higher incomes if we were in Denmark never mind Norway. And Iceland and Ireland, those two ‘basket cases’ according to the last Labour Government and other unionists, are still well ahead of Scotland.
        Our Nordic neighbours are also the most equal societies on the planet, Scotland within the UK suffering some of the very worst levels of inequity and poverty in the developed world”.
        “In summary: we should be aspiring to join this arc of prosperity, reversing a century and a half of relative decline, and adopting an economic, tax and welfare regime that taxes the rich and protects the poor: high tax Sweden, Denmark and Finland are well ahead of the UK and Scotland in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index. Only through independence can Scotland join that Arc and see poverty and inequality attacked, living standards and quality of life raised.”
        It really is time to raise the tenor of the debate, whether that is for renewables or independence

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        David McCann February 13, 2012 5:18 pm Reply
  • “….obnoxious lunatics like Trump
    …..Trump is obnoxious and his opinions are claptrap.
    …..I am intolerant of Donald Trump
    …..Trump is a genuine lunatic, a failed GOP presidential candidate who made a fool of himself shouting for Obama’s birth certificate, a climate change denier, a man who has tried to drive people out of their homes in Aberdeenshire
    …..and that’s before we even mention the hair.
    …..mad-haired self-important foreign businessman with delusions of grandeur”

    Do you, perhaps, think that it may be a good idea to seek help, Webcraft ?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    W.S. February 13, 2012 11:18 am Reply
  • What is difficult to get across is not necessarily only the appearance of wind farms but the real albatross round the neck is the cost to the consumer. A very comprehensive survey done for farmers in Aberdeenshire suggested that there was a clear profit of £56,000 per 2.3MW turbine per annum for 20 years. For ten turbines that works out at over £11 million and we have over 3500 already build – for what – 3% of our electricity supply.

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    Malcolm Kirk February 13, 2012 12:00 pm Reply
  • The cost to the consumer of renewable subsidies is paid through our electricity bills. According to the regulator Ofgem, wind subsidies added £10 to the average annual bill last year – utterly insignificant compared to the price rise due to the volatility of gas prices.

    US and UK figures both suggest that total onshore wind generation costs per kilowatt-hour will be lower for wind than for coal or nuclear by 2016.

    Facts are chiels that winna ding . . .

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    Webcraft February 13, 2012 1:43 pm Reply
  • You are way out with the figures you quote – presumably they come from Hollyrood – there is plenty independent info on the net if you search for the truth. Incidentally – another official report just last week that you may wish to body swerve – in it Mr Salmond has been clearly informed that our atmosphere is no ‘cleaner’ now, than it was 10 years ago. So much for Wind Farms and the ‘ green brigade ‘ then Eh !

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    Malcolm Kirk February 13, 2012 2:52 pm Reply
  • Green levies add £80 a year (6%) to the average gas and electricity bill of £1,335, according to the regulator Ofgem’s latest figures. Most of this money supports schemes to increase energy efficiency and decrease fuel poverty, with about £20 supporting the development of renewable energy, including windfarms and solar panels. So wind accounts for around £10, as I said.

    Of course there are other figures available ‘on the internet’, but I prefer to get mine from the independent energy regulator rather than the Daily Mail.

    Holyrood only has one ‘l’ by the way.

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    Webcraft February 13, 2012 3:47 pm Reply
  • Pingback: Donald Trump has accused First Minister Alex Salmond of seeming “hell bent on destroying Scotland’s coastline” with wind power. | No Tiree Array

  • If you are ‘green’ then presumably you agree that climate change is happening. Recently we have had the worst storms in living memory (during which incidentally,the Vodafone network was down, as I discovered when trying to make a 999 call. Hmm)For evidence just look at the age of the trees that have been uprooted. So how would the Tiree Array (and the projected CHORD Oban North Pier marina pontoons) look, after, say, a five day Force 12 blow, maybe SW veering NW??? Just a thought.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Barcaldine Tyger February 15, 2012 10:24 pm Reply
    • Perhaps Walsh & Co would volunteer to go down to the North Pier and hang on for dear life to stop their beloved pontoons from floating away in the storm – and perhaps they would float away anyway, complete with human ballast.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Robert Wakeham February 15, 2012 10:57 pm Reply

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