Comment posted Scottish Power Renewables announces another delay for proposed Tiree Array by Tim McIntyre.
Lowry – the subsidy you are referring to is very small in the scheme of things. If you live in Argyll, your electricity is already heavily subsidised because the cost of building and maintaining the vast and fragile network of distribution lines is far greater than the income from local consumers can justify.
If communities can take the initiative to tap into their local resources of water and wind on a small scale in order to generate an income for local projects, what’s not to like?
Tim McIntyre also commented
- Karl – if Tilley is generating, then effectively its output IS being used locally, as it will reduce the import of electricity through the grid connection. Any plant that is designed to work in conjunction with the grid cannot generate if the connection is lost due to cable failure etc. – a basic technical limitation due to the need for power supply & demand to be at all times matched, and the requirement for voltage and frequency to be kept within the tight limits needed to run modern electrical equipment and appliances.
I take it what you mean is that you would prefer the contractual arrangement between the owners of Tilley and local consumers to be direct, rather than going through an electricity supply company. There’s no reason in principle why this could not be done – it would require a supply company set up to take Tilley’s output, combine it with backup power bought in from the grid, and then sell it on to any local consumers willing to sign up to it. Not impossible, but it would have to compete with the other suppliers in the market presumably.
The system on Eigg is completely independent, but that does not come without restrictions – all consumers have a maximum demand trip which costs them a ‘fine’ if they accidentally put too much load on the system. There is also a sizeable diesel generator needed to back up the renewable sources. All this added up to a high capital cost, but not as high as the cost of a grid connection to the mainland. That decision was made on economic grounds, not because of any romantic notion of energy independence.
In the mean time, Tilley is presumably generating income for community projects?
- The main innovation seems to be ever-larger turbines, so there may be limited scope for direct re-use of towers until that levels off.
Steel is very recyclable, though.
- As I understand it windfarm developers are required to put in place a bond to cover the cost of decommissioning in the event of the owner going bust – similar arrangements exist as part of the planning conditions for other large developments such as quarries, etc.
- Agreed – a large proportion of energy use and CO2 emissions are related to space & water heating and this is the ideal function for biomass. The potential for dispersed local fuel supply operations also offers rural employment prospects and minimisation of fuel transport.
By contrast, large scale conversion of biomass to electricity involves expensive and unsustainable transport of the fuel, which has a low energy density, as well as losing around 60% of the energy as waste heat. Small scale CHP systems for district heating and wintertime electricity generation are more efficient & will have a part to play where the economics work.
Unfortunately the RHI does nothing for ‘conventional’ woodstove installations for space &/or water heating – only automated pellet, chip & log boilers.
- Offshore wind power has the potential to provide significant economic opportunities in Argyll, so whatever is decided about specific locations, I hope we can take a positive attitude to the principle.
Recent comments by Tim McIntyre
- Porkie from Salmond on fiscal policy as Darling bests him again in Reporting Scotland interviews
I didn’t see either interview, so have no comment on newsie’s “Blow for Salmond as Darling Triumphant Again” analysis
Is is not the case that being part of a currency union primarily requires the participants to agree on limits to public borrowing, and particularly borrowing to finance revenue expenditure?
Fiscal policy covers the whole gamut of government revenue & expenditure, and so an independent government can surely still have effectively full control over public spending priorities, taxation and borrowing to invest in public infrastructure. These are surely the powers that matter most, particularly in terms of stimulating economic growth and achieving a fairer distribution of the nation’s wealth.
Personally I would be quite happy for an independent Scottish government to have some external discipline imposed over revenue borrowing – it would constrain them to funding public service expenditure increases through economic growth and/or tax. Whether you are part of of a currency union or not, the reality is that this discipline is imposed externally anyway, by the markets, so it’s not that big a deal. Plus we’re not exactly latched to a country with a record of tight fiscal control, as Mr Darling knows better than almost anyone else.
The comments which usually emerge about the supposed ‘dangers’ of currency union tend to refer to the absolute extremes of the Euro, i.e. Germany and Greece. This is a completely nonsensical comparison – Scotland & rUK have economies which are broadly similar, and Scotland, supposedly the ‘Greece’ in this analogy, has the natural resource clout to punch well above its weight in terms of economic potential. Where they differ significantly, e.g. in the import/export balance, a currency union would seem to offer at least as great an advantage to rUK as it does to Scotland.
I’m not any kind of expert on this, so I pose these points more as questions than assertions. Mr Salmond (and the Fiscal Commission) say a CU would be a good thing, for BOTH parties; Mr Darling (and Messrs Osborne, Balls & Alexander) say not. Who to believe? I haven’t seen any analysis of the benefits – specifically to rUK – of being in a CU with an independent Scotland, so would be interested to hear what Mr Strang (above) has to say on that.
- PHEW. Scotland can sleep easy. Alan Reid says we can keep the pound.
‘Of course an independent Scotland could use the pound if we wanted to’.
It’s a pretty uncontroversial and self-evidently truthful statement, so why the fuss?
Now if he’d said ‘Of course the UK will agree to a currency union with an independent Scotland’ that would be different…
- The food bank situation across the United Kingdom
Food banks are a symptom – not so much of a poor economy overall, but of one in which government policies have led to gross levels of social inequality, and no-one disputes that this has happened across the UK.
The SNP government has no constituency or mandate outwith Scotland, obviously, and I don’t recall the FM ever suggesting that Osborne’s policies were affecting Scotland any worse than the English regions. So that, and therefore this whole article, is a straw-man I’m afraid, newsroom.
Mr Salmond’s intention, I assume, is to point out that an independent Scottish government would be free to choose a different economic path, in which the wealth of the nation is shared more equitably.
- Andrew Argyle: Yes campaign impaled on currency
An interesting perspective from someone who sounds like he knows about these things – a UK union supporter too!
- Political whodunnit with reverberations
Sceptic 1 – “It has already been confirmed by the financial sector that any decision by the SNP not to pay their share of the UK debt would certainly be considered as a default…”
Can you provide a link to back this up please?
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