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Shetland windfarm - Viking Energy


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A referendum in the areas most affected by the proposed development would be highly desirable, this would give a more accurate view of public opinion.

 

I suggested on this forum that a proper poll took place along side the forthcoming elections. Only those that actually cared enough to vote would be polled. It's getting a bit late now, but I'm sure if someone actually really wanted to know what the public thought, it could still be arranged.

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Writing about the meeting between VE and represantatives from the tourism businesses last Wednesday

Mr Thomson stressed that the turbine sites are nothing more than dots on the map at the moment, and the final number could be just over 160. This would be subject to consultation with the public.

 

Mr Thomson said: "We could only need 160-plus to get the output. We could pick out our favourite dots ­ but we want to involve people."

@David Thomson:

Why do you let the public discuss about turbine sites which are nothing more than 190 dots on a map? Why do you not show your 160+ favourite sites to let the public discuss and decide on that? How do you value "public involvement" when that is based on irrelevant information?

 

Within the same news:

They feared the visual impact of the windfarm would deter tourists, although this was disputed by David Thomson of Viking Energy who produced the results of surveys carried out in other parts of the UK that windfarms made no difference.

@David Thomson:

From which UK surveys did you quote? In how far are these surveys at least representative with regard to the panel of tourists questioned and as far as quotable figures about the composition of the entity of visitors to Scotland are published by ScotExchange and others?

 

Within the same news:

There was some discussion about why tourists came to Shetland. High on the list was the scenery ­ but Mr Thomson produced books on Shetland showing that the most-photographed views were coastal (an area which would not be affected by the windfarm).

@David Thomson:

What books did you produce? Photographic art work only?

Or more specific: Which internationally published tourist guides were among your collection?

(Not for promotion, just to give you an idea: My own tourist guide about Orkney & Shetland includes 28 Shetland pics whereof 8 produce somehow "coastal features" only and including such things like Scalloway harbour front or feeding the fish on a salmon farm; 20 are related with "non-coastal features" whereof 5 would have been affected by "scenario B" on the VE-website - and that ratio is quite similar to other international guide books which cover the whole of Shetland and not "outstanding sceenery" only.)

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Why do you let the public discuss about turbine sites which are nothing more than 190 dots on a map? Why do you not show your 160+ favourite sites to let the public discuss and decide on that? How do you value "public involvement" when that is based on irrelevant information?

 

I felt it was pretty clear from the start that the positions were still up for discussion. Apparently many folk have just looked at the map without reading the text though.

 

It seems quite sensible to give the option of moving the turbines if necessary. Why should they just give us a simple "take it or leave it" option. I don't think people would be impressed by that. I feel Viking Energy have been remarkably open, and to criticise them for it is bizzarre, since I get the feeling you would be just as critical if they weren't.

 

It probably doesn't help debate to be quite so hostile in your attacks, islandhopper, especially when it may be that you just didn't notice the relevant information. I think Shetland has a fairly unique opportunity here to discuss the details of this project and to find out as much as possible from Viking Energy about the plans. Most developers would never allow the public that kind of access. I think that engaging in open hostility is possibly abusing that process.

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I felt it was pretty clear from the start that the positions were still up for discussion. Apparently many folk have just looked at the map without reading the text though.

 

It seems quite sensible to give the option of moving the turbines if necessary. Why should they just give us a simple "take it or leave it" option. I don't think people would be impressed by that. I feel Viking Energy have been remarkably open, and to criticise them for it is bizzarre, since I get the feeling you would be just as critical if they weren't.

 

It probably doesn't help debate to be quite so hostile in your attacks, islandhopper, especially when it may be that you just didn't notice the relevant information. I think Shetland has a fairly unique opportunity here to discuss the details of this project and to find out as much as possible from Viking Energy about the plans. Most developers would never allow the public that kind of access. I think that engaging in open hostility is possibly abusing that process.

 

Sorry, Malachi, it was not my intention to be hostile or unpolite not against anyone of the public and for sure not against David who answered the questions so far clearing at least some of the details. All the rest might be due to a lack of language capacity, but that's all. I do hope that is cleared for now.

 

No, Malachi, I was not talking about a 'take it or leave it' option. I criticised the process of information, well knowing that it was a very open minded process but something within this process went simply wrong. You can't publish a map, producing defined sites to the public (please look at the map), then when the discussion about these dots started go back to a position 'sorry, dots only', and complain about the fact that at least parts of the public looked at the map only and instead of reading the text. Additional text might provide additional information which enables the public to discuss about the sites but it should not be conflicting with the map - and in these terms 'defined sites' on the map and 'potential site/just dots' in a brochure must result in a conflict that is to say in a higher risk of being misunderstood.

 

You can't blame the public for taking your map serious whence you understimated the working principles of visual communications.

 

And the process of information will further go wrong, when you later explain against a selected part of the public "We could pick out our favourite dots but we want to involve people." Please, read that sentence loud and think about how it must be regarded by someone who tries be be informed but who is to shy to ask or to discuss his problems of understanding either here in such a forum or at the public meetings. But that's still a different problem.

 

The sentence itself says, that you do have favourites, some of them might even be essential key positions. Why not presenting them in this open minded process of information? It is an old and simple wisdom of visual communication that people will start to move the red/green dots like chess figures on a board anyway but there is a minority only which is able to anticipate the impacts of their doing. Again, I'm not blaming anybody for not being able to do so, it's just my experience as consultant and regional developer.

 

For many of the public it would be much easier to understand what they are doing when moving the dots and what has to be considered if you would have added and/or marked your favourite positions in a different color and explained why these positions are your favourites if not essentials ... these are the ones with the lowest environmental impacts ... these are the best positions to catch the wind even in bad conditions ... these are easy to reach and to start with and thus key positions for the further development.

 

This would, of course limitate public involvement, they could not decide about anything, but it is by far more than a 'take it or leave it' option. It would be a 'take it' option for those who absolutely agree with your proposals, it would be a 'leave it' option for all those who can't agree with your poposal - so far, it would create clear positions for the extremes. For the undecided majroity, and I am sure the majority is still undecided on the project, it would offer a real chance for participation, placing and discussing their interests against your interests. The process would take longer and might be a bit more complicated but in the end there would be lesser "bad feelings" as they are expressed here or there.

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Me again - sorry.

 

Can David please clarify a couple of points please?

 

What level of 'third party' power generation will be guaranteed to gain access into the export cable.

 

My understanding is that no reasonably sized project will gain access to the VE interconnector as it is sized to the the anticipated 600MW output.

 

Maybe a small research project but nothing commercial.

 

If Caeser Energy PLC decides to place a couple of monster wind turbines in his neep rig and peat hill right will they get permission to export?

 

Also can someone please confirm the proposed disturbance rates paid to crofters and landlords on a per turbine and per metre of road basis. I assume that given the SIC are landlords of most of the affected land, their financial recovery will be significant, never mind if the turbines make a penny or not? (Lets hope so!!)

 

C'mon the crofters - we know things are tight - Scrapie schemes and all that!

 

Please confirm

 

Cheers

 

Caeser

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Me again - sorry.

 

Why, Ceaser, why sorry again?

 

You are just pinpointing the only one point in the whole debate that might be crucial despite all the arguments about visual impacts or damages to Shetland's nature or bird's comfort etc.

 

Taken the worst case it would read: Shetland or the SIC as the "representing landlord" might have some shiny profits for the next 20 years (average lifespan of a turbine so far) - but Shetland would be blocked of any tests of alternatives like wave or tidal devices or even new dimensions of "windmills" based on a commercial level.

 

Quite simple as it is, say it loud: Testing of commercial alternatives would be blocked for the next 20 years ...

and the future is developing, testing and then selling to the market - the future is not buying from the market ...

 

Over the last 10 years we have now (fortunately) decreasing numbers of onshore wind turbines but an steadily encreased output ... even such processes of optimising would not be possible to happen in Shetland within the next 20 years ... :-( if the cable's capacity is defined as it is today ...

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- but Shetland would be blocked of any tests of alternatives like wave or tidal devices or even new dimensions of "windmills" based on a commercial level.

 

Quite simple as it is, say it loud: Testing of commercial alternatives would be blocked for the next 20 years ...

 

Why should there be any block in the way of testing alternatives?

 

Forget about the interconnector, it goes hand in hand with the windfarm. No windfarm, no connector - no connector, no windfarm.

 

If there happens to be a bit of spare capacity in the cable, then it is a bonus to Shetland and will increase the opportunity for other types of power generation to be installed and tested. If there is no extra capacity then we are no worse off than we are now and anybody that wants to do any serious development can go about getting their own cable.

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Forget about the interconnector, it goes hand in hand with the windfarm. No windfarm, no connector - no connector, no windfarm.

 

It is probably right to say that this conditio sine qua non is thrown into the debate by VE & SSE and they are absolutely free to take it as their option, but it must therefore not be Shetland's option and it is definitely not within the range of SE's options.

 

- DTI - The Transmissions Issues Working Group (2003) has it different

- DTI - Renewable Energy Transmission Study (2003) has it different

-Sinclair Knight Merz - Technical Evaluation of Transmission Network Reinforcement Expenditure (2004) has it different

- University of Edinburgh - Matching Renewable Electricity Generation With Demand (2006) has it different

- about half a dozen other research reports commissioned by and consultations on behalf of SE have it different.

 

Taking all these together we can draw the following scenario showing that Scottish renewables in general (and wind energy in particular) have only a chance to contribute significantly to SE's ambitious renewable energy targets if

- the Scottish islands (Western and Northern) will be connected to the grid

- the existing national grid will be upgraded comprehensively

- some kind of an adjustment scheme for transmission and distributing will be installed.

 

… and then "… it is likely that the main projects to benefit directly … would be windfarms, since this is currently the most mature renewable technology. However … {it} … may have the potential to help with the longer term development of other technologies, such as marine and tidal energy, if it enables transmission infrastructure to be developed, which can subsequently be utilised by these technologies" or when a cable exists "… in so far as an adjustment scheme incentivises the development of additional renewable generation, it can also be said to increase competition amongst renewable generators, albeit temporarily…".

 

And, of course we have to keep the "deadweights costs" as low as possible – that is to say "no public money into private projects which will be developed otherwise and anyway".

 

All that are not my words talking with you but quoted from DTI and others reporting to SE.

 

Sorry, but that sounds like a fatal error echoing the actual discussed "No windfarm, no connector - no connector, no windfarm" approach.

 

Please look at the technical and area scenarios published by Edinburgh University on behalf of SE last year. From that the connector might come or not, but if it comes then it is not dependend on the project in discussion which is not even considered within that context calculating for the Shetland area a total of 300MW from wind compared with additional 375MW from waves plus 150MW from offshore winds plus 75MW from tidal currents – that are technical realistic somehow 900+ MW!

 

In return that might be read as: If the connector will be built with public money it will definitely not be limited to the capacity of the proposed windfarm but far beyond. And if the connector will be established why should it bypass Orkney which has already a connection with the mainland grid which can be upgraded with lesser capital input? There is absolutely no need for the "this windfarm with this connector only" option!

 

Not to mention: Laying a cable according to the wishes of VE/SSE as described here might be against EU competition rulings – not laying a cable might be against the EU energy policy rules forcing all EU member states not to discriminate peripheral regions, such as island regions and regions of low population density by not allowing of producing from renewable energy sources or charging inadaquate transmitting and distribution rates …

 

I am not so keen to say the whole approach is all rubbish but it probably causes more probs then it solves.

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My thinking is that if the interconnector is being laid with public money, then the public should have access to it.

 

Therefore if the national grid puts in a 600mW cable, and if in the fullness of time we have double that capacity of renewable energy production, everyone gets 50% each. So when the wind stops blowing the tidal boys take up the slack with their energy dependability are therefore more profitable and the turbines fail?

 

Or am I starting to smell a rat again............... and the reality is that all the spin about promoting the renewables industry is all rubbish. VE will get the cable and the rest of the potential will not happen.

 

Maybe Tavish has the answer? Anyone seen him around canvassing?

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Just to throw this into the mix too - make of it what you will?!?

 

Originally published on the Shetland-news site here

 

Wind farm will crush these isles

I REFER to the article of 20 April in the Shetland Times (Farm will 'stick out like a sore thumb', says STA, by Rosalind Griffiths), which states :

 

"....Scottish Natural Heritage and the bird lobby group the RSPB ( will ) determine how

the turbine sites can be shifted about without interfering with bird flight paths and sensitive areas of the landscape. "

 

Are we asked to believe that there are invisible roads in the sky, which birds follow scrupulously ? This on an island that is normally swept by high winds ?

 

The press, and the public, are being asked by businessmen with a straight face to gobble up this bosh. Helping with the smoke and mirrors are SNH and the RSPB, who will review and approve the ( junk-science ) avian impact statement from the developer-hired consultant.

 

As for "sparing the sensitive areas of the landscape" by "shifting about" some turbines, this is like asking an elephant to look inconspicuous in a dining room ! There is to be a forest of 160 juggernauts, 130 meters high.

 

How do you spare "sensitive areas" of the Shetland landscape when in fact the character of the whole island will be crushed ? Hypocrisy has reached new heights.

 

This fully deserves to be part of "The Shame of Scotland" - www.iberica2000.org/Es/Articulo.asp?Id=3426

 

Sincerely

 

Mark Duchamp

Formerly: Windfarms & Birds Research Manager, Proact International

Partida La Sella, 25

E - 03750 Pedreguer

Spain

Tel: +34 679 12 99 97

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"....Scottish Natural Heritage and the bird lobby group the RSPB ( will ) determine how

the turbine sites can be shifted about without interfering with bird flight paths and sensitive areas of the landscape. "

 

Are we asked to believe that there are invisible roads in the sky, which birds follow scrupulously ?

 

The RSPB are particularily concerned about certain types of bird, they identified the lochs that these birds lived in and from there, the birds take the most direct route out to the sea and back again. It is these return routes that they wanted cleared of turbines. VE have listened to the RSPB, taken action to re-plan the layout and the RSPB have been happy with the result.

 

That's the whole reason that the windfarm spread from the original plan of 'everything in the Kames' to what is is now.

 

Helping with the smoke and mirrors are SNH and the RSPB, who will review and approve the ( junk-science ) avian impact statement from the developer-hired consultant.

 

Is this guy going to argue that the RSPB and SNH are in cahoots with VE to destroy the Isles by tricking the Shetland public?? I don't see what in it for them.

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Well, he is obviously refering to some events of the past which were otherwise and less pathetically commented like this:

It is a matter of great concern that the 'green lobby' - in this case in the form of the RSPB in conjunction with one of the UK's leading energy producers - should be found guilty as charged of misleading the public through advertisements containing claims that they cannot substantiate.

 

Regrettably this adjudication by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) is likely to have exposed only the tip of the iceberg of inadequately substantiated statements contained in submissions by well-funded lobby groups to influential committees within the Westminster and Scottish Parliaments, and in their propaganda for the public.

 

The censoring of the RSPB and the marketing devices of one of the UK's major companies must be a warning to the public and to MPs and MSPs to interpret the propaganda of such bodies with caution. Perhaps it has become a forlorn hope to expect a basic standard of ethics from such influential organisations.

... which came up again a couple of weeks ago with regard to the Lewis development and which is damaging RSPB's international image as an independent "watchdog" for now more than 3 years ...

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  • admin changed the title to Shetland windfarm - Viking Energy

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