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Shetland windfarm - Viking Energy


trout
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To start with you don't come across as the "outdoors" type, i get pissed off with people slagging off the landscape and scenery of the lang-kames, saying that because it's just peat and bog it's not fit for anything.

 

Wrong! In fact you're very, very wrong!! Don't get me wrong am no Grizzly Adams but I would say I've walked pretty extensively over Shetland these last 30 years!

 

But you said that the whole area proposed for development is worth nothing in terms of it's enviroment, so the AREA OF OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY,including the whole Weisdale valley, up pass the mill etc, deserves to be turned into a huge industrial zone!

 

Wrong again PJ! I never said it was "worth nothing". It clearly has a great value to you but you seem unable to accept that others may differ on what value they would put on it. If they wanted to build a windfarm at Sumburgh Head, Hermaness, Eshaness, etc. they would all get a resounding no from me.

 

You said that compensation would have to be paid out to the villages and individual houses nearest the development, and that those people would be the only ones to complain about the wind farm, well you're wrong there cos i'm complaining and i won't be living near it, but i'll see it from every bloody hill on Shetland.

 

Wrong, wrong, wrong!! What I said was that the ones with REAL grounds for objection are those who would be living in the close proximity of such a windfarm. The fact that you want to take your family for a walk over the Lang Kames for an unspoiled walk should not be sufficient grounds to block a project such as this.

 

Tourism, which is just taking off will be stuffed, the value of property will plummet , nobody's going to spend a fortune getting up here just to drive through a forest of 470 foot high turbines, hundreds of hectares of re afforested native Shetland trees ,maybe!

 

I disagree! When tourists are being driven through the Lang Kames at least the tour guide will be able to have something to talk about. Telling them of the windfarm which is part-owned by the community and feeds millions of pounds back into community funds each year. If you were a tourist wouldn't that impress you? Of course it would! But not if you were a tourist who hated windfarms.

 

There are no tourist trips specifically to the Lang Kames but most will probably pass through en-route, at least now they'll have something of note to talk about when they do!

 

cannot take a development of this size, and to people who say make it smaller, that can't happen because the interconnector would'nt be viable.

 

Disagree and agree.

 

Conserving energy on Shetland is the answer, with money invested towards tidal power generation, for our own needs and micro generation, plus top of the range insulation etc for all council and housing association propertys.

 

I look forward to hearing your tidal energy proposal as I would be all in favour if it could work. Micro generation and top insulation are all points I would also fully support.

 

This island has the potential to steam ahead with these projects without the money grabbing people who are quite willing to SACRIFICE these small but unique islands for their own personal greed.

 

I would be delighted to see other renewable projects under-way in Shetland but would have thought that those would also be at an advanced stage if the technology was sufficiently proven. Re. "money grabbing people", I will not be receiving one single penny from this project unless through community funded projects.

 

I understand your frustration PJ but I feel the tone of your message does you no favours. Unless you can come up with more rational arguments then you'll fail to convince me this project should not go ahead.

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Conserving energy on Shetland is the answer, with money invested towards tidal power generation, for our own needs and micro generation, plus top of the range insulation etc for all council and housing association propertys.

 

This island has the potential to steam ahead with these projects without the money grabbing people who are quite willing to SACRIFICE these small but unique islands for their own personal greed.

 

How exactly are we going to "steam ahead" with any of that? The windfarm proposal will be half owned by Shetland, with half the money going to Shetland, predicted to be £25 million a year. Without the windfarm, all the remaining oil money would need to be squandered to get your micro generation and insulation, then, the only way we would get any tidal generation would be if a large energy firm came up from south to build it. And we would get only a small fraction of the potential returns from that.

 

With the VE windfarm, we would generate a substantial income which could be invested in the tidal power generation you want so much and we could keep all the money ourselves instead of seeing it go to Powergen or similar.

 

The oil money will end soon and with it will go the Leisure centres, mareel, retirement homes, our great (but expensive) education system, the inter island ferries and all the other luxuries we have grown so accustomed to over the last 30 years. We need the windfarm to replace it.

 

The fishing industry is as big as it can be, likewise the fish farming. Just how much tourism will there be when Global warming really starts to bite and the airline industry gets taxed to reflect it's actual impact and all our luxurious facilities have gone because we can't afford to subsidise them?

 

Without the windfarm, Shetland, as we know it, is unsustainable. With the farm we can keep the luxuries and develop the real money spinners like tidal and wave and maybe even offshore wind.

 

You claim that the windfarm will destroy Shetland. I think not going for the windfarm will destroy Shetland.

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I don't have time to supply a full answer to that ArabiaTerra, but you may have included some not entirely accurate info in there.

 

Notably £25million, i seem to recall was reduced to £16million, with no guarantees and determined from costs at time of planning, not projections of cost at time of building. I could be wrong.

 

The 'oil money', presumed to be the Charitable Trust could function as a self perpetuating investment fund if carefully managed.

 

And the all-or-nothing approach favours neither those for or against, in my humble opinion.

 

The weisdale valley is a good example, but as a mental exercise, put yourself in the village of Voe, surrounded on three sides by turbines, with constant ambient noise 24/7, with regular light flickering effects too. There's no aesthetic or green issues there, just the effect on a large number of people in a community no less valid than Lerwick and directly affected by the scheme as it stands. Just sayin'. :wink:

 

 

edit - Oh, and micro-generation could also provide a return for the CT or suchlike, if implemented to do so.

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As far as I can see, there will be serious issues which need addressing before they get my vote, should that ever come to pass (although I doubt it!)

 

To name but a few.

 

Have the Burradale wind boys paid their way from the outset in cash, and not in kind or some other fancy financial manouvering for their 10% share?

 

Will the landowners be paid regardless of profitability?

 

Why have the rents for the crofters not gone out to tender? I am sure there would be plenty of West side boys who would be delighted to get a piece of the action. Cheaper land rents means bigger profits.

 

Is the government grant which make wind farming viable?? guaranteed for 20 years or could it be removed at the whim of a finance minister when it is realised that the huge grants being paid for wind electricity could be better spent somewhere else?

 

What happens when the African Sahara solar plans come to fruition and our limitless energy needs can be supplied from there.

 

I am sorry, but there are so many dodgy issues here, I would far rather see a padlock put on the CT bank account with only the surplus spent, immediately transforming us into a society which for once lived within its means. If that means closing schools, shipping SIC staff out the door so be it.

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Glad to see someone else noted the Sahara scheme Caeser.

 

The rents are claimed to be guaranteed regardless of profitability as understand it. This has guaranteed to co-operation of the landowners/tenants as they genuinely have nothing to lose and everything to gain for doing no more than signing the dotted line. Literally.

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Shetland would be turned into a factory for the benefit of others if the windfarm were to go ahead. Roads and tracks would have to be dug into the hills making the a vast area of Shetland a great mess.

 

Look at the effect that a handful of satellites created at the Ness. It's such a messy area up there, not the kind of place you could go up to to enjoy pure nature.

 

Lets not forget the human effect also. We would see a huge influx of not just Brits, but those from easter Europe coming into the islands. I can see this creating a cultural friction within the community like there was when the English came up for the oil.

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Have the Burradale wind boys paid their way from the outset in cash, and not in kind or some other fancy financial manouvering for their 10% share?

 

I agree Caeser. This is an area that doesn't sit easy with me either. The sooner David Thomson and his fellow directors come out and spell out exactly what they are commiting and in what form the better! David has stated before that his personal finances should remain so but I would feel happier if he just came out and said it exactly as it is. Why leave a grey area when everyone would be happier to deal with the facts.

 

What happens when the African Sahara solar plans come to fruition and our limitless energy needs can be supplied from there.

 

The Sahara, and similar projects, are quite brilliant and will no doubt be a major power house in the future when it comes to energy supply but I for one would not want to see it supplying our needs. The world is the turd hole it is today due to the supply and demand of oil and energy. The UK should concentrate on becoming totally self sufficient in energy, leaving us in a position where we are not held to ransom by oil and energy supplying nations.

 

I am sorry, but there are so many dodgy issues here, I would far rather see a padlock put on the CT bank account with only the surplus spent, immediately transforming us into a society which for once lived within its means. If that means closing schools, shipping SIC staff out the door so be it.

 

What surplus Caeser? Don't expect much of a return on the stock market for the next year on SCT funds, more likely a loss!!

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A ouestion for supporters of the proposed wind factory.

 

what method of compensation, do you think appropriate for the residents, of lets say, Voe, who do not want to be surrounded by a forest of turbines looming over their propertys??

 

As I said before if no agreement can be reached with the immediate communities affected then I would not like to see this go ahead. I live in Lerwick and I will in no way be affected by a windfarm situated 20 miles north of here. Obviously, communities close by may be affected and if all the surveys come back with negative responses, and the communities themselves are dead against it then it simply should not go ahead.

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What surplus Caeser? Don't expect much of a return on the stock market for the next year on SCT funds, more likely a loss!!

 

Its very simple. If there is no surplus then there is no cash to spend. That means no cash then Mareel, etc does not go ahead.

 

Only when the 'CT surplus' bank account has enough money to buy something then it happens.

 

Is that not how everyone operates their finances? If you spend more than you have then you go into debt. Debt requires interest to be paid, which in turn reduces the amount of cash you have to spend on the 'feel good factors' we have sadly become accustomed to.

 

We have in my opinion become a society who hold their hands out at every opportunity. Whether for Mareels, cheap ferry fares, inneficient schools etc. What chance do our bairns have in the real world out there?

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If SSE were wading in here right now proposing this windfarm on their own then IMO it would be a complete non-starter. However, the fact that the community could own 50% of any potential windfarm and eventually reap any potential profits, then it is a totally different prospect. Does that mean that this is all about money? You're damn right it does, but not at any cost!

 

Sorry, but I can't subscribe to this line of reasoning at all. *If* indeed it were SSE coming in proposing the windfarm, and risking only their money, it would put an entirely different complexion of the whole affair. *If* SSE, who by default are greater "experts" in the fields of electricity generation and distribution that either Thomson Inc. of Burradale or the Charry Trust, and they had enough confidence in the project to believe the level of investment and risks it carries was justified by it's likely return, and were willing to put their money where their mouth was, I might just start believing that this had some commercial potential.

 

If Shetland is as prime and productive (read profitable) a site as the spin from Viking has so far tried to lead us to believe, why isn't SSE pushing this harder, why aren't other generating and distributing companies trying to muscle in on the act? From where I'm sitting SSE is very much a "sleeping partner" in all this, Viking needs them aboard to be able to access their proposed market, SSE of course are very happy to take a 50% cut of any profits Viking return, it's easy money considering all they've had to do for it is let Viking feed whatever power they can produce in to their cabling. Especially so as they'll also have taken a cut on that electricity when they in turn sold it on.

 

If the figures that Viking are putting about have any basis in reality as most of us know it, I want to know why SSE isn't up there alongside Thomson and the Charry Trust spinning this deal for all they can milk out of it, I also want to know why SSE's competitors aren't at least sniffing around? The total absence of both leads me to conclude that nothing about this is what it's cracked up to be, the bigger/knowledgable industry players are content to let be and/or take any little that comes their way, without risking a damn thing of their own, while we, risk an immense amount of money on the whole thing. As it stands I do not believe or trust anyone or anything in any way remotely involved with Viking, it has all the hallmarks of Salmon Farms/Floating Docks/Bressa Brigs/Greenhead debacles and numerous other sundry "questionable" investments and "deals" which, when the dust settled, had filled the pockets of a select few at an immense cost to the many. If they want to sell this to me they're going to have to go away and start over, with a whole new team in charge and a whole new approach.

 

*If* wind power from Shetland is such a cash cow as we are being told it is, surely letting a current outside entity who has expertise in the fields of electricity generation and distribution, and letting them risk their money in setting it up and running it makes sense. Shetland as a whole could benefit financially almost as much from that arrangement as we're being told it "will" from present proposals. *If* having a wind farm here is, as we're being told, so much more profitable than elsewhere, we can charge them rental accordingly for the sites they occupy, the roads they need to make and use, the cable track, the cable landing and a fee per kw exported through said cable. If an outside firm are not agreeable to such terms, you have your answer, Shetland is not such a profitable location to have a windfarm after all, and the figures on the table right now will have at best been proven as optimistic wishful thinking on the part of Thomson and the Charry Trust.

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Sorry, but I can't subscribe to this line of reasoning at all. *If* indeed it were SSE coming in proposing the windfarm, and risking only their money, it would put an entirely different complexion of the whole affair. *If* SSE, who by default are greater "experts" in the fields of electricity generation and distribution that either Thomson Inc. of Burradale or the Charry Trust, and they had enough confidence in the project to believe the level of investment and risks it carries was justified by it's likely return, and were willing to put their money where their mouth was, I might just start believing that this had some commercial potential.

 

I think you're missing a few fundamental points here Ghostrider. Firstly, SSE are very much involved in this project and it is the fact that they are involved that gives me confidence that this project is viable.

 

Figures that have been put out by Viking Energy have been done so with the full involvement of SSE financial experts.

 

If you were involved with the Viking Energy Project right now would you think locals would appreciate being approached by local representatives, who can speak from a community point of view as well a financial point of view, or by some bigwigs from SSE who would be accused of financial gain. It's a no brainer when you think about it!

 

If we were going for this on our own I would be greatly concerned, but the fact that SSE are putting up 50% of the costs and are keen to pursue this project makes me think it obviously adds up for them.

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^^ As an ordinary member of the public, I have seen and heard nothing concerning SSE involvement in this proposed project that didn't reach me via the mouths of Thomson and/or the Charry Trust, ie. I only have their word for SSE's involvement and the nature of it, and for my own reasons I am considerably less than inclined to believe the word or either of those parties concerning anything. From all outside appearances SSE are very much a "sleeping partner". I would have considerably more faith in the future of this project if someone with expertise and experience in the fields of power generation and distribution were up their in the public eye, putting their neck on the line trying to justify and "sell" this project. As is it comes off as a Mikey Mouse operation run by amateurs and ignorants while the "big boy" waits in the wings to cream off what he can with no risk to himself.

 

Regardless of the value of the investment, I still fail to see why any of Shetland's money need be spent on it at all, as I said if it's as much of a "brilliant deal" as the Viking spin says it is it should sell itself to an already established electricity player, and we can charge them rental close to the profit figures that are being bandied about with the present proposals, at virtually zero risk to ourselves.

 

We have the location, and we have the space, why should we risk cash too unless we really have to? If it's so great let an outside come in and build, entirely at their own risk using entirely their own capital. If it works we cream off a decent kitty through rent and other charges for the privilege of allowing them to be here, and if it goes belly up and leaves our hills full of so much rotting hellery, maybe, just maybe the rent we've taken off them while they existed will cover the cost of scraping up thier leftovers. If we commit the level of capital currently proposed to it and it goes belly up, we are totally focused in every way.

 

Investments are always a risk, sometimes when there is a Plan "B" (rentals from an outside concern) where the profits, if any come, perhaps may not quite so good as Plan "A", but the risks drop from very high to very low, the wise man takes the Plan "B" route on the basis that they cannot really lose and still stand to gain, as opposed to "A" being either Jackpot or bust. To me, this is definitely a project to use Plan "B".

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we can charge them rental close to the profit figures that are being bandied about with the present proposals, at virtually zero risk to ourselves.

 

Far to simplistic. What company would invest twice as much money for the same level of profits?!

 

Yes, if we could force home an Act of Parliament similar to the Sullom Voe Act in the early seventies then we could potentially charge any electricity company rents accordingly on any windfarm built.

 

However, my understanding is that it is highly unlikely any such act could be reached given that there are many other windfarm developments throughout the UK, thus, our case would not receive any special treatment.

 

In answer to trout's question. No, I have no knowledge of any investment house backing. Don't know if it's at that stage yet but am sure if all planning permissions and contracts have been secured, then that will be the least of their problems.

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