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The truths they don't want you to read....

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Looking forward

One major omission from the list of topics at the imminent Outer Hebrides Energy Summit is any discussion of how to develop the potential for community windfarms.

Yes, I know, if the big applications go ahead then the Western Isles Development Trust will have lorry loads of cash to distribute to the the community schemes and we can use that as levered funds to deliver renewable developments in many different locations.

One small problem is the long lead period between approval of any planning application and the arrival of ferry loads of Brinks Mats trucks carrying used fivers.

A second problem is that I suspect that some of the communities would rather put their own legs into a spinning turbine blade than accept money from WIDT, CnES or the great Satan of LWP.

With the community developments needing large sums, and developments constrained partially by the limits on funding available from the Highlands and Islands Community Energy Company, there is a need to look beyond the immediate funding options. No-one seems to be doing that.

Except, perhaps, me.

I have spent a lot of time trying to access some potentially huge sources of finance, that will not interfere with community participation and ownership, allowing the communities to keep control over the development and (very importantly) the profits. I'm not claiming to have the problem resolved, but I have been approaching sources that could provide the Plan B for the islands.

The other prize of free electricity (actually, greatly subsidised power) has been danced around for some time, mainly because Ofgem ban such practices on installations of over 50Mw, as it 'distorts the market'. And we can't have that can we?

(Actually, in conjunction with a senior officer in the Council, I think we worked out a way around the Ofgem problem, but that's another matter)

So: Plan B is larger community windfarms (or offshore schemes) funded in a way that keeps the majority of profits on the islands, and gives us all cheaper power. This should be on the agenda for the day to explain how and why it could work, and the benefits and disadvantages of such a scheme.

Anyone interested in that Plan B, or are all windfarms bad?

Does economic self-sufficiency trump the European designations?

Does the absence of a 'greedy' developer make it all right?

If 'our' smaller turbines can power my tourist development, is that an acceptable trade-off?

All these questions, and more, will not be addressed on Monday. (And if anyone steals my ideas for their speech, there will be trouble...)

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

communities would rather put their own legs into a spinning turbine blade than accept money from WIDT, CnES or the great Satan of LWP.


Hurrah - Angus hits the mark!

moors wasted treasure said...

come on Angus you know all you will get on here is the 'no windfarms, not ever' brigade shouting for the council/mp/msp/govt to do something to boost the economy of the islands. The plan though has been rejected by the NWNE Brigade so why should anyone bother to invest in the islands. Lets go backwards and we won't need electricity or money or help from anyone outside the isles.
Meanwhile Shetland will be paving their streets with gold thanks to the remaining oil and their continued investment in renewable energy and we can stand at the West Side and feel the wind in our face passing us by and not earning a single shekel and we can watch the waves crash valuelessly to the shore and then we can back to our wee black house and smile smugly because we kept those multi nationals away from these islands.

Anonymous said...

Anyone interested in that Plan B, or are all windfarms bad? No there is interest, but lets have new intelligent people dealing with it rather than the current pack of nepatistic, in-bred, ill informed liars. Most folk would be happy for say up to 20 max turbines on the islands - if they recieved free (or subsidised) electricity. i have been told 10 turbines would be enough to support the isalnds with something called RPZ (?).

Does economic self-sufficiency trump the European designations? I dont believe it does. I would have to read it again, but it is in a national perspective, not a Scottish, or Hebrides perspective is it not. What scale are you talking Angus if you need to challenge the designations? Keep away from them, they are always going to be an issue.

Does the absence of a 'greedy' developer make it all right? Certainly makes it better and more easy to swallow IMO

If 'our' smaller turbines can power my tourist development, is that an acceptable trade-off? Again depends on size. How small is small? If EVERYONE on the islands got significant amounts off their electricity bills that would be seen favourably I am sure and it would provide economic benefits.

Anonymous said...

12:34 PM

A classic negative in-bred, blinkered, ill informed, nepatistic numpties view

Anonymous said...

No there is interest, but lets have new intelligent people dealing with it rather than the current pack of nepatistic, in-bred, ill informed liars

I'm not sure who you are referring to but assume it is anyone who is actually pro windfarm.
What are these "new intelligent people" going to do for a living whilst they try to ascertain what might be acceptable to the proverbial brick wall.
Haven't you noticed, any new intelligent people are leaving these Islands so that they can:-
a. make a decent living
b. shop / exercise / eat / drink whenever they like, even on a Sunday
c. not have to live amongst a bunch of anti everything but the old ways people
d. Meet new people who might be from a different part of the country or god forbid a different country altogether and not be afraid to make friends with them
e. Be gay and be proud

etc etc

No sorry, we are just stuck with the old intelligent people who you just happen not to agree with.

eyoop! said...

Anon 12:34's comment is a good illustration of the fact that a large chunk of the negativity in these islands comes from some of those who are desperate to get this windfactory through. They denigrate the very landscape around them and even the wind because it isn't currently earning them any money. The less said about the last four lines, the better...

"Lets (sic) go backwards..."

No, tell you what, you go backwards and the rest of us will go forward in the way the communities here want to go, not the way a deranged local authority and their buddies try to force us to go. Hebrideans ("inbreds" like myself, that is) are, or at least were, well-known for not being able to be dragged by a cable. Unless of course you've been "bought", one way or another.

wasted moor said...

Anon 1249
it is nepotistic (nepOtistic)

Eyoop!

A factory is a large builing in which things are manufactured. i am not campaigning for a large building manufacturing wind as we already have one on sandwick road!
what i want is a windfarm (F-A-R-M farm) which will have lots of beautiful sleek turbines turning gracefully in the breeze harvesting the enrgy of the wind.

eyoop! said...

wasted moor,

It's "building..."

and "I am not..."

and "Sandwick Road..."

and "What I want..."

and "energy..."

;-)

What the majority of people appear to want is something different, i.e. much smaller "windfarms" or offshore and tidal/wave power. A 460-foot wind turbine propped up with 1,500 tonnes of concrete is just that - an industrial machine on an industrial scale, and not a "windmill" as some have so romantically called them. Twenty-five miles of them (for starters) is an industrial wind complex, and not a "windfarm".

However, let's face it, the real point is, where are all the local supporters of this scheme? How many letters have been in the Gazette FOR the scheme since the "minded to refuse" letter? How many people from the islands have written to the Government in support of the proposal in the last few weeks? Perhaps someone could ask Mr. Mather on Monday. Someone who isn't a member of the general public, that is...

Anonymous said...

Has anyone got an invite to this blinking thing yet?

Anonymous said...

"I'm not sure who you are referring to but assume it is anyone who is actually pro windfarm."

No actually I am referring to most of those who are currently involved in the pro-camp on here. They have not been honest at all. That is the disappointing thing.

One community trust director from Harris has been telling his community that their turbines will be 'the height of the lamp post', when in fact they will be 86m high.

That is simply a downright lie and does nothing but to give windfarm supporters a bad name and to split communities, not unite them.

I wont even go into the lies told by AMEC

rbrtmcgh said...

If anyone does get at invite, will they ask Geoff Riddington on my behalf how my tourist business can survive a mere compatible drop of 18% in business? Can your business survive that, Angus?

Anonymous said...

The SNP election manifesto (p31) indicates that they will also take account of community opposition to industrial scale windfarms.

It also says that they "will take forward the creation of Community Energy Plans to allow communities to identify and set their own renewable needs and then contract with energy suppliers to deliver community based energy generation and energy saving solutions".

Which is very similar, I think, to your plan B.

The SNP were elected on a manifesto promising opposition to large scale windfarms where the community don't want them (eg, Lewis), but supporting smaller community owned windfarms. This is what AA and ABM have consistently campaigned for.

The SNP have made considerable progress in delivering their other manifesto promises, which must be extremely encouraging for those supporting renewable energy creation in the islands.