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

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Price of Energy

With the Scottish Government offering a £10m prize for developing marine energy, and the Comhairle at the forefront of Hydrogen technology, the prospects for renewable energy becoming the mainstream have never looked better.

Which is just as well with oil seemingly settling above $100pb.

(Anyone remember Brian Wilson, the then Energy Minister furiously denying that oil would ever stabilise above $20pb?)

It is clear that renewables WILL be the future, if planning and environmental concerns can be balanced, addressed or compensated for.

Largely as a result of the prize, I now believe that we will see a major breakthrough in marine technology in Scotland in the next 10 years, and if we can tap into the technology we will be at the leading edge for decades. The lessons of Salter’s Duck need to be learned – we invented the technology and did nothing with it.

I also foresee that onshore wind will remain a cost-effective technology for less than one building cycle, and will largely be replaced by wave and tidal by the end of that cycle. That means that more than ever, the Western Isles will have to ensure that it is ready to adapt and adopt the next leading edge as part of a cycle of develop -> enhance -> supersede.


John Aldersey-Williams said...

I agree that onshore wind's time is limited, as the merits of going offshore will become undeniable.

I agree, too, that we need to do all we can with wave and tidal, but think it may be a while before they're available commercially. But I think you're too hard on the UK regarding the Duck: it wasn't even potentially commercial when it was invented, and even though we did nothing with it in the UK, I don't think we missed much of an opportunity that time. It's not like some big foreign company has grown from exploiting the technology!

! said...

I hope you're right, about the wave and tidal. They're both usually dismissed (by wind or nuclear lobbyists) as not worth bothering with, as they are under-developed.

So research and develop them. Duh! Would love to see a proper, leading-edge, wind and tidal research and development centre in the Outer Hebrides.

* More high-end research skills.
* Something transferable and marketable out of it.
* Possible side-benefits in long-chain schemes that could reduce coastal erosion (esp. on the west coast of the Uists).
* Wind/tidal development requires boats and people with boating/local sea skills - employment and contract opportunities for locals already with the skills/boats.
* Graduate and manual employment possibilities.
* With local investment, possible long term patent and other revenues staying local.

To the cynics and wind/nuclear lobbyists starting to say "Ah, yes, but ...": Yes, it'll take millions of funding. No, there won't be a payback quickly, or for several years. Yes, there's a risk. Same as there is for windfarms (anyone else noticed there's been lots of still, windless days so far this year?) and nuclear power stations (BOOM!).

The only guarantee with a tidal/wave research and development centre is that if the Outer Hebrides doesn't do it, then (a) someone else will take the risk and (b) they'll take any profit.

Anonymous said...

The Price of Energy - quite.

I see, according to the Sunday Herald, that North Harris have blagged themselves a monster lottery grant of £900k to fund their trio of dancing angels.

So why get it from the lottery? Would no bank give them it? If it is to be as good a business idea as the Herrachs proclaim why blag it all with grants? Borrow the money and pay it back like any other business and use the land as collateral. That would be the honest way.

I smell a rat. A big dirty, hairy, baldy-tailed, grubby rat.

How many banks did you gents go round asking for a loan for your turbines? Why didnt you get the money from these usual sources. Go on - say it publicly. No one would give you it, that's why.

Where was your next port of call - Dragon's Den? Selling your Granny?

I shall tell you why no bank would give you the money - because the development is not viable as a business and is not as sustainable as is being proclaimed.

Add to this the bizarre cry from the Herrachs in last weeks Gaz' that they want to be a National Park citing the reason of 'economic development'. Now that is a deranged view.

Why wish to be saddled with more legislation when you are whinging about the legislation that applies to you already. Why wish for more legislation? It is the legislation that has crippled you is it not - why introduce another tier? Everyone else wants rid of their designations, but you want more. Doesn't make sense to me.

Come on Herrachs - some one must have the balls to put finger to keyboard and argue your corner.

Lets hear the case for the defense

Do they actually have a plan in Harris or are they just joining the line of grant launderers?

Anonymous said...


Have a cheap, ill informed, shot at us by all means, but at least get your spelling of Hearach correct.

Secondly if you had any idea about the islands you would know that us Herrachs (sic) form the queue for free handouts and can often be found camping outside the night before, to make sure we are at the front of the queue.

Anonymous said...

neither my brother nor i had the chance of learning Gaelic at school - but even i (and i suspect my bro) could see that herrach looked wrong i will attempt it without looking back at your spelling - hearadh - i have 3 rules when attempting to spell in Gaelic 1) there's usually an 'a' even when it doesn't sound like there 'should' be one in English 2) ch and dh are mostly interchangeable and 3) the most important rule of all - unless you have the spelling in front of you - never try to spell anything in Gaelic when an Englishism will do! LS - you should have called them Harrisians

Jaggy said...

I agree, I think that onshore wind power is limited in both efficiency and favour.

However I think there should be a balanced approach to energy generation. In order to fully utilise the benefits of copious tidal power we need to be the leader in the field and sell sell sell to others who later accept the technology is worthwhile. We will then have the International expertise and cheap power.

But for the current generation, I think Nuclear Power is the only way to bridge the gap in the short-term.

Anonymous said...

I thought the lottery was about supporting good causes, not for profit making companies?

Anonymous said...

The North Harris Estate is a community owned enterprise which reinvests its profits back into the community (even if that is just reinvesting in the estate)unlike the previous estate owners who took their profits off to the south of England. Being a community enterprise they qualify for funding from a variety of sources and the BLF is one. There are few multi national companies that have not had a govt handout to locate their business in a certain area so where is the difference. The bile ridden post of anon 7.38 is a typical 'anyone can be succesful in these islands as long as they are not local' Hebridean approach. Good luck to North Harris.
The turbines in Harris will only realise their full potential when LWP get the final go ahead from Jim Mather and the interconnector becomes a reality!

Anonymous said...


A classic ill informed response

Harris does not need LWP.

LWP is fresh out of life lines and going down quicker than an LA hooker

Anonymous said...

Dear "Chan"

You are obviously in the loop re NHT but have clearly picked up on things wrong. Neither Harris nor the interconector are dependant on LWP. That is a long established FACT.

If you have been told that you have been grossly misinformed, and I wonder what other misinformation you have been telling others in your community.

I know people in Harris and they are reporting lots of misinformation like this being peddled by the trust.

Lets get it right.

1. No light bulbs in Harris will be lit by this proposal
2. It is not like Eigg (where they do use their electricity themselves and sell the surplas)
3. turbines are way bigger than lamp posts
4. it will spoil your landscape and attract critisism when up
5. turbines will not be made at Arnish - otherwise why has no order been placed?!
6. No local jobs will be directly created by this scheme

At least be upfront and honest



Anonymous said...

Get in the loop wang and stop being dishonest.

1)Without the interconnector the Harris turbines cannot export their leccy to the mainland so it would be reasonable to assume that it will be used in Harris as well as Lewis.
2) NHT will sell all their surplas(sic) to the grid. The lack of an interconnector will mean that these turbines - like the three elegant ladies outside Stornoway - will be subject to shut downs at all sorts of odd times meaning they cannot operate to their full potential (until the interconnector comes).
3) yes... and your point is?
4) beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
5) I am not aware of the ability of Arnish to provide the towers in the timescale required. I am not aware of the timescale even.
6)These turbines will bring an income to NHT which will enable it to invest in the estate and where possible create jobs.

Anonymous said...

1) you are wrong

2) no interconnector for at least 6 years - so for 1/3 of their life they cannot reach full potential - so the figures NHT are producing are highly misleading ie their are lying to the community

3) thats not what your directors tell the locals

your misleading lines, and attempt at pro spin, bores me.

It is near fraudulent


Anonymous said...

Is Wang a gaidhlig pronounced similarly to fang (as in sheep pen)??

1) I do not tell lies

2) so these turbines will be at their full potential eventually and will bring an income to the people of north Harris.

3) whose directors? I'm not a Hearadh.

Perhaps you are the fraud with your negative spin. Would you prefer a Harris where everyone still lives in blackhouse and tugs their forelocks at the passing landlords?

Anonymous said...

so what potential are the Harris turbines based on?

10%, 50%. 90%?????????

From year 1?, 2?, 6?, 15 - what

Wang is my Christain name. Mr King is my surname.


Captain Swing said...

I've seen some rubbish spouted on this blog at times but "like the three elegant ladies outside Stornoway" does take some beating. Since when have Turbines been referred to in the feminine?

I would wonder at the author of this comment, chan iadsan glic, here is someone clearly sexually confused if they see these phallic objects as feminine!

Still it did give me an opportunity to ponder how I see turbines on the moor and if they are to be feminine I for one will now be referring to turbines as "The Whores on the Moors"

Anonymous said...


Belting name - I get it now

Might be wise however to leave those poor Harris sheep alone. They are simple folk and follow rather than lead