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

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

An energy policy in search of logic...

Can anyone give me any logical and rational explanation of the SNP energy policy?

I tried to influence one, by attempting to bridge the different shades of the spectrum, but sanity was discarded in favour of meaningless and ill-though out platitudes. And these are coming back to bite with a vengeance.

Today saw the long awaited, long foreshadowed, and expensively prevaricated decision to approve the Beauly to Denny power line.

The decision in itself makes sense and I approve of it, but the context is so perverse that it almost defies belief.

The good news (1 cheer) is that it will be the basis for extending the power network to the Western Isles which gives the possibility of the early-stage wave power developments having some chance of coming to fruition and being commerically viable, irrespective of the OFGEM charging regime.

Where it all goes horribly wrong for the SNP is that having tried to play the anti-wind farm card in the Western Isles and elsewhere, they are also simultaneously granting permission for extensive developments in less commercially viable locations. Whilst stressing their green credentials by promoting renewable energies, they are also allowing 200ft pylons to run through the centre of Scotland.

It looks, smell and tastes like they have tried to face both ways at once, by trying to avoid taking a position until they realised that they had no option but to do so, when they then tried to avoid responsibility (cf Sunday ferries and letters from the Churches).

Actually what they have done is to piss off both sides in this debate by their attempts to be two-faced and the attempts to avoid the question:
  • Pro- campaigners are appalled at the delays and refusals of large schemes with huge community benefit
  • Anti- campaigners are now appalled at the permission for the towers and for the implications for large scale developments in the Highlands and Islands
Most people can guess where I stand (or more accurately stood, as the debate has moved on), and what I particularly take umbrage at is that many of the key reasons for approval of Beauly-Denny were ignored when it came to the Lewis Wind Power project. Some of these were hard fought for, and approval of the LWP scheme was only recommended with these conditions as part of the package.

They have no-one to blame but themselves, as they were warned about this on many ocassions, but the sheer lack of understanding of the issues at local and national level was startling. Lack of understanding and an unwillingness to hear other arguements.

I'd like comments on this post to avoid the detail of the LWP scheme which I used as an example, and concentrate on the wider policy implications eg a cable into Gravir is now much more likely and there will also be an incentive to develop mixed renewable schemes in the Highlands and Islands.


Anonymous said...

I have just perused the Government press release on this and note that the new line is full. The only ones who have bought into the new line are Eisgein, Pairc and Pentland Road.

No wave farms, no LWP, no Point Power etc. Does this effectively mean these are all dead and buried now as there is no space on even the new grid line?

It also says that the Pairc windfarm is suspended. So much for Lomas and Randalls battle for the bogs

Anonymous said...

anon 8:50 where is the link saying Pairc Wind farm is suspended please?

Dr Evadne said...

12.02pm copy and paste the link that 8.50am has provided and that takes you to the relevant page on the Scottish exec's site. Open the file to reveal an excel spreadsheet. Note that the Viking wind farm on Shetland has also been suspended.

Anyone know who was working Mather's strings on Newsnight last night? I thought he was going to start crying.

Anonymous said...

It is in the documentation for the decision which is on the Government website. I guess it will have a link to it on the press release page for yesterday. It is in the list of projects connecting to the beauly Denny Line. Also it only lists Eishken at 159MW, which begs the question why CNES, HIE and co keep talking about it as 300MW. Although that is what the connection agreement is for at the National Grid, clearly the Government are not considering the big scheme to be a goer.

Anonymous said...

Found it - it seems that SSE have suspended the Pairc application. Not enough from Oppenheims scam and the pentland Road con to go down an interconnector at the moment then.

Anonymous said...

in accordance with paragraph 5 "Hip"

Anonymous said...

How much will a Stornoway to Ullapool link cost? Then Ullapool to Beualy. All for just these three schemes. All for less than 300MW.

Crap maths or this is a financial white elephant of mammoth proportions.

Anonymous said...

So would they build amother link to accomodate other schemes ie the one planned on Stornoway Trust, or did Jim Mather effectively cut these off yesterday. That is certainly the way I read it.

Anonymous said...

I think the original DTI paper in around 2001 put it at about £450 million and upwards. Don't suppose there would be much change out of that anyway but if we apply the Holyrood formula then I guess we can double it.

SNP policy seems pretty clear to me = windfarms everywhere and wave when we can. Grid upgrades up the east coast and across the North Sea (EU project), so that we can trade Scottish wind power with the continental countries.

Unfortunately I don't think the Western Isles are half as critical as people like to think. After all there are thousands of wind turbines already in planning or being built, and the UK is just about to announce another 25GW of offshore farms. It doesn't matter how much anyone talks it up, basically we boil down to around a hundred turbines at the end of a very long and potentially very expensive cable.

Captain Swing said...

You have suggested that the SNP are trying to be all things to all men (and women), some green energy schemes are OK others are not, and this suggests they do not have a joined up policy on Green energy. And this is also true of many other of the SNP's policies.

This in my view is what happens when a one trick party, i.e. independence for Scotland being their only reason for existing, gets into power. They have no idea what to do with all the other matters that government has to deal with.

They are neither left wing nor right wing yet to be in power they have to have the support of the electorate from both (all) sides of the political spectrum and as such they will always be unable to satisfy some or their supporters. This will inevitably lead to chaos and will only speed up the contempt that many voters already have for those we elect to govern us.

Hopefully those who voted them into power will see how disastrous it has been for Scotland to have a one trick party in power and they will be consigned the SNP to the political dustbin at the next election.

I don’t have a problem with political parties whose main aim is for independence for Scotland, what I do have a problem with is a party that has no other agenda other than independence.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the skew now is towards offshore. This mornings press seems to back this up. So what now for onshore Lewis schemes?

Anonymous said...

Its all so confused there is even a spat going on with our finest in the letter page of the WHFP.

Anonymous said...

re post 1.34pm.
Could the WHFP editorial have anything to do with bitter Wee Brian being an AMEC director?