With SPR beating a formal retreat,and dropping the proposed Tiree (Argyll) Array, NTA presented this VALEDICTORY.
But before we go there let us consider SPR’s reasons-
The main issues affecting the progression of the project are the ground conditions in the site, particularly the presence of hard rock , coupled with challenging wave conditions , which could impact construction . Beyond this , there is significant presence of basking sharks, which environmental groups continue to study, to get a greater understating of their movements in the area.
Basking sharks : Tiree always was a ‘Hot -spot”
Hard Rock: Known from the outset. SG even took photos !!
Challenging Wave Conditions : Legendary. The lantern room of Skerryvore Lighthouse was smashed, once, in a storm
The VALEDICTORY reviews the many issues, and problems, associated with the development of this proposed Tiree off shore wind farm, which SPR chose either to ignore or at best, rationalise, from the outset.
A boat trip to Skerryvore, or a walk up Ben Hynish, would have sighted these main issues.
Had SPR addressed them in 2008, SPR may have saved an estimated £12-15mill expenditure to arrive at this 2013 conclusion.
Offshore wind is staggeringly expensive, and inefficient. It has been described by Dieter Helm, Professor of Energy Policy, University of Oxford as:-
“among the most expensive ways of marginally reducing carbon emissions known to man”.
NTA’s VALEDICTORY addresses the failures and weaknesses of the development process, including its public consultation’s nebulous claims of socio–economic benefit, and job-creation.
Basking Sharks emerged as a very significant environmental issue in the period up to SPR dropping the Tiree Array.
Tiree-Coll is an established European Basking Shark Hot-Spot.
SPR, in Oct 2012, was aware of the potential damaging environmental impact on basking sharks,when SPR ‘considered‘ a meaningless reduction, by 1/3rd, in the size of the proposed Array.
The unique marine environment Tiree -Coll offers basking sharks, is best illustrated in this BBC video from ‘THE ONE SHOW’ , filmed during Basking Sharks Scotland Conference on Coll in Aug 2013
As we went through 2014 many related issues emerged ie the dropping of other offshore wind farms ie the massive Atlantic Array in the Bristol Channel, and contraction in Developer intentions and investments .SSE shocked the industry with a major review of its offshore development portfolio resulting in (1) the dropping of the Islay Array (2|) major caveats put on SSE continued interest in 2 other offshore wind farm developments , and (3) virtual withdrawal from Tidal projects . The Energy Market Reform Bill made it clear that subsidy largesse would be very limited .
As NTA considered its future beyond its 4th anniversary in Nov 2014 , NTA’s chairman penned his thoughts!!
2015 will be an interesting year for offshore wind.
The CfD subsidy round has probably a minimum 3000MW, from several Scottish and English possible developments, chasing a subsidy ‘pot’ which at most may afford only abt 800MW ie one project will be winner
SSE’s Beatrice is the only current Scottish project with a subsidy award . In Nov 2014 it completed a major caveat to sustain commitment by selling a 25% interest to Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) ,ie reducing SSE’s stake to 50% thereby CIP on the same footing as Repsol, which also holds 25%.
A final investment decision on whether to go ahead is not expected until early 2016, and if positive, generation cannot be expected till end 2018/early 2019