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.

 It stretches credibility that it took SPR 5 years to arrive at this conclusion, after all:- Tiree TV6 0968

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’s basking shark survey, in the summer of 2012,  sighted, in a 24 hr period, 918 basking sharks within the area of the proposed Array.

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.

If this offshore wind farm had gone ahead, thereby straddling a major basking shark migration route, it would have been an act of environmental vandalism.

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

This reality makes a nonsense of Scotland’s Offshore Wind Route Map Developing Scotland’s Offshore Wind Industry to 2020 and Beyond ( Updated Jan 2013) .

How could the  Renewables  industry and Scottish Government get its forecast so badly wrong?  E.G.

2011:  Scottish -Norwegian Interconnect announced . Dropped in 2013
2014 : 8GW forecast to be in the Consent process. Actual figure less than 4GW
2015 : First Scottish offshore wind generation expected . Now not expected till end 2018 /early 2019 and only if SSE 
           commits to Beatrice
The UK Renewables  industry, and Scottish Government have been woefully optimistic in their assessment of project time-lines. They have consistently ignored acknowledging delays in Germany’s much more advanced offshore wind sector, where projects consented as early as 2005, and originally expected to commissioned in 2012 /2013, are now not expected to be commissioned till Q2 2015.

With  Brent trading well below $60 , and the possibility it may fall below $50, there will be a cold draft through the Renewables industry in 2015
Challenging times !!

6 thoughts on “Valedictory

  1. Karl

    Tourism a letter to The Scotsman, 1st Feb


    You reported on explanations for why tourism figures have fallen (28 January). The fall should be looked at in a longer time frame to see how disastrous it is for the biggest industry in Scotland.

    The last successful year for Scotland in terms of, for example, American tourists, was 2006 when 475,000 visited Scotland, contributing 25 per cent of expenditure. Even in 2009 when America was targeted for Homecoming there were only 352,000 visitors contributing to 17 per cent of expenditure.

    New Zealand would attract a similar type of tourist looking for unspoilt scenery but its tourism figures do not show the same year-on-year decline of tourists from America. They have not covered their beautiful land with wind turbines.

    The government-sponsored Moffat study in 2008, based on a much smaller number of projected wind farms than is now planned, admitted that the percentage of tourists who disliked wind farms would go elsewhere.

    They assumed “the elsewhere” would be in Scotland. Could it be that the tourists who replied to surveys saying they would not return if turbines were built actually meant it?
    All the accommodation providers within 2.5 km of the Auchencorth wind farm proposal (132 tourist beds) agreed that the wind farm would affect business but the tourist board did not assist in the defeat of the proposal. Wind farm developers just say it can’t be proved that wind farms affect tourism.

    It is about time common sense prevailed and tourism chiefs spoke up for their industry. Another wind farm three miles away from Auchencorth at Leadburn, Spurlens Rig, now threatens the tourist route from Edinburgh to Peebles. What a welcome at the Gateway to the Borders. Which alternative route could be used?

    Celia Hobbs
    Peebles Road
    Penicuik, Midlothian

  2. Very Concerned (Scarinish)

    I urge all to look at the proposed areas for possible future development of Tiree’s waters.
    Our Island will simply become a huge transformer. The birds will have no safe way to our Island. Tourism will die and those who decide to stay will be mobed by helicopters and worried by the HUM of HV…if the power company get to build the proposed array this will open the door to Tiree’s demise…
    How can anybody support this horror

    VC Scarinish

    1. John Campbell

      I always wonder why people decide to hide behind a name, rather than tell us who you are!! It does`nt matter what you post on here, everyone is allowed to have an opinion on here, regardless of what your views are.

      Tho i have noticed that some people who choose to sit on the fence or are for the array to go a head seem to always get critisism from some members of this forum. In my opinion, some people need to respect other people`s views and not get petty in there reply posts as it only comes across to most as childish.

      Again, my opinion, not everyone else`s.



      Mod’ s comments :

      (1) Re “ hiding behind a name “ . NTA was severely chastised in its early days for being pro-active in this respect by revealing the identity “ behind the name “ .

      (2) NTA receives a considerable number of spams. Some are very obvious and are trashed immediately eg offers of Viagra , or in Russian !! . Some are quite credible.

      (3)Re the latter , NTA endeavours to “check” these out . If there is no response ,then these also are trashed.

      (4) Re criticism . Criticism is a component of debate, but ,criticism of criticism,tends to be subjective.

      (5) NTA’s “posting guidelines” are clearly stated on its home page.

  3. Webcraft

    I don’t think you can blame people in a small community for posting anonymously. I am sure there are many on Tiree who have strong opinions one way or the other who will not post at all, either for fear that their anonymity is not guaranteed or just from a long tradition of keeping their heads down and not getting involved.

    Happy New Year, hope the recent storms were not too hard on you.

    1. Karl

      Happy 2012 Webcraft.
      Seems our Tilley was hit by lightning and needs or needed repair and the new turbine at the Rural Center self destructed ! needless to say we have also suffered from outage. Perhaps SPR would like to invest in burying our transmission lines ? I was off the island through the biggest blow, but given it’s size I doubt any construction work or indeed future proposed array would have escaped unscathed. Maybe Tiree is simply too windy LOL.



  4. Karl


    Having been involved in Oil Shale exploration especially Cheverons Polish Exploration, let me assure all that to be commercially viable the oil/ gas shales of Poland are only economically viable by over inflation of Oil prices. I can assure all that current viable reserves of Oil are going to be around for at least the next 100 years as the major driver of world economics and, when it is finally to expensive to burn in our cars, aircraft, support our plastics, chemical needs etc it is an easy enough process to extract it from coal. Coal by the way is easier to process than oil shales, so when the easy oil and shale has gone, the world will go back too exploiting it’s vast reserves of coal.
    Wind energy on a commercial scale will do nothing to reduce current CO2 levels, it is simply a top up / option for future needs. Sad but true.


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