At last – a clear win for the No Tiree Array campaign in the dropping of massive Argyll Array offshore wind farm
The capable and determined No Tiree Array campaign against the Scottish Power Renewables proposal to construct a gigantic offshore wind farm on the toes of the flat little sunshine isle out in the Atlantic can, at last, relax.
With SPR – owned by Spain’s Iberdrola and Scottish only in the source of the power – having first put the proposal in mothballs, it has now conceded defeat and dropped the plans, citing the area’s status as a breeding ground for basking sharks.
There has not been so gross and insensitive a proposal as this one – representing the worst of the gung-ho wind-at-all-costs attitude fostered by the Scottish Government’s politically driven desperation to prove that an independent Scotland could provide for its own energy needs and be clean and green at the same time.
There were so many nonsenses in this stance.
Wind cannot supply reliable baseload power.
Its environmental and scenic impact is substantial.
It has never been clean or green – with its need for toxic rare earths for its turbines, the massive volumes of production and transport of concrete for the plinths of land-based turbines; and the highly polluting bunker fuel pumped into the atmosphere from the shipping services needed in construction and maintenance of offshore installations.
A range of matters have cooled the Scottish Government’s ardour for wind at any price. These include changes to the indefensible subsidies paid to attract developers to erect wind farms; and to turn off the turbines when the wind blows strongly and they produce at their best level – because our lack of political strategic capability sees our national grid incapable of carrying the power loading produced in such conditions.
The demonstrable shift in the government’s stance will have had a lot to do with SPR’s retreat from the Argyll Array at Tiree – which initially proposed 500 turbines, many 200 meters high – later reduced to around 300.
- Its proposed sea area was almost five times the size of the island itself.
- It started just three miles off the beaches at the southeast of the island – which the turbines would have utterly dominated.
- It would have brought with it a microclimate due ti the height of the turbines.
- It posed threats to endangered species like basking sharks – for whom the area is a breeding hotspot – and the Great Northern Diver.
- It would have dwarfed what is recognised to be the worlds most beautiful lighthouse, Alan Stevenson’s Skerryvore – which stands around 48 metres high.
- It would have seen a massive industrial shore establishment on the little island to deal with the power coming ashore.
And the Scottish Government was fully prepared itself to give this monster the go ahead.
Congratulation to a vigilant and resourceful No Tiree Campaign which, like the Kintyre Offshore Wind Action Group earlier, has seen off state and developers on merit, demonstrating what real democracy means – commitment, engagement and responsibility.
Perhaps, now free of the invasion of this farm, which would also have brought light pollution, Tiree may join with its sister island of Coll in creating an overall two-island dark sky park?
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