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16 October 2014

Arnish Lighthouse

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Southwest 5

That about sums up our average wind forecast. It doesn't mention the once a week gales (don't you just love the way you can make statistics look so bonny). It is one of the reasons why the Western Isles was earmarked as a prime site for a windfarm. Or three.

Following my previous post, I think I'd better summarise the reasons for my opposition to the turbines, of which 300 are planned to be dotted across the island of Lewis.

1. Oil and gas are finite sources of energy, and alternatives will have to be found within a matter of years or decades. Nuclear energy is something I'm opposed to, so long as a safe method of disposing of the waste is not found. Sandside Beach at Dounreay, nor Fuday nor Sandray count as safe.

2. The wind blows free for all, and I'm not opposed to windpower persé. However, the question of energy provision should be answered using all sources of renewable or non-carbon based energy.

3. A wavepower plant was commissioned off Eday, Orkney Isles, the other day. A tidal power generator has been providing Islay with electricity for about 15 years now. Another tidal generator is being built at Shader, Barvas (Lewis). Wave and tidal generators on a small scale are unobtrusive. The barrage that was mooted for the Severn estuary has an enormous environmental impact. Street- lights at Cromor and Ranais in Lewis are powered by solar energy. The panels aren't much to look at, but they're only small.

4. Large windpower developments across the UK come in for strong local opposition, because of the impact on the view - and yes, you can make a living off the view, it's called tourism - and the quality of life. Windturbines are NOT silent. Their presence can also put off prospective homebuyers, making properties unsellable.

5. The three Lewis windfarms, in Eisgein, Pairc and North Lewis, will have a major environmental impact. Wildlife, disturbance of the peatlayer (up to 20 feet thick in places), and destruction of one of the last wildernesses in the UK, which people come specifically to visit. The compensation offered to local communities is derisory. When hundreds of millions if not billions of pounds are being made, I think £5 million a year for the North Lewis windfarm is an insult, like offering the natives beads and mirrors.

6. The promises of employment, arising from the construction of the windfarm and associated infrastructure, are overstated. The Arnish Fabrication Yard has shown to be fickle in its economic stability, and that's where all the turbines are to be manufactured? 400 jobs for the construction phase, and 25 for the maintenance phase. I strongly doubt whether Lewisians in exile will come flocking back to take that up.

In brief, the question of our energy provision needs to be addressed in a wider perspective. It's never a good idea to put all your eggs in the one basket, marked windpower in this case.
Posted on Arnish Lighthouse at 13:54


Interesting article today in the International Herald Tribune (iht) on Faro. It is interesting to note that the Swedish government does not allow wind turbines on Faro for aesthetic reasons.

mjc from NM, USA

Well summed up but you overlook the overriding reason for windfarms (and for most big 'green' projects) which is to make a lot of money for a few people - forget local prosperity which is only necessary as a 'greasing the palms' exercise for the greater greed. 'Green ' as a concept is laudable but it has simply been adopted as a huge moneyspinner by the big companies involved - the same companies that rip the planet apart with open-cast mining and probably create more carbon emissions than they could ever recoup by these short-term projects. Make no mistake they are short-term, in 25 years the turbines will lie (stand) rotting once the profit has gone from the enterprise and money is to be made elsewhere. The Americans stumbled upon a prophecy over a hundred years ago when they called their dollar bills 'greenbacks'.

Les Ellingham from Stafford

Well said. I have disagreed with some of your posts in the past but I can find little to object to in this. We have to use every available non carbon producing energy source we can find and we may have to make some compromises on the way.

Hyper-Borean from A warm comfortable house

Perhaps if we don't utilise all means of alternative energy there won't be anyone to admire the view in a couple or three decades? And why is disturbance of the peat layer so devastating?? It is pretty well accepted these days that you have to pay for a service, like electricity. I like waterpower because water, being much denser than air, has more punch. And there are very interesting developments in small-scale water turbines. But these will also have an environmental footprint. Whichever way you turn, you have your arse behind you, as we say over here. All the best, Barney from Scotalnd, once upon a time.

Barney from Swithiod

I think Anne's still away...

Flying Cat from looking at an *rse

Barney,ask Flying Cat.

Anne from Argyll

Barney, Disturbance of the peat can be devastating - ask that farmer in Ireland whose farmhouse was engulfed by a peatslide. The peat had been disturbed as a result of the construction of a windfarm on the hill above. In Shetland, peat came crashing down the hillside all over the A970 Sumburgh to Lerwick road in 2004. And the same happened just outside Uig, Skye.

Arnish Lighthouse from Stornoway

Was the peat that dropped mana like on A970 allowed to dry, and then picked up free of charge by residents? Or were people too much in a hurry to get to Sumburgh (and fly off to the dreaded mainland)? # Water turbines would be fine if your river frontage has a sufficient drop, or the State would allow you to build a dam to generate household electricity.

mjc from NM, USA

I thought the Shetland peat-slide was due to excess rainfall. As far as I remember there's not a windylight at the top of that bank...

Flying Cat from Shetland Times

Barney, do you think the many miles of new roads and drains across the peat moors will affect its functioning? There is a load of stuff out there on the web about how peat moors are important carbon sinks so why would you muck about with it if you are concerned about global warming? If people are just in it just for the money or ideas of wind farms being the salvation of rural Scotland then carry on with the experiment.

Sid from Glasgow

FC, that is correct, but I highlighted it to show that peat is not unmoveable.

Arnish Lighthouse from Stornoway

Thank you all for your polite comments regarding my first incursion into your lives. So Pete slides! I never heard of that before. Seriously, yesterday I saw the wind powerstation on Lillgrund SW of Malmoe for the first time since its completion. The day was fine, the sea calm, not a turbine blade stirred "No stir in the air, no stir in the sea, The turbine was steady as she could be, her rotor from Heaven received no motion, Her cable was steady in the Ocean" (With acknowledgements to Sir W, Scott). To the point .. it was a sublimely serene picture. Might be different in Beaufort 8, but still ... still. Is there anyone else who finds the way the different rotors in a wind powerstation gradully become synchronised and then as gradually loose their synchronicity as you watch them for a minute or two or three? As a source of alternative powerI am rooting for tidal and wave power, that must be the best future unless its going to turn fish into mincemeat. And maybe have high servicing overheads. Aye, there's the rub.

Barney from On a sandbank

I very much like the idea of ready-minced fish...

Flying Cat from a fine keepnet

What cat would not?

Barney from Swithiod across the waters

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