Friday, 15 January 2010

Merkins Wind Farm - First Public Meeting

Consultation and public engagement are so very important to good planning, whatever the subject matter. Over the past year greater direction has come from the government on the requirements for public consultation for larger schemes, including proposed wind farms over 20MW in size. Pretty much all the developers we know in the wind industry carry out consultation and engagement activities in excess of the guidelines and usually apply it to schemes under 20MW as well. Its a matter of best practice and good professionalism.
Last evening the first public information evening in respect of the Merkins Wind Farm proposal took place in Gartocharn. Despite the inclement weather conditions some 30 people attended to hear Steve's presentation on the project, the work undertaken so far and our plans to be in a position to complete the Environmental Impact Assessment and submit a planning application in Summer 2010. A lengthy and interesting Q&A session followed the presentation. We shall also be carrying out similar public information in neighbouring communities.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Beauly-Denny green light...

BBC Radio Scotland ran a phone in this morning over the long awaited Beauly Denny power line upgrade decision which was made today. Of course opponents jammed the lines, the debate often transgressing to the well worn (and discredited) rants against onshore windfarms and renewable energy policy in general.
I didn't get this is what I wanted to say to if I had:

Myth 1: Wind doesn't work when we most need it, ie now!
Answer: From the actual output data of operating windfarms I am involved with, they certainly have been generating lots of electricity during the recent cold spell! This myth is often rolled out by objectors at times of crisis, but nobody in our industry is advocating wind as the sole source of our energy needs; the balancing capacity is already there and will continue to be there.

Myth 2: We need's most reliable.
Answer: Since when was uranium mined in Scotland? The UK? At risk of opening this can'o'worms, let's just say the Scotland givernment is currently saying no to future nukes; it's not on the agenda north of the border. And why should it be when we are blessed with our own natural resources to generate more power than we need?

Myth 3: Let's build big hydro again to meet our renewable needs!
Answer: Good idea, but fraught with environmental difficulties. Let's not forget that onshore wind capacity built in the last decade now produces more eletricity than hydro capacity built in the last century...but we do need both.

The decision is a good one for the renewables industry and shows real political action over rhetoric. As far as the undergrounding question goes, the Scottish Government in its statement on the decision makes it clear that it has no legal powers to enforce undergrounding - so why the apparent confusion?