Valdicotry final final 10.00 20 dec


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NTA's Valedictory.

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Valdicotry final final 10.00 20 dec

  1. 1. No Tiree Array:- VALEDICTORY Following SPR’s press release announcing dropping the Tiree Array and hearing on BBC News, Jonathan Cole, head of offshore wind at SPR, rationalising SPR’s reasons , NTA was flooded with calls, and emails, from its many supporters with expressions of joy, and relief. Many posed the very obvious question :- “ how come it took SPR so long ,and at so much cost, to come to this conclusion” . In 2008,during SPR’s site selection process, if SPR had spoken to one of Tiree’s fisherman SPR would have been told :-" Nae chance.... efter a Tiree storm my creels at Skerryvore shift 3-5 km .. they got nae chance to build the f..kng thing” Many wise Tiree heads endorsed this perspective. Did SPR check out the local information that the windows on Skerryvore Lighthouse had been smashed-in during a storm in the 50’s? Did anyone from SPR stand, for a day, on the track up to Ben Hynish, to look out to Skerryvore to be staggered by the huge swell over the reef, and in particular over Mackenzie ‘s Rock, even in benign weather conditions. In 2008 how diligent or competent, was SPR’s site selection process?? MS’ scoping opinion suggests SPR may not have been as diligent or competent as SPR would have wished. Was it greed ? Was it simply the site, one of the windiest locations in the UK, blinded SPR’s critical faculties with its potential to deliver to SPR an unprecedented cash-cow? Moving forward:NTA, in Mar 2012, was prescient in forecasting what was to transpire in Dec 2012 ie SPR putting the Array on “12 months hold, and subject to review” This was simple deduction from Jonathan Cole’s statement to Global Offshore Wind, 10 months earlier in Feb 2012 that; “construction of the Argyll Array will probably take place a “few years” after the first portion of Iberdrola’s biggest offshore challenge” (ref to the 7.2GW East Anglia Round) with Cole describing the Tiree Array as “very challenging”, with harsh waters and complex seabed conditions’. NTA in its own Summer 2013 review reported,that there had been no substantive advance in foundation design and technology Re Foundations: The Tiree Array’s seabed conditions, and the problems they posed for foundation design, were well known to SPR from the outset. At the Sept 2011 SPR hosted trip for Tirisdeachs, to the Walney -Barrow offshore windfarm, the comments made by DONG’s’s ( Danish Oil and Gas) Walney-Barrow construction team, were to prove pregnant with significance. NTA was an attendee. On the conclusion of DONG’s presentation NTA asked a very specific question re piling. DONG replied this had not been a problem, the sea bed was ‘soft’ except for 6 piles when they had hit some ’hard’ stuff. NTA asked what had been the solution. Dong replied, with a smile “ we just hit the pile-hammer harder !!
  2. 2. VALEDICTORY Cont’d The attendees pointed out that the Tiree Array site was rock,specifically lewissean gneiss, which was amongst geology’s hardest rocks. DONG said “ you have a problem” . When asked if explosives were the solution, replied “NO way .. you can only drill”. As we drove back for dinner, NTA remembers, only too well, expanding on this subject with SPR’s Project Engineer , who advised that gravity foundations were not being considered, because the site would have to be leveled. He referred to the sole application of gravity foundations to date ie Thornton Bank, off the Belgian coast , and advised they hadto be dropped half way through construction, with a switch to jacket foundations . Mysteriously gravity foundations subsequently were re-introduced into the frame for the Tiree Array. The cynic in NTA saw this as:Ÿ a superficial attempt to embrace gravity based foundations claims of minimal site preparation. Presumably this was to deflect the very obvious environmental ,and visual impact issues, raised by drilling and cutting for Jacket foundations. And Ÿ an obvious co-incidence with Scottish Government’s promotion of Kishorn as a production centre for concrete gravity foundations. NTA, following this development, challenged every UK - European gravity foundation manufacturer to comment on their suitability for the Tiree Array site. One manufacturer (Vinci) has a chart on their website stating their design to be Tiree Array suitable. Not one single manufacturer replied NTA requested the papers from Marine Scotland’s Oct 2013 Gravity Foundations: Offshore Wind Scotland Conference at which Fergus Ewing MSP, Minister for Energy delivered the Welcoming Address NTA asked Marine Scotland to comment on the suitability of gravity foundations suitability for the Tiree Array Site. NTA still awaits Scottish Government’s reply. Once again NTA re-circulated all UK–European manufacturers to comment. None replied with the exception of Norway’s SeaTower Concept. SeaTower originally stated their design was Tiree Array suitable but on further interrogation qualified this by stating:- “The key parameter is whether the penetration resistance of the ground is such that you can penetrate skirts or not “. This paramater may not be achievable to the Tiree Array site’s geology. NTA has questioned the banality of Scottish Government building, and subsidising, test sites onshore for the next generation of off- shore 7 MW turbines ie Samsung(SKorea) at Methil, with Siemens (Germany) and Mitsubishi(Japan) at Hunterston. Manifestly, the main barrier to any offshore wind development on the WC Scotland, is the lack of tested foundation technology.
  3. 3. VALEDICTORY Cont’d At the same time as Scotland stays onshore for testing, France goes offshore to test. The comparable test Alstom (France ) turbine was installed 40 km off the Belgian Coast shore ( note the Jacket foundation). Installation hit bad weather. It took 6 weeks. The installation vessel ,Fred Olsen’s Bold Tern,may have cost approx US$175,000 per day !!! Any wonder that off shore wind generation is the most expensive source of electricity. For all these reasons it is no surprise that SPR has dropped the Tiree Array. But SPR has surprised NTA, and many other observers, as to why it took SPR so long, and at so much cost, to come to this conclusion. The Tiree Array’s technology trajectory of construction and generation has apparently, at a stroke, pushed back from its original perceived 2016-2018 trajectory, to 2030-2040. NTA is not so naïve as to claim its campaign has achieved the dropping of the proposed Tiree Array. NTA may have raised the bar of the quality and substance of the interrogation of Government,and the Developer,to substantiate their claims, with regard to the development of the proposed Tiree Array. NTA questioned the efficacy of Scottish Governments’ energy policy, and every technical and economic survey associated with this possible development. The latter proved naïve and self seeking in the promotion of Governments and the Developer’s nebulous ,and specious claims of socio-economic gain plus community benefit. These were supposedly to be derived from the Operation and Maintenance(O&M ) strategy. SPR and Government played down the basic fundamental that dictates wind farm O&M strategy. It is dictated jointly and severally by the turbine and offshore HVDC converter manufacture. O&M is not the decision of the developer . The trajectory of O&M is the emergent adoption of specialist manned O&M vessels operating within the off shore wind farm. Siemens, this summer, committed to the long term charter of two Norwegian built vessels. The Dutch have followed up with a comparable design. The Danes are marketing a jack-up O&M vessel produced. Alas there is no sign of the resurrection of Scottish shipbuilding to design and build such vessels.
  4. 4. VALEDICTORY Cont’d Community Consultation:- The licensing process puts great store in a developer’s Community Consultation process. NTA shredded SPR‘s community consultation in a comprehensive submission to Marine Scotland. Visualisations/montages:- NTA produced the first visualisations/montages of the proposed Tiree Array. SPR produced theirs, reluctantly 6 months later.
  5. 5. VALEDICTORY Cont’d HVDC Converter Station :- NTA, at a public meeting, may have embarrassed SPR sufficiently to reveal substantive details of any onshore HVDC station, whilst SPR ducked the issue of deemed consent. Basking Sharks:- NTA addressed a major basking shark conference informing on the grave environmental consequences from any development and construction of the Tiree Array site. Marine Scotland’s Draft Licensing and Consent Manual: Recently NTA completed a forensic line by line critique of the Marine Scotland’s Draft Licensing and Copnsent Manual. As proposed, it is a developers dream of general suggestions for ‘shoulds, coulds and maybe’s’ , with no sanctions for any breach ,as opposed to list of ‘must, shall and will’ directives. NTA’s critique has been accepted by Marine Scotland. It has been passed to the consultants for consideration into the further drafting of the manual. Renewable subsidy :-NTA has been a consistent advocate to UK and Scottish Government that Renewable subsidies – especially for offshore wind – should be cut if they fail to come down in cost under strict time limits. The Renewables Industry flagged up, 18 months ago, their commitment to a 2020 target of £100/mw to secure subsidy. Ever since,the Renewables Industry has been back-tracking, blaming Government for the industries failure to meet its own targets!! The Tiree Array site remains on a planning map, as does the possible adoption of the OWW2 ,and WW3 sites. But dropping the proposed Tiree Array implies that neither of these may be developed until the required technology trajectory catches up. It is speculated that this may not be achieved till 2030-2040, by which time global energy developments may render theses sites irrelevant and redundant.
  6. 6. VALEDICTORY Cont’d Should the trajectory of global energy development, and global energy consumption render the original proposed Tiree (Array) and the proposed, for adoption, OWW2/WW3 sites redundant, then NTA will have achieved its objective. Meanwhile the decision to drop the Array leaves Tiree to its stunning beauty,and spectacular seascapes . Dec 2013