Welcome to the Highlands

Welcome to the Highlands, the land of  sparkling Burns, The Heather hughed Glens, High Mountains where the Eagles soar, a land of Deer and Salmon, Kilts and Pipes. The Corbetts, the Grahams and the Monros. A place to revitalise the Spirit and the Soul. This is a land of proud people, people that will give any man the time of day.

But today a certain sadness pervades all. In a desperate drive for fame our politicians have sold Scotland and its wild places to the lowest bidder. The march of the wind factories is heard in the Glens. Tourism for Scotland is dead. Our way of life crushed beneath the greed of mostly foreign adventurers and aided by our Government and Planners.

This is the opportunity for all you to have your say and perhaps we will save something for our children.

The first great requisite of motive power is; that it shall be wholly at our command, to be exerted when, and where, and in what degree we desire.The wind, for instance, as a direct motive power, is wholly inapplicable to a system of machine labour, for during a calm season the whole business of the country would be thrown out of gear.

William Stanley Jevons (1865)

“God never made an ugly landscape. All that sun shines on is beautiful, so long as it is wild.”

— John Muir

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”

— John Muir

Posted in Tourism, Uncategorized | 36 Comments

Samsung pull out of Dundee

keep away

Many may know the story of Samsung’s Mega Turbine at Methil. At 200ft and rated at a Capacity of 7MW it was supposedly a test rig for offshore deployment. Why go to the other end of the world for a turbine when most are European built defies logic but not the Scottish Government that wasted up to £11 million in attracting Samsung Heavy Industries. Now Samsung has the towel and not before time and the turbine is up for sale. Problems started from day one with locals complaining of the noise although interestingly the Courier states that they are not aware of any complaints. That same newspaper not long ago wrote an article about the noise issue and the fact that the turbine had to be turned off if the wind was in a certain direction.

“Erecting an almost 200m high turbine within a few hundred metres of peoples’ homes was always going to mean trouble. Engineers have also wondered how such a location can replicate conditions 10 km out in the North Sea for the purposes of testing. ”

Well so did we!

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Area 34 – Under threat

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The Report they didn’t want publishing!

header-logoFrom the start of this research things haven’t gone smoothly. The Industry and the Scottish Government seemed intent to have limited  representation of those impacted by wind farms. Only very forceful exchanges enabled such representation. What actually came  through though was an acceptable balance of local government, planning, opposition groups and industry representatives.  Concerns may well have centred on the name and type of work ClimateXChange takes on. However the report that they have presented identifies exactly the concerns that we have all expressed and the Horrendous and True facts that so called computer models and pre planning promises aren’t worth the paper they are written on. I think the Scottish Government must hang it’s head in shame that for so long they have ignored our complaints and criticisms and taken all their information direct off the Scottish Renewables web site. For once the objectors are vindicated and despite the group being weighted to the wind industry there is little included in the report that will find favour within that industry. We have already heard the platitudes but the fact is that thousands of wind turbines have already been built on false planning figures and poor impact assessments. Perhaps it is now time for all those ‘no win no fee’ legal sharks to start circling because I am sure they smell blood!

A simple look through the report and the first question that springs to mind is why has this taken two years. What does confuse me is have the Scottish Government received a different version from the rest of us. Changes in planning are described as rigorous improvements? I am unaware of any such changes. Scottish Renewables likewise referred to high standards of guidance. Had those standards been high we would not have all the reported problems with noise, shadow flicker and visual impact. In fact as usuual Scottish Renewables and the Scottish Government have come out with the levels of bovine excrement that we are used to. Was this a whitewash? No, as it pointed to the need for further research and identified serious failings in the system. Could it have been better. Most certainly but then we have come to expect this sort of thing from consultants employed by the industry or the Scottish Government. The advisers chosen were not what we would describe as independent as there names are consistently linked with wind farm developers. I think Murdo Fraser put it succinctly when he said People are fed up with turbines. I would add and those apologists for them!


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A view from Murdo Fraser MSP

How the wind subsidy train was blown away

by Murdo Fraser

THERE WAS jubilation in rural Scotland last week with the announcement from the Conservative Government that subsidies for new onshore wind projects were to be scrapped, more or less with immediate effect. Communities across Scotland, who for years had felt under siege from wind power developers desperate to fill their boots with money taken from the pockets of the fuel poor, were celebrating politicians doing that most unusual of things: delivering on manifesto promises.

For it was, indeed, a Conservative manifesto pledge that all new subsidies for onshore wind projects would be ended, and this is exactly what the new Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, has delivered.

Now it goes without saying that not everyone was happy that the subsidy train was being blown away. There were the predictable squeals of protest from the wind power industry, which had gorged itself on bill-payers’ cash for so long. The SNP First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the announcement as “wrong-headed, perverse and downright outrageous”. And the wind industry’s favourite politician, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing, was on his feet in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, denouncing the move as “irrational” and “utter folly”.

This was a curious change in tone for Fergus Ewing. Back in 2007, when he was in opposition, he campaigned hard against wind farms in his own Inverness constituency. At that time he told the Badenoch & Strathspey Herald that: “The SNP believes that many other forms of renewable energy are the future – not unconstrained wind farms”.

As I pointed out to Mr Ewing in the Scottish Parliament Chamber on Tuesday, communities across Scotland would draw a contrast between a Conservative Party which in opposition promised to act against the overdevelopment of onshore wind power, and in government delivered on its promises – and an SNP Energy Minister who in opposition said one thing, but in government did precisely the opposite.

Both the Minister and the wind industry complained that these changes had been sprung upon them without prior notice. Sadly for them, this view simply does not fit with the facts. 

On the 24th April 2014, more than a year ago, the then Energy Minister Michael Fallon stated clearly that any onshore wind project which had not been granted planning permission before the election would not get any subsidy. In fact, by moving this date back to the 18th June 2015, Amber Rudd was actually being more generous to the industry than was originally being proposed.

There have been the predictable dire warnings of a blow to the Scottish economy of up to £3 billion of investment lost, and 5,000 jobs at risk. But many involved in the wind industry would themselves concede that they expected wind power to be cost competitive without subsidy as soon as 2020, and in any event many onshore developers have already started moving investment offshore.

Of course we have heard similar warnings before. When the previous coalition Government cut the subsidies for Solar PV installations, we were warned by the SNP that this would devastate the industry, with business closures and job losses. Today, the Solar PV sector is stronger than it has ever been, as I can testify from my constituency mailbag.

Those who have been caught once crying wolf cannot be expected to be taken seriously the second time around.

Then we have had the claim that bills to consumers will go up, by between £2 and £3 billion. Yet this claim is categorically refuted by Amber Rudd. It is hard to see the argument why reducing the subsidy paid by electricity consumers means that they will end up paying more.

Finally, the argument is made that this will mean that Scotland and the UK will miss our climate change targets. Yet, as the Scottish Conservatives revealed last week, with 7.1GW of onshore wind already operating in Scotland, 0.5GW under construction, and an additional 8.2 GW already having been given planning consent, the SNP’s target of achieving 100% equivalent of electricity consumption from renewable energy by 2020 has effectively already been met.

What all this points to, once again, is a need for a properly balanced energy policy, and for the SNP government to end its fixation with onshore wind. DECC’s announcement is hopefully the first step towards achieving this.

We continue to have a security of supply issue in Scotland, with Longannet, Torness and Hunterston all due to close in the next eight years, meaning we will lose 55% of our electricity generating capacity, with nothing in the pipeline to replace it.

The SNP need to urgently rethink their ideological opposition to new nuclear, when that is the most cost-effective way of providing low-carbon base load, and on a “whole system cost” basis, cheaper than intermittent wind with the required back up or storage.

There will of course be an ongoing need for unsubsidised onshore wind, but in a more managed fashion than we have seen up until now. And we will need to continue to invest in other renewable technologies: hydro, solar, biomass, offshore wind, wave and tidal. A proper mix needs to be the foundation of our energy supply.

Amber Rudd has set us on the right track. Ironically, I suspect that the Fergus Ewing of 2007 would be in full agreement with her direction of travel.

Courtesy of ThinkScotland.org

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Planning in England and Wales

Ministers announce onshore wind farm regime change

by on June 25, 2015

The government has wasted little time in honouring manifesto pledges over giving local communities a greater say over onshore wind farm projects and axing subsidies for them.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark has announced new planning rules, in the guise of new policy measures, which took effect from 18 June.

Under these new provisions councils should only grant permission for wind turbines in their area if the site is in an area identified as suitable for wind energy as part of a local or neighbourhood plan and following consultation, the planning impacts identified by affected local communities have been fully addressed and therefore have their backing.

Clark told Parliament: “This will ensure the planning concerns of local communities are addressed – even if they give their backing for wind farms in their area through the local or neighbourhood plan.

“If a planning application has already been made for wind turbines in an area where the local plan does not identify suitable sites, the council will only be able to approve the application where it addresses the planning concerns of the affected community and therefore has local backing.”

Great pity the same conditions don’t apply in Scotland which has just passes the Community Empowerment Bill. Needless to say there is no such direction from the Scottish Ministers to support local communities.

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Fergus Ewing doing what he is best at – Supporting Scottish Tourism

And this is the counterpoint to FE’s support of wind. You can’t have it both ways.

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Facts to date – Oral Report to Parliament

Oral statement to Parliament

Statement on ending subsidies for onshore wind

Oral Statement by Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change on ending subsidies for onshore wind.

Mr Speaker, with your permission I would like to make a statement on ending new subsidies for onshore wind.

This Government is committed to meeting objectives on cutting carbon emissions and to continue to make progress towards the UK’s 2020 renewable energy targets.

The renewable electricity programme aims to deliver at least 30% of the UK’s electricity demand from renewables by 2020.

We are on course to achieve this objective. Renewables already make up almost 20% of our electricity generation and there is a strong pipeline to deliver the rest.

As we decarbonise it is imperative that we manage the costs to consumers. Although renewable energy costs have been coming down, subsidies still form part of people’s energy bills and as the share of renewables in the mix grows, the impact gets proportionally larger.

Mr Speaker, it is one of this Government’s priorities to bring about the transition to low carbon generation as cost effectively and securely as possible.

The Levy Control Framework, covering the period up to 2020/21 is one of the tools to help achieve this. It limits the impact of support for low carbon electricity on consumer bills.

We have a responsibility to efficiently manage support schemes within the Levy Control Framework to ensure that we maintain public support for the action we are taking to bring down carbon emissions and combat climate change.

Government support is designed to help technologies stand on their own two feet, not to encourage a permanent reliance on subsidy.

We must continue to take tough judgements about what new projects get subsidies.

Onshore wind has deployed successfully to-date and is an important part of our energy mix.

In 2014, onshore wind made up around 5% of electricity generation, supported by around £800m of subsidies.

At the end of April 2015, there were 490 operational onshore wind farms in the UK, comprising 4751 turbines in total.

These wind farms have an installed capacity of 8.3GW enough to power the equivalent of over 4.5 million homes.

The Electricity Market Reform Delivery Plan projects that we require between 11-13 GW of electricity to be provided by onshore wind by 2020 to meet our 2020 renewable electricity generation objective while remaining within the limits of what is affordable.

We now have enough onshore wind in the pipeline, including projects that have planning permission, to meet this requirement comfortably.

Without action we are very likely to deploy beyond this range.

We could end up with more onshore wind projects than we can afford – which would lead to either higher bills for consumers, or other renewable technologies, such as offshore wind, losing out on support.

We need to continue investing in less mature technologies so that they realise their promise, just as onshore wind has done.

It is therefore appropriate to curtail further subsidised deployment of onshore wind, balancing the interests of onshore developers with those of bill payers.

This Government was elected with a commitment to end new subsidies for onshore wind and also to change the law so that local people have the final say on onshore wind applications.

We are now acting on that commitment.

Alongside proposals outlined within the new Energy Bill to devolve decision making for new onshore wind farms out of Whitehall, My Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has set out further considerations to be applied to proposed wind energy development in England so that local people have the final say on onshore wind farm applications.

I set out to Parliament on 18th June proposals to end new subsidies for onshore wind, specifically in relation to the Renewables Obligation, which will be closed to new onshore wind from 1st April 2016 – a year earlier than planned.

Mr. Speaker my Department’s analysis indicates that, after taking account of an early closure, onshore wind deployment under the RO will be in the region of 11.6GW.

With this capacity, and that of onshore wind projects that have received support through the new Contracts for Difference, we expect around 12.3GW of onshore wind to be operating in the UK by 2020 supported by the Levy Control Framework providing around 10% of electricity generation.

This puts us above the middle of the deployment range set out in the EMR Delivery Plan, our best estimates of what we would need to meet the planned contribution from renewable electricity to our 2020 targets.

I have proposed a grace period which would continue to give access to support under the RO to those projects which, as of 18th June 2015, already have planning consent, a grid connection offer and acceptance and evidence of land rights for the site on which their projects will be built.

We estimate that around 7.1 GW of onshore wind capacity proposed across the UK will not be eligible for the grace period and are therefore unlikely to go ahead as a result of announcement of the 18 June.

That equates to around 250 projects totalling around 2500 turbines now unlikely to be built.

Therefore, by closing the RO to onshore wind early, we are ensuring that we meet our renewable electricity objectives, while managing the impact on consumer bills and ensuring that other renewables technologies continue to develop and reduce their costs.

Consumer bills will not rise because of this change. Indeed, those onshore wind projects unlikely now to go ahead would have cost hundreds of millions of pounds.

I believe this draws the line in the right place.

In advance of this announcement, I and other Ministers and officials have been discussing these proposals with the Devolved Administrations in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Now want to hear the further views from devolved administrations, and also industry and other stakeholders.

This is just the beginning of the process, and we will continue to consult with them as we move towards implementation.

The changes to the Renewables Obligation do not affect remote island wind proposals which would not have been in a position to receive RO subsidy even under previous timelines and I will be saying more about how future CFD projects will be treated in due course.

But I am particularly conscious of the fact that 68% of the onshore wind pipeline relates to projects in Scotland.

I will continue to consult with colleagues in the Scottish Government, indeed I am meeting the Scottish Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, on Wednesday.

And by implementing these changes through primary legislation, they will be subject to full parliamentary scrutiny including from Members representing Scottish constituencies.

Mr Speaker, with regard to Contracts for Difference,

We have the tools available to implement our manifesto commitments on onshore wind and will set out how we will do so when announcing plans in relation to further CfD allocations.

I will also shortly be considering options for future support for community onshore wind projects that might represent one or two turbines, through the feed-in tariff (FITs) as part of the review that my department is conducting this year.

I do not wish to stand in the way of local communities coming together to generate low carbon electricity in a manner that is acceptable to them, including through small scale wind capacity.

However, that action must be affordable as well as acceptable.

Mr Speaker, clean energy doesn’t begin and end with onshore wind.

Onshore wind is an important part of our current and future low-carbon energy mix.

But we are reaching the limits of what is affordable, and what the public is prepared to accept.

We are committed to meeting our decarbonisation objectives. The changes I have outlined to Parliament will not change this.

And I look forward to having meaningful discussions, with industry, with other stakeholders and with colleagues in the House and in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, on how we move forward.

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Noise data new weapon in war on windfarms

Noise data new weapon in war on windfarms.

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The Climate Wars’ Damage to (Credible) Science

Dougal Quixote:

Unacceptable to the new religion of Climate Change, debate is as natural as the sun rising in the morning.

Originally posted on Quixotes Last Stand:

The great thing about science is that it’s self-correcting. The good drives out the bad, because experiments get replicated and hypotheses tested — or so I used to think. Now, thanks largely to climate science, I see bad ideas can persist for decades, and surrounded by myrmidons of furious defenders they become intolerant dogmas.

Matt Ridley — Quadrant — June 19, 2015

For much of my life I have been a science writer. That means I eavesdrop on what’s going on in laboratories so I can tell interesting stories. It’s analogous to the way art critics write about art, but with a difference: we “science critics” rarely criticise. If we think a scientific paper is dumb, we just ignore it. There’s too much good stuff coming out of science to waste time knocking the bad stuff.

Sure, we occasionally take a swipe at pseudoscience—homeopathy, astrology, claims that genetically modified food…

View original 93 more words

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Breaking News

Death of a turbine“Wind farms must hold grid and planning as of today in order to qualify for the Renewables Obligation grace period beyond March 2016.

DECC said projects will need to demonstrate as of 18 June 2015 that they have planning consent, a grid connection offer and acceptance, and evidence of land rights.”

If this is true a great number of people will be mightily relieved.

See this link for the report: http://renews.biz/90431/decc-grid-consent-needed-today/

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Where do we go from here?

cameron thinkingThe next few months will be interesting. Amanda Rudd and Cameron have drawn a very clear line in the sand and although negotiations will take place with developers about the Grace period, I think they may find a rather cool reception. From information that we have been able to obtain it would seem that the Government has decided to stick their heals in and ride out any storm. We do know that some wind farm developers are plunging along headlong hoping to get their necks past the finishing post before the ROCs are frozen. However they are destined for a fall! The Secretary of State in her written Statement to Parliament has crossed the Ts and dotted the Is. The phraseology is pertinent. “I am proposing a grace period which would continue to give access to support under the RO to those projects which, as of today, already have planning consent, a grid connection offer and acceptance(contract) and evidence of land rights for the site on which theri project will be built. The words “as of today” draws a line in the sand. As long as this is not watered down in the primary legislation it is all over bar the shouting. Yes a lot of wind farms already have such approvals and a further 748MW on shore is sanctioned through Contracts for Difference(CfDs) but they have a time scale to commission by March 31st next year which will be challenging for some.

There was a  danger in Scotland that many appeals on the Ministers desk would be  rubber stamped in a fit of pique from the FM. Some of these are in Wild Lands areas.That danger seems to have been addressed. There may be legal challenges from some developers intent on suing the Westminster Government. Apparently HMG and the DECC are prepared for this and have concluded that any awards, which would be limited to costs not to future profits, will be cheaper than the alternative. However there is a buoyant mood that such challenges will fail. After all any application is purely speculative without planning permission, land rights and connectivity.

What for the future? Fergus Ewing has already come out in support of existing Nuclear at Hunterston and Toreness. Is that a tacit signal that by 2026 we may have new nuclear facilities on line or at least under construction in Scotland? Geothermal power stations may well be approved in the UK. There are five suitable areas previously identified. Fracking is going ahead and new CGT power stations are relatively quick to build. Tidal and wave, still a dream in the eyes of many, could get increased support as an out of sight, out of mind technology. Offshore wind is still very much on the agenda which must worry those in sight of Navitus Bay. But of course onshore has not gone away. Existing onshore will continue to enjoy subsidy. In Feb 2015 748MW of Onshore wind was approved through the Contracts for Difference scheme, some 250 turbines, most in Scotland. This does not form part of the Renewable Obligation scheme frozen by the Secretary of State. On farm turbines and solar still benefit from the more generous Feed in Tariff scheme although the Secretary of State implies that will be addressed later in the year. She also suggests that Community and Island schemes, where the energy is used locally, will still receive some support. Scottish Renewables have previously stated that wind can stand alone without subsidy. We may yet see some applications come forward, especially extensions to existing wind farms, which may not be due subsidy. On a mute point, if an extension is built and the generated power is fed through the existing substation how do you separate out subsidy and non subsidy energy? That could be a good wheeze for the wind farm developers! Hopefully the Grid and the DECC will be wise to that scam.

What I regret to say is that it will not put a brake on those approved, rather the opposite. There is a break period that seems to say that any wind farm not built AND operating by the 1st April 2016 will have missed the boat. We are aware of a number of large schemes that either for financial, operational or connectivity issues have not been built yet. Of course if they are held up for connection issues and no agreement is yet in place they will have failed on one of the three conditions for continuance. It does not defy logic that these will be pressed forward for construction by next April. Whilst that time scale is too tight for larger schemes it may suggest that there may be some mission creep in the period of Grace.

We won’t be seeing wind turbines falling by their thousands and carted off to the scrapyard YET, neither can we relax until April next year. However as one famous statesman is often misquoted “this may not be the end but it is the beginning of the end”

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Great Response from the Telepraph

Rural communities have reacted with relief and delight after David Cameron called time on the SNP’s wind farm march across Scotland’s countryside.

Anti-turbine campaigners praised the UK Government’s decision to exclude new onshore wind farms from claiming a key subsidy from April next year, 12 months earlier than expected.

They said the move, which is expected to stop the construction of many developments not yet given planning permission, was a welcome respite for communities “besieged by subsidy chasers” taking advantage of the SNP’s “open door” policy.

But they said it was to the “eternal shame” of the Scottish Government that it was only the Conservatives who had heeded the concerns of rural Scots, with one prominent campaigner stating: “Thank God for Westminster.”

SNP ministers were furious with the decision, even claiming they may challenge it in the courts, with Nicola Sturgeon describing it as “wrong-headed”, “perverse” and “downright outrageous”.

In a letter to Mr Cameron, she warned the wind farm companies may sue the taxpayer for compensation for planned schemes “rendered useless by this decision.” The industry claimed the move would cost consumers up to £3 billion.

However, the John Muir Trust, the eminent environmental protection group, said it was the “right time” to work out an energy mix that is affordable “without damaging our wild and natural landscapes.”

The funding for the subsidy comes from the Renewable Obligation (RO), which is funded by levies added to household bills. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said there will be grace period for projects already with planning permission.

Although energy policy is reserved to Westminster, the SNP government in Edinburgh has used its control over the planning system in Scotland to encourage the construction of thousands of turbines across the countryside.

Alex Salmond, the former First Minister, set a target of generating the equivalent of all Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020, with the vast majority coming from onshore wind.

Amid growing opposition from local communities, Scotland’s most senior planning officials even warned that the countryside risked becoming a “wind farm landscape”.

But the Scottish Government told council planners they had set aside too little land for wind farms and Scotland now hosts more than half the UK’s onshore turbines.

Nicola Sturgeon was outraged at the UK Government’s decision

Scotland Against Spin, a national alliance of groups and individuals which campaigns against turbines being built in unsuitable locations, said it was “delighted” the Tories had honoured an election manifesto promise to “end the ludicrously generous subsidies for onshore wind farms.”

Graham Lang, the group’s chairman, said: “ Speculative developers from across the world have flocked to Scotland because of the SNP’s open door policy to the wind industry. Scottish communities besieged by subsidy-chasers can at last look forward to some respite.

“Yet to its eternal shame the Scottish Government has ignored the clamour for reform from its own people. There is a terrible irony that the Conservatives at Westminster, not the nationalists at Holyrood, have finally stood up to the wind speculators and put the interests of communities and consumers first.”

Lyndsey Ward said she hoped the decision would stop the construction of 25 turbines near her home just outside of Beauly, in the Scottish Highlands.

She said she was “fairly disgusted” with the Scottish Government as Fergus Ewing, the SNP Energy Minister, had “parroted wind industry propaganda”. She added: “They should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. Thank God for Westminster.”

Campaigners against a plan to erect 18 410ft-tall turbines in rural Angus, above the Blackwater Reservoir, also welcomed the announcement.

Sue Smith, a spokesman for the Friends of Backwater and Glenisla Against Turbines group, whose husband Maj Gen Martin Smith is Commandant General of the Royal Marines, said: “The removal of obscene levels of financial gain which these subsidies offer should discourage land owners and turbine developers from exploiting irresistible opportunities to make a fast buck, at the expense of local communities and their environments.”

She also praised the UK Government plans to give communities the final say on large wind farm developments south of the Border and attacked the SNP for failing to introduce this in Scotland.

But, speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Ms Sturgeon said the decision was “utterly wrong-headed” and her government would “do everything in our power” to get it changed.

Mr Ewing said repeated the wind farm companies’ claims the move could cost consumers £3 billion, adding: “We have warned the UK Government that the decision, which appears irrational, may well be the subject of a judicial review.”

But Murdo Fraser, Scottish Tory energy spokesman, said: “This is a Conservative Government standing up for communities that the central belt SNP couldn’t care less about.”

He added: “The latest figures show that, with all the wind projects already constructed, those under construction or given consent, we have already met the SNPs 100 per cent target for renewable electricity.”

A DECC spokesman said: “If we’d allowed the RO to stay open longer, we could have ended up with more projects than we can afford – which would have led to either higher bills, or other renewable technologies losing out on support.”

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What a Ruddy Miracle!


“Up to 5.2GW of onshore wind capacity could be eligible for grace periods which the Government is minded to offer to projects that already have planning consent, a grid connection offer and acceptance, as well as evidence of land rights.”

Well Amanda Rudd has announce the closure of Onshore wind subsidy by the end of March 2016. That the Scottish Government has screamed foul is expected but Richard Lochead’s attack based on the loss to on farm turbines may be misplaced as no reference to FIT payments is stated in the paper. This will be addressed later in the year with support to local community and island schemes under consideration. Contracts for FITs are very different and long term. They do need serious pruning though!

“DECC will look at options to continue support for community energy projects, as part of the Feed-in Tariff Review later this year.”

The Government paper only refers to Renewable Obligations which is large wind farms. If the SG took it’s head out of the sand and read the paper in detail they would not make such a fool of themselves.

Fact remains though that the devil is in the detail and until this is fully understood, especially relating to that in planning, we should be careful less we crow too much. Rudd praises wind and says it has reached the 2% target(DECC paper suggests 5%). That, to me, is equivalent of saying a bag of crisps a week will keep body and soul together and is necessary to keep us alive? Truth is that during days of high pressure weather 1% is the most that can be expected.

Effectively the detail requires planning consent, a grid connection offer and acceptance, and land rights to allow acceptance in that grace period. Grid Connection is one aspect that has held up the construction of many approved wind farms and grid connections tends only to be applied for after planning approval. You might remember the challenge on Viking was based on a lack of grid connection.

Scottish Government are threatening Judicial Revue but on what basis as Scotland’s 100% target has been met. Sounds more like the Scottish Ministers throwing their rattles out of the pram. ‘Ba Humbug, Westminster aren’t playing by our rules’. No, but they are playing by the rules of democracy and following the remit the UK voter defined!

One caveat in this is the support for Offshore wind which is suggested will considerably increase the capacity of wind by 2020 to 10% of our energy requirements. CfD may limit the costs but at the moment with ROCs for offshore double that of onshore wind is still an increasingly expensive energy source. By 2020 it may be that new gas generation will make them redundant with new nuclear in the pipeline and well advance and geothermal also operational. Rudd has featured on the intermittency and unreliability of wind and solar but that doesn’t quite gel with offshore as reliant on when and if the wind blows as onshore. Sometimes I see non-sequitors in the arguments that leave me speechless!

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Apologies if we have been a little quiet recently but we are all waiting for the announcements, or not, from Amanda Rudd and the DECC and how cuts will effect wind farms in Scotland. There are a fair level of concerns after the DECC told the Chair of the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee that cuts on NEW subsidies would be brought in in 2020. They did however confirm that it would effect Scotland too. Now five years away all plans in fruition, some 3000 turbines, could be approved and built. That would be a disaster not least because that wording suggests that only new subsidies would be frozen but existing payments would continue.

I put these statements through a new piece of hi-tec equipment that I have acquired and this was the result.

bullshit meter

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How is the UK going to deliver it’s pledges to curb wind?

From the Telegraph:

Subsidies that have fuelled the spread of onshore wind farms are to be dramatically curtailed, under Government plans to be unveiled within days.

The Telegraph has learnt that a generous subsidy scheme will be shut down earlier than expected, effectively preventing thousands of turbines from getting built, under plans being considered by Amber Rudd, the new energy secretary.

The proposals, which could be announced as soon as this week, will set out for the first time how the Conservatives will implement their manifesto pledge to end any new public subsidy for onshore wind farms – amid concerns that turbines are unpopular with local communities.

Under current policy, any big onshore wind turbines built before the end of March 2017 would automatically be able to qualify for generous payments through a scheme called the Renewables Obligation (RO), which is funded through green levies on consumer energy bills.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has now confirmed it plans to “reform” the RO scheme. It is understood to be looking at ending the free-for-all by shutting the scheme down early – effectively preventing thousands of turbines getting built. The action follows similar moves taken to curb subsidies for solar farms last year.

After the RO shuts, the only possible subsidies for wind farms will be through a new scheme that is less generous and also much more strictly rationed, with ministers deciding how many projects – if any – are awarded subsidy contracts, enabling them to block further onshore wind if desired.

As well as big wind farms, subsidies for small individual wind turbines such as those popular with farmers – funded through a separate scheme called the Feed in Tariff – are expected to be limited under the plans.

A spokesman for the DECC said: “We are driving forward plans to end new public subsidy for onshore wind farms.

“We will shortly be publishing our plans to reform the Renewables Obligation and Feed in Tariff scheme to implement this commitment. With the cost of supplying onshore wind falling, government subsidy is no longer appropriate.

“We have supported new technologies when they’ve been a good deal for the consumer – providing start-up funding and certainty about future payments to help them become competitive. However, those subsidies won’t continue when costs come down – that’s not value for money for billpayers in the long run.”

Amber Rudd, the new Energy Secretary

Ms Rudd said: “We promised people clean, affordable and secure energy supplies and that’s what I’m going to deliver. We’ll focus support on renewables when they’re starting up – getting a good deal for billpayers is the top priority.”

Government plans to tackle climate change and hit EU renewable energy targets envisage that between 11 and 13 gigawatts (GW) of onshore wind power is needed by 2020.

More than 9.5 GW of projects – about 5,500 turbines – have either already been built or are under construction in the UK. At least 5.2 GW more wind farms – almost 3,000 more turbines – have already been granted planning permission.

Even if not all of these are built there would still be enough to hit the top end of Government plans.

On top of that, there are close to 3,000 more big new turbines with a combined capacity of more than 7GW seeking planning permission.

The DECC spokesman said: “Looking at what has already had planning permission, there is enough onshore wind to contribute what’s needed to reach the ambition set out in the Coalition Government’s renewables roadmap that 30 per cent of our electricity should come from renewables by 2020.”

Many of the projects that already have planning permission would have been expecting to secure subsidies under the RO scheme and it is not clear whether they will still be able to if the scheme shuts early. Ministers may consider offering a ‘grace period’, enabling some of those that already have permission to still get built while blocking off subsidies for those that do not.

One of the biggest factors determining the impact of the proposed changes will be whether or not they apply in Scotland, where the majority of proposed turbines are due to be built.

The Government said last week that it would “consult with the devolved administrations on changes to subsidy regimes for onshore wind farms”.

Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP Scottish First Minister, wants more onshore wind farms and has already demanded a veto on the Tory plans – raising the prospect that subsidies could continue to be paid to new projects in Scotland.

However the Conservatives will be under pressure from their own backbenches to ensure the subsidies are scrapped across the UK.

The Government also announced in the Queen’s Speech last week that it would bring forward legislation to give local communities “the final say” by ensuring large wind farm projects are decided at local rather than national level.

Ms Rudd said: “We need to make decisions on energy more democratic and give our communities a direct say into new onshore wind farms where they live. In future, I want planning decisions on onshore wind farms to be made by local people – not by politicians in Westminster.”

However those in the green energy industry had been most concerned about the pledge to end subsidies, amid uncertainty over the detail of the plans.

Critics of the Conservative pledge, including Tim Yeo, the former Tory head of the energy committee, and Ed Davey, the former Lib Dem energy secretary, have argued that it will actually push up bills as ministers instead offer subsidies to more offshore wind farms that are even more expensive.

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The truth about wind performance – Click to see current output


The people behind this want to show : “Wind is often derided as relatively unimportant, so we thought it would be nice to show the increasingly important role it plays in a balanced mix of energy generation”.

Well when one looks at the hourly variation you soon realise that any energy source that is that unstable is creating major issues with the Grid and one that preforms so poorly given the massive investment is nothing better than a scam! I can only assume that the people behind this website are as deluded as the politicians. However they have provided us with an opportunity to assess the reality of wind. A useful graphic rather than the rather pointless reference to houses served would be a comparison with one gas powered generator, one coal and one nuclear. That would expose the ridiculous situation we face.

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Will Thorium be tomorrows fuel?

I was shocked to be berated by an ecology graduate recently over my support for nuclear energy. It seemed her knowledge was restricted to Greenham Common and Magnox reactors. Hey, nuclear energy has moved on light years from when energy from nuclear was a by-product of the production of fissionable materials for nuclear weapons. And yet at a time when new technologies from Fusion to micro nuclear to thorium are just arriving in the mix our government it stuck inthe dark ages with the commissioning of the Hinckly Point’s new reactor. The UK used to lead the world in nuclear power station construction but we sold our last manufacturer, the US Westinghouse Company, to the Japanese a couple of years ago. So we have jumped for the French Electricité de France who have major problem with the Finnish Nuclear scheme and the cost of de-commissioning aged French reactors. Should we not again by extending the frontiers with new technologies? This video gives a good background to Thorium generation, the 21st Century answer to nuclear energy.

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Area 34 – the future of wild lands

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A Post Election letter to our Prime Minister

cameron thinking

Dear Mr Cameron

Following your success in the General Election, and now that you are no longer hamstrung by coalition partners who worshipped at the windy altar, we are looking forward to you honouring the pledge in your manifesto to stop onshore wind subsidies.

Please ignore the inevitable wailing from the wind industry and greedy landowners.

They have played us – you – all for fools for far too long.

Their coffers floweth over.

You have to admire them in a way. This was the scam to end all scams. They have gotten rich on the back of the most vulnerable and persuaded many that they are here to save us from ourselves and to protect our ‘dying’ planet.

Their hypocrisy never ceases to amaze as big windy players continue to mine and burn the dirtiest coal, lignite, because wind energy is so unreliable.
The very same players have been allowed to lecture us on the need for ‘clean’ energy as they try and force their wind developments upon us.

They have convinced the politicians and the planners that industrial turbines enhance the environment, don’t cause adverse health effects to those who live near, pollute the environment or kill too many birds and bats.

They have been indignant at the suggestion that local sustainable tourism will suffer from their dominating machines and the miles of required access tracks, pylons, transmission lines and ugly sprawling substations.

They have spouted and waffled about emissions savings while all the while knowing the calculations to get to their fantasy figures are deeply flawed.

They have promised thousands upon thousands of homes ‘could’ be powered by their unreliable rotating cash machines.
They forget to add there will only be energy when the wind blows and fossil fuels will always be needed to stop the lights going out.

They have slithered into our schools to ‘educate’ the young minds of pupils into their windy ways to keep the next generation onside and the money flowing into their already bursting bank accounts.

They launch a full and devastating attack on the areas they target.

They take an axe to communities to split them in two in an effort to divide and conquer creating wounds that will never heal.

They have ignored the voices of the local people who have said ‘No’ to them and lie and say they are ‘listening’ to the community.

They shuffle a turbine here or there, reduce the height, raise the height, remove one or two (replaced when their next application for an extension gets approved) and say it is because ‘they have heard our concerns’.

They wave the stinking rotten carrot of community bribery under the noses of the persuadable – usually those who will be least affected.

They effectively run in, lob in a hand grenade of misery, destroy dreams and hopes and run back out again – never having to see or live with what they have inflicted on a once peaceful and happy community.

They have overwhelmed cash strapped local authorities with multiple turbine applications knowing the system is creaking and struggling.

They have routinely appealed refusal by the naughty council, who dared to stand up to them, to the government costing the local authority even more money which leads to cuts in vital services for the tax payer.

Yes they have played a blinder but little by little dedicated campaigners have chipped away at their windy lies and people are beginning to realise just what this is costing them on their energy bills, goods, services, council taxes, income tax, the environment, quality of life and the wildlife.

So Mr Cameron forget the troughers you may know who also feed on the windy subsidies and stand up for us instead.

You said you would. We are relying on you to deliver the swift blow to put the wind industry down once and for all.

We never want it to raise its ugly subsidy dependent head again.

You will never be forgiven if you don’t.

So please Mr Cameron just “get rid of all the green crap”

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Death of Tourism

effects on Tourism

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