I looked at the new Highland Council Wind Farm maps and wondered which muppet had drawn them. Approved, but not yet constructed, wind farms had mysteriously disappeared as had those in planning and scoping. It was a sanitised wind farm map that might well have been drawn by Scottish Renewables spin machine. Then to add insult to injury the Highland Spatial Framework Map appeared and effectively the whole of the Highlands reaction was “WE’RE SCREWED!” Almost every nook and hollow, every pimple and molehill was categorised as Areas with Potential for Wind Farm Development. You really must hate the Highlands to produce that or be totally ignorant. Now the Highland Council has outsourced their web site to a company in Leicester down in the East Midlands of England (despite a mass of capable and experienced web companies in Inverness and the Highlands) and to say it is not the best website around would be the understatement of the year! Could it be that these maps were drawn in the upstairs office on an industrial estate in England? They certainly would seem to have been created by someone with no knowledge or understanding of the area. Now staggering under the sucker punch of two misleading maps I decided to see how they compared with the Wild Lands Map. Well whoever drew the Spatial Framework Map had never considered the conflicts with that map. Now there are tests in the offing on Wild Land, non less so than the appeal for Carn Gorm on the western flanks of Ben Wyvis. Wild Land is not a statutory designation but more a wish list. We see how easily it was redrawn to allow Stronelairg to proceed. Launched with a fanfare of bagpipes(?) by the Scottish Ministers last year it has yet to be fully tested.
The ‘problems’ with Longannet have polarised views in the hierachy of the SNP with the First Minister now announcing open season for the wind weasels. That Longannet is owned by the subsidy junky Iberdrola masquerading as “Scottish Power” it is not surprising that this was a high risk poker game about Longannet receiving the same subsidy stream that Whitelees enjoys. Pay if you do and pay if you don’t (generate power). There are issues for fossil fuel generation in that technology is designed to run 24/7/365 and preferential rules for wind results in under use of capacity which quickly can turn to heavy losses. It is now an eschewed market. That the Scottish Government and Ofgem are such poor poker players has much to do with the fact that Iberdrola was dealt all the Aces! The result though has been that the First Minister has bowed before the Wind Industry and given them the Green Light. Virtually everything is back on the table! The result is an aggressive launch of appeals in the sure knowledge that they will be approved as well as the need to tag on to the ROCs payment before the more competitive CfD system kicks in. The Gravy Train may soon be leaving and they all want their seats first!
Now back to the maps. Well I thought to create my own but I have been diverted to other issues of late and Alan Sloman has produced a set far better than I could ever hope to do. So I shall refer you all to his Blog and his assessment of the true state of affairs. Click here for the Truth Over to you Alan!