Final Report Published (Oct 2012)
This is a comprehensive and detailed report of the physical impacts derived from the possible 4 Operation and Maintenance(O&M) options .
Bizarrely a possible onshore convertor station was excluded from the consultant’s remit.
The report lacks any substantive socio- economic study other than referencing SQW(2), This was not community consulted as originally specified . NTA may pursue this issue .
The greatest cause for concern is the lack of a substantive independent socio- economic study, to input into the L&C process. The outcome of this Onshore Scenario Mapping Exercise indicate that any further impact study will be addressed in the developer’s EIA .
NTA would suggest that this is not the outcome that Tiree expected. Two years ago Scottish Government declared the proposed Array could be ” transformational” and proposed a Master Planning exercise for Tiree. This has morphed into this On-Shore Scenario Mapping exercise . .
The L&C process is showing evidence that it may be seriously flawed.
SPR cannot be assumed to present in their EIA a substantive ,uncritical assessment of the social impacts of the demographic transfer , wage distortion, economic , social and cultural dominance they will exert upon Tiree if this Array is consented .
Following on from the series of consultations , this Final Report has been published.
NTA, prior to this Final Report’s publication, raised with A&B Council a series of Key points(bold) to which A&B replied as follows:-
What is the status of the report – this is non-statutory piece of work and is for information purposes only based on a particular point in time and the information available to us at that time.
The report should not be concluded at this time as things will be developed further and changes coming forward from the developer will impact on the report – As stated above we will review the position in 6 months’ time to determine if there have been any changes that would impact on the scenarios. We have always been aware that the development of the scenarios was based on the information available at a particular point in time and that as information coming forward changes and the development advances there will be greater clarity as to the potential implications on shore form such a development.
The report does not contain sufficient information as regard impact on infrastructure as a consequence of the convertor station and or from the harbour development – Given that we do not know which of the scenarios the developer will adopt and given that there is still very limited information in regard to each of the four we are not yet in a position to determine impacts at this level of detail. The scenario mapping is based on assumptions and until further detail is available and there is clarity on the actual scenario being taken forward it would not be feasible to undertake more detailed work on these. The developer will consider the detailed impact from any onshore requirements as part of their EIA. It is hoped that further information will be available relative to the convertor station at the SPR information event at the end of this month.
Data sources used have not been through due process – this relates to a background report that was referenced as part of the economic consideration. The background report was commissioned through ARC. It does not have a specific locus for the on shore scenario mapping but is a source available for background socio economic information.
Note: NTA took no formal part in this project other than an initial meeting with the consultants to advise why NTA could not participate .
This report provides insight into the 4 possible Onshore O&M scenarios for the proposed Array. The parameters of each O&M scenario were submitted by SPR. It is not clear as to what degree of interrogation SPR’s parameters were subjected, as a possible on shore HVDC converter station has not been addressed in this report
Anecdotal evidence suggests that hardly any one has bothered to study this report in full. This does a grave dis- service to the quality of consultancy Ironside Farrar have put into this report.
The production of the Draft report , and its subsequent consultation stage , co-incided with SPR’s end March 2012 announcement delaying their consenting submission till 2nd half 2014 .
Thereafter followed silence till the Tiree public meeting Thurs 20 Sept 2012.
Tiree public meeting Thurs 20 Sept 2012.
The poorly attended meeting was given a brief introduction by Audrey Martin (Development Projects and Renewables Manager,A&B Council) , followed by presentation of the main aspects of the report by Julian Farrar, on behalf of the consultants, Ironside Farrar.
Attendees from the Steering Group included :-John Stevenson (Crown Estates;- offshore wind in Scottish Territorial Waters)/Lucinda Gray ( HIE/Senior Development Manager)/ColinMacFarlane (SNH Ops Officer Mull,Coll,Tiree) .Marine Scotland was to attend but circumstances prevented attendance.
After the power- point presentation of the draft report , the meeting was open for discussion .
A main issue raised was the possible on- shore HVDC converter station .
Reference was made to the 4th quarter 2011 public consultation events, from which it had emerged that placing off shore any HVDC converter was the preferred community option . SPR’s concession to this conclusion was to state it was ‘minded’ to do so.
Notwithstanding being ‘minded’‘ SPR, consistent with their statement at the outset that :-…. “The masterplan should therefore be decoupled from the project consent process”, have decided, unilaterally, to present, for further consideration, an onshore option for any HVDC converter.
A HVDC converter station is a finite concept . It can only be located either on, or off shore.
A HVDC converter station is as finite a concept as any one of the 4 O&M scenarios offered by SPR for Onshore Scenario Mapping, yet it would appear , from the outset, SPR did not offer it as an input parameter to this exercise.
SPR have consistently refused to present visualisations/montages of any such option. The discussion ,at the meeting , regarding the possible placing on shore of any HVDC converter could not have made it any clearer to SPR that SPR was expected to reconsider its position, and present appropriate visualisations/montages of any on-shore HVDC at its next PID.
Time will tell if SPR is willing to reconsider its position .
The meeting was given this image (below) to illustrate on shore HVDC station, (co-incidently this same image has been on the NTA site for many months !!) .
It was also offered a card board cut-out representing an On-Shore Convertor station as per the dimensions given in SPR’s AUG 2010 Scoping Request. Subsequently these have proven to be (1) misleading and (2) recklessly under-estimated.
The meeting raised other issues, including the lack of substantive information on(a) any possible harbour development , and(b) the socio -economic issues which will arise from any significant demographic transfer .
It was the general perspective of the attendees , that this report could not conclude or recommend anything meaningful, unless it moved into a 2nd stage to address, in detail many of the issues raised by the report . The absence of a 2nd stage would condemn this report to have served little practical purpose, beyond informing on aspects of 4 O&M scenarios. Members of the steering group appeared to concur with this perspective.
“Where it went from here ” was raised at the Dec 2011 steering committee meeting;-
The format of final reporting was discussed.( A member of the steering committee) suggested the preference would be for there to be a presentation of the final report to the community, at which point the anticipated next steps for the project should be outlined (e.g. what is the process going forward and how does the community remain engaged in this).
Regrettably, this suggestion would appear to have been given no more than lip service.
It now remains to be seen if Scottish Govt and A&B council have the inclination, or fiscal resources, to move this forward .
On-Shore Convertor Station
NTA has published CAD drawings of the possible On-shore Convertor station to the SPR’s corrected dimensions revealed by them at their subsequent ( 31 OCT) Update meeting ;
CRITIQUE OF FINAL REPORT ;-
Following the Publication of the Final Report, and its obvious weaknesses , in particular its lack of any substantive assessment of a possible Onshore Convertor Station, NTA submitted this critique to all members of the steering group.
P.S.:-The following is the compilation of the associated correspondence,to date, with Scottish Government and MS on (1) any possible On-Shore Converter station (2) Night Time Visualisations:-
The responses were of the ‘pass the parcel‘ genre !!
It was not till after the publication of the Final Report that SPR corrected the structural dimensions of any onshore convertor station , ( 5 fold increase in foot print ) , but also advised the corrected structural dimensions ( 2 fold increase in ‘ sea print’ ) of the possible OffShore Convertor.
The Array now on hold for 12 month gives an opportunity to ensure the deficiencies in this Onshore Scenario report are addressed in the event that the project were to be re-started .