Changing vistas: The view from Ardentinny

Photomontage of proposed wind farm site taken from Shepherds Point/Sandy Beach, Ardentinny. Courtesy: Roseneath Peninsula West Development Trust [click image to enlarge]

25 Oct 23:47 UPDATE: RPWDT has now updated its website and included a section devoted to the Community Wind Farm. This includes the DRAFT Environmental Impact Assessment and photomontages including the view from Ardentinny.

Following on from a public meeting in Cove last Saturday, Community Council members from along ‘The Shore’ (Strone, Kilmun, Blairmore and Ardentinny) were given a briefing on Tuesday evening by representatives from Roseneath Peninsula West Development Trust (RPWDT) on the proposed Cove Community Wind Farm.

Generating some 11.5MW of power, the five 92.5m turbines would be located on leased land on the Roseneath Peninsula opposite Blairmore Pier. It would be the largest community owned wind farm in the UK. The turbines will be clearly visible from Ardentinny and would follow a 130m contour line. The Trust hopes the wind farm will be up and running by March 2014.

RPWDT Convener Murdo MacDonald

Trust Convener Murdo MacDonald said that the project consultants had tried to ensure that the turbines would be “backclothed” (i.e. hills/mountains to the rear of the wind farm) from most viewpoints. From the photomontages on display though, it would appear that the view of the turbines from Ardentinny is against the skyline.

The £15m project will be financed by a bank loan and we understand that the team is already in discussions with the Cooperative Bank. Revenues from the wind farm annually have been estimated at £2.5 million, with the intention of the project generating some £300k – £400k per annum for the community during the initial 15 years of its 25-year lifespan.

The income will provide the Roseneath community with a major cash injection to the area which would be used to enhance the local infrastructure such as affordable housing, sheltered housing and other community projects.

To date the RPWDT has raised almost half a million pounds for the preparatory work, with funding coming from Natural Scotland; LEADER Argyll and Island; Community Energy Scotland; The European Agricultural Fund; The Scottish Government; Scottish Community Projects Fund; Dunbritton Housing Association; The Robertson Trust; Voluntary Action Trust and The Big Lottery.

Murdo MacDonald emphasised that it would not only be the Roseneath Peninsula communities who would benefit from the wind farm, as the intention was for the RPWDT to amend its constitution to allow communities outwith the area to benefit. As the shore villages of Ardentinny, Blairmore and Strone  would be the most visually impacted by the location of the wind turbines, they would also stand to benefit by an estimated £30k per annum.

Briefing representatives from the shore Community Councils.

The Trust is currently balloting residents in the peninsula villages directly affected by the wind farm. If the vote is in favour (an anticipated 66% yes vote), a planning application will be submitted to Argyll and Bute Council at the end of November 2012.

An exhaustive environmental impact statement has been prepared and this will be available online after the public ballot. A series of photomontages, one of which is from Shepherds Point, Ardentinny (see image above) has also beeen included in the Trust’s website.

Given that the proposed development is adjacent to the Ministry of Defence at Coulport, there was discussion as to whether there had been any objections from the MOD. Mr. MacDonald said that there had been close liaison with the MOD and that they had no objections.

One attendee asked if the Trust had sufficient funds if the planning application had to go to appeal. Mr. MacMurdo said “We have to get this right first time” as they would not have the funds for lengthy appeals.

Another asked if ‘strobing effect‘ from the turbines had been considered? The questioner was advised to consult the environmental impact statement online as the Trust representatives were not immediately conversant with all the detail.

The RPWDT team behind the project are keen to involve all the shore communities during this exploratory period. It was suggested to the project leader that, to enable all the shore communities to fully participate in the discussion process, a public meeting could be held. Mr. MacMurdo indicated that this would be given consideration.

Related links:

Community Wind Farm documentation

Photomontage: View from Ardentinny

Roseneath Peninsula West Development Trust

Cove Wind Farm location map

Who would see the arc of the turbines?

What happens next?

Packed meeting debates wind farm plan

Downloadable wind farm ballot leaflet (pdf)

Wind farm location map. [click image to enlarge]

  Join the Discussion! Ardentinny.org and RPWDT would like to hear your views on the proposed wind farm. You can leave a comment below, via Facebook or on Twitter (#covewindfarm). You can also contact the RPWDT team here.

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Comments

  1. Graham Walker says:

    Well I will try this blog after trying 3 and emailing the trust on numerous occasions!!!! NOTHING why is the TRUST ignoring perfectly good questions relating to the proposed WF. When i said it was closed doors and secretive I was told by someone “You will be talking aliens next” probably more chance than getting a reply from them. Guess what I’m a member of the trust but still nothing!!! If anyone has any ideas where they have gone let me know. I thought it was a new Lodge in Kilcreggan.

    G Walker

  2. Laurence Slavin says:

    Geoff,

    When we attended the meeting with the various community councils and development trusts in Blairmore we said we were more than happy to attend a public meeting. That is still the case so if an invite is extended to us by the organisers then we will make the necessary arrangemnts.

    Cheers
    Laurence

  3. Geoff says:

    Re the public meeting in Blairmore hall later this month. Why are representatives from the Cove wind farm not attending? Surely it would be beneficial to all to hear the views from all parties involved?

  4. Graham Walker says:

    I would like to reccomend a very good link i have come across and anlo a reccomended book titled
    “Windfarm Visualisation” it gives some interesting reading and images. Take a look for yourself and please feel free to comment.

    http://www.no-tiree-array.org.uk/?p=2837

    Regards GW

  5. Graham Walker says:

    Hi Laurence, Many thanks for your reply.

    Regards Graham

  6. Laurence Slavin says:

    Just to clarify my last post (I was getting my blogs mixed up). Graham’s queries were in relation to ospreys and black grouse. When I said ‘former’ I was referring to black grouse.

  7. Laurence Slavin says:

    Hi again Graham,

    Apologies for the slight delay getting back to you on this query and your other regarding black grouse. Thanks for the query on both.

    The former are covered extensively on the ornithology section of the Environmental Statement, which is published on the Community Development Trust website (www.rosneathpeninsulawest.com). On checking why ospreys are not mentioned in the report, we have been told that the ospreys which have been seen locally are transient immature birds who will occasionally rove and feed away from their normal territory. This happens all over Scotland. Osprey nests and feeding grounds are well known to the RSPB, SNH, and raptor groups. There are none within the area of sensitivity of the proposed wind farm. The experts believe that we should not be worried about the wind farm’s effect on ospreys. We hope this allays your concerns.

    Kind regards
    Laurence

  8. zak says:

    Well said Pauline and SL

    – the EIA seems to have been produced with a bias towards the development of this industrial site. The wildlife seems to have been given scant regard.
    These TURBINES will protrude from a minimum of 40 feet (northmost turbine) to 205 feet above the ridge line- hardly invisible!

    Yes, SL – you’re right – the report cost well over £100k of Public money – some from Argyll LEADER – so we’re already paying for it!

    I am pleased that the good folk of the Cowal have more sense than to pounce on a paltry offering, and have more regard for the wildlife and beautiful scenery, which is after all the lifeblood for small businesses in the area. Any threat to Cowal’s tourist industry, in this case by means of an inappropriately located industrial site, is a threat to an area already deemed by the Scottish Government as financially at risk, and is unacceptable.

    I would also question the need for such a large scale development – (2.5mw turbines are regarded as commercial by the Renewables industry) – by a community which appears to have a healthy economic status – the worst problem according to the CAP is transport – a matter of which I’m sure one takes account when purchasing a property!

    Finally, has anyone taken account of the loss we may expect to property values in Ardentinny and Blairmore?

  9. Graham Walker says:

    With ref to your point about a one year survey, how much time in man hours was actually spent on site observing these birds?. I would also like to point out that the question i asked about farm land being shut down due to breeding black grouse was not answered. I’m sure the land owner in question can shed light on this answer if required.

    Regards Graham

  10. Laurence Slavin says:

    This is in response to Graham’s query about black grouse.

    The ornithology report of the Environmental Impact Assessment was prepared by expert consultants in this area. They spent a year compiling their study. The Community Development Trust recognises and understands the local concerns on this matter, but believes it must accept and follow the findings and conclusions of the specialists involved.

  11. Graham Walker says:

    I find it concerning that in the Lochside press report and also the EIA that no mention of Ospreys has been noted. Over the last 16 years I have been a member of Cove and Kilcreggan angling club and have fished many times at Lindowen. I can assure you that I have sighted these protected birds of prey many times. This year alone on more than 5 occasions, so therefore I don’t understand why they have not been included in the report. Only a couple of years ago the animal protection officer from RNAD Coulport commented on breeding pairs within the area. Their direct flight path from RNAD Coulport to Lindowen is via the proposed wind farm site. Also land adjacent to the site was closed for farming a couple of years back because of the presence of breeding Black Grouse. Therefore why has this not been mentioned and recorded in the EIA and if it was unsuitable to use this land then why is it ok to use the land now?

  12. Andrew Reid says:

    I can assure SF that the Peninsula West Trust is not trying to mislead anyone in relation to the potential energy output from the proposed wind turbines at Cove. As a member of the Trust Board, I had responded to an earlier comment that, “On the point about wind farms only working for half of the time, in fact the standard national calculation is based on 30% output, and the Trust has taken that into account in its financial calculations.” This same information is also conveyed publicly in the Frequently Asked Questions section on the Trust’s website. Raising the finance for the development depends on being able to produce reliable supported evidence and the Trust will continue to seek to do not only that, but to make the evidence publicly available.

  13. SF says:

    The stated capacity of 11.5 megawatts is somewhat misleading when actual output is unlikely to reach 30 percent of that figure – more realistically 3.5 megawatts or 1500 homes.

    It would appear that the Ardentinny folk have been given the same incorrect information (as, presumably, have all the other communities to which the presentation was given). Their blog states that the farm WILL generate 11.5mw. RPWCDT really must stop quoting maximum design capacity. The CDT should not be seen to be attempting to hoodwink people intentionally or otherwise into supporting the scheme by glossing over the facts and presenting the wrong figures.

    As a supporter of alternative energy and a peninsula resident would like to support this project but am very skeptical of the figures presented thus far.

  14. Live wire says:

    It’s my hope that all will read the environmental report on the Cove Trust website. As an Ardentinny resident I have no problem with the ‘windmills’. They would really be the least of my worries given that within earshot of our location we have a huge arsenal of WMD’s which could take out much of the west of Scotland! From my reading of the report, the electricity generated from the turbines would power some 5,000 homes over a 25 year period. At the end of the life of the site, it would either be renegotiated or the land returned to its original condition, something that could happen never with nuclear energy. Our children would have to live with our nuclear legacy!

    Personally I would support a wind farm in the hills above Ardentinny too.. just think, the villages all along the shore and beyond could benefit from this natural power, not to mention the financial incentives. Talking of incentives, as Ardentinny and Blairmore are the villages most exposed to the windfarm, is there not a case for some negotiation with the Cove project as to the “sweeteners” that may be available for our communities?

  15. SL says:

    Yes, that’ll be the report which the trust paid £100K for… Of course it’s independent!
    I’m sceptical to put it mildly that these valuable species would be unaffected, and the amount promised for our villages is crumbs from the table

  16. Andrew Reid says:

    The Peninsula West Community Development Trust has been very conscious of the visual impact affecting the Cowal communities, which is why the Trust was very keen to have a meeting there at an early stage, and would be very happy to attend the public meeting, which the local Community Councils have suggested arranging at Blairmore. The Peninsula West Trust has put a great deal of thought into the visual concerns, and there has been extensive discussion about minimising visual impact, with the planned layout of the wind turbines changing in location, number and height on a number of occasions with this in mind. The comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment, which is available on the Trust website, deals with the wide range of relevant issues identified by Argyll and Bute Council and other bodies – this includes the assessment that there are no significant implications for local birdlife. On the point about wind farms only working for half of the time, in fact the standard national calculation is based on 30% output, and the Trust has taken that into account in its financial calculations.

  17. SL says:

    You’re right – I live on the other side and I would object! I’m also objecting even though my community would benefit, but from what I’ve read the voting system in the poll looks very dodgy. Have you seen the wlidlife implications?
    http://thelochsidepress.com/2012/10/25/environmental-arguments-for-wind-farm-published/

  18. Pauline says:

    It all sounds very good, for those on the other side of the loch, but not for those of us who would have to look at them, and all for a measly 10K and who would decide where and on what the money would go.
    From what I keep reading about wind farms they never seem to generate the expected income and half the time don’t appear to be working.
    Perhaps the only place for these farms is out at sea, although what they do to birds & marine life I don’t think has yet been verified.
    Call me a nimby, but if the boot was on the other foot I have a feeling the Peninsula people would be unhappy with the Shore community.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Ardentinny.org reported that after trust members had spoken to community representatives that the intention was for the RPWDT to amend its constitution to allow communities outwith the area to benefit, adding: “As the shore villages of Ardentinny, Blairmore and Strone  would be the most visually impacted by the location of the wind turbines, they would also stand to benefit by an estimated £30k per annum.” […]

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