Earraghail RED - FAQs

How many wind turbines are proposed?

There will be up to 14 wind turbines, with a maximum height to blade tip of 200 m and capable of generating around 84 MW of clean, green energy.

Why are the proposed wind turbines 200 m height to blade tip?

This distance reduces the levellised cost of energy, which equates to greater efficiency. Taller, more efficient turbines mean we can generate more power with fewer wind turbines. The net effect is fewer new structures are needed in the landscape.

The proposed Development would make an important contribution to renewables targets, i.e., 50% of all energy consumption in Scotland from renewable sources by 2030.

What will the generating capacity of the Development be?

Combining the 14 wind turbines and ground-mounted solar panels would give a generating capacity of around 89 MW. We are also looking to incorporate an energy storage system of around 20 MW.

What will the Development look like from my property?

As part of this online Public Information Event, we have created a video of what the proposed Development could look like from several selected key viewpoints surrounding the Site. Unfortunately, as this is an online consultation, we cannot show the views from all possible locations during the event. However, if you would like to see what the proposed Development could look like from a specific location not shown online as part of this event, please contact us via email at earraghailrenewablenergydevelopment@scottishpower.com.

A landscape and visual impact assessment, and a residential visual amenity assessment are currently under way and will be presented in the Environmental Impact Assessment report to be submitted with the application for planning consent.

How long is the construction period and when is it likely to commence?

If the proposed Development receives consent, construction would likely commence in around 2024. This is dependent on the timescales for the application to be processed by the Scottish Government and other factors. The construction period is anticipated to be approximately 20 months.

Before construction, a traffic management plan will be compiled and agreed with the relevant authorities. This will include specific mitigation measures for the delivery of abnormal loads, for example, timing deliveries outside peak flow hours and police escorts where necessary. Once the Development is operational, its impacts relating to traffic and transport would be minimal.

How close are the nearest settlements?

The proposed Development is approximately 1.2 km South of Tarbert and 1.1 km north of Skipness from the closest edge of the Site Boundary.

Other small-scale communities and settlements are located in proximity to the Site boundary, including

  • West Tarbert, approximately 1.5 km north-west
  • Corranbuie, approximately 1 km west
  • Escart Farm, approximately 1.4 km west
  • Bardaravine, approximately 1.2 km west
  • Achnacarnan, approximately 2.3 km south-west.

How will construction traffic and turbine deliveries access the Site?

Options for construction traffic and wind turbine deliveries are still being assessed. However, it is proposed that wind turbine components be delivered to Campbeltown and travel to the Site via the A83.

Will there be any potential impacts on private water supplies in the area?

A survey of private water supplies identified within 5 km of the Site has been carried out. The supply locations will be considered based on their position relative to the Site and on the potential for the proposed Development to affect the supplies to determine if there could be potential pollutant–source–pathway–receptor relationships.

The assessment will be undertaken assuming that good practice mitigation measures will be implemented onsite during construction and operation.

Private water supplies will be fully assessed as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment and presented within the Environmental Impact Assessment report.

How would the Development connect to the grid?

The grid connection would be subject to a separate design and consent process undertaken by National Grid and ScottishPower Energy Networks, which is a separate, regulated part of ScottishPower Group and not part of SPR.

There are already several windfarms in Argyll and Bute, and more in the planning system, so have you considered this? 

The Environmental Impact Assessment legislation requires a cumulative assessment of the proposal in combination with other proposed, consented and operational windfarms in the area. Consequently, the cumulative effects of the proposed Development will be thoroughly assessed and measures will be implemented to reduce, prevent and offset significant effects. Such cumulative assessments inform the decision-making authority of the acceptability of the proposal within the context of the area.

Good planning will continue to play a vital part in ensuring that renewable energy developments are sited correctly to maximise their efficiency and protect communities and the environment from unacceptable development.

Why do windfarms get paid to switch off??

To ensure the secure operation of the electricity system, National Grid can take over a thousand separate actions each day to balance supply (generators) and demand (customers and users) across the electricity grid network. This includes instructing generators to alter their output. This is how National Grid operated and controlled its electricity network even before windfarms were connected to the grid. National Grid is obligated by Ofgem to ensure that it balances the supply and demand on its networks in the most effective way.

Why do we need more renewables?

The deployment of renewable technologies, including onshore wind, continues to grow and more will be required to achieve the UK’s net zero greenhouse gas emissions targets; in the first quarter of 2020, 14.8% of the electricity generated in the UK came from onshore wind compared with 11.3% at the start of 2019.

The National Infrastructure Commission highlighted earlier this year that renewable sources are now the cheapest form of electricity generation owing to the dramatic cost reductions in recent years.

How does the electricity generation mix affect electricity bills?

There are many factors that affect a consumer’s electricity bill, including the wholesale costs of energy (including fossil fuel costs), the costs to maintain and operate the network, the costs of government support and other operational costs. Given the significant cost reductions experienced in the wind sector to date, future deployment of windfarms could provide significant benefits to electricity consumers.

You may be interested in the following reports for further information:

Ofgem, the market regulator that ensures that consumers get a fair deal on their energy, has online resources that may help to explain further how bills are calculated.

What opportunities does the co-location of energy storage technology (i.e. batteries) provide?

By storing and redistributing energy quickly in response to when energy is needed, energy storage helps to stabilise the grid network. It makes grid networks more resilient, efficient and cleaner than ever before by supporting the greater integration of renewable energy generation. It can be used during emergencies such as power outages during storms or equipment failures.

It makes sense to co-locate this technology with a windfarm, as this offers the opportunity to share the grid connection.

 

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