Friday, 22 January 2010

Wind and wave

Before moving to Shetland I was well aware of a lot of controversy surrounding the plans for Viking Energy to create a 150 turbine windfarm on Shetland, there are already 5 much smaller turbines at Burradale just outside Lerwick. Viking Energy have their own information bank of FAQ's In theory it will provide the majority of the energy needs for Shetland plus be a massive boost to the economy and through it's presence and sale of excess power to the national grid.

A few of the Burradale turbines

There are also plans for a massive wave farm too from Pelalis Wave Power. One square mile of sea covered with 180m long energy generating snakes.

A very scenic looking artists impression...

...and something a little more realistic.

Both of these projects rely on the laying of 5 gigantic inter-connector cables with a 25m wide corridor to take power to 'Sooth' for them to be financially viable, i.e. for the investors to make enough money. And then when they hit land fall the whole grid system in the top end of Scotland will need upgrading to handle the new environmentally friendly power...

So to have sustainable energy for Shetland we need to feed the mainland. We cover the hills with 150 turbines, the sea with a square mile of sea snakes, build untold miles of permanent and temporary roads, dig up important peat bog habitats and carbon sinks, lay cable corridors at least 25m wide on land and in the sea, build power plants to store and convert power to the right type, place new lines of super-pylons across north Scotland and have untold traffic and construction disruption in the process.

And it doesn't stop there, things need maintaining, replacing and I'm sure the upgrading of services with roll further 'sooth'

But, there'll be jobs a plenty, support for crofters involved, money in the economy and an 'environmentally friendly ' energy supply. We'll probably tick a great selection of bureaucratic boxes too to fulfill some agreement or other.

Well, I actually like the look of windfarms. I think they're graceful and possible beautiful things. But, I've never seen 150 of them or the massive impact that they and the sea snakes are going to have on the environment both on Shetland, in the sea and North Scotland. Surely this can't be environmentally friendly? Sustainable Shetland have a few things to say about it.

Anyway we all know that nuclear power is the actually new environmentally friendly!

The government are wanting to build more nuclear power stations as the best 'clean' and reliable source of power.

We can't even get rid of various levels of nuclear waste we have now from a range of sources, or do anything with the decommissioned powerstations.

But don't worry, because the other night one the radio I hear of remote areas of Scotland being investigated for 'storing' intermediate nuclear waste. And as the presenter's stuff that is only hazardous for thousands of years not hundreds of thousands of years!

That's OK then, eh?!

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic post!
    I'll leave my comments aside for now but will no doubt discuss them some point.
    Fingers crossed the wave energy becomes a proven design..
    A friend of mine is working with the company in Orkney right now. Trials etc seem to be going well but I od believe the Portuguese one's had sever problems with their hydraulics?

    Anyways. Loving the blog. Keep it up =]