Let Malcolm Kirk explain …

Malcolm Kirk

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Why does this matter?

Only too commonplace throughout Scotland are similar classic examples of irresponsible speculative applications, wasting the scarce and valuable resources of planners and other authorities involved. Harm caused to those affected is ignored both by developers and vested interests – as are the resulting adverse health, visual impacts and gross environmental damage so often caused.

It matters to residents and visitors on both sides of Loch Awe because:

  • The visual impact of a development of this scale in this location will have far-reaching effects on their lives, their well being and their legitimate enjoyment of the amenities. Sound, including infrasound also known as Low Frequency Noise, affects close neighbours to turbines and is magnified across bodies of water. Potential adverse health effects are well documented in peer reviewed reports, details of which can be found on this blog.
  • The area is especially vulnerable to losses in the tourist industry from the destruction of cherished landscapes such as this. The Reporter’s recently delivered refusal of another developer’s Appeal against Argyll & Bute Planning Authority’s rejection of the nearby Ardchonnel windfarm application incorporated specific recognition of the damaging effect on tourism in the area.
  • There are very real threats to protected species, including golden eagles and other wild life with habitats in the adjacent officially designated SPA (Special Protected Area). Importantly, there is also a risk that private water supplies may be seriously contaminated by, as has occurred in other windfarm developments in Scotland. For details of such implications see the document ‘Request for Action’ in http://www.windsofjustice.org.uk.
    19 colossal turbines 450 feet high will not only dominate the hills-and-water landscape of North Loch Awe. The building of a gigantic industrial complex of steel, fibreglass and concrete, with access roads for mammoth construction equipment and quarries for the vast amount of foundation materials needed, will cause destruction of the land and unprecedented disruption to the roads network.

It matters because:

The North-East end of Loch Awe is an inland landscape of mountains, loch and islands whose configuration is second to none in Scotland. It contains:

  • no fewer than twelve islands.
  • two historic ruined castles – Kilchurn and Fraoch Eilean.
  • an ancient burial ground at the Chapel of Fyndoca on the island of Inishail with carved stones dating back to crusading times.
    ten offshore crannogs along its shoreline.

The Chapel of Fyndoca and Kilchurn Castle are both Scheduled Monuments.

As well as the beauty and undisturbed tranquillity of the Loch Awe landscape – repeatedly immortalised in literature and paintings such as J M W Turner’s watercolour of Kilchurn Castle, Sir Walter Scott’s novella The Highland Widow and the poetry of the blind bard of Glen Orchy, Duncan Ban MacIntyre, whose monument overlooks the entire wide panorama of the loch from above Ardteatle Bay – the powerful historic and aesthetic inspiration of the region is of immense intrinsic interest to our tourist industry as well as to the general well-being of Argyll and the West Highlands. We cannot stand by and allow this wonderful, unique environment to be desecrated by the intrusion of gigantic wind turbines – not just overlooking, but actually WITHIN it. No amount of cosmetic ‘landscaping’, could mitigate the appearance of a major industrial development covering an ugly, barren scar of newly felled coniferous forest, wholly detrimental to the ambience and nature of the area.

Serious questions are increasingly being asked as to the overall value and efficacy of onshore wind-generated power and its role in the mix of secure, stable, reliable energy needed to fulfil the domestic and industrial needs of our society. While these questions are outside the parameters of a judgement of the merits or otherwise of a planning application, what is indisputable is that the wrong type of energy generation in the wrong place will do immeasurable harm.

The Upper Sonachan Wind farm proposal falls firmly into this category. All who recognise this are urged to make their feelings known by registering their objection. For guidance on how best to do so, please click on the flyer image on the top right of the side bar.

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Upper Sonachan Wind Farm Objection

Planning Application to the Scottish Government by Ecotricity Ltd.

This group of six pictures of – LOCH AWE & BEN CRUACHAN and is intended to highlight “in the round” the great natural beauty of our environment and to illustrate how detrimentally it would be affected by the construction of gigantic wind turbines in a prominent position within it. Although the photographs in Appendix A, B and C were taken several years ago, the landscape topography remains unchanged and will to this day appear substantially the same to anyone seeing it from these viewpoints lucky enough to enjoy similar weather conditions. For copyright reasons we cannot include any of the 24 visualisations prepared by Ecotricity from their chosen viewpoints, but they may be seen in the developer’s Environmental Statement, available for consultation at Oban Library and at Argyll and Bute Council Oban offices, or to view or download from http://www.ecotricity.co.uk/upper-sonachan.

All six original photographs in this presentation were taken by Andrew A. Rose and are copyright. The recent images P1, P2 and P3 include visualisations of the proposed turbines in situ prepared by Malcolm Kirk.

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 P1. VIEW FROM APPROACH ROAD TO CRUACHAN DAM on the shoulder of Ben Cruachan | OS Map Ref. 72645 21085. Date 30 May 2015. 75mm lens. | This is just one of the views seen by walkers and climbers taking the easy route up Ben Cruachan, and by organised groups driving up to Cruachan Dam. The sacred isle of Inishail, once the site of a Cistercian Nunnery, occupies a prominent position on the centre left of the picture. Holiday-makers and residents alike would experience even closer views of the proposed wind turbines when circumnavigating the beautiful group of islands in the middle of Loch Awe and when visiting the Chapel of Fyndoca and the ancient burial ground containing several gravestones dating back to Crusader times, on Inishail. Many visitors enjoy camping and picnicking on the islands during the holiday season between April and October.

cruachandam2

P2. VIEW FROM THE PUBLIC ROAD BELOW DUNCAN BAN MACINTyRE MONUMENT near Dalmally, looking West South West. | OS Map Ref. 72585 21430. Date 10 June 2015. 75mm lens. | Looking from left to right in this famous panoramic view: the hillside with the proposed Upper Sonachan Wind “Park”; Loch Awe with some of its islands; the entrance to the Pass of Brander and the shoulder of Ben Cruachan. The already operational wind farms at Carraig Gheal and Beinn Ghlas can be seen on the summits of the two hills centre and right.

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P3. VIEW FROM THE PUBLIC ROAD C29 AT FERNOCH HILL between Kilchrenan and Dalavich.| OS Map Ref. 71985 20145. Date 10 June 2015. | 75mm lens. This is the main tourist route along the north-west side of the loch and a favourite viewpoint for photographers. Panning from left to right we see the shoulder of Ben Cruachan and Loch Awe with Ben Lui in the distance; then on the south side of the loch the ridge of the hill behind which would be situated the proposed Upper Sonachan Wind “Park”. While from this viewpoint the blades of only one turbine would be visible, the remainder just out of sight below the crest of the hill, everyone approaching Kilchrenan from the north on the B845 road will have all 19 turbines in full view from the crest of the hill leading into the village.

sonachanhse

Appendix A: View taken from the hillside above Sonachan house:OS Map Ref: 71985 20395 Showing the whole length of the Ben Cruachan massif. This view of Ben Cruachan is paralleled by that from the site of the proposed Upper Sonachan Windfarm which is approximately one mile to the east; i.e. just beyond the right side of the picture. This wide-angle photo was taken several years ago, but the mountain topography remains unchanged. On right is a diagram emphasising the ‘head-on’ relationship of the proposed windfarm to Ben Cruachan. Unlike many onshore windfarms which are located in relative obscurity on upland plateau, this one would in effect be a full-frontal exposure on sloping ground directly overlooking one of the loveliest reaches of one of the most beautiful lochs in Scotland, as well as being sited directly opposite the magnificent mountain massif of Ben Cruachan and the settlement of Kilchrenan.

ardbrecknish

APPENDIX B: VIEW FROM AFFORESTED GROUND ABOVE ARDBRECKNISH and below the proposed site of the turbines |OS Map Ref. 72065 20760. | As with the photographs reproduced in Appendices A and C, it shows the unmistakable quality of “the sublime”, one of the main sparks that ignited tourism to the West Highlands in the 19th Century. It is a particular irony that this very view should now be facing the intrusive head-on prospect of an industrial complex of gigantic wind turbines attempting to disguise its true nature by describing itself as a “Park”.

cladich

APPENDIX C: VIEW FROM ABOVE THE A819 ROAD at Bovuy near Cladich| Map Ref. OS 72250 21050. | It shows Loch Awe with Inishail and the Black Isles beneath Ben Cruachan and the entrance to the Pass of Brander. The photo was taken several years ago but the landscape topography remains unchanged. Upper Sonachan Wind “Park” would be situated between Aspects A and C on the attached map, directly facing Loch Awe and Ben Cruachan.

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Upper Sonachan wind farm visualisations From original scoping report

Note: The positions of the turbine visualisations pictured here are from the original scoping report and a few have since been slightly moved.  Due to the angle of shot, some turbines are missing. Nonetheless, the overall visual effect remains approximately the same.

photo1

Photo 1. View taken from the shoreline of Loch Awe at the site of the old pier at Ardanaiseig. OS Map Ref. 72455 20935, looking South West. This is the view that holiday-makers and residents alike would experience when circumnavigating the beautiful group of islands in the middle of Loch Awe.

photo2

Photo 2.  The view from the public road from Kilchrenan to Ardanaiseig, near Larach Ban. OS Map Ref. 72330 20660, looking South. Date 10 June 2015, lens 75mm. All visitors to the 5-star Ardanaiseig Hotel would be subjected to this intrusive view every time they pass in or out, in addition to views of the existing Carraig Gheal and Beinn Ghlas windfarms to the West.

photo3

  The view from the public road B845 at the north end of Kilchrenan Village. OS Map Ref. 72340 20355, looking South East. Date 14 May 2015, lens 74mm.

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True & Staggering Cost of Intermittent & Unreliable Wind Power – Unplugged

If you had any doubts….this will disperse them.

STOP THESE THINGS

The total cost of attempting to incorporate intermittent, unreliable and chaotic wind power into a grid designed around stable, controllable, dispatchable power generation is utterly staggering.

In those places attempting to run on sunshine and breezes, grid managers are forced to regularly intervene, compelling the owners of conventional fossil-fuelled generation plant (coal and gas) to burn fuel and remain online, even when the wind is blowing which, due to the subsidies provided to wind power, prevents them from dispatching power to the grid and earning revenue from doing so. Compensating the owners of coal and gas-fired plant for burning fuel for no commercially defined purpose (other than keeping the grid from collapsing) has a cost.

The alternative to these massive ‘capacity payments’ is simply allowing the chaotic delivery of wind power to destroy the stability of otherwise reliable grids, outright.

There are 3 electricity essentials – that the power source…

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Frydenberg’s Renewable Energy Fantasyland: Australian Households & Businesses Despair as Energy Minister Remains Off with the Fairies

Waking up from ‘herd’ mentality after being force fed wind energy’s blatantly non-existent advantages (e.g. the still unproven claims made for CO2 emission savings & benefits) is accelerating as reports of harm from physical, environmental and economic adverse effects increase. STT helps this process in no small measure.

STOP THESE THINGS

Energy Minister off with the fairies during Australia’s energy crisis.

Australia’s self-inflicted renewable energy disaster sometimes reads more like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein – and on others like the work of a drug-addled Lewis Carrol, as he took us all down the rabbit hole with Alice & Co.

Characters abound, bereft of worldy wit, prone to waffling nonsense and repeating the same hackneyed phrases (think ‘inevitable transition’, ‘wind’s cheaper than coal’, and lately, the most ridiculous line of all, ‘that wind power is more reliable than coal-fired power’. Yep, night turns to day in the wind and sun cult’s bizarro world of wishes, myth and fantasy.

A stand out in the enduring saga that is Australia’s energy crisis is the flat-footed and tin-eared Federal Energy Minister, Joshua Frydenberg. Josh is one character who will never be accused of harming the interests of renewables rent-seekers. Indeed, of late, he’s been on the…

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Wind Turbine Noise Makes Life a Living Hell for Neighbours: Michigan Farmers Driven From Homes

Farmers in all countries should read this. They are targeted incessantly by the wind industry and cannot escape contracts once signed, or have redress when their lives are similarly impacted.

STOP THESE THINGS

Left: Cary and Karen Shineldecker at their new home. Right: 476-foot-tall turbines a quarter mile from their former home in Mason County, Michigan.

Wherever the wind industry expands, so too a visceral hatred among those forced to suffer incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infra-sound.

No manner of cynical finessing can excuse what’s done by this subsidy-soaked so-called ‘industry’. Turning peaceful and idyllic rural communities into industrial wastelands sticks in the craw of even life’s most grizzled characters in those communities. And even more so because wind power is utterly meaningless: it can never be delivered as and when power consumers need it, meaning that it has absolutely no commercial value, apart from renewable energy certificates, production tax credits, guaranteed feed in tariffs and all other manner of mandates and subsidies that are costing taxpayers and power consumers hundreds of $billions across the globe.

Michigan farmers, Cary and Karen Shineldecker…

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Smoking Gun: Research Proves ‘Inaudible’ Pulsing Wind Turbine Noise Direct Cause of Adverse Symptoms

Yet more proof of what sufferers and the few honest politicians already know. Its a pity that the World Health Organisation prefers silence instead of releasing the now year out of date 2016 Noise Guidelines. As this was to address the subject of noise from wind turbines for the first time, WHY? Requests for information on the delay remain unanswered. Have the wind industry lobbyists succeeded in preventing this subject’s inclusion or release of the document?

STOP THESE THINGS

The evidence proving the unnecessary damage done to wind farm neighbours by the noise generated by giant industrial wind turbines is mounting by the day: Germany’s Max Planck Institute has identified sub-audible infrasound as the cause of stress, sleep disruption and more (see our post here); and a Swedish group have shown that it’s the pulsing nature of low-frequency wind turbine noise  (‘amplitude modulation’) that is responsible for sleep problems in those forced to live with it (see our post here).

In a World first, Australia’s Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) held that “noise annoyance” caused by wind turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound “is a plausible pathway to disease”. The AAT also slammed wind turbine noise standards as irrelevant and, therefore, totally unfit for purpose: Australian Court Finds Wind Turbine Noise Exposure a ‘Pathway to Disease’: Waubra Foundation Vindicated

The wind industry and its pet acoustic consultants maintain…

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Another Wind Power FAIL: Big Winter Blow Leaves 75,000 UK Homes Powerless

Makes you wonder, in the face of such a catalogue of reasons to reject any further increases in wind power installations, when the ‘penny will finally drop’ with both the electorate globally and authorities guilty of wilful blindness.

STOP THESE THINGS

It’s this simple, really: when your power supply depends wholly upon the weather, expect it to vary entirely at the whims of Mother Nature.

Last year we brought you the story of what happened in Texas when Hurricane Harvey belted the Lone Star state: Last Man Standing: Nuclear Plants Power Texans During Deluge – Wind Turbines Automatically Shut Down During Hurricane Harvey

And how another big blow left Puerto Ricans powerless as Hurricane Maria splattered turbine blades and solar panels across the Island: Weather Dependent Wind Power: Leaves Hurricane Victims Powerless

Britain was an early signatory to suicidal renewable energy policies. Not for the first time, and not for the last time, tens of thousands of British households have been left freezing in the dark, thanks to the chaos delivered by wind power. [There’s a serious flaw in The Telegraph’s analysis, but we deal with that below]

Wind farms handed £5 million…

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“The Windfather” – Another report finds wind and renewable energy projects controlled by organized crime to launder money

Christine Duhaime | antimoneylaunderinglaw.com

Europol report ties mafia to renewable energy

This week, Europol released yet another report tying the financing, development and operation of renewable energy projects, particularly wind energy infrastructure projects, to organized crime in Europe.

The latest Europol report follows on the heels of an earlier one, the “Serious & Organized Crime Threat Assessment 2013″, which similarly found that organized crime is involved in, and in some instances controls, renewable energy financings and project developments for the purposes of laundering proceeds of crime.

Lord of the wind

The alleged mafia and kingpin of wind energy, the so-called “Lord of the Wind”, Vito Nicastri, is effectively under house arrest in Italy and €1.7 billion in corporate assets that he controlled were recently permanently forfeited to the state. Mr. Nicastri hasn’t been convicted of an offence in connection with the forfeited assets. The assets forfeited included shares in 40 companies, 100 properties, including wind farms and the assets thereon, 66 bank accounts, life insurance policies, seven exotic sports cars and luxury yachts.

Former convictions

According to an EU fraud report, Mr. Nicastri had a criminal record dating back to 1996 when he was convicted of wind farm fraud in connection with improper payments of €15 million and of bribing public officials to obtain contracts. That should have been a red flag in the transactional due diligence process and a bar to any EU or national procurements or approval of any government licenses. Mr. Nicastri is alleged to have ties to the Cosa Nostra.

The Camorra are also alleged to be involved in renewable energy to launder proceeds of crime. In Europe, the Camorra are alleged to have large and profitable criminal operations in France, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands (in addition to Italy). In the U.S., they are one of 4 designated “transnational criminal organizations”, having infiltrated the U.S. financial system to launder proceeds of crime from drug trafficking and other serious crimes.

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South Australia’s Electric ‘La-La Land’: Renewables Debacle Adds 124% to Wholesale Prices

STOP THESE THINGS

One of the wind cult’s more pathetic efforts in late 2017 was to run a line that notionally wind powered South Australia’s wholesale power prices were finally heading south. All thanks, of course, to the wonder of sunshine and breezes.

Meanwhile, back on earth, the reality is that South Australia’s wholesale power prices have increased by more than 124% over the last two years.

That increase has nothing to do with increased distribution costs, and is all about the chaos delivered by the weather.

SA’s rocketing wholesale power prices are about the price retailers need to pay conventional generators to secure reliable supply when the wind stops blowing. That cost includes tens of $millions being paid to compensate SA’s gas generators, forced to stay online to ensure a stable supply of electricity.

A recent report by the Energy Security Board, The Health of the National Electricity Market – available here: 

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