THE application to Marine Scotland for an offshore wind farm of up to 125 turbines off Fife Ness is of concern. The application was submitted by Irish company Mainstream Renewable Power (MRP) and is open to consultation until 10 September.
Andy Kinsella, chief executive of MRP, has provided details of the power and jobs the project could generate but no details of how the £1.4 billion scheme is to be financed. The company also glosses over potential difficulties in laying cable under the East Coast Main Line and the A1.
On present knowledge, the assumed life of an offshore wind farm is in the region of 25 years and we require to know more about what happens to the electricity supply when the wind farm shuts down for bad weather or insufficient wind.
We also need to know what happens to the energy supply when the wind farm reaches the end of its term and the resulting decommissioning costs.
Naval, oil-related and civil shipping as well as fishing vessels using the Firth of Forth need to be safeguarded as does the Isle of May national nature reserve. Oil and gas companies could also have systems in the area and should be taken into account.
Marine Scotland is to be advised in autumn 2012 on proposals for Marine Protected Areas and Scottish ministers will decide which options to take forward for consultation in spring 2013. It is, therefore, somewhat premature to assume there will be no Marine Protected Area at Fife Ness. Since it seems an MPA will extend for 12 nautical miles but the proposed wind farm will lie only 15km offshore, this too is an area of concern.
The Scottish Government must be mindful of the rulings of the European Union on this matter and provide fully independent details to us rather than pass on information from developers who exist to make profit, and who are often foreign companies rushing to build for a 2017 deadline on green power subsidies.
Subsidies are likely to be needed for around 20 years, with resultant higher prices for consumers but the cost to the environment for a fairly short-term solution to the issue of electricity supply is immeasurable.
Haddington East Lothian
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 5 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North east