Wind farm plans open for comments

A photo montage of how the wind farm would look from Stronchulin Hill
A photo montage of how the wind farm would look from Stronchulin Hill

Proposals for the UK’s largest community wind farm have now been opened up for formal consultation.

The Cove Community Wind Farm plan was first revealed here in October, and has been discussed since then at public meetings across the area.

Now the proposals by the Rosneath Peninsula West Community Development Trust will be considered by Argyll and Bute Council’s major applications team, based in Lochgilphead.

As expected, five 92.5 metre turbines are proposed, as well as a control building, hardstandings, underground cabling and construction compound, a new access track and upgrading of an existing track.

Land at Barbour Farm, Knockderry Farm and ‘Clynder woodland’ would be affected.

The trust hopes that the wind farm will be in operation by April 2014.

The plans were received by the council on December 6 and validated 14 days later after details had been clarified, but only appeared on the website today; the advertisement expiry date is listed as January 31.

The documents will be available in Rosneath post office, and the public can comment on the proposals on the council’s website here.

Hunters Quay Community Council have already commented, saying all members objected to the plan: “This is a holiday area and no-one can describe a wind farm as attractive.

“The eye would automatically be drawn to such a monstrosity. There is no way that this blight on the landscape can be hidden.”

The plan promises to generate over £300,000 a year for the communities of Cove, Kilcreggan, Peaton, Ardpeaton and Portkil, and after a public meeting in Cove Burgh Hall in October a poll showed 82% of residents were in favour.

But residents in the villages of Blairmore, Strone and Kilmun, on the other side of Loch Long, voted against the proposal by a similar margin despite being offered a share of the proceeds.

And the Cowal Courier reported last month that community councillors in Dunoon gave the plan a ‘frosty response’, although a formal response had not yet been formulated.

115 Comments

  1. This all seems a bit delayed? Weren’t we told at the public meeting that the plans would be submitted in a fortnight, hence the rush to get people to vote without seeing the impact assessment?

  2. It’s also funny that the plans were submitted on 6th Dec then 14 days to be validated (20th Dec) however these have just been placed on A&B web??? That is 15 days to complete this I think A&B need to explain why. I’m sure they will use the Christmas holiday excuse.

    • Graham: It’s a bit confusing, but the 14-day delay before validation seems to be because the council said more information about the site area needed to be supplied, and this also affected the fee which had to be paid. There’s more information here – go to ‘view associated documents, then it’s the penultimate item, listed under ‘general correspondence’.
      That doesn’t answer your second point about delays though, and the clock is ticking if the wind farm is to be in operation on time.
      As an aside, it’s a bit surprising that the plans are only available in Rosneath post office, and not in Cove or Kilcreggan.

  3. Thanks for your interesting reply, I had no idea of the other correspondence and letters. To me it looked like in the original application the trust did not intend to make the plans available anywhere? If it was I who had invested a considerable amount of funds in employing experts to submit a planning application then I would have expected the application to be accepted first time, and not cost any more money. I also get the impression that the application is trying to use and waste the time given, so preventing people objecting to the wind farm in the given time. I would now like to see the consultation/objection time extended for people to be given the correct length of time to submit any objections has in any other planning application.

    • Several of the documents are worth reading I think. One of them states that both Cove and Kilcreggan post offices face risk of closure, something which would be very concerning. A total of £34,500 (index-linked) annually for neighbouring communities is proposed. The ink to this document is here.

  4. Thank you very much for these links, it will take a while to read through everything, but I’m sure it will be worth it. I live in Kilcreggan (16 years) and this is the first news I have of these closures, or is this scare tactics to try and get people to agree to the plans? Only time will tell. With regards to the £34,500 not a lot of money to stretch round the neighbouring communities and being index linked what’s that!! a few more pounds each year. I have mentioned to members of the trust on several occasions flaws in the photomontages and pointed out a survey carried out by Highland Council, and every time their reply is I.A.W with this regulation and that regulation. This survey pointed out great differences in what the photomontages predict and what you would really see when these are erected. I have copied the link; it makes some very interesting readings.

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

    • I haven’t heard of the possible PO closures either although I’m sure the trust spoke to Margaret and the Tidswells before making such statements about their businesses. I’m sick to death though of people saying our school is still at risk. Have a look at the numbers. It’s fine.

      • Glad to see some of the facts are now starting to be looked at with a little more clarity and are being questioned.

        The ‘author’ of this blog states that there are 3 post offices in the immediate area -and, whilst I would not want any of them to go out of business, and am glad to hear the risk seems doubtful – what is the true story ??
        It is only an opinion in the EIA, unless fully substantiated.

        Yet more smokescreens – or as Graham says – scare tactics …….. was this not one of the original premises for launching this project – along with the school closure story?

        Secondly – on reading the accusations at the Council, they seem to be acting within the rules – not their fault if the plans were incorrect and therefore the fee submitted was too small.
        Again – more obfuscation.

        • Zak: Just for information, this blog has thus far been written by only one person, I’m Julian Calvert. Yes, there are currently post offices in Cove, Kilcreggan and Rosneath; the Clynder PO went in the last round of closures. The wind farm has inevitably been quite a controversial and divisive issue, so I’ve tried to present stories in as straightforward and factual a manner as possible, while welcoming comments from readers – and yours are appreciated, as are those from all sides.

      • Logic says the schools are safe, but since when did ABC operate using logic or evidence-led decision making? Similar applies to the POs; RM is being groomed for privatisation, and that means getting rid of bits that don’t make money.

      • -as I don’t seem to be able to use ‘reply’ to author – I’ll post here –
        I appreciate your comment, although I can’t agree with it .
        In this day of instant communication, and benefits being paid directly to bank accounts etc, the footfall in post offices (local shops) will obviously be less. Their viability is therefore reliant on support and usage – if the community don’t use the facilities, then they will be forced to close – nothing to do with councils attitudes or wind farms saving them.
        Hence my use of the words smokescreen and obfuscation in my previous comments

  5. Just looking at the trusts web site, you would think having submitted planning permission there would be some mention of this to inform people. It intrigues me that having contacted them a
    couple of times asking for updates on this I have yet to receive a reply. I would have thought at this critical time in the planning process they would be happy to involve any participation from the public and get persons involved. To me it seem “and this is my own personnel opinion” that the less people know in Kilcreggan the better. Then hopefully the planning will proceed without any real objections. Has anyone else had problems contacting the trust?

    Secondly i can’t see why schools have been mentioned, because it doesn’t matter how much the wind project generates if A&B council wish to shut the school then they will and no amount of money from this project will help. Unless the trust intend on taking over and running it as a private concern? So to be honest personally I think this has been put in the documentation to mislead people. With regards to the post office, it looks like money from the wind farm could be used to take over this venture. However i think if the Post Office themselves are running at a loss? is it really good business practice for the trust to take over an already doomed business. What difference would someone else running the post offices make in the same area?

    Graham Walker

  6. I totally agree with Zak on his point, it doesn’t matter what facilities we have if the public don’t use them then we lose them. I cannot understand why in the first place these facilities were mentioned in the wind farm documents and what connection there was between the two?. I would also like someone to explain in simple terms how this project will prevent these facilities from closing. One of the worst things that as happened to Kilcreggan in the last year is the trouble with ferry crossings. The more people go on and on about such things and moaning on social networks only goes to put people off moving to the village. I recently tried to sell a property in Kilcreggan and out of 6 possible buyers 5 stated they would not because of ferry issues and what they had picked up from the media and internet. So the more people moan at these services the more people will be against moving to the village and in the end the only people suffering will be the people that moaned in the first place!!!

    • All the more reason to support the wind farm; it could supply the wherewithal to influence or enhance important local services like the ferry. At the moment we are limited to writing letters to SPT, who don’t care and never will, or to Keith Brown and Transport Scotland, who compete with one another to see who has the slopiest shoulders. Do you think people should never complain if something is substandard? Or never try to change their circumstances, not improve their community and make it a better place to live?

      • Yes I fully agree that we should complain if we do not get the services that we have been promised. However I find making stupid comments on social network sites do not help the situation whatsoever, it just puts people off the peninsular. I can’t see how a wind farm is going to support a ferry and please don’t say it can be run by the trust. I work in the industry and I know that an income of approx £300,000 will not achieve this and will not support a ferry’s running cost.

  7. I have read Argyll & Butes “Green Belt Landscape Study documentation page 16”. This page shows that the Wind farm would be sited within “Local Nature Site Area” and within or next to “Very Sensitive Countryside Area”
    http://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/moderngov/Published/C00000244/M00004097/AI00052021/GreenBeltLandscapeStudy7404FinalReportLowRezFeb2010.pdf

    The only benefit from this site would be for the community however the community should be aware that the community benefit is regarded by many people as the ‘bribe’ to ‘sweeten the pill’. The developer/landowner may offer the local community a cash incentive if the turbines are built. Typically, the bigger the turbines, the bigger the incentive. You may wish to note that the incentives are often paid to communities located several miles from the proposed developments – i.e. the local village a few miles away might see the cash, but the nearest homeowners will not.
    Also, remember that the financial incentives are paid for from subsidies. Those subsidies are paid for by you in your electricity bills. Effectively, the community is getting its own money back, minus a significant percentage to the landowner.

    • Also, remember that the financial incentives are paid for from subsidies. Those subsidies are paid for by you in your electricity bills. Effectively, the community is getting its own money back, minus a significant percentage to the landowner.

      Why not though? We don’t get a choice about paying the renewables levy in our bills, but here we have a chance to benefit from the levy(which to date has mostly been enriching landowners and power companies). There is little prospect of the levy going away, but we can choose to support the wind farm and benefit the peninsula we live on.

    • That document is a bit on the inaccurate side; it identifies a commercial conifer plantation as a ‘Very Sensitive Countryside Area’.

      • According to Argyll and Bute Council Green Belt Landscape Study 2010, ‘Very Sensitive Countryside Area’ can include forestry land.

  8. interested to note that the trust took my photo from the peninsula website (marked copyright) without permission for use in their planning statement. it’s not even a great photo….

    • Well Mark you can get anything up to £500,000 for breach of copyright law. Don’t worry it will be paid from revenue from the wind farm!!! Especially when it is marked already not a hard thing to prove in court!!

  9. DB-It’s great to keep going on and on about financial statistics, however I have asked a couple of simple questions!!! Like why was the post office and school closures mentioned in the report and guess what not one of the trust members as got back to me. It is now over 2 months since the trusts AGM and we are still waiting on the minuets from that meeting being published. I know there are no rules to when these are published but i would have thought that at this stage the trust would like to be up front with the community. It will make interesting reading when these are published. It seems that there is a degree of secrecy going around and you are either in or out!!! This is just my own personnel opinion but I would like to see what other people of the village think!!!
    Secondly can you explain or someone!! “If available” from the trust the position of the planned project in relation to page 16 from the above report kindly mentioned in Mr Wilsons comments.

  10. 1 why are the Trust no longer replying to questions on this blog?
    2 why are the trust not replying to mails to their web site (which they invited)
    (I also emailed some time ago, and have not had the benefit of a reply)

    They were pretty quick to contribute prior to the application being submitted.

    Think this could be classic case of ‘getting what you want, then no longer interested??
    The Development Trust did only say ‘your comments would be taken into consideration’ after all……

  11. If you’re unhappy with the speed the council put the application on the website then you need to complain to the council.

    I’m not on the Trust but I did attend the AGM; was there something particular you were interested in? IT only lasted 20 minutes as the agenda(available here) was short and all the resolutions were passed unanimously.

    • No there was nothing in particular I was looking for. However when it is public and tax payers money involved and the trust want to get everyone involved. Then I think it is only courteous to keep everyone they expect to give them support up to date with matters discussed. It’s ok saying all the resolutions were passed, however was there anything discussed in “Any other competent business” One will never know until the minutes are posted. I did have one reply when I asked last year and was told the minutes would be posted shortly!!! Still waiting. It seems like as Zak said “They were pretty quick to contribute prior to the application being submitted.”

    • I’m not unhappy with the Council – I’m unhappy with the Trust submitting the application over the holiday period – how do they expect people to read and absorb and, if necessary, question this amount of data at that time of year – Oh, sorry – I don’t think they do – my mistake!
      Then they don’t answer questions or emails ?
      Forgive my cynicism but what are we to think ? – I have to agree with the comment made by Graham on secrecy, and the in-crowd!

      • I have never written to a ‘blog’ before but feel I must ask what planet do most of the people who have commented on the ‘Wind Farm Planning Application’ live on with their conspiracy theories! Where and when a Planning Application is placed for the public to inspect is entirely up to the Council, the Trust have no control over that. Most directors of the Trust have full time jobs and families and have already given up a great deal of time to this project and are not at the ‘beck and call’ of the general public. To suggest that there is a ‘cloak of secrecy’ is just stupid. We’ll be hearing next that ‘aliens’ are involved!

      • As far as I can tell, the delay is due to the council delaying putting the application on their website until they had received the extra information they asked for and the outstanding payment as the cheque submitted was short by £156 for advertising fees; given the application cost £12,760 I think this was an admin error of some kind. Why ABC waited until now to put the plan up I cannot fathom; administrative inertia or too many mince pies? You be the judge.

        The Trust did not submit over the holiday period, it was submitted on the 6th of December. This won’t go before the planning committee before March or more likely April, so you have plenty of time to read it all and write in to approve or object.

        As for the Trust not replying to emails or posting here; none of them do this for a living, so they may be on holiday or otherwise have reasons for not replying immediately. This blog post has only been up 3 days, so give them a chance to spot it.

  12. Well if they didn’t want to answer emails and get involved then the simple answer is!!! Don’t Volunteer. It was the trust who said “Please email your suggestions and comments” not me. No one held a gun to their heads to become directors. The simple question was why is the trust not answering emails, questions and comments sent to the them. I wouldn’t just class myself as general public!! Like you put it I would rather be known as a resident of Kilcreggan. Why, after the trust indicated at their meeting plans would be submitted November did they not inform members of the trust of the possible delay. When joining the trust I was getting regular emails from Murdoch informing me of work being carried out, however since the meeting nothing. If the trust would like our support in anything they do then they must keep everyone up to date.

  13. Graham,
    I’m sorry we have not issued a newsletter recently. As you can imagine, the effort to submit the planning application was immense and intense and we had to concentrate on getting it in as soon as possible. We will be putting out a newsletter to members soon, but in the meantime, let me answer some of the points made here.

    The planning application and all supporting documents are in the public domain, available to anyone who wishes to read them. The process could not be more open and transparent. The delay between submission and validation was caused simply because our planning agent made an error in calculating the planning fee and we had to get it clarified a couple of times. The submission is not valid until the correct fee is paid. Despite our stated intention to submit in November, the papers were not finalised in time and the submission slipped to 5th December.

    The positioning and availability of plans is entirely controlled by Argyll & Bute Council.

    At the Trust AGM, all motions were carried unanimously and no matters were raised under “any other business.”

    The parlous state of the post offices is common knowledge in the villages, just ask John or Margaret, and it is also well known that the schools were slated for closure just a couple of years ago. The Trust could not operate a private school but, in line with the recommendations of the Community Action Plan, which was written, not by the Trust but by members of the community, the Trust can attempt to bring more affordable housing to our area which should benefit the schools and the retail businesses. This can only be done with the income from the wind farm.

    I’m sorry that there are suggestions of secrecy or deceit being made on this blog. The Trust was set up by the Community Council to address the obvious problems facing our villages. We are trying to find a way of raising money to achieve the aims set out in the Community Action Plan. The best solution we have come up with is that of a community wind farm. This has been achieved successfully by other small communities throughout Scotland. We knew when we examined this option that it would involve an enormous amount of commitment and hard work. However, the Trust directors decided to give their time and effort towards providing our community with a sustainable future. It is perfectly fair for folk who disagree with the wind farm to make their views known, but it is not fair to cast aspersions at the good folk in the village who are working honestly to assist our community. We are not perfect. We are just trying our best. Our agenda is open and obvious and has been stated publicly on many occasions.

    Apologies for the long reply, but I hope this will put your mind to rest on these issues.

    Murdo

    • For information, I checked out the situation with Cove and Kilcreggan post offices with their head office today and was given a categorical assurance that neither was under threat.
      A Post Office spokesperson said: “The Post Office is committed to no further programmes of branch closures and to maintaining the network at its current size. We know how important Post Office services are to these communities and there are no proposals to close either of these two branches.”

  14. Graham – public comments are not held in the database when submitted. The Council needs to ‘vet’ them for obvious reasons,then they are scanned and input.
    If you mean the list of names that come up when you click on ‘comments’ -you then need to go to Documents and click on the number next to the one you want to view.
    Hope that helps

  15. Hi Zak, Thanks for that. It just happens that A&B have just sent me an email telling me the same thing. The only thing i don’t undersatnd, is i put a comment on the 4th and still nothing there, i find it hard to beliece it takes this long to read a comment and vet it. Before anyone jumps on “If your not happy complain to the council” Its only a comment!!!. Calm down!!!Thanks Zak!!!

  16. I notice from the Helensburgh Advertiser that a second wind farm is planned. It was interesting to see that a few basic figures have been mentioned!!!
    The gross income for the wind farm annually has been projected as £1.45million. After debt service payments and operating costs, around £350,000 would be left to split between the partners.
    The first £40k will be injected into the Burgh community if the excess cash is less than £120k with the remaining balance split between Green Cat and Luss Estates.
    However, if this is more than £120k the cash is split three ways.
    I can fully understand that this is an estimate, however would it be possible for someone to publish these type of estimations for the Kilcreggan/Cove project. This would be greatly appreciated.

    Regards Graham Walker

    • Graham: I’ve posted a story based on a statement by Helensburgh Renewables and will try to run updates as it develops

    • The information leaflet the Trust issued at the public meeting states that the estimated income is £300-400k per annum for the duration of the loan. After the loan is paid off I think that the figure mentioned at the meeting was around £1.5m per annum for the 5 years until the FIT payments stop. After that it’s down to the wholesale price of electricity and the remaining useful life of the turbines.

  17. Thanks for that but i was looking for a more detailed breakdown EG % for loan pay back, % for Land owners etc. Just basic figures nothing to complecated. £33-400K per annum what is to be paid out of this and roughly what will the sum be available to the village, nothing complecated. Or am i missing somthing?

  18. Firstly, thanks to Julian for the PO info.
    Secondly, I too would be interested in seeing at least a basic ‘business’ plan – this sort of info was requested at the Open Day, and not supplied. A basic business plan must exist with which to approach funders as well as banks- and as this is a publicly funded project, the public should have access to it, or am I wrong ?

  19. Graham Walker has mentioned financial information being provided about the proposed Helensburgh Wind Farm, and has asked for similar information about the Cove Wind Farm. Whilst those details were provided some time ago in the Frequently Asked Questions section on the Peninsula West Trust website, it may be helpful to set out information, which is included within the Planning Application papers submitted to the Council, and published online on the Council website, and specifically details from presentation slides, which have been used in the most recent meetings with local groups. Within the Council’s website pages of documents concerning the Cove Wind Farm, the presentation is at Appendix 10 from page 66 of the document with the title Planning Statement.
    Within that presentation, the information on Development Finance says that the Trust has adopted a cautious approach on all financial projections. The main items of expenditure will be: turbines – £10 million; civil engineering/grid connection – £5 million; with a total bank loan of £15 million. Financial institutions see the development as viable, with the main liability of the Trust being to service the bank loan. Income will come from sale of electricity with a Power Purchase Agreement providing a fixed electricity sale price periods of years, and government renewables subsidy, which is currently calculated at a guaranteed level for 20 years and inflation proofed. The level of subsidy currently available is being reduced by 10% from April 2013, and it may be further reduced from April 2014.
    In relation to the distribution and use of the income, which would become available for local investment, the presentation says under the heading Community Benefit that the Trust is a Company Limited by Guarantee and is also a registered charity. Trust policy is that 100% of wind farm ‘profits’ will be used for community benefit, with an estimated potential £300k to £400k annually for local developments, and the intention to prioritise proposals in the Community Action Plan. With respect to the proposals to provide community benefit to neighbouring communities, it is noted that: the Trust has now extended its ‘Area of Benefit’; ‘profits’ will also be used to benefit neighbouring communities; this ‘external’ funding would be at the A&B recommended rate; distribution would be based on population sizes, proximity to the wind farm and its visual impact; with decisions about how to use this community benefit being made by those neighbouring communities.
    I hope that provides the information Graham Walker was looking for, and it will be of interest to others.
    Andrew

  20. Andrew Reid, I have tried to locate the document mentioned above, however I’m having difficulty locating it. I wonder if you could post a link to enable me and others to read it. I was only looking for simple maths here e.g. total estimated revenue and what percentage is being paid to land owners and that’s all. I have asked this a couple of times and no one seems to be able to give a simple clear answer.
    Graham

  21. Graham,
    Within the section on the Argyll & Bute Council website for planning applications, and in the entry for the proposed development at Cove under the heading Documents, then clicking on the subheading ‘View associated documents’ brings up several pages of documents. As at today, on page 3, there is an entry for the report I was referring to in the previous post –Document number: 20711218 Description: Environmental Impact Assessment Document Title: Planning Statement Document Date Thursday, January 3, 2013 Web link:
    http://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/Planning/lg/GFPlanningDocuments.page
    You will find a copy of the presentation I was referring to in the Planning Statement at Appendix 10 from page 66 of the document. You will also find similar information on the Community Development Trust website in the section for Frequently Asked Questions.
    Andrew

  22. Andrew thank you for the link. I think i must be missing something and hopefully someone can help me out. All that I would like to know is the total money generated and then how this will be split i.e. Loan, Land owner and community. I have looked at the documents and the Trust web site “Frequently asked Questions” but there seems to be nothing for this. Maybe someone from the directors might be able to help out here.

    Graham

    • Graham – on A&BC planning portal look under Documents – it is on page 3, ref no 2071128.

      Like you, I have seen and heard these figures, but I think presentation of more complete figures-projections of income, outlay etc would be more informative.
      I would have thought that as this is a publicly funded project, this information should be available to the public if requested?

  23. Zak, I couldn’t agree more. All that I would like to know is the breakdown of revenue; to me there are 3 parties involved.
    1-The Bank
    2-The Landowner
    3-Community

    I don’t think you have to be Carol Vordaman to work this out, and like you say this is a publicly funded project and so this information should be available. It’s no good just keep saying 15,000000, income of 350-400,000 these are just two figures involved it would be nice to see other calculations. Could we possible have access to the business plan given to possible investors in the project i.e. the lenders, I’m sure this should be available to the general public if the trust want our backing.

    • The figures are all there, on the back of my fag packet I have this; ROC payments for onshore wind are £36/MW/h, the wholesale price of electricity is about £50/MW/h and the farm has a nominal output of 30,222 MW/h per annum. This gives a gross annual return of £2.599m. Assuming the 15 year loan is at 5%, the annual repayment is £2.14m. That leaves £459k; subtracting the community’s share that leaves £59-159k. I would guess that the land rent charges will in that band.

      • Thank You db.
        Would it be possible for the Trust to confirm these are the correct figures, and whether any more complete figures/projections are available please?
        I invite them via this blog as I, like Graham, did not receive a reply to an email sent directly to the RPWCDT web site.

  24. Graham and Zak

    Thanks for bringing my attention to the issue with the website e-mail address. I have looked into it and it transpires there was a configuration error which I have now fixed. So my apologies that your e-mails were not responded to, the reason being that they were never received.

    You will appreciate that the deal with the landowner is a private contractual matter and it would be inappropriate for us to disclose the sums involved. We would be in breach of the terms and conditions of the contract were we to do so.

    The figures db mentions are broadly accurate however if I was to provide exact ones then it would obviously make clear what the landowner’s lease agreement is and as explained I can’t do that.

    What I can assure you of again is that every penny in profit is being passed to community projects and there are no private developers who will be taking a dispropotionate amount of the income out of local communities.

    Kind regards
    Laurence

  25. Laurence: surely the payments to landowners etc would in time be shown in the trust accounts? So I can’t see how the t&c’s could restrict that information being made public.

  26. Good point db.
    I assume, as with any business plan to acquire a loan for future income, without equity, there must be projections- which in this case would be based on wind stats, any income from external sources etc (eg ROC’s), and outgoings such as repairs, maintenance, insurance etc.
    Coverage of the Open Day meeting and briefing was covered on this website and stated –
    (under “Wind Farm what happens next”)-

    ‘And the environmental impact statement referred to in the meeting, together with the
    costs model, will not be available until after residents have voted in the public poll’

    This is after all a publicly funded project, and I would have thought it necessary to make this information available.
    So a question to the Trust – may we have the link to view these figures please?

    (If OK with Julian, I’ll stick with asking questions through here, as responses are then more readily viewable)

    • I don’t know about the other stuff, but I remember from the public meeting that the turbines come with an inclusive maintenance agreement; once they are bought there are no costs to the Trust, the manufacturer takes care of all the maintenance.

  27. Would anyone be able to put a basic figure on the running costs of the five turbines? According to manufacturers figures this is between 10-20% of the overall output per turbine. Is there any way we can see that this has been taken in to consideration. I’m sorry if all my questions look negative, but i think with £15 Million of public money, this type of question needs to be answered.

  28. (apologies if formatting of this post turns out to be ugly – having problems with the web site form)

    Zak and Graham,

    First of let me confirm I received your e-mail query Zak and also apologise again for it not working previously.

    In response to the query about the financial projections I can provide the high level figures detailed below however please note that the Trust cannot divulge the level of detail being requested for two key reasons.

    The first, as already mentioned, is that any option & lease agreement entered into with the landowners is subject to a standard confidentiality agreement which the Trust cannot breach.

    The second reason is that a number of the area of operational cost will be subject to competitive tendering and therefore disclosing budgeted figures would place the Trust in a weak negotiating position and minimise the opportunity of achieving best value from awarded contracts. The Trust directors all give their time and efforts for no financial return and have always rejected the opportunity to go into partnership with a private developer for the simple reason that they are committed to this project maximising the financial benefit to the community. Given this commitment it would be counterproductive for us to disclose information publicly which could jeopardise the opportunity to achieve this.

    This is not an issue of transparency, or lack of transparency, but one of sound business practice in order to reap the most community benefit from the project.

    What I can say, and hopefully this provides assurance, is that our financial model does satisfy the main financial institutions we have engaged with and they have extensive expertise in financing wind farms. These are not financial institutions that adopt a high risk strategy and would not be contemplating a loan in the region of £15 million if there were not satisfied that the project was financially sustainable.

    The financial details which we have already made public (based on estimates) are that the total capital expenditure at the outset of the project is £15m which breaks down as £10m for the turbines and £5m for the civil engineering and grid connection.

    The main liability will be servicing this bank loan which will be done over a 15 year period.

    Our projected income in years 1-20 will be £2,568,870, and years 21-25 is £1,359,990

    Budgeted expenditure in years 1-15 £2,215,500, years 16-25 is £615,750.

    This leaves an annual balance of £353,370 in years 1-15, £1,953,120 in years 16-20 and £744,240 in years 21-25 to invest in community projects and benefits.

    We have applied prudence in all our projections so as to minimise any financial risk and they also incorporate annual ring fencing of funds to establish a contingency reserve and also a legacy fund to ensure there are funds available for community projects after the wind farm is deconstructed.

    I trust this information is satisfactory and that people can understand the reason why we cannot provide a detailed breakdown of the financial model.

    Kind regards
    Laurence Slavin

    • I wonder whether a sensitivity analysis has been done to allow for movements in base rate over the life of the loan. At the peak borrowing period an adverse movement of 2.3% will extinguish the surplus! With inflation looking to be a tool of all governments in order to devalue the huge global debt mountain the historically low Base Rate of 0.5% will (in my view) have a short life. Moreover, I will be surprised if a lending institution will provide 100% of the risk capital without exacting a high price.

  29. Hi Laurence, from what DB stated above once the wind turbines are purchased then there is no cost to the trust and that the manufacturer takes care of maintenance. However you indicated above that “The second reason is that a number of the area of operational cost will be subject to competitive tendering” So either there will be cost for upkeep as you state or there will be no upkeep cost due to this being met by the manufacturer. Would it be possible for someone to clarify this?
    My other question was, according to manufacturers (Vestas, GE, and NEG Micon) figures approx 10-15% of generated electricity is used for the operation of the individual wind turbine. This includes blade pitch control, heating of blades and Hydraulic oil heating and cooling system. Not one wind turbine manufacturer will surrender these values easily and will only hand over this information when pressed. Therefore could you confirm this has been taken in to consideration, because this is a large percentage of overall generated electricity? The reason this is not normally accounted for is because this will be provided from thr national grid and not the wind farm itself.

    Graham Walker

  30. I see Cove and Kilcreggan CC have commented in support – very odd as last time I was there the chairman said it was their policy not to comment on planning applications. Particularly odd since at least two members would have had to declare an interest and take no part in the vote

  31. Graham, with respect to those latest queries, the expectation of the Trust is that a maintenance contract may well be agreed with the turbine provider, but neither purchase nor maintenance arrangements have as yet been finalised, and the Trust will be seeking the best deal for both elements, whether together or separately. In the event of purchase and maintenance contracts being with the same organisation, there may still be a need for tendering with respect to other operational costs, such as insurances. In relation to your point about the electricity costs involved in operating the wind turbines and generating power, we are not clear what cost you are suggesting against your figures of “10% – 15% of generated electricity.” We are certainly aware of one study, published in 2009 on the basis of data from some years before that, which indicated that those electricity costs amounted to up to 5% of overall O&M costs, and that would be very substantially less than 10% to 15% of the income received from the electricity generated. In addition, turbines have become both more efficient and more reliable over the last few years, and it was recently reported that O&M contracts for onshore wind developments have reduced in price by 38% over the last four years. The background checks made by the Trust suggest that the sum currently conservatively budgeted for Operations and Maintenance costs will be adequate for that purpose, although, along with other parts of the financing, the O&M budget will continue to become more precise by the time the development is commissioned and will be subject to robust assessment by financial institutions before financial closure is reached.
    Andrew Reid

  32. Hi, with respect to the reply above the following link will explain the given figures.
    http://www.aweo.org/windconsumption.html
    This study was published between 2006-2008. OK these new wind turbines may be a little more efficient however losses to graduate the connection and disconnection between generator and grid have not become more efficient as these never change (losses in conductor never change for a given Mw required) and these are running at 1-2%. So this only leaves 3% for other electricity requirements according to your study. Please could you post the link to the study mentioned, I’m interested in reading this. Ok 3% might not seem a lot however when the majority of farms are operating at below 30%. In fact over a 5 year period this figure was 26.2% Efficient. So 3% of this figure is 23.2%, i would say this is not very efficient at all. Figures taken from http://www.decc.gov.uk.

    • Very good points Graham, and well worth requesting an answer – as is that of Strachan.
      I also note that even the FCS (a government body) do not use the 30% figure in their estimates which backs Graham’s point up on performance and projections.

      And – interesting point db – goalposts moved ?

      – aren’t there also other maintenance issues – dead bird and bat removal, litter, signage, roads, paths, site maintenance (fences etc)- general upkeep etc that would not come under the turbine maintenance contract ?

  33. Please could one of the trust give indications or a link detailing the amount of area that will be fenced i.e. restricted access to the public and breaching of public right of way? Thanks in advance.

  34. Thanks for that Paul. I would now like to put the following statement (From above link) to the Directors of the Trust.

    “There is no scope to accommodate turbines above 50m height within the smaller
    scale, settled coastal/loch fringes and islands due to their increased landscape
    sensitivity to tall turbines, including potential cumulative effects with wind farm
    development in adjacent upland areas.”

    Please can you explain the reason why the Kilcreggan/Cove wind farm will not come under this statement by A&B Council?

  35. Graham, with respect to your three most recent comments:- Firstly, it is understood that the electricity to power turbines does have a cost, but it is the expectation of the Trust that this cost will only amount to a small proportion of the overall operational costs. It is important to note that to date the bank concerned has been satisfied to date with the budget framework proposed for this development. The related piece of work you have expressed an interest in seeing is – “Wind Energy Volume 2 The Facts Costs and Prices.” Secondly, following the construction period, the wind farm site would have no particular access restrictions, so public access to that area would not be affected. Therefore, any public right of way would be no different than it currently is. Thirdly, the Trust’s Planning Statement and the supplementary papers submitted as part of the Planning Application, all of which are available online on the Argyll & Bute website, set out in great detail the proposals of the Community Development Trust in relation to landscape an design issues, along with the report of the independent expert commissioned to advise on those aspects of the development, and the comments of the two further independent consultants on this matter. It is anticipated that the Council will consider these submissions and all other relevant policies and reports in considering the planning application.

    Kind regards
    Laurence Slavin

  36. I’m afraid it’s still the same points-
    1.the EIA is only the Opinion of the company (ies) Employed to produce the report for the sum of £183,000 of public money
    2. The proposal is still contrary to A&BC planning policy., several of….
    3. The turbine size is unsuitable for the landscape

  37. Zak, what I think the Trust is saying is if enough EXPERTS and INDEPENDANT CONSULTANTS get involved they will be able to run rough shot over A&B Policies. So therefore another waste of public funds putting these rules and regulations in place. Mind you it was carried out in March 2012 so that’s ok, it was a different year!!!!
    I thought these rules and regulations were meant to keep order and ensure protection for the landscape.

    Regards Graham Walker

  38. These wind mills must be getting bigger we now have a supporter for the wind farm from Denver didn’t think they could be seen that far. It is becoming a joke now with people from all over the world.

  39. Nobody answering questions put to the trust? Is this the future of the trust and I was slagged off for indicating secrecy and a closed shop!!!!

  40. 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.

    G Walker

    • I will email this to the Trust too, but as there has been a general interest in the finances and the Trust have supplied some figures here, I wanted to air my query here too.

      I would like to ask the Trust to confirm when their budget shows the first “£300K to £400K” annual payment to the Community will be made?

      I ask this because I am aware of another Community wind farm, financed by the Co-op bank, where the loan was for less than £10m and only made up 70% of the total project cost (here the suggestion seems to be that rather unusually the bank finance will comprise 100%). Yet despite the much lower level of bank funding on the other project, they reported that no funds could be paid over to the Community until after the bank’s requirement that a reserve of six months loan and operating costs had been set up.

      This seems a reasonable requirement by the bank, after all they are carrying the majority of the project risk, particularly in this case. However, by my calculation and using the figures supplied earlier, it would take the Trust more than 3 years to build up the six months reserve needed, i.e more than 3 years before any funds could be paid to the Community. Is this correct?

      So, please Trust, could you confirm when in your budgeted figures the first annual payment of £300K+ is due to be made and whether this timescale is after taking into account the bank’s likely requirements with regard to a financial reserve and/or other security for their loan?

      Thank you

  41. excellent questions DEB M – will the Trust ever answer on financials one wonders?
    Can we ever see a Business Plan?- straight question.
    Graham – re Trust emailing replies – this web site had a reply to yours and my comment about emailing and no answer – something to do with the way they had set it up but was supposed to have been repaired. Guess it’s not – so Trust Reps – can we have replies if you have received them, or can you reply to the queries raised via this web site (several sections of)?

  42. Julian – you are doing a sterling job with this blog, Thank You.
    Could I ask for a wee headline – ‘Will the Trust please answer the outstanding questions put by folk?’ – there are 78 responses on this headline strap alone, several being requests for information, as the Trust seem unable to handle this via their website.
    The last lady, Deb M, had some very pertinent questions and I think we should all be interested in the reply.
    A wee run through, and amalgamation of the queries posted, but as yet unanswered, would eleicit a fair number of outstanding questions and I think the Trust are duty bound to answer them.

      • As this is where the full text of my query appears I am posting here as well as the newer topic that is now running.

        In response to my earlier posting I can confirm –

        Yes – The Trust’s email link on their website IS working

        Yes – I have had an answer from the Trust to my query

        No – it does not answer the question raised as to when the first £300K to £400K payment would be made to the community.

        Their full reply is as follows:

        “The Trust is still in preliminary discussions with a number of financial institutions, including the Co-operative bank, about the possible terms and conditions of any financial contract which we may enter into. We are very conscious of possible covenants which any bank would expect to see in place and will factor these into our financial model once those discussions are entered in to and financial closure is achieved.

        One point of clarification regarding your e-mail (just to clear up any misunderstanding). Our project, if successful, will not be 100% financed by the bank. As is fairly standard there is a equity percentage which we need to source from elsewhere and we are currently exploring those options. Consistent with our entire approach to this project we are seeking an option which maximises profit to be invested in community projects.”

        More from me to follow…….

  43. I have been reading through these comments and find there is quite a big difference in opinion for and against. At the moment I’m sitting on the fence i have to say. Being a student the thought of house purchase is many years away but the affordable homes part is really interesting. So too is the amount of money that will hopefully come to the peninsula, hopefully. One of my questions and i hope I’m not barking up the wrong tree but what happens if the turbines pardon the pun don’t turn and it fails to generate enough revenue for the money to be paid back? Will all the villagers have to chip in? Hope someone can clear this up for me as I’ve said I’m undecided on yes or no at the moment.

    Thank You

    • At the public meeting in October the Trust explained that the windfarm was likely to be operated as a limited company, so the directors would be liable for £1 each. Unless you want to stand as a director your personal liability is nothing. As I understand it the loan will be secured against the asset, so in the event of it not making money the lender would take it in lieu of payment, neither the Trust nor the rest of the peninsula population would carry any liability. Given lenders aren’t interested in receiving non-profit making assets in lieu of debts, I would think the lender’s due diligence will include an independent assessment of the windfarm’s viability before releasing the loan.

  44. So could this take a long time if the trust has to get more assessments completed? Might this not push the project along way in to the future? It’s just that I notice that it has been mentioned that getting the project up and running is most important.

  45. The assessment would most likely be an audit of the Trust’s business case rather than completing one from scratch; either way it’s something a specialist could complete within a month, even taking their time about it.

  46. Sorry to be a pain keep asking probably stupid questions, but I take it this would have to be completed before any money was available? Would it not have been better to get the money in place before the planning permission like when you buy a house? You get your mortgage in place then chose the house? Sorry if this sound stupid.

    • It would be nice if that was possible, but no lender will offer that; all need planning in place as the planners might stipulate changes that would affect the costs or generating capacity. To stick with the house analogy, it would be like the bank lending you £150k to build a 4 bedroom house on the basis that the finished article would be worth £200k, then have the planners insist you can only build a 3 bedroom bungalow worth £140k; it’s a bad risk for the lender so they won’t do it.

  47. Living in Rosneath, how will the wind farm bring any benefit to me and my family? Are the proceeds for the wind farm not for the Cove & Kilcreggan community’s only? Why should I vote for it!

  48. Desy, the Community Development Trust, which is working on the wind farm proposals, could only be set up on the west of the peninsula as there was already such a body on the east side. The Trust has amended its constitution to allow the financial benefits coming from the wind farm to be shared with neighbouring communities. If planning permission is granted, a specific “external benefit fund” will be set up for that purpose. But, the biggest benefit for people from Rosneath and Clynder will be from the spending of 100% of the wind farm “profits” on community benefit. The priorities for investment can be seen in the Community Action Plan – http://www.rosneathpeninsulawest.com/?page_id=162 . Although this was developed with lots of public involvement by people from the peninsula west villages, many of the benefits would be felt across the whole peninsula. The developments, called for by the Action Plan, which would be of peninsula wide benefit, include: play areas, indoor and outdoor sports facilities, small business units and workshops, tourist attractions, a community petrol/diesel facility, affordable single and family housing and sheltered housing. The Peninsula West Community Development Trust is looking for people to support the wind farm planning application as a way of supporting people working to build a sustainable future for the people who live on the peninsula.
    Andrew

  49. Hi Andrew, I find your comments on a community petrol/diesel station very interesting. The profit from sales of this is very little!!! We are talking pennies. My previous wife owned and operated 5 garages in the west Midlands during which time she commissioned one in the town of Bewdley. Having spent in excess of £400000 to get the premises up and running (fuel only) and the town having a population of approx 9000, the profit over a 12 month period after mortgage repayments and other expenses was very very small. Also remembering that fuel is more expensive from the supplier the less you have and it’s always cash up front with petrol, no other way. Indeed for several years it made a loss, so I must ask is this a viable way of spending the profit from the wind farm. Also this would only benefit the car ownersin the village and not everyone.

    • I doubt anyone expects a community filling station to do anything other than wash its face; the benefit is in saving residents the £6+ in fuel it costs to drive to Helensburgh and back to fill their cars up.

      • But i would say that 75% of residents work out of Kilcreggan and so are in Helensburgh most days? So why pay over the top prices in Kilcreggan when you can get it cheaper in town. This was one of the main reasons last time the last garage didn’t make it. It was not the tanks as you said before; I have spoken to the previous owners relatives. Also wash its face? you would have to sell a lot of petrol not to make a loss!!!, and it certainly doesn’t cost me £6+ to drive 34 miles and thats in an Audi 2.0lTD

      • The filling station in Helensburgh is no bargain itself, runs out of fuel with monotonous regularity, suffers mysterious electronic and mechanical maladies, often has a queue of vehicles out onto East Clyde street, and like today randomly closes at short or no notice for unspecified maintenance reasons. I’m glad you like it this way, but I don’t.

        The garage did not shut because people didn’t buy their fuel there; they stopped selling fuel long before it closed. As to why it did shut I don’t know, but Mr. McNeilage doesn’t seem to have any problems as he’s just build a new and much larger workshop, so it’s unlikely to have been a lack of business; the garage’s yard was always filled with police and MOD vehicles being serviced and repaired.

  50. When replying to my earlier query about the 3+ years delay in Community funds actually being available, the Trust confirmed the bank loan to fund the project would not be 100%. As as result of this info, I now have some further points to put to them –

    And, whilst I had wondered about the apparent 100% funding being proposed, that is how it is shown on page 79 of the planning statement and there is very similar wording on the Trust’s website itself.

    However, what is not now clear is whether the project will be more than £15m, but with a £15m loan and if this is the case, what then is the total anticipated project cost?

    Assuming the project itself is £15m, the now advised additional funding is likely to be significant I have seen bank funding on other projects of 70% which would mean this project would need around £4m to £5m. And as without actually paying any of that money back, the annual interest payment alone on this amount would be around £200K, this could reduce further any surplus available to the community. It is therefore imperative that the funds are sourced as cheaply as possible.

    But this need for cheap additional funds and the use in the reply of the term “equity percentage” is of real concern. The term equity suggests to me part ownership, such as in a shareholding, but as the farm will be owned only by the community, does that mean you will be looking for these additional funds, “the equity percentage” from the community? By my calculation this would equate to around £4000 per household and whilst it would certainly be the cheapest way of providing the additional funds you will need, how could this actually work?

    But if you are not going to be seeking this additional finance from the community itself, could you please let us know who you are hoping to get to subscribe to this equity percentage/shareholding and how this will effect the statement that the farm will be owned by the community, for the community

  51. I think you will find that there were notices posted 3 days ago and if you check the Advertiser web site it was also posted their. I beg to differ about your timings of not selling fuel and the garage remaining open. If you ask anyone in the village I’m sure they will tell you the reason why it shut!!!Anyway we are getting away from the point, why start a business and spend maybe £300000 of community money to run a garage that might lose money. If this is what you think should be done then I think the trust need to prioritise the money allocation and ask the public what they think of this idea and what is being discussed about THEIR money?

    • They have prioritised the allocation and they did ask; in order to write the Community Action Plan the population were asked what their personal priorities were, and it was drafted accordingly. I’m sure that further consultation will happen as the plan is now 2 years old, but the action plan gives the CDT a starting point to work from.

  52. I have just checked on money expert.com and there is .9p per Litre difference in prices between the vale and Helensburgh. This does not include Morrison’s has this petrol will always be cheaper due to being subsidised from the shop and also supermarket petrol the majority of times if you read the small print does not contain additives. So not good to use on modern cars!!!

    • It’s still a short notice closure which inconveniences everyone. I don’t visit the Advertiser website daily and hanging a notice outside the filling station 2 days before is not adequate publicity; the first I knew about it was a notice on Facebook about an hour before it was scheduled to shut. Dumbarton is a further 16 miles on the round trip, which the cost-saving from Morrisons’ petrol(BS EN 228 just like every other vendor) does not come close to offsetting.

  53. Hi, I have been informed that the R&C trust is no longer in existence. Could someone comment on this please? It would be nice to see a member of the trust comment on this and tell us if they knew?

  54. db you seem to think that Mr Mcneilage is doing so well with his new workshop so why doesn’t he start selling petrol and deisel again? I think Mr Walker has already answered the question, because it is a good way to lose a lot of money!

    • I wonder if Mr Snook knows that Mr McNeilage has never sold petrol/deisel and that the petrol pumps were ‘condemmed’ some considerable time before he bought the premises which were later demolished to become the Kilcreggan Health Centre.

  55. I wish you would get facts correct before you comment Felicity!!! Mr McNeilage and his father sold petrol from this garage before it was took over by Bobby Yhoudon. They also owned Terrace Garage and still do (Now Kilcreggan Garage) Bobby Yhoudon took over and Mr McNeilage moved out. This garage then went into liquidation and lay empty until it was sold and the new medical centre was built by Henry Brothers Scotland. I have been informed that petrol was still sold up to it closing; this is why it cost so much to clear the site because a large amount of fuel was still in the ground. So just to correct you Mr McNeilage and his father did sell petrol!!
    Also can you answer my previous question?
    I have been informed that the R&C trust is no longer in existence. Being has you were the person who informed that this commitee were still active. Yes or no?

    Thank You

  56. Felicity don’t nit pick especially while you and other lady contributers continue to hide behind pseudonyms. The point is the person actually operating the garage does not matter, it is the fact that to operate any facility at a loss or attempt to subsidise it from another profitable stream is business suicide. db seems to spend a lot of time in Helensbugh monitoring the garage, I am not aware of frequent closures of the pumps except for during fuel deliveries where safety regulations demand the closure of the pumps because of the restricted nature of the site and the need for the tanker to park under the canopy. maintenance is undertaken one set at a time and the remaining 3 set remain in use. I would also suspect with the knowledge of Dumbarton petrol outlets that this is also your main shopping destination to the detriment of the local village shops. If you want a local vibrant community support the local services stop talking about grandiose schemes which have little chance coming to fruition, Just get out and do the little things to make the place an attractive place to live. Don’t write to the Council and complain about litter or minor defects pick it up or fix it ACTION NOT WORDS maketh utopia.

    • It’s good to see that Graham is ‘on the ball’ and spotted my deliberate mistake. What I should have said is that (to my knowledge) petrol has never been sold at the (now) Kilcreggan Garage (formerly the Terrace Garage). Mr McNeilage did for a time own the old Kilcreggan Garage (now the site of the Medical Centre) and indeed sold petrol from there. When the petrol pumps closed the garage was owned by Mr R Youden and quite some time later the garage went into administration. As to your question about the Rosneath & Clynder Community Action Trust, I have no knowledge of their activities, but they were active when the RPWCDT was formed in 2010 which is the important point.

      • Are we to take it from Mr Snook’s comments that when he goes to buy petrol/diesel that he doesn’t also go shopping? Our village shops keep a reasonable variety of goods but their very size precludes them from stocking the many requirements of everyone in the community. I like to think that most people do support the local shops as much as they can. I don’t know anyone who complains to the council about litter but I do wish more people would complain about our downgraded ferry service. I have commented before that this is a much bigger threat to our community that five wind turbines up on the hill.

  57. Felicity or whoever you are, unless you are researching a history of garages in the peninsula who owned the garage is of no importance as explained by Graham the fuel prices in Helensburgh are competitive and anyone who attempted to set up a fuel point on the peninsula or at any point beyond Helensburgh is heading for bankruptcy. Not long ago there were pumps at Garelochhead, Clynder and the caravan park all gone bust. There is a problem facing motorists in the outlying areas which could be solved without major works and for a few tens of pounds this is arriving home with an empty tank because you forgot to stop off to fill up. This would require the purchase of one or two authorised containers and some willing shop keeper to keep them; limited amounts may be stored without recourse to licensing and are no more difficult to store than gas bottles. The stranded motorist can either return the can refilled or pay for the fuel at the time and empty cans being refilled on an opportunity basis by anyone going to Helensburgh for other reasons.

  58. I realise my nom de plume makes my comments obsolete but with regard to the pumps at Clynder and the Caravan Park, the reason for cessation of sales was because the tanks were elderly and in need of renewal. Gerald Payne certainly never went ‘bust’ and Rosneath Caravan Park, in those days under the umbrella of UBC, most likely made a simple investment decision.

    • PS I spoke to Isaac Owens last Wednesday who confirmed that unfortunately the Rosneath Community Trust no longer exists. Further than this point I have no information regarding when or why it folded but can suggest anyone wishing further information contact Rosneath & Clynder Community Council.

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