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Friday, February 01, 2008

"EIGG-TRICITY" as the media insist it is known locally

The papers & BBC are pushing a story about how a "wind, solar & hydro" renewable system is bringing electricity to the people of the Scots Island of Eigg (pronounced egg). This will all be entirely nice renewable power not the nasty intermmittent stuff they used to get from a diesel generator. What a crock of PR shit. The Scotsman here says

With no electricity connection to the mainland, the 83 islanders on Eigg have been reliant on noisy, costly and environmentally unfriendly diesel generators for their power.

But from today they will switch on to a new era, with supplies to all households coming from renewable sources.

Now despiter the fact that it is being refered to by the BBC as "wind, solar & hydro" in that order in fact it is very much a hydro scheme with some token windmills & solar.
Eigg Electric commissioned Synergie Scotland to manage the project, which involves a 100kw hydro scheme at Laig and two smaller 6kw schemes at Kildonan and the pier; a 24kw wind farm at Grulin and a 10kw solar scheme at Glebe. The design and building contract was awarded to Scottish Hydro Contracting.
I have never heard of Synergie Scotland but it sounds very much like a group of Green lobbyists riding the gravy train while Scottish Hydro do the heavy lifting. I doubt if Eigg Electric is a multinational either. Note that the production disparity is even greater than shown because wind & solar are virtually guaranteed not to be producing that much when needed. Despite hydro being an official renewable the eco-fascists hate it - probably because it actually works.

And the first punch line:
A battery storage system will compensate for short periods when energy from renewable sources is not available. Two 80kw diesel generators have been installed to provide emergency back-up and to supplement supply when necessary
So the diesel generators will be able to provide more electricity than all the "renewable" nonsense put together. It isn't really a renewable system at all, that is just PR fluff.

And how much will it cost. Well fortunately, if the Scotsman is to be believed

"The only public money used was a £17,000 grant from Highlands and Islands Enterprise"

But it isn't because the 2nd punch line is the £1.6 million it costs came from:

"Financial support came from the European Regional Development Fund, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, HIE Lochaber, Highlands and Islands Community Energy Company, the Big Lottery Fund, Scottish Community Household Renewables Initiative, the Energy Savings Trust, Highland Council and the Isle of Eigg Community Trust."

which ALL, with the possible exception of a small fraction of the Eigg trust, are ultimately government money.

Looking at this: £1.6 milliion would, in the commercial world, require a pay back of about 10% annually. ie £160,000. Divided among 83 people this comes to £2,000 per person, plus running costs.

The 3rd punch line is that they could obviously have just put in the 2 new 80kw generators for a small fraction of the price, or better yet put in a cable to the mainland. This would have been far less expensive but:

"We've been talking about it for years but no energy company was going to pay to put miles of cable under the sea" Which means that they went for this ridiculously expensive system because there were no grants for a sensible system.

3rd punch line: Instead of, perhaps £100,000 to cable it to the mainland or put in new diesels the political establishment have insisted on spending £1.6 million (we are told that officially the islander put up £100,000 of it but I am willing to bet that if that gets traced back it comes, through the Trust, from us too) of our money to advertise to us what a wonderful thing windmillery is.

4th punch line:
This is a prime example of how thoroughly domesticated our media is, absolutely willing to distort any "news" the establishment want even when it is quite obvious what is going on. The Wizard of Oz once said "Ignore the man behind the curtain". Unfortunately virtually none of our journalists have 1/10th the guts or integrity of Dorothy, which I think is a very bad thing for our society.

How did wave power get overlooked?
Thinking about it later I am a little surprised at that. I am also suspicious about the 100kw hydro scheme. Hydro power is a multiple of the amount of water & the drop it gets. Since Eigg is 12 square mile island with 2 hills the catchment area is going to be exceedingly small & the drop even moreso. I suspect my article was rather to kind to this charade 7 they new "emergency back up" diesels will provide most electricity.
Hydro power would work as long as you had diesel power to pump the water up to the top of the hill in the first place.
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