Well, now it’s been confirmed: Viking Energy made an error in their carbon payback calculations, as revealed by Dr Birnie at the Windfarm Supporters Group meeting, by assuming that almost all of the Viking windfarm site, and all of the habitat management plan area, were covered in bare peat.
As if that weren’t bad enough, they, or their relevant consultants, have also decided that, along the proposed tracks in the Kergord area, up to a distance of 50 metres from them, there are only 4.8 hectares of “undamaged” blanket bog, while 160.2 hectares are “hagged and gullied”. This is completely at odds with Viking Energy’s own habitat surveys which describe the Kergord road corridors as: “dominated by mainly intact and active bog across most areas. However, there are some notable exceptions, such as around Upper Kergord and the Mid Kame ridge, where the proposed track line is across areas of highly eroded and fragmented bog, as well as intermediate activity.” I agree with this assessment.
Similar assumptions have been made for the other sectors, although curiously Nesting, which we are told is in the worst condition (and again I agree), is deemed to have nearly twice as much undamaged bog as Kergord, and also more than Delting!
“Undamaged” blanket bog has over 20 times the power to capture carbon as does “hagged and gullied”. If a correct assessment of the activity of blanket bog had been applied, it would have made a significant difference to the estimated carbon loss caused by drainage, and thus to the final carbon payback period.
I can have absolutely no confidence in Viking Energy’s conclusion that, in a worst case scenario, this period would be less than one year. Quite possibly, a best case scenario might well also exceed this time, but I suppose we’ll never know now.