General and UK
AS with so many of their policy positions, Robin Harper of the Greens (Letters, May 31) chooses to ignore the fact that, like so much of the Green policy rhetoric, their approach to the vexed question of nuclear power and climate issues is one which would reduce us to living in mud huts and eating grass.
By focusing on "landscape", however, the impression is given that it's largely the visual impact of industrial-size turbines that requires a "new approach" when, in fact, the whole environment is put at risk by ill-planned industrial wind-turbine development. ...For the Scottish Government's consultation on proposals for a Climate Change Bill to meet the real needs of Scotland's environment and the people, it's the depth of the environment that requires protection, not only its "world-class landscape".
According to analysis based on data used by the National Grid to monitor power generation, the amount of power produced by wind developments across the UK fell to as low as 2.5 per cent of potential generation capacity, while demand rose to its highest levels. This is a derisory amount. It begs searching questions about the Scottish government's ambitions to go flat out for renewable power generation.
One cannot expect much more than the usual "green tears in red eyes" from its chief executive formerly employed by Greenpeace, and its continual misleading information on targets, supply to homes, capacity factors - and putting the blame on everyone else.
In these days of the expectancy of apologies all round, they do not apologise for all the heartache they bring to residents of previously happy communities, where the dreaded windfarm applications tear them apart, devalue their property and cause health problems.
What a coincidence that two supporters of the Lewis wind power project, Alasdair Morrison, MSP, and David Hodkinson of Amec, write to your paper on the same day (January 6) attacking two parties who dare to oppose them. The SNP and the RSPB can answer for themselves, but there is one large group of opponents both your correspondents fail to mention.
Although Lewis Wind Power has managed to persuade a small number of leading politicians in the islands of its case, it has not managed to persuade the people who would be directly affected by its wind farm.
Despite a number of expensive roadshows round the area, with leading PR people from Amec and British Energy, and big glossy advertisements in the local press, the people remain resolutely against them.
Media reports and a widely circulated letter suggest ministers are "minded to refuse" the application for the massive Lewis wind farm. RSPB Scotland supports the development of renewable energy to combat climate change, but has long argued that this proposal is in the wrong place. ...Most fundamentally, the letter concludes that the development would have "a serious detrimental impact on the integrity of the Lewis Peatlands SPA". Special Protection Areas are Europe's most important areas for birdlife, and European law requires such areas are given stringent protection. This is the key issue. Damaging developments are allowed on such areas only where there are no alternatives and there is overriding public need. This same legislation helped the Scottish Government to ensure ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Firth of Forth were better controlled - it is good to see it being applied properly again.
Veteran environmental guru James Lovelock, whose books about Gaia, as he calls the Earth system, have chronicled the threat of global warming, says that going nuclear is the only way ahead if we wish to fill the energy gap and reduce CO2 emissions. Support for wind farms is declining, while wave energy is still a distant goal.
....there is one thing of which there can be no doubt—the building of a wind farm in the vicinity of people’s homes can have a truly monumental impact on the lives of those people.
I wish to make your readers aware of yet another example of the lengths to which wind-farm developers will go in order to ensure they achieve a positive outcome to their controversial plans. ...There is now a list of over 800 supporters of the Spittal and Baillie developments at the Energy Consents Unit in Glasgow; the vast majority of the signatories do not even live in Caithness, let alone in the communities that will be most affected by these developments. You would hope that the local communities' feelings would be of the utmost importance in the decision-making process, as has been expounded by the Scottish Government on a number of occasions, but who can tell? ...Local opposition is the strongest weapon against these developments - please lodge your objections now and do not let this type of tactic win the day.
We have an alternative theory - applications are being turned down because local authorities have the good sense not to permit them in areas of environmental sensitivity, or local beauty spots. What worthwhile purpose would be achieved by damaging local environments in the name of environmentalism?
If windfarm developers want a better response from local councils, it's simple: be far more careful about where you plan the turbines.
Across the board we are being misled. Wind power is said to displace fossil fuelled generation “unit for unit”. This is manifestly untrue.
As the German wind industry has told us, very substantial conventional back-up is needed, negating some of the wind contribution. Furthermore, most large wind farms are remote from the centre of consumption, thus causing substantial power loss.
The National Grid’s comment on the present north to south power flow is, “To reduce bulk flows would require a general movement of economic generation . . . nearer to the major load centres (eg the south).”
This is the very antithesis of government policy for wind power. It is both engineering and economic lunacy.