General and UK
For years, we in Lewis have witnessed with disgust the unedifying and unsavoury spectacle of certain individuals pursuing the aims of private developers hell-bent on the destruction of our natural environment in the hope of a completely unsubstantiated monetary gain. An independent report commissioned by Western Isles Council in 2005 cast serious doubt on the financial benefits and job creation prospects the Amec/British Energy scheme would provide for Lewis. It did accept, however, that the developers would make a killing, mostly from public subsidy levied on electricity consumers. ...For the record, 9859 representations have been received by the Scottish Government opposing the Lewis Wind Power scheme. A paltry 77 representations have been received in favour.
If climate change is the Big One, let's start with energy policy. We must do more to support renewable energy, and Scotland is well placed to lead the way, for example, with marine technologies. But the newly elected Executive must also make sure that renewable energy developments avoid the most sensitive locations, such as the Lewis peatlands, whose future is threatened by a huge wind farm right in the middle of an area safeguarded under European law for its wildlife.
Renewable developments that cause irreparable damage to such precious places make no sense. We can make the shift to greener energy, and create jobs, without sacrificing such places.
Some people perversely claim to like the appearance of the turbines. That reflects the rise of a kind of anti-aesthetic, fostered by the urbanisation of society, brutalist architecture and the excesses of modern art. Anyone who prefers Lewis, or Perthshire, or the Borders covered with turbines has lost that spiritual connection with his native landscape that is the heritage of the true Scot. This vandalism must be halted or the consequences will be total degradation of our countryside. Look thy last on all things beautiful...
MORE than 200 people, who are fighting against a proposed wind farm, staged a protest march on Sunday. ...Rowan O'Duffy of the Stop Benington Wind Farm (SBWF) action group, said: "Areas of outstanding natural beauty like this are precious and need to be looked after.
"We must save the historical landscape of Cotton Lane and High Elms Lane. The significant change to the character and appearance of the landscape caused by wind turbines hugely outweighs the benefits in terms of renewable energy generation."
May I draw attention to two relevant issues in the wind energy debate:
1) Radar and 2) Renewable Obligation Certificates.
Their (Labour Party) renewable energy strategy begins and ends with onshore wind farms, despite the opposition from local communities.
The UK grid does not have this huge resource "elsewhere" as we are an islanded electrical network. As wind grows toward government's targets, we would need either a ludicrous and vulnerable enlargement of our tiny connection to Europe or further investment in thermal generating capacity to support 'compulsory' windpower for a miniscule saving of CO2 emission.
Matt Partridge deliberately confuses the issue of windpower by suggesting that a typical UK wind farm generates electricity for 80 to 85 per cent of the time and then contrasts this with power stations having temporarily reduced output because of boiler faults.
He fails to say that, during that “85 per cent of the time” windpower swings unpredictably and repeatedly between zero and peak generation!
By contrast, our baseload power stations run continuously at peak output to give about 40 per cent of the UK’s electricity. Such stations provide 85 to 90 per cent of maximum possible output during the year losing just 10 per cent to 15 per cent to service downtime.
Serious investors in a serious industry are there for the long haul. These are fly-by-night carpetbaggers, grabbing and running in an ‘industry' thrashed into existence simply because the subsidies were there; and governments were desperate to achieve carbon emission targets.
Now, in harder economic times ...both available subsidies and potential demand are shrinking.
"The main challenge associated with wind power is its variability; wind power output is highly dependent on weather conditions and carries a high degree of uncertainty ...As the volume of wind power capacity increases, so will the effect of wind variability and hence the accuracy of the wind power forecasts will become more important."
Unfortunately, soon after the visit, that region of Spain suffered a series of power failures which proved to be caused by a reliance on wind generation. Deliverance came from the neighbouring Santander region, which had totally rejected wind factory development.
Which MP has the right attitude - the one that responds to the concerns of local people or the one that ignores the worries of those most likely to be affected by these outrageous plans?
Cumbria already has 11 windfarms and up to 10 more are earmarked by 2015, more than anywhere else in the north west.
Given the new regulations, which require objectors to make their case within just 120 days, it becomes ever more vital for robust planning guidance to be in place to ensure the county’s six district councils don’t approve wind farms which would undermine Cumbria’s landscape-dependent tourism.