General and UK
As one who lives within two miles of the proposed Newlands Wind Farm I have read carefully the community newsletter distributed by Bolsterstone Plc which will be building these three massive wind turbines and making money out of them for the next 25 years.
The newsletter states that windfarms are ‘one of the most reliable and cost-effective renewable generation technologies'.
This makes me wonder whether a company that makes such absurd claims is fit to be involved in this important project. ...These turbines would not be built unless there was a considerable element of government subsidy, although the proponents of these schemes prefer to use the word ‘incentives'.
A Scottish Government spokesman forecasts that the rate of growth in electricity generated by renewable sources (excluding hydro) over the next three years will be 46 per cent per annum and that by 2011 the renewable electricity target of 31 per cent (5,000 megawatts) will be met (your report, 23 May).
Once again, the Scottish Government persists in mixing up capacity with the much lower levels of actual electricity likely to be generated.
I have been told that Viking Energy intend to instigate a planning process in September. Environmental impact assessments have not yet been published and may not be (and need not be) until the day that planning application is submitted. This gives little or no time for public debate or consultations on these. This also says to me that VE have already made up their mind that the environmental consequences of the wind farm and cable are acceptable. Once the planning application is submitted, and the planning process underway, promises that "if the people of Shetland don't want this it won't go ahead" are empty because the final decision is taken in Edinburgh, not Shetland. I guess that VE's response to this will be that they have a mandate to instigate this process - I bet they won't test this in a referendum.
Shell says its withdrawal isn't an indictment of clean energy, and points to its on-going investment in wind energy in the U.S. But British newspapers take a more skeptical line. The Times of London called the departure a "huge blow" to Britain's ambitious plans to harness offshore wind to meet growing energy needs. ...Actually, Shell's departure raises the question-is it pulling out renewables in favor of good, old, pricey oil? Or is it just pulling out of the dysfunctional renewable-energy market in the U.K.?
Britain has ambitious plans for clean energy, and theoretically plenty of renewable-energy resources, but has made little progress so far.
Scottish Renewables (Letters April 24) persists in presenting wind-generated electricity as renewable. While the wind certainly is, the back-up need of windpower electricity isn't. Claims of saving CO2 emissions are just that: claims with no basis as fossil generation is not displaced. ...Wind farms are only built to access huge public and consumer subsidies and are only supported by misinformed environmentalists and politicians, and those who profit from them.
In response to Scottish industry's concerns that its lights may go out, Britain's power industry had to admit it would not make one iota of difference as wind power is too unstable to be included in any calculations of how much power is needed to satisfy the country's needs - whether or not the wind is blowing our power stations will still burn the same amount of fossil fuel.
So how is this relevant to the proposal (which thankfully Scottish ministers are "minded to refuse") to put 181 wind turbines and 88 miles of road network on the Lewis peatlands, an area afforded special protection under European law? The point is we need places like the Lewis peatlands, we need places where protection of nature is first priority, not just for the sake of wildlife, but for our own well being as a species. A staggering 800,000 hectares of Europe's land was converted to artificial surfaces between 1990 and 2000, a trend which has continued into this century and will no doubt continue into the future. Strict protection of the very best places for wildlife is therefore as high a priority as ever ...Any erosion of [protected areas'] status will spell disaster for our tentative efforts to live in better balance with the natural world.
I have read the applicants' press release and it does nothing more than describe all the benefits that will go to a business empire and farmers that have been persuaded to sign over their milk quotas in order to make cheese. The 34 farms from near and far will be paid a premium that, according to the press release, will average per year some £10.000-£30,000 each.
The loss of value for the properties around these turbines will far exceed this figure with no compensation. Not one word is written about the residents around the village whose lives will be permanently blighted by the sight and sound of these money making monstrosities. ...I just do not agree with the way that private individuals can erect turbines for their own benefit without any consideration for the people who live around the area.
Analysis of these claims and adding up the alleged total number of homes supplied shows that well over one million homes (almost half the total in Scotland) should now be powered by wind-generated electricity. To fulfil the claimed emission reduction benefit, one of our fossil-fuelled power stations should have been closed by now - but it has not. ...The despoiling of our countryside, plus huge subsidies for wind turbines and consequent higher electricity costs, would seem to be for no benefit whatsoever, except, of course, to developers and landowners.
"According to ScottishPower, the project will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 650,000 tonnes per year."
Erecting a wind farm per se does not reduce emissions. A reduction in emissions only takes place when fossil generation is displaced by the wind generation.
But because the wind is variable, intermittent, sometimes too strong for turbines and is largely unpredictable, back-up power-station generation is required continuously, irrespective of wind conditions, to ensure a reliable electricity supply.
If the 180,000 homes mentioned were to rely only on the output of Whitelee wind farm, they would be unable to switch anything electrical on with any confidence that it would work because of the unreliable output from wind farms.
I've just caught up with Christopher Booker's Sunday Telegraph column from a week ago - yes, I know I'm a bit slow - but it demonstrates what I have always thought about wind power. It's a complete waste of money. It may make environmentalists all warm inside but it's costing the rest of us a pretty packet in subsidies, to say nothing of the visual pollution the giant wind turbines cause. Here's Booker's piece in full...
The proposal, outlined to me in a letter from Scottish Power, suggests the wind farm is to be replaced with 10 new turbines that would reach an overall height in excess of 125 metres (currently 49 metres) with wingspans of 80 metres (currently 32 metres) - higher than Nelson's Column with a wingspan larger than a Boeing 747.
I would suggest that this is hardly an overhaul but more a major redevelopment of current wind energy output in Cornwall.
The proposed redevelopment of the wind farm will also be enlarged from its current site to include the erection of turbines along the St Newlyn East Downs and through to Fiddlers Green - a doubling of the current area of the countryside used and I suspect a development that must cause some concern to the residents of Fiddlers Green.
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".
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.
It is openly acknowledged that wind power is not viable without the substantial economic assistance which we pay for through higher taxes and electricity bills, that it is the least green of all the low-emission technologies, with significantly higher lifetime CO2 release than hydro, tidal and nuclear, and that it can never provide a significant and reliable part of our ongoing power demand. It does not "provide power for hundreds of thousands of homes"; it provides power for industrial companies in the south for commercial carbon trading.
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.
There is a fundamental issue of social justice which the green debate largely ignores. ...the costs of going green will disproportionately affect the relatively poor - the fuel "tax" to pay for higher-cost renewable energy; increased food bills as the push for bio-diesel takes land away from grain production
If we presume somebody has done the sums to calculate the cost to the environment of concrete, steel production and transport, why are not these numbers at the forefront of proposals?
Yet another Devon village is to be ripped apart by power companies, no doubt supported by The Green Party. It was heartening to read that residents at Witheridge have already formed a campaign group and many farmers and landowners are refusing the big money offered by Nuon Renewables to "sell out" North Devon. They should be commended.
However, I was concerned to read that Witheridge parish council hope to have a private meeting with Nuon Renewables! Apparently, they feel that if a meeting was held in public it could be "hijacked" by "opponents" ...
In answer to my previous letter, Richard Tosswill (letters, December 28) raises an interesting and persistent point: if what I had to say about wind turbines were true, then there must be some extraordinary global delusion, affecting almost every government in the world.
The short answer, Richard, is to ask why lemmings throw themselves over cliffs.
I will try to give a more reasoned answer. Firstly, over the last 10 years or so, most governments have signed international agreements to reduce their carbon emissions.
Wind energy is high on the list of means because, in Richard's own words, each wind turbine generates electricity without burning fossil fuels or emitting greenhouse gases.
This has become the mantra of the "greens", to be trotted out whenever they are challenged.
Governments see political advantage in fostering the growth of such a visible tribute to their green credentials.
However, as accurate as Richard's description of a wind turbine is, the fact remains that they are of limited value.