Article

Don't build windfarms on peat

The decision by the Scottish Government to deny planning approval to the giant windfarm on Lewis should be applauded. It is the first glimmer of light in the whole tortuous debate on renewable energy. The previous Labour/Lib-Lab executive had no coherent strategy for wind energy, simply offering lucrative inducements to power companies and land-owners which led to a stampede to erect giant turbines. Hundreds of applications are still in the planning pipeline, many of them in wholly inappropriate locations which would threaten endangered flora and fauna and industrialise some of Scotland's most spectacular landscape. Worse still, by destroying deep peatland, as would have been the case on Lewis, these wind-farms would create more carbon emissions than they would ever save.

The decision by the Scottish Government to deny planning approval to the giant windfarm on Lewis should be applauded. It is the first glimmer of light in the whole tortuous debate on renewable energy.

The previous Labour/Lib-Lab executive had no coherent strategy for wind energy, simply offering lucrative inducements to power companies and land-owners which led to a stampede to erect giant turbines. Hundreds of applications are still in the planning pipeline, many of them in wholly inappropriate locations which would threaten endangered flora and fauna and industrialise some of Scotland's most spectacular landscape. Worse still, by destroying deep peatland, as would have been the case on Lewis, these wind-farms would create more carbon emissions than they would ever save.

Peat is a global carbon sink, storing millions of tonnes of CO2 during the tens of thousands of years the peat is formed from rotting trees and plant material. The first thing a contractor does before building a giant windmill on peatland is to drain the area, thus releasing all of the stored CO2 into the atmosphere. The peatland is also subsequently destroyed as a carbon sump, stopping any further... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The decision by the Scottish Government to deny planning approval to the giant windfarm on Lewis should be applauded. It is the first glimmer of light in the whole tortuous debate on renewable energy.

The previous Labour/Lib-Lab executive had no coherent strategy for wind energy, simply offering lucrative inducements to power companies and land-owners which led to a stampede to erect giant turbines. Hundreds of applications are still in the planning pipeline, many of them in wholly inappropriate locations which would threaten endangered flora and fauna and industrialise some of Scotland's most spectacular landscape. Worse still, by destroying deep peatland, as would have been the case on Lewis, these wind-farms would create more carbon emissions than they would ever save.

Peat is a global carbon sink, storing millions of tonnes of CO2 during the tens of thousands of years the peat is formed from rotting trees and plant material. The first thing a contractor does before building a giant windmill on peatland is to drain the area, thus releasing all of the stored CO2 into the atmosphere. The peatland is also subsequently destroyed as a carbon sump, stopping any further carbon storage.

Taken together with the construction of mammoth steel towers, huge metal sails, vast concrete foundations under every turbine, borrow pits, drains, connecting roads, overhead powerlines and pylons, the carbon footprint from every windfarm built on deep peat far exceeds any environmental saving it may aspire to.

The decision to refuse approval for the Lewis windfarm is hopefully the first of many such decisions. Similar applications for giant windfarms on deep peatland on Dava Moor (Grantown on Spey), Gordonbush (Sutherland), Edinbane (Skye) and Kergord Valley (Shetland) and in many other locations should all be stopped. Wind energy certainly has a role to play in a diverse renewable energy mix, but it must be properly planned and sited.

Struan Stevenson, MEP
The European Parliament
Rue Wiertz
B-1047
Brussels



Source: http://www.shetland-news.co...

JAN 26 2008
https://www.windaction.org/posts/12990-don-t-build-windfarms-on-peat
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