Library filed under General from Europe
A protest group has moved to publicly distance itself from a growing list of "horrifying" attacks against landowners supplying land for a wind farm. In one of the most recent attacks the hedge of one landowner's home was set alight - leading his panicked teenage son to race outside fearing his granddad's next-door home was ablaze. The proposed wind farm at Marshland St James has already been blamed for the death of landowner and father-of-three Richard Herbert, who an inquest ruled committed suicide in a state of fear and anxiety over the backlash to the scheme among fellow villagers. ...Wind turbine opposition group Fenland Landscape Against Turbines (FLAT) has issued a statement reiterating that its campaign is a peaceful one and condemning illegal acts.
The Aithsting grazings committee, which represents up to 40 crofters between East and West Burrafirth, Tresta, Aith and Clousta, have written to developers Viking Energy "strongly" objecting to their plans to build a 554 megawatt (MW) wind farm. The crofters have also written to the owners of the Burrastow and Venemtry estates on which they raise sheep, calling on them to turn down an offer of compensation for siting wind turbines on their land. The crofters believe the scale of the development outlaws it under the most recent crofting legislation, which allows land to be "resumed" for specific community-based activities.
Council bosses in Sheffield have identified Westwood Country Park, in High Green, as the location for the city's first-ever wind farm. But that has already blown up a storm of opposition from local people: ...Sheffield Council has approved proposals for a feasibility study for the city's first wind turbine site in Westwood Country Park. If it recommends going ahead it could see up to six 100-metre turbines whirring away in around 18 months. But the plan worries Andy Redfern, a company director, who has lived on Merbeck Drive, High Green, for nearly 20 years. His pleasant family home is practically the last in Sheffield before the Barnsley border. His sitting room looks out on the hillside of Westwood Country Park - smack where Sheffield Council hopes to site the wind farm. ...The campaigners want to know which developers have already been approached about the plan, and what trusts or covenants exist with regard to the country park.
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.
Plans for a giant windfarm in rural north Bedfordshire have been scrapped - but its opponents warn the battle is not over. Nuon Renewables has withdrawn its appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against Bedford Borough Council's decision to refuse permission for nine giant turbines at Airfield Farm, Podington. However, the Campaign to Limit Onshore Wind Development (CLOWD), which has fought the proposals since the first application was submitted in October 2005, remains concerned about the Dutch company's plans for the site.
"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.
Developers who hope to build a wind farm between Garforth and Micklefield have denied that they misled people in gathering support for the scheme. In recent weeks representatives for Banks Developments have been on Garforth Main Street collecting signatures in favour of their plans for five wind turbines at Hook Moor between Micklefield and Garforth. But opponents of the scheme claim that people were only led to believe they were signing up in favour of renewable energy and not the wind farm itself. Carolyn Walker, spokeswoman for Hook Moor Wind Farm Action Group, claimed that it was only if people asked specifically that they were told the petiton was in favour of the wind farm planning application.
Opposition from the East Coast fishing community is growing over a controversial plan to build a giant wind farm five miles off Spurn Point, near the Humber Estuary. The £700-million scheme was first unveiled last year, but this week E.ON, the German energy giant behind it all, confirmed its intentions by formally submitting planning applications to East Riding of Yorkshire Council and the Department for Business and Enterprise. The so called Humber Gateway Offshore Wind Farm would consist of around 83 turbines in some of the richest fishing grounds in the North Sea. ..."It's all well and good asking the people who are living ashore, but it is fishermen who will be the most affected and we weren't invited to take part," one lobster fisherman said.
What's telling is that the European interest hasn't wavered even though U.S. federal subsidies for clean energy are slated to expire this year and have yet to be extended. Historically, the federal tax-credits have been make-or-break for the industry. Now, though, it appears other factors weigh more heavily. EDP is so anxious to expand in the U.S. that it ordered more wind turbines from India's Suzlon this week, even though those Suzlon machines have had technical glitches. The big drivers? State incentives for renewable energy, like those in Texas; a slow but inexorable shift in the U.S. toward cleaner energy; and the high-quality wind resources in the U.S., which dwarf those of Europe (and other parts of the world.)
While wind energy is being wildly supported by many in the U.S., there have always been drawbacks to the performance and costs of these machines. The U.S. has had a heavily subsidized romance with them for nearly 40 years and too few of the state and federal policy makers have taken a close look at what the tens of billions in subsidies have actually done for the taxpayers. These wind energy programs have made many companies such as Florida Power and Light very wealthy because of the heavy subsidies, tax credits, and accelerated depreciation allowance. Additional benefits come from local taxing authorities. This source of energy remains very unreliable and limited, having produced only about 1% of the nation's energy for decades.
Europe's largest onshore wind farm goes on stream from today, with the first 10 turbines of the planned 140 ...More than 90km of roads have been laid and bridges constructed to allow the transportation of the 200ft turbines, which are over 300ft to the tip of the blade, across boggy moorland. ...Campaign group Views of Scotland, whose opinions are echoed by Tory MEP Struan Stevenson, says it will have no environmental benefits, claiming the carbon emissions from the peat digging far outweigh those prevented, while the greater Glasgow area will be turned into "the world's biggest part-time power station". It also claims the UK and Scottish Government are subsidising the "trashing" of Scotland's landscape by giving energy firms money to construct wind farms and meet certain targets.
[Voluntary offsets] have been heavily criticised for making bogus claims about emissions reductions, and for funding projects that adversely impact upon communities in the global South. In a move designed to weed out the carbon cowboys, Benn's proposal is that only offset providers using the Kyoto Protocol's "clean development mechanism" (CDM) will qualify for the government's seal of approval. ...As with voluntary offsets, it is designed to shift the burden of cutting emissions onto poorer countries in the South. A range of research has shown that the same problems of corruption, bogus emissions reductions and harm to communities occur within the CDM as with the voluntary offset market. To take just one recent example, the Oxford-based carbon broker Ecosecurities recently sold CDM credits generated by a wind farm in Maharashtra, India. Fantastic, you might think, this is exactly what the carbon market should be all about, promoting renewable energy in Southern countries. A visit to the project in 2007 revealed a different picture. The gigantic wind farm had been built on traditional grazing grounds and provided no energy to the villagers themselves. Those who resisted met with repression.
News has been breaking regarding corruption on the Canary Islands linked to the generation of wind power. Recordings made of conversations between the ex General Director for Industry of the Canary Regional Government. Celso Perdomo, and several businessmen have now come to light, following the first indications of corruption dating back to 2004 and 2005.
Here's the $36 billion question: Is wind power an expensive distraction or a key ingredient in the global energy cocktail? It all depends how you move the juice. ...Doubts over the real contribution of wind power aren't just an American thing. Energy Tribune recites the entire litany of arguments against wind power, one of Britain's hopes for curbing emissions of greenhouse-gases and meeting ambitious European targets for clean energy. ET's verdict? Wind power is "overblown": Too dependent on subsidies, plagued by technical problems, intermittent, and ugly to boot, threatening to tarnish forever British hills and beaches. (Ask vacationers in Brighton what ugly really is.) It's true that wind power's development-in the U.S. and elsewhere-relies almost entirely on subsidies. ...And there's little chance wind farms will ever come close to producing 90% of their headline generation capacity, as nuclear does; the best machines in the best spots now offer about a 35% "load factor". But the real question when computing cost doesn't lie just with the turbines themselves, but rather how to get that electricity onto the grid.
Europe's wind turbine makers are facing higher raw materials costs, a lack of trained workers and insufficient investments in electricity grids and new wind parks, with the record growth rates of previous years expected to level off. But the sector remains confident that EU renewable energy targets will be met. ...Given the challenges facing the sector and with growth expected to slow, there are concerns the industry will fall short of the target. In 2007, only 8.5 gigawatts were installed. Nonetheless, the wind sector is optimistic.
Worldwide opposition to wind power has now reached a crescendo and governments have been forced to respond with new planning regulations which impose the technology, often against huge objection. Public distaste for wind turbines revolves around landscape impact and concerns about noise and loss of tranquillity, but technical objections are of greater concern. ...The power industry concedes that wind turbines would not be built without unprecedented consumer-sourced subsidy or massive tax breaks. It is time for the threat posed by intermittent renewables, not least in requiring CO2-emitting coal-fired spinning reserve, to be investigated independently, without political interference.
Councillor John Welcher who personally supported the erection of wind turbines at Doddington is accusing developers of being "less than economical with the truth". After a meeting of FLAT (Fenland Landscape Against Turbines) at Marshland St James, Cllr Welcher said: " I was trying to tell the people of Marshland that whether or not to have a wind farm on their doorstep is the single most important decision made in their community in their lifetime and they must take it very seriously." He said: "We supported the turbines at Ransonmoor but looking at what we know about them now we have changed out opinion and we think there is enough in Fenland.
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...
Taxpayers in a Northumberland borough could be forced to pick up a bill totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds following their local authority's refusal of wind farm applications. Berwick Borough Council refused three proposals on Thursday and was immediately faced with the prospect of developers challenging its decisions - with one having already confirmed that will happen. Appeals could result in public inquiries at which the council would be expected to hire barristers and expert witnesses.
Babcock & Brown, the Australian infrastructure investor, is planning to sell its European wind farms in a deal that could be worth between €3.5bn ($5.5bn) and €4bn. The group will say Monday that it has appointed Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan to sell its European wind energy assets and those owned by Babcock & Brown Wind Partners, its quoted wind energy fund. These include wind farms in Spain, Portugal, Germany, Italy and France. Babcock & Brown Wind Partners owns about 3,000MW of wind generation capacity worldwide, with just over 800MW of this in Europe. But the group said last month that the market had not recognised the value of its European assets, and it would look at selling them. The wind energy sector is attracting strong investor interest, and European wind businesses have been changing hands at high prices.