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Wind Turbines

From Patsy F

Friday, 4 June 2010

Mmmmm. So dear, darling, far-sighted HB is now a Transition Town. Great, wonderful, let’s help lead the way for other communities to sustainable living. We should all do what we can to make sure that life is worth living for future generations - brilliant idea!

But has anyone else thought how sad it is that nimby thinking seems to be the main cause of objections to wind turbine applications - in HB already! - where you’d think people would be more adventurous and open-minded? Turbines need to be sited where wind-audits show enough consistent wind to make them productive - and that usually means hill-tops. Our views are stirring and wonderful, but a compromise must be made here. Cathy and Heathcliffe could still embrace, surrounded by heather, at the base of a turbine.

And you’d think we’d grown out of the old offcumden nonsense which simmers resentment against new-comers with interesting ideas. Offcumdens have largely made HB what it has become. Hebden Bridgers should be ashamed of themselves! We should be leading the way in more things than (wonderfully) banning plastic bags.

Personally I think that most turbines are lovely, graceful things, more visually appealing than most modern so-called sculptures. They seem to add beauty to our wild surroundings. Who was it who said something along the lines of ‘Have nothing which is neither useful nor beautiful’? Turbines are both. I would support any neighbour who applied for permission where there was lots of wind, but unfortunately I live in a valley.

I’m not au fait with current planning regulations regarding wind turbines, but they should be changed to include thoughts on global warming.

Please let’s change our narrow thinking. What on earth are we to do when the lights go out and we are sitting shivering in unheated homes?

From Jim M

Saturday, 5 June 2010

The wind farm on Scout Moor over Ramsbottom is great - what’s not to like.

From Richard M

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Do you not see the irony in your statement that turbines somehow enhance "wild" places?

I’m anti-wind farm for some very good reasons;

i) The technology has been proved to be ineffective. There are more appropriate ways for us to generate power but they are more expensive and are therefore discounted

ii) Wind farms wouldn’t even be developed if it wasn’t for the huge subsidies being paid to blue-chip companies to allow them to make ever more obscene profits at our expense - does that not tell you something about the wind-farm scam?

iii) We’re slowly destroying and concreting over every wild place we can find. What kind of a legacy is that for us to leave? These structures are not "beautiful", nature is. Leave it be. When the technology is disproved and the wind farms abandoned, do you think those big companies will remove the rotting, decaying monstrosities from our hills?

iv) Everywhere you look, people are going on about the need to generate new forms of energy… the focus is totally wrong. We should be concentrating on using less energy first and foremost. Why are lights in buildings, on deserted streets etc left on all night? Why do we waste so much energy? Of course, nodoby makes big profits out of less use, so it’s not promoted as important.

Every sensible, objective commentator, people who are not caught up in the "green" bandwagon, realise that the wind farms are a money-making, ineffective scam and it’s about time we, the people, stood up to the bullying tactics of politicians and multinationals, who have changed planning laws to make it much easier for these pointless, hideous structures to be erected despite local opposition.

From Jacob G

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

I wholeheartedly endorse Richard’s post.

Furthermore Patsy, I think it would be useful to check your facts before making such sweeping assumptions. Do you know who objected to the planning application for the turbine and, how many of them were lifelong residents of Hebden Bridge and how many had arrived in recent years? You might be surprised.

There are quite a few domestic turbines around Hebden Bridge… haven’t you noticed them? Perhaps that is because they are relatively small and relatively inconspicuous, unlike the massive turbine proposed for the Pecket valley.

Whether or not they are beautiful is a matter of opinion, but clearly a significant number thought it inappropriate. Perhaps those views (‘scuse the pun) should be upheld?

From Tom Standfield

Thursday, 10 June 2010

I’m with Patsy on this. The UK is the most windy nation in Europe; we have enough wind to power our energy needs several times over. Having been one of the nations most guilty in pumping out carbon, surely we have a duty to remedy the case.

The World Wildlife Fund says "Wind energy has become very efficient and, in many cases, onshore wind is competitive with or even cheaper than nuclear or fossil fuels… A single 1.5 MW wind turbine over its lifetime can save about 80,000 tonnes of brown coal."

From Andrew Hall

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Patsy says "What on earth are we to do when the lights go out and we are sitting shivering in unheated homes?"

If we rely on, or increase our reliance on, wind turbines, this is precisely what might happen.

One of the characteristics of very cold weather, such as we experienced in January, is that there isn’t a great deal of wind around. So as the need for extra power for heating increases, wind turbines fail to come up with the goods. On the coldest day of the year, January 7th, they produced just 5% of their capacity. Only on four days in the first half of January did they reach 50% capacity. (These are the Government’s own figures)

A greater reliance on windpower without the backup of coal, gas, nuclear and other renewables, would almost certainly have plunged Patsy and the rest of us into darkness last January.

Of course renewables must play a part, and an increasing part in solving our energy problems. Nobody doubts that. But wind power relies on a very erratic source. As Professor Jack Steinberger recently said, wind represents an illusory technology — a cul-de-sac that would prove uneconomic and a waste of resources in the battle against climate change.

From Anne H

Thursday, 10 June 2010

I’m also with Patsy on this, although I know that the figures on the efficiency of wind farms are far from clear. In Without the Hot Air, Prof. David MacKay estimates that even if 10% of the country was covered with windmills we would only be able to generate 20 kWh/d per person, which is half of the power used by driving an average fossil-fuel car 50 km per day. So it’s not much based on our present rates of consumption. But that’s going to have to change, and the sums might look very different in 10-20 years.

But looking at it on the basis of optimum land use, our moorlands are not good for growing food, other than bilberries and sheep and they can both still exist under windmills. Wind farms (as opposed to private turbines for domestic purposes) are commercial enterprises.

Companies will only invest in building them where they can get a return, so they are bound to chose high, windy places. With rising fossil fuel prices, they will become more and more valuable as fuel source.

The recent planning permission objections seem to be against private individuals who want to erect them on their own land and spoil other people’s views — not really an environmental argument at all. You can either view these people as being selfish — "they are only doing it for the feed in tariffs, and spoiling the countryside for the rest of us". Or you can see them as being altruistic — they have a bit of spare land and are using it to reduce their own dependence on fossil fuels which makes the existing supplies stretch further for the rest of us. They also contribute some green energy back into the grid. It’s a pity more people don’t seem them in this light.

From Tim M

Friday, 11 June 2010

I don’t agree — protecting our wild moorlands (views, sense of solitude etc.) is an important environmental consideration. Also, lets not forget the damage these do to moorlands (concrete footings, access roads, impact on wildlife). I’m actually pro-wind turbines, but I do think that they have an impact that can outweigh any gains (baby/bathwater) but I do think the anti- brigade’s subsidy/effieciency arguement is a bit lazy (Nuclear clean up anyone?). Regarding invidual applications, each needs to be carefully considered on its merits and as part of the wider picture. I don’t think this is in the same league as the windfarms proposed for around Tod, but the South Pennines is a very special area (but vulnerable — not a National Park or AONB) we need to make a fuss about these things.

From Graham Barker

Sunday, 13 June 2010

A timely article by Andrew Gilligan makes the case that wind turbines are irredeemably inefficient. On this evidence wind power is indeed, as Andrew Hall says, an illusory technology.

We need forms of renewable energy that make a real difference, but it’s increasingly clear that wind power isn’t one of them. If the green lobby valued science above political gestures, they’d have been alerting us to this some time ago. It shouldn’t be any skin off their nose, as there are many other green technologies to promote. (I’m writing an operations manual for one of them right now.)

Overall though, I agree with Richard M — what we should be looking at first and foremost is not how we generate energy, but how we waste it — either directly, or indirectly by wasting energy-intensive resources such as food.