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Sunday, 15 April 2012

Onshore Windfarms: The beginning of the end?

There have been a couple of articles in the British Press today about this: Here’s one:

THE TELEGRAPH ARTICLE

I made that link very big indeed so that you could not possibly miss it. Go on. Click on it! You’ll like it.

Smile

It was always going to be so. When politicians realise that what they are doing is deeply unpopular and out of step with the electorate, then and only then will they take notice. At last, with madman Chris Huhne tucked safely out of the way (and, quite possibly for quite a long time too, inside, for allegedly lying to the police) young George Osborn is finally going to have his way.

He’s going to dump the madcap rush to wind that is costing the voters piles of  money on their electricity bills, destabilising the National Grid and lining the pockets of foreign energy businesses and landowners. It’s costing British businesses as well, and the business lobby are at last being listened to by Westminster.

It will be interesting to see what the Scots First Minister will do. After all, Salmond has anchored his government’s energy policy firmly to wind energy’s masts. Now that Westminster will be reducing subsidies, what will he do?

Of course, we must not get too carried away. There are still over a thousand turbines  in the planning pipeline. Will the Planning Inspectors still be rubber stamping these proposals, or will they take a fresh look at those that are being appealed?

Either way. It’s a step in the right direction. We need to keep the pressure on to save as much of our beautiful countryside as possible

47 comments:

  1. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

    Congratulations to you and everyone else who has had the time and energy (pun intended!) to contest this foolish policy. Obviously, there is still a long way to go, but a modest celebration seems to be in order.

    Aren't you off the beer at the moment, though ... ;-)

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    1. Indeed! My "beer fast" has been going very well - just the occasional lapse - and the belly has all but disappeared!
      :-)
      The Lake District later on this week with my mates will probably turn all that good work to dust though...

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  2. The headline says "Conservatives plot re-think on countryside wind turbines" now they realise lots of people don't like it. So only when that's established will they "re-think".

    Shouldn't it be other way around? I spit on these politicians. They should be representing people and looking after the planet, not contradicting people and making plans to damage the planet.

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    1. James. Spot on. It is desperate that we have allowed these monsters to destroy huge tracts of our countryside with impunity.
      With any luck, Chris Huhne will be jailed. But not, unfortunately for his dreadful record on wild land destruction.
      It's interesting to note that this story has not made it AT ALL onto the BBC's website. I have searched high and low this morning for it. Nothing.
      That says a lot. A great tranche of the BBC's pension scheme is invested in the renewable sector.

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    2. And it's not just wind farms. Whatever you think about the Telegraph - and they are no different from any other outlet in regard to representing particular interests - they are further championing anti government ideas in regard to building on "brown field" and "green belt" space.

      Why do they want to do this? Because we need houses. Why do we need houses? Because England is the MOST DENSELY POPULATED COUNTRY in Europe and I've heard the fourth MOST POPULATED COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.

      Why is this? Because millions upon millions have come to live here from all over the world, though largely from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, as a result of previous government mis-management.

      Its not only wind farms these politicians are threatening; its also houses built on green or brown-potentially-green spaces. Its the last straw in a chain of negligence and corrupt ideology.

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  3. I've always thought wind farms are a pretty inefficient source of renewable energy. To get the amount of electricity from wind farms that we need as a nation we would be covered in wind farms. Personally I think having solar panels on our homes and nuclear is the way forward. I have worked as a contractor on a shutdown at Hartlepool Power Station and was amazed at the safety procedures and training in place. I had to wear a dosemeter to detect radiation and got all hits from mobile phones and no radiation from standing directly on top of an active reactor.

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    1. Hi bearhugger and welcome!
      :-)
      I am always careful when proclaiming the safety record of nuclear, as in the past there has been dreadful cover-ups of accidents and spills.
      However, if we are to stand any chance at all of reducing our carbon emissions, then we need to increase the size of our nuclear fleet of power stations.
      At last, our government has grasped this nettle!

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  4. It is good news but ......
    Will this encourage a massive push by the renewable energy companies to bulldoze through as many pending developments as they can as soon as they can before their golden chalice runs dry, as it should have done ages ago, of any of the blinkered politicians had bothered to look at the relative as well as ethical cost of this madness.
    I am sure it is worth a few million as an investment from them if they can grease the wheels.
    As wonderful as this news is, it is rhetoric until thay actually DO something positive. Politicians love to talk, if you have ever watched question time and alike.
    It is in actual action that they are often sadly lacking.
    Although history shows that they are bloody excellent at the wrong action.

    Of for a rest now!

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    1. I agree totally with that. One good thing is that it will stop the carpetbaggers thinking of risking investment (that's a laugh - the term "risking" - they are guaranteed a return!) in wind energy, so it may well stop any thought of new projects.

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  5. I'm still skeptical Alan but it is a good sign that at last they are seeing beyond the bench's. Lets hope they don't get lost in the fog again soon.

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    1. We shall wait and see. We still need to fight the existing schemes as hard as possible. Druim Ba's and Allt Duine's Reporters will be working on their schemes very shortly.
      Then there are the schemes up in the far north west, in fact - all over the shop...

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  6. Yes Alan,
    I am under no illusion the nuclear way is far from perfect but comparatively i think this is the best way.

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    1. I agree 100% bearhugger.
      Reliable, affordable and virtually emission free.

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  7. Hi Alan,
    This one just cracked me up. Dorset is being THREATENED with hundreds of wind turbines being planned. Threatened eh! What happened to consultation.
    Anyway, the Leader of the council has stated that most of Dorset is not appropriate for WT’s if at all.
    The name of the council leader is Angus Campbell. Ironic.
    I think he needs to go back home and fight up there instead of Dorset.

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    1. The sad fact is that no matter what the local politicians think, it's the National Politicians who are calling the shots - and they ram them home with their Planning Inspectors.

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    2. This is certainly the case here Alan. Alex Salmond has nailed his colours to.. well.. the wind and can't really change his policy now, no matter how misguided. Local decisions are just brushed aside.

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    3. Druim Ba' Reporter will be sitting down at the end of June. These turbines are really massive - almost 150m tall and key-holed into the forest.
      Then there's Allt Duine. Both these schemes need stopping.
      I wonder if Alex Salmond listens to his Highland electorate?

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    4. I wonder if Alex Salmond listens to his Highland electorate?
      NOPE.. Only near elections.

      BIG debate going on in Australia at the moment about Wind Turbines.
      Lot of folk against.

      Reckon they'll get them anyway.

      SHIT.... Soon be nowhere in the world left to go without the buggers!

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    5. Never mind. Mr Salmond, courtesy of Cameron McNeish, will soon be able to show that wind turbines don’t prevent thousands of people enjoying Scotland’s ‘wild’ land when he launches the Goretex Scottish National Trail. I can hear and see him now.

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    6. I'm in two minds about the GSNT. On the one hand it will be good to try and get more business to the B&B's and hotels that will undoubtedly start to struggle with more and more folk put off walking in Scotland because of turbine blight. After all, it's not the businesses fault they have been saddled with these turbines.

      Of course, the walkers who follow this trail may well not mind the turbines, but if they do, they may well feel very cheated that they have been encouraged to follow a route that has been ruined by industrialisation.

      The trail certainly passes through some magnificent scenery. Having thousands of pairs of boots trudging across the route may cause ghastly erosion scars similar to those in the Lakes.

      One of the beauties of walking in Scotland, with it's wonderful access laws, is that you can pick your own way. This route will funnel walkers into a defined corridor and perhaps spoil the very thing that the walkers will be going to experience.

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  8. The name of the council leader is Angus Campbell. Ironic.
    I think he needs to go back home and fight up there instead of Dorset.


    That's probably why he lives in Dorset!

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    1. There are quite a few windfarms proposed for Angus, as it happens. Our route to St Cyrus will soon be peppered with wind farms just to the north of us on the way to the Fetteresso.

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    2. Your bound to be right Andrew, especially with that good old Dorset name.

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  9. I was going to invest in green energy, but ended up investing in Greene King instead. And jolly profitable it has been too.

    To hell with the belly, Al. Drink up, man, drink up. I am manfully contributing to my dividend daily, and I need all the help I can get!

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    1. I have just this moment invested heavily myself: In a new pair of walking sticks. I had jammed the Gossamer Gear Carbons and whilst fettling my faithful old Leki Titaniums yesterday, I noticed that they too were screwed and beyond economic repair.

      I went to the government for a subsidy for the energy reducing poles but, alas, there was no scheme available.

      Perhaps beer is the "solution of choice." After the required amount of beer no joint niggles are felt, and any tumbles are painless. Indeed, if enough is consumed you can't feel your legs at all!

      I have obviously made an unwise investment...

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    2. Ah Poles.

      To ensure that my poles did not jam, I gave them a liberal dose of WD40 before Christmas.
      Do not use a liberal dose is all I am saying.
      Just a very very small amount with a cloth.
      I sprayed mine.
      Today could I get them to lock?
      Could I buggery.
      Took me 20 min each cleaning the stuff off the inside before they would work.
      Mind you, they are as smooth as silk now.

      But ....

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  10. Beware the Ides of March, OK I know it was in April that Barker dropped the bombshell. He has been distancing himself from the comments ever since. He has been a climate Change Minister for years under Huhne and yet you rarely heard of him. His constituency had no wind farms last time I looked. I think before we celebrate we should wonder what the dickens is going on in the corridors of power. Joined up thinking? I think not!

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    1. I think this is coming from the treasury, not the climate wallahs. The man who holds the purse strings will have more clout than the luvvies at Climate.

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  11. It's not just the national politicians that don't listen and don't care. This is from our local paper:

    "An energy firm has claimed a victory in the first battle to build a wind farm on “one of the world’s most famous landscapes” on moorland in Bronte country.

    Bradford Council today allowed developers Banks Renewables to build a 200ft wind monitoring mast, which is expected to pave the way for a “devastating” wind farm of four 330ft turbines on Thornton Moor, Denholme.

    Councillors gave the scheme the green light despite huge opposition from campaigners and the Bronte Society, who said the structure would “deface” views across the “culturally and historically significant” moorland."

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    1. This one has been the subject of intense national media coverage. It will be interesting to see if Bradford Council can resist the coming massive international pressure to leave well alone.
      Time to get the campaign started...

      It's bloody annoying that the local populations are not represented by their elected representatives, isn't it? Time to kick them out and put in place people who do care about public opinion.

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  12. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I'm with the massed ranks of the cynical. The phrase which struck a chord with me was: "There have been some installations in insensitive or unsuitable locations - too close to houses...".

    I can't help wondering if what's starting to bother the ruling classes in their family piles is the thought of having to accommodate some of these eyesores a little closer to home, particularly once the more remote and distant locations have been overwhelmed with ironmongery. It might only be a matter of time before some developer eyes up The Malverns, The Cotswolds, or The South Downs - who's to say they haven't already done so?

    Let's stop this particular tide before it washes up at our own front doors. Maybe I'm just starting to see demons where none exist.

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    1. Well, if that is the case, it's no bad thing. Whatever it takes to stop these developers, it's a good thing in my mind.

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  13. It's OK folks. It seems that all we need is a slap and a bit of a time out, at least according to this http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-17757445

    I think I may finally and truly, hate the BBC.

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    1. Kev, you should be directing your displeasure at Stephen Leckie, really and not the Beeb. Every single B&B and Hotel owner that I have spoken with are fighting these windfarms. These are the people whose livelihoods are being destroyed.
      The research is five years old: a time when there were very few windfarms in Scotland. Now they are everywhere and the locals don't like it! The city-centric politicians, on the other hand...

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  14. Talking of media coverage, Alan, this is the sort of stuff one is fighting against:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/apr/12/heathcliff-cathy-windfarm-wuthering-heights

    It's vomit-inducing stuff but sadly lots of people buy into this guff. On coming home tonight and noticing three more 45m turbines that have sprung up in the last couple of weeks in the NE Fife countryside I was thinking how aptly turbines encapsulate the pseudo-religious aspects of these pseudo-Greens. Turbines are quickly eclipsing church spires as the most prominent structures in the countryside. I don't how much we should read into the Telegraph article you linked to. It may just be an attempt to pacify discontent. The momentum is unstoppable and I fear your Ring of Steel will go ahead. The sad thing is that just like the dreariest parts of any town in Britain are those built in the 1960s, and we are still stuck with them, the turbines too are here to stay. Politicians love them because they are high profile, they give an impression of being busy, of re-industrialising the nation. Truly, you couldn't make it up. But it's happening all around us and it won't stop, I'm afraid.

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    1. Andy. That article is incredible. They should sack the mad harpie. It's not even very funny.

      Our countryside is being taken apart, sold to the highest bidder and then leased back to us through higher energy bills.

      To be honest, our countryside is pretty much fucked. We must try to stop them fucking it up any more. The use of "fuck" here it totally appropriate.

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  15. The Guardian reports "setbacks". I'd call it "advances" or whatever better antonym there might be.

    Brian

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/apr/18/wind-industry-setback-doosan-plans?CMP=twt_fd

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    1. Thank you for that excellent link, Brian. It looks like the bubble is about to burst.
      About bloody time!
      :-)

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  16. Hi Allan,

    there's a new threat. A couple of days ago there'was an item in the Dutch news about a experimental project in Germany. Because windenergy can't be stored properly a windenergycompany has started a test to store wind generated electricity in the form of hydrogen gas. It's very expensive so to make it profitable they need to make more windgenerated energy, i.e. build more windfarms. This means more income for them from subsidies, windelectricity and hydrogen electricity.

    I'm sorry I don't have any more details

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    1. Hi Theo
      There's a company in Britain doing the same...
      The cutting of wind subsidies will strangle these businesses at birth.

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  17. I know it's the USA but thought you might like a look, if you've not seen them

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/minnesota-taxpayers-stuck-paying-for-wind-they-cant-use-or-sell/

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/govt-subsidized-wind-farms-told-not-to-produce-energy/

    cheers Danny

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    1. This is happening the world over Danny. We pay the blighters a King's ransom NOT to supply us with electricity as it destabilizes the grid.
      When you want the electricity in the depths of winter with high pressure system sat squarely over the country, the turbines are stationary.

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  18. Druim Ba: We could do with some lucid comments about the effect that Druim Ba will have on local Tourism as the reporter has agreed to consider this within his investigation. We have lots of anecdotal tales and comments from local B&B owners, lodges etc. but are lacking in input from real tourists. If you feel that you have something useful to say, pertinent to Druim Ba, I would appreciate your comments which the local Community Councils will present to the inquiry. Reply to quixote.of.alba@gmail.com

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    1. Hi John.

      When do you need these by please? I'll see if I can get a few folk to write in.

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  19. Some of the scenes I encountered on last weekends visit to the Highlands were enough to make me weep Alan. The new Clyde windfarm along the M74 in itself is breathtaking in its scale, the things are enormous and go on for miles and miles and miles. Then past that in every direction there are clusters of the things all the way to Glasgow. Then more and more as you approach Stirling.

    Entering the lovely Strathconon there are more of the blasted things. To round things off nicely when on a lovely corbett I noticed a digger at work on the hill above Lochluichart, thats the view from the Fannichs soon buggered then..........

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    1. This really is disastrous. There will very shortly become a point where I just won't want to visit the Highlands any more. I go there for peace and quiet and to sample the wild and lonely places.

      Industrialising the wild places removes the reason I go there. It's actually cheaper for me to head for the Alps or the Pyrenees; destinations that I would never have considered before Salmond and his merry men started to destroy Scotland.

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  20. We need them in to the reporter by the 28th May. If you can that would be great.

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