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Monday, 1 October 2012

Scotland’s Wind Farms: The current state of play

It’s easy to think in the abstract when considering the pros and cons of wind farms on Scottish landscapes. I thought it was about time we looked at the reality on the ground.

The following maps show the full extent of what has been built or approved (in red), what is currently being considered in the planning system (brown) and what is being “scoped for opinion”, prior to applying for planning permission. These maps were dated August 2012, so there will now be more wind farms to add to the maps.

You can click on each map and index to blow them up to a much larger size.

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I would be interested in your opinions, so please leave a comment.

27 comments:

  1. Looks like the Scottish govt want you to be able to see wind turbines from everywhere except Holyrood.

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    1. I think that if the SNP and Alec Salmond maintain that wind turbines don't deter tourism (in fact they say that turbines are a positive tourist attraction) then there is no reason why we shouldn't apply for planning permission for a wind farm on Arthur's Seat.

      Under Scottish planning laws you don't need to own the land to apply for planning.

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  2. As you know, I live in souther Scotland, and it's here that we have the highest concentration of operational/application / scoping projects. The swathe of industrialised landscape now runs from NE from Dumfries and Galloway across to the Lammamuirs. Last week I flew back from London to Edinburgh and the full extent was clearly apparent. Objectively there are clear reasons for this - the prevailing SW winds have clear passage across a landscape that averages between 400/700m, and there is relatively easy access projected sites from the existing infrastructure.

    And the Scottish Borders is the second-least populated area in the UK and the least visited by tourists in the country.

    Anyone wishing to imagine the blight that may well be visited upon the Highlands could do worse than take twelve days to traverse the Southern Upland Way. It's already happened here.

    For more information go to
    http://www.scotborders.gov.uk/downloads/900064/windfarms

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    1. Humph.
      It is a dreadful thing that they are doing to your backyard.
      And the subsidies are being trousered by the wealthy landowners and the foreign energy companies.
      It is being paid for by the electricity consumer. That's you and me.
      The poor are being made poorer by this madness and the land is being sacrificed to the carpet-baggers greed.

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    2. What I would like to see is the projected outputs for each of these installations - actually for each individual turbine - made available at the application stage and then, when there is a subsequent installation, compared with the actual outputs. Let's have the differences between prospectus bullshine and actual delivery made public. The very fact that these statistics are guarded as 'sensitive' information is in itself suspicious.

      It's something a decent regulator, if only we had one, should be insisting on.

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    3. Hi Dave
      If you were to look at the plated capacity of Britain's "wind fleet" and their actual output I believe the efficiency ratings of wind would make very poor reading. In Germany it's currently 17%.
      In the UK, RenewablesUK, the industry's lobbyists and "spokesperson" claim it's about 25-30% for onshore wind. The actual figure is considerably less.

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    4. The actual average output is about 21% which when you take into consideration off-shore which is more efficient is included, the truth is probably not that much different to Germany. One point on the SNH map, even they state that this is far from inclusive as most on farm turbines are not included. For those in such as Aberdoomshire the amount of on farm turbines actually adds up to a considerable number. Behind Dingwall four seperate farm have now installed large turbines. Not shown on such as SNH figures it is now becoming the equivalent of a medium wind farm built close by the town.

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  3. It's getting harder in Ayrshire to walk without seeing several. I do note that from the map that a lot are going up where old opencast mines where. Better than a big hole in the ground but not great. I can now stand on the top of Blackcraig and there is a wind farm in all directions. No longer walking for a view of the wild lands anymore. I do have a love/hate relationship with wind farms. Like I have said before. I can't walk where there is a surface mine but I can walk if there is a wind farm. I can go back to some of the hills I could walk as a young boy but there are turbines. Just wish I had the answer. Rock and a hard place......Don't think I'm even making sense....

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    1. Tookie.
      They are taking away your countryside and are industrialising it at an alarming pace. Old coal mines can be re-landscaped and be made beautiful again, but not if they plonk industrial wind turbines in their stead.

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    2. Just take some time to look at the economics. Bit like the First trains and the West Coast rail link. The figures simply do not stack up. To compete in world markets and find employment for our people we need a supply of energy(electricity) which is guaranteed and economical. Wind is neither. Off-shore is worse with connection costs alone at over £1million per mw. Yes, we must protect our landscape, our tourist industry and yes, our quality of life. The latter is even recognised by the World Health Organisation. But to desecrate those lands for a false prophet is bordering on the criminally insane!

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    3. It is daft that turbines are promoted primarily for their "green" credentials, when in fact those installed on peat soils show virtually no carbon savings in their entire life cycle.
      We are paying huge fortunes to developers for virtually no CO2 reductions.

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  4. You just need to tot up all the sites on those lists for a true picture of where Scotland is in relation to wind farms. To be honest, I think it is staggering, and staggeringly tragic.

    I know you know where I stand on this, and there is little more I can add right at this moment. Suffice it to say my feelings on the subject at any given time range between desperate sorrow and spluttering anger on the subject.

    I wish there was more that could be done to prevent the despoilation of the countryside - especially the number of delicate and important ecosystems that are being trashed forever - and that there was a more high profile, in-your-face campaign informing people of the unbiased, real facts.

    The huge irony of devastating environments to "save" the environment surely cannot be lost on everyone?

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    1. The Worm is turning. Join the protest at the SNP Conference at Perth on 20th October. March starts at the South Insch Park at around 10.00am Info email: war.on.wind@btinternet.com Also see Chris Heaton-Harris's campaign: https://sites.google.com/site/togetheragainstwind1/

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  5. Do you know if there is a similar map info. for Wales or a contact at the firm which produced the maps above?

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    1. Hi Welsh Paddler

      I have found this interactive map for the whole of the UK on the Guardian website.

      Click HERE for the situation at about February this year.

      I hope this helps.

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  6. Hi Alan

    Planning permission has now been granted for a six-turbine extension to the Lochluichart windfarm (17 turbines currently). So, so depressing.

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  7. Hi Gibson

    What I find equally depressing is how the wind businesses split up these monstrous developments into little parcels. Are they trying to hide the true size of the power stations? They must think we are idiots.
    Corriemoille and Lochluichart and the Lochluichart extension are one big wind farm of over 40 turbines.

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  8. Bloody Hell!
    Frightening stuff Alan, very powerful, and depressing images.

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    1. Hiya Sweetie!
      :-)
      It annoys the crap out of me when I read elsewhere that well-known hillwalkers feel it is okay for wind power stations to be placed in areas "away from the hills". What this means is that lives are ruined by low frequency noise and flicker, and their humdrum but otherwise pleasant views from their homes are totally destroyed.
      Anyone can see from the graphs that wind is a busted flush. No amount of promises from the liars within the wind industry will actually deliver what is required - stable power production at the required quantities.

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  9. Truly depressing Alan. I live in West Cumbria where the situation is even worse. So far this year, our local authority, Allerdale, have received over 90 (yes, NINETY) applications for wind farm developments.

    It is not windy here every day, as I drive around it is normal for half of all turbines to be motionless.

    It does, however, get light every day. The solar panels on our house roof currently generate more than half of all the LX our family use. If only the obscene subsidies paid to energy companies were diverted into solar - it should be compulsory for every new house built to have a solar array on the roof and If I Was King I'd insist on them being installed on all suitable existing roofs as well.

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    1. Hi Bilbo
      It is depressing.
      I think having solar panels on housing is fine with one very big proviso. I have no problem with selling the surplus to the grid, but it should be at the price that everyone pays for their electricity, not the hyper inflated prices allowed by the Feed in Tariff.
      This price just distorts the market and makes electricity more expensive.

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    2. You're absolutely right Alan, but it seems that every ill-thought-out approach to the energy situation results in a warped financial model, not just solar panels.

      Without the ROCs and subsidies, wind turbines would not be built. The technology existed long before the current proliferation of these monstrosities but energy companies did not use it because it was not cost effective for them. Anyone who tells you this is not solely about money is ******* (insert suitable expletive of your own).

      We are currently fighting an application a couple of miles outside Cockermouth where the proposed turbine, if allowed, will be immediately throttled from 800KWh to 500KWh in order to qualify for higher tariffs. And you expect me to believe the local farmer when he says he's "doing this for the environment"? Environment my a***. He is doing this purely for profit and nothing else. Ofgem take a very dim view of this practise but can do nothing about it until it happens - by which time it is too bluddy late and we have another monstrosity damaging the countryside, tourism and the lives of local people for 25 years.

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    3. I wasn't aware of the throttling scam to increase the tariff. That shows conclusively that he is in it purely for the money.
      He should be publicly shamed in the newspapers for this racket. I wonder if his wife will support the application when no-one talks to her family?

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    4. Alan,

      If you go to this page you will find the Planning Application. http://planning.allerdale.gov.uk/portal/servlets/ApplicationSearchServlet?PKID=97590

      Scroll down (a fair way) to " 2-12-0544 Neighbour Consultation Response 8-8-12 FORCE (Report from Sarah Piggot from ofgem).pdf "

      As for ostracism, the farm is run by two sons, part of a large farming family who own a huge amount of land in this area. I doubt they give a Flying F*** about what anyone else thinks. Our local newspaper is about as much use as a chocolate teapot :{

      Thanks for the conversation :}

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    5. It is really about energy density and the only thing dense about Renewables are the Ministers that support them. I recommend an excellent book by Robert Bryce called "Power Hungry" which will explain a great deal and quantify the error of wind. Sorry, Alan. No good maps to salivate over but plenty of hard facts to get your teeth into. Available on Amazon in paperback or kindle. Doubt if the local library will stock it unless in a brown paper wrapper!

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Hi.
Because of spammers, I moderate all comments, so don't worry if your comment seems to have disappeared; It has been sent to me for approval. As soon as I see it, I'll deal with it straight away.
Thank you!