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Wind farms misrepresented

Following the publication of two letters in support of wind farms – one from Gamesa energy director Matt Partridge and one from his junior Nick Sage (Journal, October 25) – no doubt Llanfynydd residents can expect that Gamesa is about to submit its planning application for a wind farm around their village, which was first proposed a year ago.

Last year, Nick Sage was forced to admit to doctoring photographs in order to present a more favourable impression of the visual impact of the windfarm proposal for Glen Luce, Mull of Galloway (see Galloway Gazette, December 23).

Now Gamesa is misrepresenting wind farms to Carmarthenshire residents. Contrary to the assertions in Gamesa’s letter, Denmark’s wind farms have been a disaster. Annual figures from Eltra, Denmark’s national grid operator, show that carbon emissions are constantly rising.

West Germany’s experience is similar to Denmark’s. EonNetz, the major grid managing company, admitted last year that it will only be able to use four per cent of any further wind generation. The reason is the low output of wind turbines.

Although Matt Partridge was correct when he said “wind turbines generate electricity 83 per cent of the time”, he chose not say how much they generate. It is often a mere trickle.

In fact, over a year they achieve on average only 26 per cent of their potential capacity (Source: DTI). And this 26 per cent annual output is completely random. Frequently turbines generate when electricity is not needed and they stand still when electricity is in great demand.

Our own Government’s energy review (July 2006) promised an end to present subsidy rates in April 2009 for wind turbines not connected to the national grid.

These subsidy changes reflect the growing acknowledgement that wind farms are ineffective in combating global warming.

However, Carmarthenshire can expect a flurry of wind farm applications in the next year as foreign companies scramble to grab a spoonful of the subsidy gravy before it runs out.

Robert Cottam

All Wales Energy Group Committee

thisissouthwales.co.uk