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Inquiry starts into wind farm plan  

Opponents of the scheme to situate a wind farm on West Devon land which is the subject of a public inquiry which began yesterday (Wednesday), claim the developer’s chosen location has by far the lowest wind speed recorded for any wind development in Devon or Cornwall.

According to Den Brook Valley Action Group (DBVAG), the mean wind speed is so low at the site between North Tawton and Bow that even in an average January –the windiest month of the year – the scheme would not be able to generate any electricity at all for one third of the month.

DBVAG chairman Maureen Thomson said: “˜We couldn’t understand why the developers RES were so coy and would not give out their wind speed data.’

She said the firm referred to “˜commercial confidentiality’, but that figures on mean wind speeds obtained from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Met Office demonstrated that wind conditions at the site were poor. The DTI records give a mean wind speed at Den Brook of just 5.9 metres per second at 45 metres above ground, compared with wind speeds of more than 7 and 8 metres per second recorded for twelve wind farms throughout Devon and Cornwall.

Rachel Ruffle, RES project manager, said the Den Brook site was chosen as being suitable for a wind farm on the basis of many factors, not just the wind speed.

Miss Ruffle said: “˜Most importantly the site has the potential to generate significant amounts of energy. “˜It will generate clean, green electricity equivalent to the needs of approximately 10,000 to 13,000 homes every year.

“˜The recent Stern Report has made it very clear that we should be converting to clean forms of energy now.’

Miss Ruffle said the wind speed figures quoted by DBVAG were estimated at a height of 45m, but the proposed turbine hub would be almost twice that height.

“˜It is a lot winder at 80m than it is at 45m,’ she said. “˜How much windier depends on the site.’

Miss Ruffle disputed DBVAG’s claims that the proposed development would not be able to generate any electricity at all for one third of a windy month such as January. She said the turbines would generate electricity for “˜approximately 80% of the time all year round’.


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