On Friday (November 24) I attended a meeting at Knowstone Village Hall organised by the Two Moors Campaign Group. The hall was filled with about 200 people. This, on a night of strong winds and very heavy rain, showed massive opposition to the proposed construction of nine 103 metre high wind turbines at Batsworthy Cross.
The main speakers were Dr John Constable of the Renewable Energy Foundation, Nick Harvey, Liberal Democrat MP for North Devon, and Neil Parish MEP.
Dr Constable’s general overall opinion was that wind turbines were of very little value in reducing CO2 emissions.
Nick Harvey said we needed to turn back the tide of wind farms. He also stated that they were a flawed concept and that we should look more carefully at energy conservation, particularly in our own homes.
Neil Parish was also against wind turbines and concentrated more on biomass systems.
North Devon District Council and its Liberal Democrat leader. Malcolm Prouse, have recently adopted scenario 2 under their renewable action plan, which targets a total of 35.9 megawatts from renewable sources by 2010, of which 25 megawatts is to come from onshore wind. On the one side we have the Liberal Democrat MP for North Devon condemning wind power and on the other side our Lib Dem run NDDC advocating 25 megawatts of wind power by 2010. It seems, sadly, that there is a total lack of communication between our MP and NDDC. The council’s rush to be seen to be doing something could lead to their downfall, especially with the council elections taking place in a few months time.
Closer to home, Marine Current Turbines are investigating the feasibility of building a seven unit tidal energy farm off Anglesey. The project has received a £700,000 support grant from the Welsh Assembly and, subject to planning approval and financing, could be in operation by 2009, with a 10-megawatt output.
Norwegian company Hammerfest Strom believe they will have their first tidal farm operational before the end of 2008 with an output of 10 megawatts and in North Devon our leaders are screwing about with wind turbines. The potential for predictable power from marine current turbines is huge and, when in full operation, would need backup maintenance and refit services which could create employment and wealth for North Devon and Torridge. Appledore Shipyard could be the ideal base for this and the marine technical expertise in this area is world-renowned.
Wake up North Devon District Council, dump wind turbines and give us the renewable energy schemes that are right for this rural community.
Bob Gotts, Chivenor
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