I must reply to the letter from Simon Pipkin, project manager at Gamesa Energy UK, in a recent Observer.
He should have declared an interest because, unlike the people of Gilfach Goch who have nothing to gain from the Gamesa development, he and Gamesa UK have everything to gain by way of the massive subsidies that will be paid for by us. So whatever he says must be weighed against the fact that it is in his interest to sell the idea that wind farms are needed.
Like many of the politicians, he insults our intelligence by suggesting these wind farms will save the planet. He claims the development will prevent 26,900 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year – I suspect he got that figure out of a Christmas cracker.
What he does not say is that conventional power stations, emitting carbon dioxide, will always be needed on standby to act as back-up to wind generation because wind is not a reliable source of energy. Current data from onshore wind farms in Wales shows they are less than 25 per cent effective.
Already there are wind farms in service in Scotland, Cornwall, Wales and some in England so perhaps Mr Pipkin could tell us how many power stations have been closed as a result of the output of those wind farms. There are 17,000 wind turbines in Germany but not one conventional power station has been closed as a result.
He can quote what he likes regarding house prices. Our information comes from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and it expects prices to drop. The existing Taff-Ely wind farm can not be compared to the Gamesa, NlPower, Pant y Wal, and Mynydd Portref developments which will encircle the valley.
The offer to a community of a fund must come very close to being a bribe to win people over. Whatever is given will be peanuts compared to the profit Gamesa will make.
The Gamesa UK application, by virtue of its location, is far too near properties situated beneath the development. The location is also along a mountain rim that shows signs of movement due to past mining activity – hardly the place for thousands of tons of cement, hardcore and the turbines themselves.
And the access that will be needed for the huge vehicles – through the village and past a primary school- can never be deemed acceptable
The Gamesa UK application could endanger the health and well-being of those living in its shadow. There should be a set minimum distance from residential properties governing where turbines are placed.
Granting this application would be tantamount to reckless irresponsibility and abdication of common sense.
New Blandy Terrace
19 April 2007
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