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Economics of wind power do not add up  

Barry Lees lightly dismisses the need to back up wind generators (Letters, September 15) with the assertion: “If it’s calm somewhere in the country, there’s a very good good chance that it will be windy in another part.” Would he be happy to leave the security of our electricity supply to chance?

It is perfectly possible for the whole country to experience anti-cyclonic weather with resultant calm conditions. Indeed, in Denmark in February 2003, the 6000-plus wind turbines produced absolutely nothing. His assertion that pumped storage could be the answer to the intermittence of wind power does not stand scrutiny.

The only pumped storage in Scotland at the moment is at Cruachan and has a capacity of 440MW, just about enough to absorb the output of one windfarm. The idea that we should build more for this purpose is fanciful as the capital cost would make the, already dodgy, economics of wind power totally unacceptable to even the most gullible observer.

I am far from being a fossil-fuel Luddite. I agree that there are other viable renewables out there which must be developed, and some of these may contribute to the base load capacity we must have.

However, windfarms are clearly seen by the government as the only game in town, hence its predisposition to approve their construction against total local opposition. My objection to windfarms is that the damage to the landscape is out of all proportion to their tiny contribution to reducing CO2 output. If the large subsidies poured into wind power were to be applied to reducing demand, the effect on CO2 output would be immediate and long lasting.

Andrew Mitchell, 4 Glenpark Avenue, Prestwick.

On the subject of windmills and renewable energy sources, comparing Iain J McConnell’s reasoned argument (September 15), backed up by expert observation, with Barry Lees’s frenetic pie in the sky fantasies, one can only hope that the former’s viewpoint will prevail over the emotive claptrap issued by the latter and his fellow green woodland elves, deluded by the smoke and mirrors campaign largely emanating from the renewable energy profiteers.

Allan Todd, 21 Bowfield Road, West Kilbride.

The Herald

17 September 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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