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The case against windfarms  

Opposition group BLOT (Belvoir Locals Oppose Turbines) has its say.

How sweet! Infinergy’s website wished everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2008.

For the majority of people living in and around the Vale of Belvoir the submission of their plans just before Christmas gave very little indication of seasonal goodwill.

Planning regulations give a statutory three weeks for the public to submit their views, and this was neatly wrapped around the busy Christmas and New Year period. Infinergy were obviously hoping this would keep negative responses to a minimum, sadly for them it has not. Objection letters will top the 1,000 mark, plus other statutory consultees are late submitting theirs, giving more time for
additional comments to be considered.

BLOT (Belvoir Locals Oppose Turbines)

We are a growing group, formed specifically to object to the proposal of 10 125m-high turbines close to nine villages. There are more than 150 similar action groups up and down the country fighting onshore proposals, and the tactic by developers choosing sites on county boundaries seems to be common.

Since we formed, another wind developer (Ridgewind) has had plans approved by Melton Borough Council to test the wind speeds at a second site, closer to Bottesford.

BLOT also knows of a third, in its early stages, between Croxton Kerrial and Eaton. BLOT attended the Melton planning meeting for the Ridgewind anemometer. One councillor said he would be happy to have the whole of the valley to Lincoln covered in turbines!

The Vale of Belvoir will soon be the Vale of Turbines if this first development is not quashed.

New developments, especially those reclassifying land from agricultural to industrial, should only be allowed if
the benefits outweigh the negatives.

BLOT is convinced that the detrimental effects will be catastrophic and pale any perceived positives into insignificance. Many of Infinergy’s exaggerated claims can be challenged.

Will it supply 12,800 homes?

Due to low wind speeds in the Vale of Belvoir, power output and all subsequent claims of the turbine site are erroneous.

Infinergy will not submit their wind data, which has now been collated since August 2007, but is admitting that an average wind speed of 6.5m/s will be sufficient.

The turbine they are proposing (described as being especially suited for sites with high wind speeds) at 6.5m/s will only produce 300kW of power.

Using their own figures of house consumption being 4.7MWhr/year or 0.54 kW per home (4700/(24×365)], the site will only supply power for approximately 5,500 homes. This equates to an efficiency of less than 13 per cent, which is less than half Infinergy’s figure of 30 per cent.

All these figures are obviously meaningless, because when the wind is not blowing absolutely no homes will be supplied.

Free wind means free energy?

If only this were true. Due to the enormous subsidies available, multinational power companies have flocked to our shores, resulting in a predatorial race and panic scramble for onshore sites before the subsidy tap is piped over to offshore in 2010.

A 2MW turbine will receive approximately £235,000 per year in subsidies, mostly due to a system called Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs). This will result in £60 million over the 25-year lifespan of this site in subsidies. Paul Golby, the chief executive of Eon UK (formerly Powergen), said: “Without the ROC’s nobody would be building wind farms”. With all this money available, wind farm developers can offer irresistible rents to landowners. BLOT concedes this is the only benefit these money-making machines will bring, by making a small minority of individuals richer.

In reality the rest of us are paying the price with increasing energy bills. Latest figures are £85 to £90+/MWh paid for wind power compared with approximately £40 to £45/MWh for conventional generation. We all are paying a high price for this government to look green.

Reducing CO2 emissions?

Climate change, global warming, polar ice caps melting! All phrases continually used by wind developers to frighten and con the public into believing wind power is the future.

For any benefit to the environment a turbine has to show it will reduce CO2 and it can only do this by offsetting fossil fuel power stations.

Infinergy’s figures of 52,000 tonnes/yr of CO2 saved are false. They are based on only offsetting dirty coal power and an efficiency of 30 per cent.

If a mixture of coal, gas, nuclear (nuclear does not emit any CO2) and an efficiency of 13 per cent are used then only 11,300 tonnes/yr of CO2 will be saved.

To put this into real terms, it amounts to the same CO2 emitted from less than 20 lorries. BLOT suggests counting the number of lorries on the A1 and then compare this with the miniscule benefit this wind development could provide. This does not even include 15,000 vehicle movements required during the six to eight month construction period.

Fossil fuels are running out?

BLOT agrees that alternative fuel sources are required. Not enough emphasis is placed on encouraging more efficient use of power, incentives for local/domestic power generation and payment decreases for reducing home energy consumption.

To think wind power can replace conventional generators is a dangerous fallacy. Infinergy isn’t quick to admit that their turbines always require a base load backup. E.oN Netz (2004) admitted that every 1MW of installed wind power requires 0.8 MW of backup from ‘shadow power stations’.

The following year E.oN Netz (2005) went further: –
“… It is not possible to guarantee wind will give continual cover of electricity consumption. Consequently, traditional power stations with capacities equal to 90 per cent of the installed wind power capacity must be permanently online in order to guarantee power supply at all times.”

Perhaps it is not surprising the Government has finally admitted the nuclear option cannot be avoided.

Planning permission?

Infinergy’s benefits are flawed and industrial turbines are not fit for purpose in the Vale of Belvoir.

You would have thought it would be easy to have these plans rejected, but all of the efficiency and grid stability problems mentioned will not be considered in the planning decision.

BLOT calls on all those involved at SKDC to put common sense and public justice before the needs of commercial greed.

‘Wind farms’ are a con. They will blight and scar this area for decades.

If BLOT does not succeed, the words of a defeated anti-wind farm campaigner from Cumbria may ring in our ears – “The wind farm is noisy, it is a visual blight, it does create shadow flicker, it has resulted in very little benefit to the local economy, it continues to destroy wildlife and negotiating with PowerGen Renewables and Wind Prospect to try to resolve the problems has been a most unpleasant experience for all those involved.

“Put simply, we want our quality of life back.”

Grantham Journal

21 January 2008

———

Belvoir Locals Opposing Turbines (BLOT): blot-online.org

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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