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Who really gains from wind farm projects?  

I write with reference to the story headlined: “Residents in row over cheese farm’s wind turbines project” (Journal, February 21 edition).A small number of individuals undoubtedly stand to benefit handsomely from what is described as a “pioneering wind-powered cheese farm”, by much more than the article suggests.

I believe turbine developers are piling into North Devon because wind farms are money-making machines, not because they care about the environment.

A 4MW cluster, such as that proposed for Parkham, operating at only 20% efficiency, would earn – at current market prices – close to £350,000 a year from Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs).

ROCs are the subsidy used in the UK to provide incentives for building turbines, paid for by electricity customers. That is on top of the price received for any electricity sold.

Supermarkets, whose own carbon footprints grow bigger and bigger as they expand, support wind turbines because they want the green PR: it’s called “greenwash”.

But what about the people who live in the area, and who will have to put up with the visual, noise, property and business blights?

The proposed turbines are huge structures, taller than the 65m height to the hub stated in the article by another 35m to the tip of the blade.

They cast shadow flicker on properties north of the turbines. They can be distressingly noisy – especially at night.

They only produce electricity when there is wind. When there is no wind something else – oil, gas, nuclear, coal, whatever – has to step in. When there is too much wind they have to be switched off.

Environmental commitment includes reducing inputs and pollution, and protecting biodiversity. It is not about making money at the expense of someone else’s environment. The project’s consultant described our area as having “little ecological value”. By the time the wind turbine developers have finished with North Devon, it will have no value, ecological or otherwise, while they will be laughing all the way to the bank.

JOHN MCKAY,

Broad Parkham

on behalf of Parkham Parish Conservation Association (PPCA).

North Devon Journal

13 March 2008

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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