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It’s bigger than they let on  

You have got to admire the gall of Viking Energy.

They say that the total area of peat disturbed by the wind farm will be 371 acres. This equates to about 2.4 acres per turbine. This is probably the correct area that is immediately affected by an individual wind turbine with regards to the concrete base, construction disturbance and access. But like all of Viking Energy’s propaganda this is not the full story – and well we know it.

For a forest of wind turbines to work effectively they have to be placed at a certain distance apart to avoid taking the wind out of each other’s blades. For a 1.5MW turbine this is about 0.13 square km per MW installed.

So for this proposed wind farm of 554MW, the land area disturbed will be at least 72 square km or 17,500 acres. Rather more than 371 acres!

If I can just draw an analogy with a football club. An individual football player will cover a small area of ground, but a team needs the area of a football pitch to play the game. So, like the football player, even though a wind turbine covers a relatively small area of ground, Viking Energy with a team of 154 turbines will need a pitch disturbing at least 72 square km of Shetland’s beloved peat land to play their wind farm game. An area, which, due to all the health and wildlife risks associated with wind turbines, would be exclusively committed to the wind farm itself.

The football pitch is where the game is played but the club requires the infrastructure of the stadium, car park etc to make it function. So like the club, Viking Energy will also need an infrastructure, but this will consist of interconnecting pylons, roads, substations, power lines, cables and the converter station to make it function. Once all this is added to the mix it is quite easy to see where the 32,000 acres of land potentially disturbed, as mentioned in Viking Energy’s scoping report, has been estimated.

In my view, we should take this to be the actual area of land that will be directly affected by the wind farm development. Nothing less at this stage should be considered. This is about 14 per cent of Shetland’s mainland. But we haven’t finished yet.

With a load factor of 0.45 the Shetland wind farm will produce about 250MW of power on average. This is 300MW less than the required capacity of the interconnector cable of 554MW.

So guess what? Yes, another wind farm will be built to facilitate the interconnector running at full potential. Now we’re up to 64,000 acres of land potentially disturbed, which equates to 30 per cent of the landmass of mainland Shetland! A staggering amount for one venture.

There is no doubt therefore that the wind farm will affect everybody. On reading the Windylights Two brochure they mention that support for the wind farm is in the balance with most of the opposition coming from people who live near the wind farm site. Surely, support would collapse if people realised the true total extent that the wind farm will ultimately have on their lives. It may not directly affect one now but it will do at some stage if this madcap scheme goes ahead. So if you don’t want this wind farm encroaching on your life, now is the time to speak out.

This reminded me of a poem by one Pastor Martin Niemoller entitled First They Came For the Jews. I have taken the liberty of paraphrasing it, and I apologise to the pastor for doing so, but I hope its message gets through:

First they built windfarms on the Lang Kames
But I did not speak out
Because I did not live in the Lang Kames

Then they built windfarms at Kergord
But I did not speak out
Because I did not live at Kergord

Then they built windfarms at Nesting
But I did not speak out
Because I did not live at Nesting

Then they built windfarms in my back garden
And I did speak out
But I was the only one because nobody else lived there.

Paul Featherstone
Kergord Hatchery

The Shetland News

18 April 2008

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

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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