Richard Craven is absolutely right in drawing attention to the contradictory arguments put before us by the pro and anti-wind turbine lobbies, and in commenting on two points in his letter I certainly don’t intend to criticise it.
He regrets the lack of unbiased information, but in this instance I suggest that commonsense is an adequate substitute.
Despite repeated requests, no-one on the “pro” side will tell us how much electricity is generated by these devices when the wind fails to blow; the best answer we get is that they can be sited where the wind never does fail, but even if such an onshore site exists it is not claimed that the wind-force is consistent throughout the day.
Secondly, we are told that they emit only 20dB of noise which, assuming it is true, may seem – and indeed is – trivial.
But the term “dB” is widely misunderstood; it is NOT a measure of absolute loudness, but simply a means of comparing the loudness of one sound with another, so unless we know what we are comparing with, 20dB is a meaningless figure.
In fairness, I suspect that it relates to the accepted “baseline”, the so-called ‘Threshold of Hearing’ (almost total silence) and would thus equate to a whisper.
If that is so, I would question the figure, as I have stood within earshot of just one of these things and “whisper” it did not; moreover, the sound of a “farmyard” full of the creatures can be readily imagined.
In conclusion, perhaps the best way of assessing the relative merits of the opposing arguments would be to consider who benefits; the landowner who draws rent for its use?
The company that manufactures the machines at great profit?
The government which sees kudos in the appearance of doing something about suspected global warming – at huge cost to the taxpayer?
14 May 2008