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Data on wind not reliable — claim

Predicted wind speeds at the location of a proposed wind farm in North East Fife are unreliable as the mast used to record them was in the wrong position, according to campaigners.

Wind power firm EnergieKontor put up the 50-metre anemometer mast at Gathercauld, near Ceres, where it wants to install five 80-metre high wind turbines.

Microphones to measure noise levels were also installed.

But Ceres and District Environment and Amenity Protection (CADEAP), which was set up to fight the wind farm plans, claims that the 50-metre anemometer mast is not at the centre of the site.

As a result, it says, the plotted wind speeds and expected noise levels given in EnergieKontor’s environmental assessment, which it submitted to Fife Council, are inaccurate.

Chairman of CADEAP, Graham Lang, said, “To many who do not know exactly where the site is, it would indicate where the wind farm proposed by EnergieKontor would be constructed if approved by Fife councillors.

“But it does not.

“The purpose of the mast is to measure the speed, direction and reliability of the site-specific wind resource on which the viability of the proposed development should be based.

“The centre of the site is 950 metres north and 575 metres west of the location of the met mast so the wind speeds plotted against the background noise levels at the microphones are not the correct wind speeds.

“It is also the case that erecting a met mast to monitor the wind resource a kilometre away from the site where the turbines could be would not give the same results as those that would be obtained by a met mast on the site.”

Mr Lang also claimed that the top of the met mast was considerably higher than the hub height of the proposed wind turbines, possibly increasing readings.

He said, “The wind regime varies from place to place and is influenced by topography and, of course, height, so the measurements being obtained could make the site appear more viable than it actually is.”

EnergieKontor stated that the met mast question was one of a number raised by CADEAP with Fife Council and that it would be responding on all issues to the local authority before the planning application was determined.

But the firm’s Judith Cornfield did say, “There is nothing that particularly concerns us.”

The planning application has attracted hundreds of letters of objection from people in the surrounding area and further afield.

The Courier

8 May 2008