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Wind farms ‘repay lost C02 in 3 years’, government report claims

IT TAKES just three years for a wind farm to pay back the carbon dioxide released from peat land damaged during construction, according to a new report.

There have been concerns that draining peat land to build wind farms causes irreversible damage, releasing huge quantities of C02 that has been stored there.

Struan Stevenson, MEP, has called for a moratorium on building wind farms on peat land, which he calls Scotland’s rain forests because of their importance for storing damaging C02.

Now research for the Scottish Government has found that, with good practice, the benefits of building a wind farm will overtake the carbon lost from peat in between 1.8 and 2.6 years.

Jason Ormiston, the chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said the research discredits the “myth” that wind farms cannot be built on peat land without releasing carbon. He added: “This research shows that by using good practice we can responsibly develop on peat soils and still slash the emissions that cause climate change.

“Calls for a blanket moratorium on all peat-land areas have now been shown to be misguided and are blocking effective action on climate change.”

However, Mr Stevenson hit back, saying it was “fatuous” to think the damage can be reversed within three years. He added: “For anyone to suggest that beggars belief.”

At a seminar of experts earlier this year, Mr Stevenson said all agreed that wind farms should not be built on peat land.

The report, “Calculating carbon savings from wind farms on Scottish peat lands – A new approach”, was produced by the Macaulay Institute and Aberdeen University for the Scottish Government.

01 July 2008

By Jenny Haworth