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Windfarm plans spark concern

I can accept that Fife Council’s South West Fife area committee had little option but to approve the erection of a single wind monitoring mast near Saline under existing planning laws, as reported in last Week’s Press.

However, the developer, ABO Wind UK Ltd, has now started a thoroughly misleading and at times wholly inaccurate campaign for a full windfarm with the distribution of its glossy newsletter, “Proposed Northwest Saline Windfarm”, to the local Saline community.

For example, ABO states that this seven-turbine 17.5MW scheme “would be operating at 30 per cent of its total capacity”. Unless ABO have discovered some magic way of overturning the laws of nature and physics, this is complete rubbish. With the intermittent wind that blows everywhere in Scotland, no generator has been able to produce wind electricity for more than 25 per cent of the time. Plus, at times of generation electricity would not always be generated at the claimed 17.5MW rating. ABO’s figure of 30 per cent should probably be replaced by 10 per cent or less, not quite the same!

Further, ABO claims that this proposed windfarm on average “could produce electricity equivalent to the demand of 9000 or 10,000 households”. Sounds great which, of course, assumes that ABO’s previous 30 per cent figure is correct! But what also happens when the wind is not blowing suitably, which is most of the time? Will the household lights, etc, go out? Well, not quite as our traditional “firm” electricity generation based on coal, gas, nuclear and even hydro will have to step in! Thus wind farms do not reduce by even one kW our need to maintain electricity generation by other means.

This, and other windfarm projects, are encouraged by the misguided propaganda from the UK Government that such projects can contribute to the cleaner, sustainable generation of our necessary electricity. Companies have been encouraged in such work by various financial incentives and even quotas to meet for the production of “green” electricity through “renewables obligations”. Land-based wind farms are not the answer as is now being considered by Fife Council and, indeed, the Scottish Government.

In the meantime, I hope all fellow Saline residents will treat with appropriate care all “information” promoted by ABO Wind UK Ltd. The campaign to soften us up for a future full wind farm application has well and truly begun. Fife Council’s planning department and local South West Fife councillors who will make the final decision might be good place to register protests on ABO’s wholescale inaccuracies on a Saline wind farm.

Name and address have been supplied

Dunfermline Press

17 July 2008