Tuesday’s Scotsman contains three articles which should be considered carefully by those who wish to see our countryside covered with wind power stations to fulfil the SNP Scottish Govermment’s ambitions.
It is not clear why energy minister Jim Mather should regard as “welcome” the news that £400 million is to be spent to send electricity south of the Border.
This money will have to come from electricity consumers in the form of yet higher energy bills.
And how exactly does generating electricity for “export” within the UK benefit Scotland, particularly when the profits go largely to German (E.ON), French (EDF) and Spanish (Iberdrola) energy companies?
David Lee is rightly concerned about the intrusion of huge wind power complexes into wilderness areas, but seems to accept that these developments bring some economic advantages.
I have yet to see anything other than unjustified statements by politicians as to exactly what these are.
Claims of employment created through wind farm construction either relate to short-term jobs in low-technology construction, or in some cases are simply wrong. (Fallago Rig cannot possibly create 600 local jobs, as claimed, even in the short term.)
When pressed on this issue recently in connection with a Borders wind farm, the best that one government minister could come up with was the increase in business at a cafe and post office in Stowe during the construction of a nearby turbine complex.
Finally, and most sinister, is an apparently unrelated article on the effects of noise.
This reports Danish research which has shown that susceptibility to stroke in people over 65 can be increased by 27 per cent for every ten decibel increase in noise exposure, probably as a result of sleep disturbance, now a documented result of living in proximity to a wind farm.
Wind farm developers are allowed to increase the night-time noise in previously quiet rural areas (typically around 20 to 25 decibels) to 43 decibels, which could on this basis correspond to about a 60 per cent increase in stroke susceptibility.
It would appear that wind turbines are not just expensive and ugly, they can probably also kill people.
Jack W Ponton, FREng
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