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Inefficient wind farms increase pollution from fossil burn  

Credit:  Yorkshire Post, www.yorkshirepost.co.uk 22 June 2011 ~~

From: Ian Murdoch, Spring Hill, Welbury, Northallerton.

THE articles by Jonathan Reed and Comment (Yorkshire Post, June 18) presented a very clear view of the extent to which our region is threatened by the further spread of wind turbines as part of the futile and fatuous renewable energy policies of the last and present governments. Indeed, the position is worse than shown as several planned and possible sites in the north of the county were not shown on your map.

You suggest that there are questions about the efficiency of wind technology, and these have generally focused on the average output of nearer 20 per cent of rated capacity than the 30 per cent claimed by the Government and the wind industry.

However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the real question which challenges the viability of wind as a key element in our energy policy is the very wide variations in output.

These are such that there will always need to be other forms of generators, of equivalent capacity, ready to balance out this natural intermittency of wind, and ensure a steady supply of electricity.

The problem is that the only viable technology available to balance out these variations are fossil fuel generators, either coal or gas. These run most efficiently at a steady load, but as they are forced to increase or decrease their load to accommodate the wide changes in wind output minute by minute, their efficiency can reduce drastically and they burn more fuel and generate significantly more carbon dioxide than when operating in steady state. Claimed carbon savings for wind generation installations must take this variation into account.

Respected Dutch scientists have studied the actual outputs from wind turbines in Holland and Germany over a number of years, and have calculated the overall efficiency decrease in conventional power stations as they compensate for the variability of wind generation.

Their work suggests that these efficiency losses may be such that wind energy may actually lead to increased fossil fuel use, and carbon dioxide emissions. In other words, it may well save more carbon emissions if all wind turbines were to be shut down and the back up stations were allowed to replace them, operating in their most efficient steady state.

Now that reliable information is available showing the very wide variation in wind output throughout each day, the Government must start to recognise that this variation produces inefficient fossil fuel burn, which may well more than offset all the supposed savings from wind generation. They can no longer hide behind their once monthly average output figure, which completely covers up the now obvious inefficiencies.

From: R Firth, Campsall, Doncaster.

THE Yorkshire Post in the last few days has initially brought good news in the decision of councillors in Selby and York to turn down applications for wind farms at Darrington Quarry and Copmanthorpe because of the severely detrimental effect on the green belt and proximity to houses.

You then alerted us, with the map of proposed and agreed sites, to the enormous threat to our environment, wildlife and food production particularly in the area bordered by Pontefract, Doncaster, Goole and Selby and further east to the north of the Humber (Yorkshire Post, June 18).

Our main need is to secure our future energy supplies by being as self-sufficient as possible without being over-exposed to any one of coal, gas, nuclear, hydro, tidal, solar and wind. In our efforts to this end we must look to gradually clean up the fossil fuels to protect the environment. While the Government has pledged support for the start of a carbon extraction scheme at Ferrybridge and a carbon collection scheme at the Hatfield combined colliery and power station site, Drax, the single largest energy supplier in Europe is seeking backing for its biomass units.

In the meantime, wind farms, which have consistently failed to perform to anywhere near their projected efficiency levels, are being imposed on us financed by massive subsidies (provided by the taxpayer and industry) to the landowners and developers, who are now being encouraged by the Government to offer cash incentives to communities, from our own monies, to persuade us to accept this blight on our environment.

The area outlined has suffered over the last century from the ravages of coal mining and associated industries which, at least, provided fuel and employment. The work of local communities in restoring the area to its former beauty must not be jeopardised by these eyesores, which, even if the wind blows at the correct speed, will contribute a minimal amount of energy to the grid, and our local power stations at Ferrybridge, Eggborough, Drax and Hatfield will still have to provide the majority of our energy.

From: Margaret Claxton, Arden Court, Northallerton.

REGARDING all these intrusive wind farms that are spoiling our beautiful landscape, has anyone yet considered what will happen in a few years time when they begin to break down and need repairing? The so-called cheap electricity will not be so cheap, particularly regarding those in the sea. I would think the maintenance would be pretty expensive anyway.

From: Richard Billups, East Avenue, Rawmarsh, Rotherham.

I COULD not agree more with Sir Bernard Ingham (Yorkshire Post, June 15) about the energy companies; those people who prey on the low paid and pensioners with their greedy demands. I raise my hat to Sir Bernard for condemning those parasites for doing nothing for their pay – the officers of Ofgem.

Source:  Yorkshire Post, www.yorkshirepost.co.uk 22 June 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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