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Wind farms must prove their worth  

Credit:  www.power-eng.com 4 October 2011 ~~

Chris Huhne is, of course, entitled to his opinion about wind turbines (The Journal, October 1). But he is surely not entitled to so stridently seek to impose his views on those living in other areas of the UK from himself.

In your editorial, you correctly identify issues that cause concern about wind farms, in particular the comment about their effectiveness.

In addition, there are issues concerning the materials and processes for constructing the magnets required (which it has been alleged is causing immense pollution problems in China) as well as the effect of wind farms on peoples’ lives who have to “host” them.

Then there have been substantial payments recently to wind farm operators to stop generating electricity during a particular period. And then of course there is their effect on the landscape and tranquility.

Whether you like them or not, such substantial structures should only be permitted in our countryside if they really do provide the benefits claimed for them. I have been arguing for some time now that there ought to be an inquiry to establish just how effectively existing wind farms are operating which should examine:

The amount of electricity they generate.

The reliability of them performing at any given time.

The number of times when they will be required to stop generating and the payments made by the National Grid for these periods.

The processes for constructing certain parts of wind turbines, particularly the magnets.

The actual reduction in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, which should include reference to the need to “shadow” wind turbines by conventional power stations at all times.

A recent study by the John Muir Trust found that wind farms in Scotland are not performing anything like as claimed and that it is impossible even to gauge “average” performance because of the nature of wind. If correct, then surely this whole issue needs examining further before committing huge expense to the expansion of wind farms.

If, and only if, such an inquiry found that wind farms are performing as claimed then maybe we will have to accept that they do provide a benefit, particularly in tackling climate change, and there may be less opposition to them.

But may I suggest that Mr Huhne, instead of trying to impose these structures on people, her meets with those who have very real concerns they have about them.

RICHARD COWEN, chairman, North East Region Campaign to Protect Rural England, Durham

Minister displays pure nimbyism

CHRIS Huhne’s reported comments on the need for yet more wind farms in the North East seem to reach new heights of political cant: Turbines are elegant and beautiful as long as they are in someone else’s countryside.

Put simply, it is fine to blight rural Northumberland as long as Hampshire is spared pure nimbYism however you look at it.

Some places are obviously more equal than others as far as government energy targets are concerned.

Given the lack of wind generating factories in the minister’s own constituency, notwithstanding his own token turbine, he can hardly be accused of leading by example.

While he urges us to hug a turbine, the Governmentis proposing to increase the upper speed limit for cars.

I suppose that could save some folk the embarrassment of being caught on camera, but how many turbines will have to be planted to compensate for the resultant increase in carbon emissions?

One thing’s for certain they won’t be in Eastleigh.

COLIN WAKELING, Berwick, Northumberland

Touchy subject of power created

CHRIS Huhne tells us we must learn to love these monstrosities and states that there is a “windmill” in his constituency.

Good for him, but how many wind turbines, or is that classified information?

In the days when windmills were first built MPs did not get paid for being in parliament, neither did they have to fiddle their “stage coach” tickets.

He never once mentioned the power they would supply, because like us he knows they will not and cannot produce constant power.

ROBIN THOMPSON, Bishop Auckland, County Durham

Source:  www.power-eng.com 4 October 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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