Farmers and landowners should be aware of the limitations and potential hazards in allowing sizeable wind generators to be installed on their land.
An 82ft high wind generator on private land at Wattlesborough, near Shrewsbury, came crashing to the ground in high winds during January, 2012.
It was very lucky that nobody was in the vicinity when the tower collapsed as the incident happened during the afternoon.
We do not experience electrical storms on a daily basis in the UK, but when they do occur there is the real potential for serious damage and indeed possible fatalities. Tall buildings and towers virtually invite a lightning strike – hence the need for lightning conductors. A direct strike to a wind generator has the ability to cause structural damage and fire, but what a lot of people do not understand is that the ground adjacent a wind generator can rise by many hundreds of thousands of volts, and thus have the ability to harm or kill both animals and humans alike that may be standing on this ground at the time of a strike. This is not fanciful thinking as cattle have been found dead around the base of high voltage electricity pylons due to what is known as rise-of-earth-potential voltage during electrical storms.
If a landowner does not wish to become the centre of unwanted attention then they would certainly need the blessing of their nearest neighbours, as wind generators can be subject to noise, such as low frequency noise emissions. Flicker is another problem with both leading to health issues and loss of well-being. There would also be a concern by bird lovers as the blades of wind generators maim and kill our avian friends.
It is not only near neighbours that landowners should be concerned about, as whilst it can be argued that one or two such wind generators do not detract from the overall beauty of the countryside, each additional turbine will detract from this beauty and will be another nail in the coffin of tourism – with everybody from the hotel, caravan park owner to the local village baker suffering as a consequence.
A lot of misguided folk will argue that at the end of the day all this is justifiable, as wind technology will reduce carbon dioxide emissions and combat global warming! But this, I am afraid, is a total nonsense as wind generation will not close a single fossil-fuelled power station due to the need for backup when the wind fails. Wind generation is also inefficient and costly – as the Chief Executive of E.ON has said, no one would be entertaining wind generation if it were not for the subsidy, which you and I pay for in our ever increasing energy bills.
Dave Haskell, Boncath, Pembrokeshire.
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