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Sadly, tycoon is Trumping the vital debate about wind farms  

Credit:  The Herald, www.heraldscotland.com 28 April 2012 ~~

The intervention of Donald Trump in the wind farm debate is sadly proving to be a distraction from the real issue (“Trump: Ministers lied over wind farm support” The Herald, April 23).

It is providing the multinationals and venture capitalists, who are the real beneficiaries of the “rush to wind”, with an ample platform to deluge the public with misinformation.

The simple facts are that man-made global warming is a huge threat to the future of mankind and the planet and renewable green energy sources must be sought as part of any solution.

Unfortunately wind power, due to its unpredictable and variable output, can offer only a negligible contribution to real reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. Unless we are prepared to accept the lights going out whenever the wind drops, wind power requires continuously available back-up and currently that means fossil fuel-based generation continuing at close to its current level, no matter how many wind farms are built.

Claims of large proportions of generation from wind power are of course true, but quietly ignore this back-up which cannot be switched on and off on the whims of our weather. Effective power storage could be a solution, but no such technology currently exists with the exception of limited hydroelectric schemes.

We can all have opinions as to the visual impact of wind farms and where they should and should not be built, but this misses the most important point: power generation for the future is a huge issue and the right solutions and policies must be found. Wind power is for the most part the wrong solution and sadly our policy makers are being duped by vested interests into embracing it on a massive scale.

Dr Guy Vernham,

Hartwood Steading,

West Calder.

Friends of the Earth chief executive Stan Blackley says: “Only an idiot would argue that harnessing clean and safe renewable energy to power our nation, boost the economy and create new jobs is wrong” (“Trump jibe on eve of Holyrood visit”, The Herald, April 25).

If he is right then the majority of Scots must be idiots. The recent outrageous claim that over 70% of Scots favour wind power over other forms of electricity generation is a skewed mis-representation of the facts.

Actually 65% of Scots would be happy with wind power included in a mix of other forms of generation, with only 18% rating wind power as a first choice. The claim by Friends of the Earth that wind farm opponents are “completely out of touch with Scottish public opinion” is a typical pro-wind farm slice of outlandish propaganda.

Examining Mr Blackley’s statement that wind energy is “clean and safe”, I presume he is referring to CO2 emissions. Construction of wind farms involves the mining and smelting of huge amounts of metal, road building, carbon intensive cement for the turbines’ massive foundations and release of vast amounts of CO2 when excavating peat bogs – upon which most Scottish wind farms are built.

The annual increase in China’s CO2 emissions is greater than the UK’s total emissions in a year, which amounts to only 1.5% of the global total.

His claim that renewable energy will “boost the economy” is frankly pie in the sky. Leaving aside the fact that wind power is inherently inefficient, uneconomic and unreliable, requiring back-up from conventional power stations, the eye-watering subsidies ploughed into the construction of wind farms will ensure that this expensive folly will cost consumers £120 billion over the next decade – almost 10 times more than the cost of generating power from gas-fired power stations.

What other industry gets a public subsidy of between 10% and 200% of the value of what it produces?

His third claim that renewable energy will “create new jobs” requires examination. The vast majority of turbine suppliers are foreign engineering firms, such as in Spain, where a university study discovered that for every job created on the renewable sector, nearly three others are lost; and where jobs are created, only 10% are permanent.

Job creation in this area is akin to sending out a volunteer to smash a few windows so that a glazier can follow him with new panes of glass.

Scotland is unique in Europe for its unrivalled wild and beautiful landscape; it is also unique in its tragic, obsessive, target-driven industry of smothering this landscape with hideous arrays of giant industrial machines in order to court a misguided energy policy and to pander to the siren calls of environmentalists such as Friends of the Earth.

Other more informed European countries are retreating from the folly of wind power, such as Spain, where it was seen as a significant contributor to economic collapse, and in Denmark where tourism fell by 40% in affected areas.

Finally, to those who absurdly claim that most people find wind farms attractive – try and obtain planning permission to put one on Arthur’s Seat, where the wind blows most of the time.

Why would Edinburgh City Council not approve? Because it rightly knows that most of Edinburgh’s population and visitors would be outraged.

Andrew Dempster,

May Cottage,

Green of Invermay,

Forgandenny,

Perthshire.

Three correspondents are at last beginning to unravel the myths behind wind energy (Letters, April 26).

John Lewis and Andrew Mitchell have devoted their working lives to the industry and have to be listened to seriously as they know what they are talking about.

John Milne puts his finger on the issue beautifully by calling the bluff of the lobby who clearly do not know, and seemingly don’t want to know, the complexities of electricity generation.

Politicians urgently need to take off their blinkers and listen to people who do know about electricity generation. This crazy situation cannot be allowed to escalate.

I am reminded of the remarks of a friend while sitting in Corrie on Arran, looking over to the Ayrshire coast: “Look at the size of that wind farm above Saltcoats and how it blots the landscape while providing energy for less than Saltcoats. And look further along the coast to Hunterston, which you can hardly see, which is keeping Scotland (and maybe more) energised.”

I’m a great believer in dripping water eventually denting the stone and maybe, just maybe, we are reaching this point.

J Norman McLean,

38 Seafield Drive,

Ayr.

Source:  The Herald, www.heraldscotland.com 28 April 2012

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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