Can the People be Bribed?

The Government, both North and South, believe that increasing Community Benefit will make Wind Farms attractive to the population. People are not objecting to wind farms in their hundreds of thousands because they aren’t getting a big enough share. Is this the typical expectation of our parliamentarians? Give us a quid guv and we’ll shut up. They are objecting because they are despoiling our countryside, they are an unreliable source of power and they are bankrupting the country. More money thrown at them is not the answer. Less is. It reflects more the money grubbing instincts of Westminster than an understanding of the antipathy of the general populace to an inherently unstable technology. All wind needs backup from nuclear, coal, gas, or some other new reliable 24/7 power source. If politicians were any good at maths, which demonstrably they are not, they would realise that building one source of power and another to back it up when it does not work 80% of the time is simply double the cost; and who pays. Not government: it’s bust. No, the public through their electricity bills. Yes, the very guys who are now saying no thanks.

Stop listening to failed advisors. Climate Change has become a belief like Hari Krishna in the 60’s. Probably last as long in the end. Kyoto created a monster. Enron created Kyoto. Why did the US refuse to sign and yet has been the most proactive in alternative energy? They at least have the space, although anti wind groups are even stronger and more vocal in the US and Canada than the UK. Could it be that they saw the massive lobbying by a company they already knew as flawed? The creation of such as the DECC has just created a milch cow for all the believers(?), or the financially dependant, on a gravy train of unbelievable proportions. As Hal Lewis said when he resigned from the American Physical Society, “Climate Change – A Trillion Dollar Industry” Climate will change as it ever has. Whether at a greater rate due to man’s activities is probably true. Debateable maybe, but acceptable as a theory. However, is this due to the UK reliance on fossil fuel power or deforestation in the Amazon basin and the far east, often to create bio-fuels! You get nearly as many opinions as there are scientists. Only the Government KNOWS. Clever guys??

CO2 is not the demon. UK production is about 2.5% of the world total and only a miniscule amount of that relates to energy production. Transport and humans add by far the largest share. New technology in Coal and Gas, whilst not addressing reliance on imports, certainly addresses production of CO2. Two recent blogs on a pro wind site make interesting reading

Name of contributor withheld

  1. 1.      carbon dioxide is not a major contributor to the greenhouse effect. the main greenhouse gas by a large margin is water vapour. 90%+.

concentration of water vapour in the atmosphere is 0-4% depending on the weather.

CO2 is constant at about 0.04%. it is a trace gas. its effect on temperatures – virtually non-existent. definitely un-measurable.

I am a chemist, and regular user of infrared spectroscopy for 20 years, so i understand the greenhouse effect – as part of my job.

why are enormous amounts of our money being spent in trying to reduce carbon dioxide when it will have no measurable effect on global temperature?

there are lots of good reasons for not wasting energy, but none of them have anything to do with carbon dioxide or ‘man-made climate change’.

  1. Name of Contributor withheld:

1 March 2010 at 3:32 pm

Totally agree with Deacon. Temperature not quite unmeasurable though – the formula appears to be something like 4.7 x log (proportionate change) = temp anomaly. Key point about this is that incremental temp effect is logarithmic, and therefore as from now not worth any attention, especially in view of peak oil production.
It will be interesting to see if our nation can afford the upgrading of the grid that wind farms will necessitate!! And then some!

OK, you may say. What is your answer? Trust the people. Give power back to the local planners. Remove the subsidies, because that is what Renewable Obligation Certificates are, and replace your advisory committee with less people involved directly in the Wind industry and more people truly reflective of the views of the people.

Can we address four important issues:

  1. Tourism: Experience in Denmark, Holland, Germany, the US and Canada suggests an often catastrophic effect on Tourism. The John Muir Trust and the Mountaineering Council of Scotland have both highlighted the serious issues of the cumulative effect of wind farms on the desirability of tourists to visit. Individual tourist operators have provided figures which suggest at least 40% of their visitors will not return. In only one small area of Scotland the Government commissioned Blue Seas Green Energy report suggests a decline of £3.4 million per annum. A decline of that magnitude will effectively make all tourist businesses unviable. It is of note that no recent TV programs on Scotland’s Wild Areas ever show a wind turbine. Producers tell us that this is getting more difficult by the year. Several film makers have not been able to work in Scotland because views are compromised. Pretty stupid having a period film with a damn great turbine in the background. Not unless you are filming modern day version of Don Quixote. This again demonstrably affects Tourism. How many tens, if not hundreds, of thousands came to Laggan in the wake of “Monarch of the Glen”
  2. Noise: The Hayes and Mackenzie Report which resulted in ETSU-R-97 was doctored by the DTI. Read the report and you soon realize the conclusions do not follow the report. Minimum criteria well above standard background noise especially at night were introduced after consultation with the Industry to allow wind farms to operate. Despite a great deal of lobbying by noise industry experts the DECC has simply put their hands over their ears and ignored any advice that might upset their friends in Renewables UK. Several Councils, notably Highland Council, take a more robust view. However this is ignored by the Energy Consents Unit. I am aware that you will now say that Planning in Scotland is a devolved power. The advice of DECC still drives the rules. No reference is allowed in ETSU for low frequency or infra sound, despite plenty of evidence that these are serious issues. Tonal sound is referred to in ETSU and then totally dismissed. Interestingly not so by many of the noise consultants and not by the UK Noise Association. Basically ETSU needs reforming but all attempts to open discussion have been stonewalled by interested parties in DECC.
  3. Health Issues: Despite a catalaogue of health issues with wind farms, neither the Renewables UK or HMG are even willing to discuss them. According to DECC and Renewables UK they do not exist. Tell the people who are suffering. In Ottawa, at the moment, there is a serious legal challenge laid down by a large group of physicians and consultants. We await with interest the conclusion to that case, although I suspect that the wind industry and DECC will do a collective “See no evil, hear no evil!”
  4.  Quality of Life: The Nimby effect if you like. People live in wild places with great views by choice. They are inordinately proud of the areas, their wildlife and, most importantly, their communities. When people fall ill, have accidents or simply have troubles in their personal lives, the community rallies round and supports them. People who live in cities rarely experience this nowadays and are the losers by it. The community is a cohesive entity from local community councilors to local councilors. They are all known and trusted. Experience has shown that wind farms trailing their carrot of community benefit behind them have destroyed, in many cases, all community spirit. Councillors are not trusted because gagging orders prevent them from airing their views less they be precluded from airing their opinions in Council. The old saying “Money is the root of all evil” certainly has some relevance in this area. The proposals that the coalition suggests will just aggravate this. The Stress caused by all these divisions does not equal Quality of Life

These are but four points from a vast range of issues from technical to cultural. At this time I know of no representatives from the wind farm objectors represented on any DECC committee. Democracy? I don’t think so. Experience has shown me that the vast majority of protestors are pro renewable, do have concerns over reliance on imports, and do care passionately about their environment. How many of the pro lobby can say that as they jet off to Cancun on conferences and to far away places for their holidays, cover their lawns with decking and have the temperature in their houses at 23c and air-conditioning in the summer as they can’t open their windows.  They may drive a Prius, but simply as a political statement. A Land Rover is actually more green. Lasts ten times as long, totally recyclable and doesn’t need a massive bank of batteries that will be a nightmare to get rid off. Forget the diesel; we can’t afford to use them anyway!! What is certain is that we are at a pivotal point in history that will change our future. We need to address energy needs and world consumption of raw materials. However the time scales imposed by Europe  and agreed to by Ministers grand standing at Climate Conferences are counter productive and without any scientific fact. Britain will become a poorer nation as the tiger economies of China, India, and possibly the African Countries with their vast mineral resources, grow. We need to address the real issues of fuel poverty. Spending vast sums on one answer, wind, is short sighted in the least and inherently dangerous. This is a time for open and a far sighted approach, not a one stop shop. We need to lead the world in technologies but at the moment we are following.

We used to be world leaders in power generation through such as GEC at Whetstone in Leicestershire. Now we sell our nacent industries to the highest foreign bidder. Why, because they can’t get access to finance in the UK.  How many UK companies build wind turbines? I know of two. Proven and Swift, and they are in the small scale micro-renewables market. We have the expertise. The new mammoth 10mw floating turbines for Norway are designed in the UK. Not to be built here though! Pelamis wave energy is a UK, Edinburgh based company. Where are they operating and building – Portugal. We’ve allowed our nuclear industry to become a shadow of its former self and allowed our European neighbours to lead the field. Just think what the millions devoured by the wind industry could do if directed to UK Companies rather than to mostly foreign or off-shore, in the financial sense, wind farm operators hiding under twee locally named shell private limited companies. Now our only pride is if a foreign company, often with tax incentives and grants, opens a factory in the UK to assemble wind farm components. Is that what we are reduced to? Is this what being a junior member of the EU really means. We used to punch above our weight but our neighbours became jealous and effectively emasculated us. Germany and Holland have both addressed the issue of wind and in Holland have stopped on-shore provision. Germany is building more coal powered generation to cover their intermittent wind industry. Often surplus’s are given away because their grid systems can’t handle the variations. Industry insiders are speechless that we continue on what they now consider a failed path. Not Siemens, V-Power and Enercon of course. They need us to buy their turbines. No one in their own countries does now! Vesta have now opened a factory in China. Wonder how soon before we find Chinese manufactured power heads on our wind farms? After all we already have massive (4.4 ton)Neodynium magnets in them and they already come from China. Pity a few thousand Chinese workers in Mongolia are dying of the pollution and the farmers can’t grow their crops. At least we can turn our lights on. At least if it is the 21% of time when it is windy enough!(NETA recording – not Renewables UK spin) Neodynium exports were restricted last year but not in finished goods. If you want the magnets, you may have to move your manufacturing base to China in the future. The reality of World Trade


About Dougal Quixote

Slightly mad. Always believes a cup is half full so continues to tilt at Wind Turbines and the politicians that seem to believe it is their god given right to ruin Scotland for a pot of fool's gold.
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