One may remember that Glynebourne trumpeted it’s green credentials when that doyen of Climate Change and quoter of ridiculous statistics Sir Richard Attenborough launched the Turbine on it’s troubled journey. Since that we have had tales of it being turned off during performances due to the noise and interference with the Opera. How many of us wish that we could turn neighbouring monstrosities off when we wish to enjoy the peace of our gardens? The Shame of Sir Richard
Glyndebourne’s Windless Wind Turbine
2012 was incredibly windy, but one location was spared. Mill Plain Ringmer, site of Glyndebourne’s industrial wind turbine, recorded average windspeeds of just 13 mph at hub height 330 feet above Ringmer. And electrical output is negligible below 10 mph, even though the blades rotate!
This ineffectual location nevertheless represents a nice little earner, courtesy of the Alice-in-Wonderland subsidies that we, as taxpayers and consumers, shovel towards Glyndebourne. It is possible to project the full year financial benefits. Based upon 2012, average turbine output would be 166 kilowatts (kW) of which Glyndebourne would directly consume 100 kW and export (net) 66 kW to the grid.
The system of ‘Feed-in-Tariffs’ pays a guaranteed, inflation-proofed rate of 10.4 pence for every kilowatt hour (kWh) generated – even if this power is consumed by Glyndebourne itself. Hence Glyndebourne would receive a total of £152,244 for the power it generated, but (in net terms) it only puts two-fifths of this power into the grid! The three-fifths consumed by Glyndebourne is completely ‘free’ – meaning they avoid paying a further £61,682, based on a commercial rate of around 7p per kWh.
The turbine was apparently purchased by subscription and cost around £1.25million. Glyndebourne’s total benefit represents a return on capital exceeding 17%, tax free and guaranteed for 20 years, via our subsidies. This rate of return is massively beyond the reach of pensioners and others trapped with negative returns. Yet these same pensioners and other consumers are paying the subsidies that support this grotesquely distorted system.
The device produced just 18.3% of its maximum output during 2012. Glyndebourne had claimed it would achieve 30%, despite clear evidence from rural protection groups and their own anemometer. Output is the poorest for any turbine within a National Park. This futile location should never have been approved within the new South Downs National Park (SDNP); Lewes District Council and SDNP planners should take note of such poor performance and exaggerated claims in assessing the viability of future planning applications.
Our community was duped. It must endure and fund this ineffectual, noisy, subsidy-driven excrescence for at least 25 years. Hopefully our obvious exploitation will provide clear evidence to protect the South Downs henceforth. Never again should the claims of subsidy-focused developers be accepted without question; nor should local dogma-driven politicians allow themselves to be sucked into supporting such proposals on the basis of economic and scientific mumbo-jumbo.
Dr. Tony Parker