/ Home & Energy

Are wind farms an eyesore or do they blow you away?

Plans are afoot to build another wind farm on Thornton Moor – old home of the Brontë sisters. Opinion is divided: although some are in favour of wind farms, others think they will damage the landscape and impact on tourism.

Personally, I am all in favour of wind turbines as I think they are really important.

The UK has 40% of Europe’s entire wind resource and plenty of coastlines for offshore wind, so we should make the most of it.

It’s easy to be against wind farms unless you have considered all the alternative options.

We need new power

Yes, wind turbines are visible in our landscape and we need quite a few of them to produce the same amount of energy as a traditional power plant, but what if we don’t build any? We would have to keep relying on imported energy as well as building new power stations.

Of course, we can upgrade existing power plants but we are likely to need new ones too, and nuclear power plants are seen as a low carbon alternative. How would people react if the go-ahead was given for a nuclear power plant near their home?

With its great wind capacity, the UK already has 339 wind farms in operation, generating over 6,000 megawatts of electricity. That’s enough to power more than 3.6 million homes. And there are a further 50 wind farms under construction and 272 other projects that have been given the go-ahead.

Wind farms – an eyesore?

But some people don’t like wind farms. They object by saying that they’re an eyesore, can impact on tourism, are noisy and can kill birds. But for me, when I see a wind turbine, I don’t see ugliness – I think of clean technology, innovation, modernism and sustainability.

I also find wind farms reassuring, because I know this is electricity we are producing here in the UK, simply from the power of wind. The energy we produce doesn’t depend on anyone else, on importing any gas or coal and it should provide us with energy security and shield us from rising oil prices in the future.

And while it might cost us all a bit more on our energy bills now, I believe it’s important to take a long-sighted view and see the benefits for the future, especially if oil prices keep rising as they have in the last few years.

Do you think we should be planning more wind farms in the UK? Or should we look to other forms of energy to see us through to the future?

Do you like wind farms?

No - I think they're awful (48%, 487 Votes)

Yes - I think they're a great idea (40%, 399 Votes)

I kind of like them, but not in my back yard (9%, 90 Votes)

I'm not sure yet (3%, 32 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,009

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Comments
Guest
hummingbird99 says:
21 June 2012

Jaz
Your posting says it all and I feel very sorry for you and everyone living nearby. I think people (particularly in the south) have just no idea of the scale of all this – they think that the odd turbine is OK and judge everything by that.
I wish you the best of luck with it all. I know one day all this will come to light – except there will be no one around to sue for compensation because they will all have gone bust. When can we sue DECC and the government for all this? It is an utter disgrace.
CUT THOSE SUBSIDIES GEORGE OSBORNE AND DO IT QUICKLY…….
Wind companies are the lowest of the low. I have heard people say that when they speak to them they know wind energy is useless and that they are only in it for the money. How do they sleep at night? Certainly not near any wind farm.
Good luck and thank you for fighting this on behalf of us all.

Guest
Jaz says:
22 June 2012

@humingbird99: Thanks for the kind words of support. What’s happening in my area is also happening across the region of Fife, it has got so bad that the local authority have stated at the Scottish Government inquiry into renewables, that since the subsidies were introduced they have been overwhelmed with wind turbine applications. Luckily, the local authority and councillors are starting to wake up to the land grab cash bonanza that is going on, and they are trying to call for a moratorium.

An area that is getting hit even worse than the Fife area is Aberdeenshire, you can view a map of all the applications, constructions and active turbines at: http://www.cawt.co.uk/index.php

You are right what you say about the developers knowing wind energy is useless, whenever I’ve asked about the subsidies, they usually just grin/smirk and then try to downplay the subsidies, but their reaction say’s it all.

Thank you as well for highlighting all the issues, it’s good to see quite a few people in these comments that actually know the facts of wind energy and prepared to speak out against wind farms, and not follow the wind energy greenwashing 😉

Guest
hummingbird99 says:
22 June 2012

Jaz
Scotland will be devastated by all this. What a crime. Alex Salmond is on another planet and clearly has no idea of basic physics.
I note recently that Chris Heaton-Harris MP for Daventry is asking questions in Parliament about who will be responsible for decommissioning of these useless items http://www.theyworkforyou.com/search/?s=speaker%3A24841+section:wrans&o=d
This is of such great importance as wind developers must be held accountable for getting rid of them when they are proven to be so useless and the subsidies have gone. They are, of course, as I am sure you know, completely unbiodegradable.
Also http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/9338939/Global-warming-second-thoughts-of-an-environmentalist.html# is amazing – Fritz Vahrenholt (mentioned in previous post) is doing a u-turn! Once this all starts and people finally wake up to the scam of wind farms no one will want to “run” them. They will be dumped like all the ones in the States and no one will take responsibility for disposal.

Guest
David Ramsbotham says:
22 June 2012

It’s a long shot but please get everyone you know [and they know etc.] to sign the petition at
http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/22958
Also add to all your e-mails
Do you want the Government to have a serious debate on wind energy? If so, please sign up to
http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/22958
Please get your friends to sign up too.

Guest
hummingbird99 says:
22 June 2012

Wavechange
“Here we go again, choosing information that suits your cause. Why not give consideration to the environmental and human impacts of continued use of fossil fuels?”
But this is exactly what you do!!!!!
I am sorry with all the evidence presented during this discussion you do not seem to comprehend that covering the UK with wind farms will do absolutely nothing to reduce our use of fossil fuels so any further discussion is indeed futile.
Jaz, for me anyway, gave a heartwrenching account of what she and her community (and many more like them) are going through right now, battling immoral wind farm developers and councils who do not care about their residents. For your information, you should check out RSPB who are in cahoots with the wind industry and do little to protect ordinary birds from turbines – Natural England is a government body, following government guidelines. For another view check out http://savetheeaglesinternational.org but of course you will say I am just using websites etc to highlight my particular view. But the point is all you could really reply to Jaz was – it’s not as bad as it may seem – really?
So, I really do think all discussion with you is utterly pointless.

Guest
FINSBURYPARKER says:
22 June 2012

Replying to Hummingbird 99.

Hi there,

You didn’t heed my previous warning.

Regards.

Guest
FINSBURYPARKER says:
22 June 2012

Hi Hummingbird,

I’ve just has notification that ‘Wavechanger’ is going on holiday, taking a PC with her!

Perhaps you might like to inform her of that device on sale from ‘Gizoo’ that clips to your push bike to enable you to re-charge you laptop batteries as you pedal!
You really do get some clever devices on that site!

Regards,

Finsburyparker.

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Guest

Steady on, my username is wavechange and I have both X and Y chromosomes. 🙂

My iPad might not need charging but rest assured that I won’t need to rely on a push bike if it does. Sadly I don’t have room for even a small wind turbine to power it.

Guest
hummingbird99 says:
22 June 2012

Hi Finsbury Parker
I am a foolish glutten for punishment but can take no more! My brain has gone numb from all that banging on the wall!
After Jaz’s posting you would think Wavechange might have a bit of empathy or understanding but no. Anyway, that gizmo to keep her (I thought she might be a he) laptop happy will be much appreciated as I know for sure Wavechange will be back!!!!

Guest
FINSBURYPARKER says:
22 June 2012

Hi Hummingbird!

I have a sneaky feeling that ‘You Know Who’ is not what one would call a Joe off the Street Poster, more like, er,….Um,…How shall we say,…er,…Ahh Yes, I have it,…An Agent Provocateur,..Plant,…Yes??

Just a thought!

PS. Isn’t nice when you stop banging your head against the wall?

A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.

Winston Churchill.

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Guest

You might be surprised to know that I have a lot of contact with Natural England, and English Nature before that, Hummingbird. I don’t believe the situation is quite as bleak as you suggest, but that is only a personal opinion based on meetings and correspondence with staff from one of their offices.

I doubt that wind power will be phased out in the foreseeable future, but perhaps there is a case to push for offshore wind farms. I have read that costs are falling, though I don’t have any more definite information.

Bye for now.

Guest
FINSBURYPARKER says:
22 June 2012

Don’t rise to ‘Gearchangers’ ‘Bait’ Hummingbird, tempting and tasty looking though it is!

Remember that headache?

Regards,

Finsburyparker.

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Guest

Finsbury

It’s a little unkind to suggest that I am an agent provocateur. Let me explain my reason for being here.

I am a retired academic who spent years helping students to write scientific reviews and other documents. That involves looking at all the relevant information, evaluating its significance and presenting a balanced report, supported by good referencing. I used issues such as wind power to show that it is superficially easy to provide a strong case in favour and also a strong case against it. While I despair of many students’ numeracy and literacy, most produced good or excellent reports, as judged by the staff who marked their work.

The reason I get involved with debates like this is to question biased arguments. To the best of my knowledge, there is no controversial contemporary issue where counterarguments can be dismissed.

The fundamental error here is to assume that wind power cannot make a useful contribution. Even if we used no fossil fuels or nuclear power to provide electricity, we could still make it from renewable energy sources. I think we would soon learn how to use them in combination to be best advantage, helped by making appropriate adjustments to our lifestyle. Those unfortunates who have lived through times of war will be aware of the resourceful nature of people. Thankfully I was born after the war but have learned a lot from my parents’ generation. I am not suggesting anything as extreme as stopping using fossil fuels but working towards using more renewables and – above all – cutting down on our present use of electricity. To me, cutting down electricity use is a far higher priority than covering the land with these damned windmills. 🙂

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Guest

Been watching from those comfy seats since being subjected to some rather vile abuse [thankfully moderated out] for asking for info on this subject.

But after much research [thanks all for the references] here is my tuppenceworth.
In my lifetime I have watched the world human population treble to nearly 8 Billion, I have watched many countries undergo industrialisation and seen the demand for electrical power grow exponentially. It is self evident we cannot keep up with this demand unless we take action.

I have never seriously looked at the aspects of alternative electrical energy generation by the mass harnessing of naturally moving air. My knowledge of windmills is Holland , water pumps, corn grinding and more recently narrow boats.
Nevertheless, like many I had a dream of gently turning windmills dotted around the countryside providing clean energy and helping us reserve our fossil resources for more valuable enterprises than burning them. But I did have reservations such as; How many of these things would it take to power a reasonably sized town, and what do we do on dead days for back up?
For power in remote mountain villages & small communities with a low energy demand, maybe they offer a solution of sorts, but for most other situations they could only offer a top up to existing supplies.
After trawling through reams of material, which seemed to verify my original misgivings, I grew tired and picked up the phone……several meetings and some very heated exchanges later I realised that most of what has been said here about, vested interest, kickbacks, disinformation etc… is true.

Whilst we need to realign our power generation & supply for the future of the planet, instead of doing so, as usual the predatory capitalist community are only looking for short term gain, and to hell with humanities future [they won’t be here, so they don’t care].
So most of the concerned arguments here are directed at how do we in the future supply a power hungry planet?
It does very much seem that for the present we are going to have to continue burning fossil fuels not through choice, but through necessity. Wind harnessing in it’s present form needs to be scaled back and applied only to those areas where it will make a proven viable contribution, we are wasting valuable resources and time on what is a high stakes con game. Nuclear seems to be an obvious solution, but the associated perceived risks and the fear this generates will always mean public opinion will be against it, and no matter how safe we make them, the dreaded X factor means there will always be risks.

One area which we could be working on now is the way we distribute electrical power [thus saving waste] I had mentioned Nikola Tesla in a very early post, anyone familiar with his work will know he had some very interesting theories as to electrical power distribution, of course it would mean massive repercussions across the manufacturing world, and vested interests will fight tooth and nail to prevent this happening.
Another area is local generation [the Mad Max scenario], this is where a variety of local projects are combined to provide electrical power for a certain area, this would also utilise alternative means to provide hot water and [if necessary] heating. Any excess is then sold on to, or traded with nearby communities. So you would have a mixed bag of sustainables with a more traditional emergency back up.

One area under scrutiny is alternatives to the way we wastefully use electricity itself, ie:- most digital devices need no more than a 12 volt supply, yet we build them with transformers and rectifiers, plug them into 240v ac supply and waste all that energy in converting it, at home I have a 12v dc rail to run my devices. The research is aimed at reducing demand by using low power devices and making unnecessary electrical devices obsolete [do you really need an electric sandwich maker or apple corer or 100 types of coffee machine?]

Another is more esoteric and is looking into alternatives for electricity itself, this is ongoing research in what I would term the quantum field and involves sympathetic energies. The rewards for cracking this would be immense and will open up a whole new technological era.

And of course the dreaded elephant in the room, reducing the worlds population!

As others have been pushed into revealing their credentials, and thus their ‘right to comment’  I better do the same.
I do have an electromechanical / electronic engineering background as well as a doctorate in social psychology; Amongst other things I also dabble in technological archaeology. In addition I have input [ideas & design] into military grey technology as well as some quite exciting ‘private tech’ and what is commonly known as restricted research, [and in answer to a previous accusation I have not signed the official secrets act, or am restricted by any government or agency. I am free to say what I please, but most of what I could say would not be believed, so why bother].
One only has to look at the disinformation concerning wingless aircraft since the end of WW2 to see the lengths some will go to, to conceal what they are doing.

I think I have rambled on for long enough.

Guest
FINSBURYPARKER says:
22 June 2012

Gosh ‘M’,

You have metioned 3 things dear to my heart,

(1) Nikola Tesla,…Sheer Genius!……..My Hero since School-days.

(2) ‘Elephant In The Room’, I’ve been banging on about global population for at least 25 years!

(3) ‘Conservation of Energy’ .

Its perfectly clear that you are not a ‘Spoofer’, the language you use and the logic proves beyond any doubt you know your stuff!

You can ramble on forever as far as I am concerned, excellent post, but, as I have mentioned to Hummingbird, ………I think you know what I was going to type!

Best Regards,

A pleasure to read your post.

Finsburyparker

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Guest

I don’t see much chance of controlling population growth. It’s almost as if it is politically incorrect to talk about it.

Forget the windmills on narrow boats. They won’t go the bridges very easily. Solar power is a better bet, except when used at long-term moorings.

Guest
FINSBURYPARKER says:
22 June 2012

Dear Hummingbird,

Only the guilty flee where none pursue as far as my reference to ‘Agent Provocateur’.

My old adage of which I have found to be true of academics is, ‘Those that can, do’,….

The task of the Teacher is to impart knowledge to their students in the hope that they can ‘Stand On The Shoulders Of Giants, and further the cause of those Giants who have gone before.

There are very few of these students that will advance the knowledge imparted & take it to the next level, whereas there are those that will just rest on their ‘Laurels’, fortunately, there are enough that will advance the sciences to make the difference.

I myself was born ‘During WW11’, so, what the deuce that has to do with the discussion is anybody’s guess!

Yes, sustainable/renewable sources of the means to generate power are desperately needed, but, Wind Turbines is a blind alley as regards a reliable, constant power source, coupled with a vastly reduced Global population.

Regards,

Finsburyparker.

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Guest

Yes, sustainable/renewable sources of the means to generate power are desperately needed…

Something we can agree on, though I would say urgently rather than desperately. If you have said that previously I must have missed it.

If you look at my posts I’m essentially opposed to continuing dependence on fossil fuels, for various reasons. I have not proposed we build more wind farms but I believe that those in existence have a place in the future and that there is no need for the subsidies.

Teaching at undergraduate level and above is not much to do with imparting knowledge. Probably the easiest way to appreciate this is to have a look at Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Guest
hummingbird99 says:
23 June 2012

Thanks Finsbury Parker – had to go to work last night so my head is gradually recovering and very happy to see you and others posting. Who is/was Nikola Tesla?

Guest
hummingbird99 says:
23 June 2012

Dear m
This is incredibly interesting! I am no scientist, just a lay person who has now through necessity done a lot of reading about wind power.
My gut feeling is that wind turbines are totally retro and a definite blind alley, very profitable for some. My feeling has always been that if we are to find a solution to our ever growing demands (and I am totally for energy conservation measures and, dare I say, it population control!) it will come out of the blue through research and development.

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Guest

To all posters, if you are unaware of Nikola Tesla, please look him up. He is one of our ages greatest scientists, he gave us alternating current, the spark plug and so much more, many of his inventions are still ahead of our time, let alone his own.
He demonstrated wireless energy transfer to power electronic devices as early as 1891.
I mentioned in my previous post that ‘vested interests would fight tooth and nail to prevent the changes Telsa’s innovations would bring’.
This is the man who proposed “A world system for the transmission of electrical energy without wires”. Take a look at what happened to his work in this area, makes very interesting reading.

The Elephant in the room: Whenever this subject arises, the moderators are very quick to remind us that Which is not the place for discussing this matter, suffice to say that of all the proposed and imagined solutions to energy, food and water shortages. [leaving our humanity & conscience aside] This is the easiest, cheapest and most likely solution, and one we can easily do today, with respect to the moderators requests I think that better be my last comment on this point.

Guest
FINSBURYPARKER says:
23 June 2012

Replying to ‘Hummingbird 99’

Who is/was Nikola Tesla?
____________________________________

Wow!!……..That’s a big ask! He passed away in 1953.

He was a Serb-American,….There is so much to tell about this Genius, I would not know where to begin!

‘Google’ Nikola Tesla, don’t go to ‘Wikipedia’ for all the Info, there is a whole host of other stuff on him there!

I was introduced to him circa 1950 by a Science Teacher!

Check out the bit where he worked with Edison and the ensuing bickering etc, needless to say,
Tesla won the day, as you will find out.

But, that’s not to detract from Edison inventions, he deserves his place in the order of things.

Hope you enjoy reading about him.

Regards,

Finsburyparker.

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Guest

From a new Which? Conservation, published today:

Contrary to the impressions from some media coverage, our backing for onshore wind added less than £5 to the average bill last year, while the increase in the wholesale cost of gas added an extra £100 in just 12 months. The only immediate way to address the costs of volatile fossil fuel prices is to reduce energy use; and the key to this is more efficient buildings.

It is about time that those opposed to wind power should wake up to the rising cost of fossil fuels and not blame wind power subsidy for everything.

Guest
David Ramsbotham says:
2 July 2012

Is that because next to no electricity is produced by onshore windfarms i.e is it a like for like comparison? Who produced the figures?

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Guest

I don’t know were the figures came from. The text was written by the UK Chief Scientist for Greenpeace.

We have had a lot of comments about the cost of subsidising wind power. That’s fair enough, but it is time to make everyone aware that the cost of energy is rising for other reasons too.

Anyone who believes that we can carry on relying exclusively on fossil fuels for the foreseeable future needs to wake up to reality.

Guest
David Ramsbotham says:
2 July 2012

Greenpeace – not biased then? Surely you [and Which?] should try to get the figures verified or explained before repeating them as fact.

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Guest

David

I suggest that you ask the person who provided the information. I am just getting a little fed-up with those who are totally opposed to renewable energy and intent on using up fossil fuels that will be needed by future generations to manufacture many of the products we use every day.

Guest
David Ramsbotham says:
2 July 2012

Please note that I did not present the figures – the person who did, or anyone else who repeated them, should be responsible for verifying the basis on which they were calculated and their correctness. Until this occurs I regret that I have no choice but to assume that they may have been miscalculated or misrepresented by pro onshore wind turbine supporters.

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Guest

OK, disregard the cost of electricity produced by wind power.

What about the cost of fossil fuels?. Are they getting cheaper? Should we bury our heads in the sand or make efforts to develop replacements for fossil fuels – even if we never build another wind turbine?

Guest
David Ramsbotham says:
2 July 2012

I agree – our future energy problems need to be addressed properly, in a perfect world, by experts, politicians and their advisors who have no self interest. In my opinion wind power is not the answer – the Government has got itself into a muddle on this one and does not appear to have the ability to sort it out.

Please add your support to get the Government to have a serious debate on this issue at

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/22958

or by GOOGLING “E-PETITION 22958” and following the link.

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Guest

” . . . the key to this is more efficient buildings”. That is certainly one major issue and relevant across all energy sources. How we live our lives, and how we use [or misuse] buildings, also has a very strong bearing on energy consumption, and it is a factor that is more readily conducive to change if the right incentives or controls are in place. Raising the percentage of the total building stock that is energy-efficient is a much more challenging prospect and progress has stalled over the llast few years. Most buildings in this country are old and will never be energy-efficient [although some of might be suitable for solar power generation to compensate for their inherent deficiencies]. Some of the stock is capable of being made more efficient, albeit at considerable cost, and, with fuel prices rising, there are some powerful incentives [in addition to grants available to certain sectors] to improve energy efficiency.

Having spent a bit of time lately looking at property for sale, it is interesting to see how many quite modern houses have only a C rating in their Energy Performance Certificate and the only recommendation is to install solar PV panels [at a cost of £10-£14K]. A lot of commercial property, especially in town centres, is also old and inefficient. Industrial and warehouse premises also perform poorly I expect. Public buildings are unlikely to be much better. And that is before people leave the heating on too high for too long, leave lights on all night, leave doors and windows open at all times, leave computers, printers and photocopiers on standby all the time, and run air-conditioning at too low a temperature. So long as this wastefulness prevails the demand for energy will not fall, the price of exhaustible resources will continue to rise at an accelerating rate, and the advantages of renewable supplies will become increasingly apparent. As David implies above, on-shore wind energy has not yet got into its stride; off-shore wind power is largely still at the construction phase. However, we shall not have to wait too long now before a fair amount of potential capacity comes on stream and we shall be able to see exactly what contribution wind can really make [or not, of course]. Then the bandying of guesstimates can cease and the serious business can begin of reducing demand overall and coaligning demand with availability rather than increasing supply.

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Guest

What I find strange is that there is the same government incentive to build wind farms in areas where there is relatively little wind as for anywhere else. In terms of an investment policy when tax revenues are short that strikes me as barmy. The only people it benefits are the land owners.

Incentives skew the cost benefit analysis. Yes, you can cost in additional benefits such as reduction in carbon emissions etc. but the priority should still be to focus on getting the greatest public benefit from each project.

Guest
hummingbird99 says:
2 July 2012

Here is a response from DECC one year ago to Dr John Etherington’s question
“Has any attempt been made to relate the short term variation of ACTUAL
fuel-use by load-following plant to metered wind power feed-in?”

RE: Empirical measurement of fossil fuel displacement by wind power

“Has any attempt been made to relate the short term variation of ACTUAL
fuel-use by load-following plant to metered wind power feed-in? If so,
can the figures be provided, expressed as tonnes of CO2 actually saved per MWh of wind
generated electricity?

If no such attempt has been made why not, as carbon-fuel displacement is
the only justification for deploying expensive, and covertly subsidised
wind power?”

Here is their answer – In order to determine the relation of the short term variation of actual
fuel-use by load-following plant to metered wind power feed-in, we would
need to know what fuel use would have occurred in the absence of wind
power (i.e. the counterfactual).

This counterfactual (the fuel use in the absence of wind power) depends
on the proportions of nuclear, CCGT or coal investment that are being
displaced by wind power and the effects on their subsequent operation.
Such a counterfactual can only be calculated by modelling a world
without wind power and by subsequently comparing it to the current data
on emissions from the grid. No such analysis has been carried out by
DECC.

So, basically, DECC, are happy to advocate a unproven technology – they haven’t a clue
whether “deploying expensive and covertly subsidised wind power” is actually working and
achieving what it is supposed to be achieving. Neither are they interested it would appear
in finding out this fundamental information. They are therefore happy to continue wasting our
money. It would also be useful to know exactly how much EXTRA fossil fuel is used by the
deployment of wind power as conventional plants cannot run evenly and efficiently when wind
power comes into and out of the equation on a minute to minute basis.

Guest
FINSBURYPARKER says:
2 July 2012

Hi Hummingbird, for the answers you are looking for you will never get them,…Unless someone on the ‘Inside’ decides to ‘Blow the Whistle’ and publish the figures, what we need is a ‘J.Assange’ type bod to do the job!

Renewable’s??……..Yes, we do need them, but Wind Turbines???….NO!’

There’s gonna be a lot of red faces when the real truth emerges on the knee-jerk erection of these Turbines,…And it will emerge,…Eventually.

The realisation that they have goofed is the partial withdrawal of subsidies form these Turbines.

Give it time Hummingbird,…..Let nature take its course,.. it takes a while for large oil tankers to stop and go into reverse, or the Euro,…..might take a tad longer for theses Turbines!

Regards.

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Guest

I am not sure if this ‘conversation’is still live. I have only recently discovered it. Of course I am not abble to read all the past comments but I am able to form a view. Obviously the views can be widely different because many have an understanding that is influenced by their hearts rather than their heads. On top of this there is all the distortion caused by those with vested interests in the subject. I get quite disturbed by some of the disinformation that is being promulgated.
For example RenewableUK state that “Every unit of electricity from a wind turbine displaces one from conventional power stations”. They omit the corollary that “Every unit of electricity that fails to be provided by a wind turbine has to be provided by one from conventional power stations”. A very clear demonstration of that fact is provided by record of energy provided by the contributiong fuel types as recorded by the National Grid over the past couple of days. Tuesday 26th Sept was a very windy day as the country was still being battered by the remants of a tropical storm. Wind was the sourse of 7.6GWh of electricity, being 8.6% of the national demand. The follwing day the wind dropped and could only produce 1.7GWh of energy, only 2% of demand. The missing power was provided by Gas (5%), Coal (3.7%), Nuclear (0.25%), Others (5%) and 12% from the Interconnectors with the Continent. The sun shone on both days and demand had dropped by 4.8GWh. All this is a clear demonstration of the physics governing wind turbines that the basic output power is a function of the cube of the wind speed. A drop of only 60% in the wind speed between those two days resulted in turbine output being only 23% of the previous days performance.
I have been encouraged by many of the positive contributions from No2 Wind and Chloe Pink and others and was particularly interested to note that N2W understood the enourmous global potential of Thorium Reactors. I could go on at length about that subject but I fear ant contribution would be Moderated out!
I could make some suggestions for effective use of power from wind and storage of the energy that migh please Wavechange – but I was waiting to see if this Conversation was dead first.

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Guest

I’m still here, the population has risen a bit and we have used some more of the world’s reserve of fossil fuels in the meantime.

Guest
FINSBURYPARKER says:
27 September 2012

And I’m still here. And a few more useless Wind Turbines have been erected, and the world population has risen.

Best regards,

Finsburyparker.

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Guest

and me. Powys County Council recently rejected planning applications for three wind farms in Mid-Wales so even officialdom is comming to see the lunacy of constructing these unreliable sources of energy. People who promote them would happily see us back in the middle ages!

Guest
hummingbird99 says:
28 September 2012

Me, too still here.
Agree, a few more useless wind farms have been approved and a lot of unhappy people abound
because of it in our ever so “democratic” society where the opinion of one person who “likes” wind farms counts against all those who not only don’t like them but also see how useless they are.

Guest
FINSBURYPARKER says:
28 September 2012

Hi hummingbird99,

Nice to see you’re still around!

“I’m still here, the population has risen a bit and we have used some more of the world’s reserve of fossil fuels in the meantime”………..Building & erecting useless Wind Turbines that will never produce enough energy in their life span to offset what it used to produce and erect them in the first instance.

And, I am informed, reliably or not, they only have a finite lifespan!

The real big problem it seems, well,….One of them, is that the ‘Rare Earth’ metals used in their manufacture is (at this present time) is unrecoverable, so, until we find another source for it, China has the Monopoly at the moment,…….Need I go any further??

Best Regards.

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I accept that thorium reactors could be an important part of our strategy for power generation in the UK. A lot would need to be done to convince the public that they are different from the much hated nuclear reactors that we are familiar with.

My view is that we must cut down use of fossil fuels. They are needed to produce plastics, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and many other products that are essential to normal daily life. Our own reserves are limited or not readily accessible, so that we are dependent on imports and prices set by other countries.

I also believe that it is worth making use of sources of renewable energy to allow the price to drop when it is plentiful. Some already take advantage of cheap electricity overnight, but what I am suggesting is a continuously variable price.

The unreliability of wind and solar power is a disadvantage and no-one is arguing against this. If we could store energy efficiently, cheaply and in sufficient quantity then that would allow more effective use of our unreliable sources. It would be interesting to hear what Lobro has to say about energy storage.

Let’s keep this a friendly discussion so that our moderators are more interested in joining in than reminding us of the Commenting Guidelines. There is never an excuse for aggression, and aggressive people deserve to be ignored.

Guest
FINSBURYPARKER says:
28 September 2012

‘Aggression’????…………Where???……….If that has been the case the moderators would have been down like a ton of bricks, that sort of thing is definitely not tolerated on here!

No, I think you are using the ‘Aggression’ bit like a drowning man ‘Clutching at Straws’ as it appears logic is defeating you not unreasonable arguments.

There is no shame in admitting we a are wrong, we all make mistakes, we all do!

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Finsbury – Wavechange is recalling earlier attitudes in this thread. And it looks like I’m having to do what he was hoping I wouldn’t have too. Please engage in the debate, but do not belittle those who are debating, even if they disagree with you. We do not want to have to delete any other comments. Thanks.

Guest
Brian Johnson, UK says:
28 September 2012

Fossil fuel sources increase with the rise in fuel prices. Thorium liquid salt reactors are so efficient and are so safe because they are not high pressure systems, they produce 1% of the waste radio active material compared to present day Nuclear reactors. They also fail safe and all the liquid salts are collected in a protected chamber and solidify.

China, India, the USA are all building Thorium based generators. As usual we are way behind.

Wind power works with battery and water storage but it disrupts National Grid control so much that we will find out when we really need power [ie a very cold winter] and the wind either ceases or varies wildly as it does in winter.

Guest
FINSBURYPARKER says:
28 September 2012

BrianJohnson,UK.

I agree entirely with your post!

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Unfortunately the politicians in this country are more worried about quick fixes which will get them elected in the next general election than long term planning which will benefit the country as a whole and which the opposition might get the credit for. It may be a cynical view but I believe that most if not all politicians are self serving and not altruistic.

Guest
FINSBURYPARKER says:
28 September 2012

Agreed!

Guest
FINSBURYPARKER says:
28 September 2012

Correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t Tim Yeo have some vested interests connected to the green lobby?

I can’t comment sire,…..I’ve had one shot across my bows already today, but the info is all there for all to see if you ‘Google’ it!

Best regards,

Finsbury.

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I recognise that the main selling-point of wind energy is the fact that the resource is free. The main disadvantage is its intermittancy. However, if we could use the energy where it is generated to perform some useful function then things might be different. It would be even better if that energy could be used where it is generated rather than face up to the losses of AC and expense of DC transmission.
How about desalination of sea water and pump that to where it is needed by using offshore wind energy. At the same time it would be possible to recover many of the rare elements dissolved in the sea. These range from silver to uranium and other rare earths. There could be significant energy reserves in the thorium that is there – but more about that later. Obviously the practicality and financial aspects need to be investigated – but who’s going to do that? Maybe the extraction of dissolved solids could be performed by vacuum drying seawater residues. The vacuum pumps might even be amenable to direct mechanical drive from the turbine rotors.
Another area worth investigating is the production of hydrogen fuel for electric cars. Both onshore and offshore wind could be used to electrolyse water. The resulting hydrogen could be combined with lithium or titanium to form their hydrides. The solid hydride powders could be formed into a slurry with oil and pumped into cars. Circulating the result through heaters would release the hydrogen and the slurry could be recycled!
I don’t believe that wind energy should be a major contributor to the National Grid. The super-grid that is currently proposed (with its smart meters, power electronics control and large area satellite monitoring system) will be very vulnerable to electromagnetic pulse damage – be it from hostile powers or solar mass ejection EMP. What is needed to avoid this hazard is a large number of small grids fed by dispersed modular generators – possibly 50 MW thorium reactors (more about these later). The small grids would need to be interconnected via an unactivated large grid available for unscheduled situations.

Guest

I’m still here as well, the only thing that has changed is that the wind farm development in my area is almost complete (9×410 ft turbines) which has been built next to a petrochemical plant.

Here is an image showing what our community will have to live with for the next 25 years:

Research has identified that the turbine wake will interact with the pollutants dispersed by the Mossmorran petrochemical plant, and disperse the pollutants in higher concentrations in the local area.

One of the pollutants dispersed is benzene which causes cancer and other very bad health impacts. The local authority attached a condition to the planning application that if pollutants increased in the local area the wind farm would have to cease operations, the developer appealed this condition.

They are monitoring pollutants using passive diffusion tubes but SEPA (Scottish Environmental Protection Agency) has already stated that the testing is inadequate and will not show the subtle changes of hydrocarbons being dispersed in higher concentrations in the local area.

Wind Farms have a range of known negative impacts, and petrochemical plants also have a range of known negative impacts. What is not known is how both of these developments will impact on the local area.

What if a turbine blade breaks and strikes the NGL (Natural Gas Liquid) pipelines or the plant itself? What if Ice Throw does the same? What if a turbine fire happens and spreads to the pipeline or plant? What if pollutants are increased in the local area?

The developer does not care, and will not address any of the issues, neither will the plant operators, local councillors, local authority, or Scottish Government.

I can only hope that issues that are common with other industrial wind farm development, do not happen in my local area, as it may be the end of our community, literally, as we are wiped of the map.

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badger you say “I believe that most if not all politicians are self serving and not altruistic”. I also think that there are very few technically or scientifically qualified members among them. On top of this, they are informed and advised by partizan researchers who are dependent on grants for their continued activity. However, there might be some hope in the recent formation of an All Party Parliamentary Committee on Thorium. Tim Yeo is a member but wouldn’t it be nice if the energy minister was one also. They list the Weinberg Foundation as their source of references.

The Chair of the Weinberg Foundationis is Lady Worthington (labour). They have a wonderful collection of references to LFTR and molten salt cooled reactors (MSR). Alvin Weinberg was a Director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He was an inventor of the existing pressurised water reactors (PWRs) but didnt like the safety aspects – so he invented and built a thorium reactor that uses a liquid fuel. Unfortunately it is almost impossible to build a bomb from a thorium reactor’s by-products – so Nixon and his cohorts sacked him and scrapped his MSR.

Guest
FINSBURYPARKER says:
28 September 2012

Well researched lobro, well researched.

You’re not a retired Academic are you?……You are remarkably up to date with your info!

Regards,

Finsburyparker.

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I agree completely with your first paragraph and I’m not at all surprised by the last phrase in the second. We desperately need some non profit input at a very high level but I just can’t see it happening. Correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t Tim Yeo have some vested interests connected to the green lobby?

Guest
hummingbird99 says:
28 September 2012

You are right there Badger!
Tim Yeo – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2187948/Conservative-MP-chairs-climate-committee-earns-140k-green-energy-firms.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

Of course, he objected to a wind farm in his own backyard and keeps banging on about more
community benefits for people that host them ie bribes.

Nice to know our government is full of non-biased folk, not!

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Charles Hendry was popular with the renwables lobby but John Hayes is seen as a threat by them. I think his declared standpoint is far more pragmatic.

Guest
David Ramsbotham says:
28 September 2012

Are you disillusioned by rising electricity prices, over dependence on the “green” dream [especially uneconomical and inefficient wind farms] and the destruction of our countryside then please object to the Government at

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/22958

or by GOOGLING “E-PETITION 22958″ and following the link.

Please note that the main purpose of the petition is to get a meaningful debate in Parliament on this matter. Parliament is able to call on all the necessary experts to make it a worthwhile discussion and to reach the right conclusions. At the moment most of our MPs are burying their heads in the sand and do not seem to have the ability to convince the British public that wind power, with all its associated problems, is part of the answer to our energy problems.

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I wonder do people realise what is hapening in Wales.
I would think those for or against turbines would at least agree that a landscape assessment should be done before a large project with turbines close to 500 feet high is to be implemented.

In Wales we have a quite dictatorial policy (TAN8 it is known as )of concentrating turbines in large projects in particular parts of the Welsh uplands. None of the areas selected for large scale development have had any landscape assessment WHATSOEVER. The international consultants involved were specifically forbidden from considering landscape in these areas.

As a result we are faced with a large turbine project underneath the iconci Pumlumon range, which is classed as of ‘outstanding landscape quality’ by CCW, the Welsh Governments’s landscape advisers, and yet no landscape assessment has been done before it has been approved as a development area by the Welsh Government. Ten years ago no one would have dreamed of putting turbines on such a valued landscape and historic landscape area.

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Jazz, you stated that “Wind Farms have a range of known negative impacts,”. Here’s another one a Met man told me the other day. Downwind the turbulent air stirs the boundary layer above the soil. This effect reduces the thermal isolation of the soil and its energy loss. The change is small but the natural environment is changed. It is reported that eventually there is a discernable change in the downwind flora and fauna.

I sympathise with your situation and I don’t want to depress you but in 1841, Charles MacKay, in his Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds repeated a quote that “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.” This is as true now as it was then. (Sorry if I’m sounding a bit Boris-like).

Guest

Thanks for the additional info lobro, I hadn’t heard of that impact before, certainly worth investigating further.

The quote you provided is quite apt, even with the turbines being built (5 out of 9 completed) people are still saying they are looking forward to getting free electricity in the local area and are refusing to look at the wider issues.

Time will tell the truth about industrial wind turbines, but in the meantime, our local community has been destroyed, and many other communities will be destroyed before the madness stops.

Guest
hummingbird99 says:
28 September 2012

Jaz
What a nightmare! The wind farm proposed for us would be next to an industrial estate storing toxic chemicals, a timber yard and a firework factory! Complete madness if you ask me but the locals get to voice their concerns and then are ignored. Local authorities are incapable of looking at the “bigger picture” and then just say anyway “accidents will happen”. You would think health and safety would be appallied but they aren’t. Joy of joys.

Guest
hummingbird99 says:
28 September 2012

Jaz, Is that what people have been told? They will get free electricity? Was anything given in writing? I read recently somewhere about this about “free electricity” next to a nuclear power station and it just never happened. What about the competition laws? Who gets free electricity and who doesn’t? People don’t look beyond the end of their noses. I am sorry to hear about your predicament and agree, this is tearing local communities apart.

Guest
FINSBURYPARKER says:
28 September 2012

Hello hummingbird99!

I seem to recall back in the days of Cinema and ‘Movitone’/’Pathe’ news that Nuclear Power would be so cheap it would not be worth metering!

Just goes to show, you can fool all of the people a second time around!

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Sorry Finsbury but I was among those working on fusion research in the late 50’s. Zeta produced some neutrons and the media descended. Someone said “Nuclear Power would be so cheap it would not be worth metering!” and that was it. The next year I was among those that showed that those neutrons did not have a thermonuclear origin! Nevertheless, someday it will be true – and I believe that thorium reactors will come pretty near to the fusion promise – but that is just a feeling and not a fact.

I am sure that we will have break-even fusion demonstrated from either magnetic confinement (ITER) or inertial confinement (laser shock) within the next 10 years, but which ever one wins will lead to enormous reactors when only a few of them will supply the whole country. I think that the small modular thorium reactor will be the result of market demand over the next 50 years but it will need a prototype to be demonstrated first – and the US has shot itself in the foot when it comes to thoriun resources. That is why China and India are likely to get there first. India is sitting on mountains of thorium.

By the way, it is rumoured that the current level of introduction of uranium fuelled reactors will result in uranium shortages in 100 years time whereas thorium, it has been claimed, could last for over 80,000 years. That should give us enough time to solve the compact fusion reactor problem!

Guest
FINSBURYPARKER says:
29 September 2012

Hi Lobro!

Yes,….It was about the 50s I recall seeing the ‘Movietone’ bit on ‘So cheap etc, etc!

No need to say sorry Lobro, you aren’t responsible for what the ‘Meedja’ comes up with!

Correct me if I’m wrong Lobro, But, I did read somewhere that India had a prototype Thorium Reactor up and running,….But, I don’t believe everything I read, and even less what the ‘Politico’s’ spout!

Best regards Lobro,

KEN.

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We’ve published a new Conversation called ‘What happens if the lights go out?’

Britain’s energy regulator issued the first of its annual Electricity Capacity Assessments. Its conclusions could have wide-ranging impacts on energy prices and has provoked rumours of potential black outs in 2015.

Join the debate here: https://conversation.which.co.uk/energy-home/blackout-lights-out-power-shortage-power-plant-closure/

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Another update for you all – we’ve published a Conversation called ‘Got a wind farm nearby? Could you save on your energy bills?’.

Juliet Daveport, CEO of renewable energy supplier Good Energy, has written about their scheme to reward customers who live close to their wind farm in Cornwall. Would you back local wind farms if they gave you discount on your energy bills?

You can join the new debate here: https://conversation.which.co.uk/energy-home/got-a-wind-farm-nearby-you-could-save-on-your-energy-bills/

Guest
Bobh says:
24 October 2013

Any comparison with fossil fuels seems to me to be used as a justification for wind farms. We know that fossil fuels will be gone at some point so why even mention them? A more meaningful discussion is wind farms v nuclear.
Living near a nuclear power plant, not a problem for me. I would make no sense building one in the centre of a town, in the same way that a (say) chemical plant shouldn’t be built in the centre of a town. But for all those people lauding wind power as the answer to our energy needs, would you rather have an operation in a hospital powered by wind turbines, or a nuclear power plant?

Guest
FINSBURYPARKER says:
24 October 2013

Hello Bobh!

I may have posted this before.

EASTER ISLANDS REVISITED.

In years to come, when all that is left of the Wind Turbines will be a few rusted stumps, like rotten teeth protruding from the earth as a testimony to man’s folly, exactly like the Easter Island Monoliths, mankind will ponder the reason for their mystical existence.
Guided tours will be arranged, and money extracted from gullible tourists.

Academics will write various essays & books on them, a latter day Eric Von Daniken will tell them that they are remnants of a visit by Extra Terrestrial beings, Archaeologists of the day will explain them away as remains of a once super race like the ones who inhabited that fabled Island Atlantis.

But the real truth will be, we are/were just as stupid as the Easter Islanders!

Best Regards,

FINSBURYPARKER.

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I think you’ll find that a plebiscite would result in abandoning wind farms and possibly even green energy. It’s our our politicians who’ve got their heads up their jacksies and are ruining our country, not the proletariat.

Guest
FINSBURYPARKER says:
25 October 2013

Hello Badger!

Firstly, when I used the word ‘We’ in my above post, its obvious that it referred to the Powers that be.

The ‘Proletariat’, a euphemism term you used, have no say in the matter (A word that has connotations of a bygone era of the USSR and the writings of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin/Marx etc.)!

Best regards,

FINSBURYPARKER.

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Yup even Russia is now in the hands of the monied few!