INDUSTRIAL WIND FARMING is NOT GREEN ENERGY
by Suzanne Greenhill (September 2004 issue of Sovereignty)
There are many lies and half-truths coming from the Government, the opposition parties and environmental organisations about the benefits and efficiency of wind farms.
The energy companies promoting these industrial monsters are particularly good at "spinning" their version of the truth to benefit their own profits.
WIND FARMS SPREADING THROUGHOUT UK
Most areas of Britain, apart from those that are densely populated, are under threat of wind farms and major off-shore sites are planned too.
Most will have more than 20 turbines over 300-feet and quite a few, 40 to 60, 500-feet high monsters.
For example, there are proposals for the largest wind farm in Europe covering 300 square miles of coastline, with 500 turbines more than 350-feet tall, to be erected in northwest
Scotland. This area, which is overlooking a bay across from the islands of Rhum and Eigg,
is home to both sea and golden eagles, and near villages which are designated Scenic Areas
and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
The second largest wind farm proposed is also in Scotland, near Beattock and Moffat, outside
Dumfries. This would have 200 turbines. There are applications already for many areas of
Cumbria including one stretching along a very prominent ridge for 4 miles right up to the edge of the Lake District National Park.
Sixty seven turbines, 500-feet high, are planned 7 miles from the Cumbrian coast in the
middle of the Solway and only 6 miles from the Scottish coastline.
There are applications for Romney Marsh, Cornwall, Norfolk, the Pennines and for more in Wales.
This is apart from the off-shore plans, such as Morecombe Bay and the current wind farm off the Welsh coast.
POWER CUTS ON THE WAY
The government's target is for 20% of our energy needs to come from renewable sources by 2020.
This means up to another 20,000 more turbines in the next 15 years!
However, the Department of Trade and Industry has forecast that by 2020 we will need 26% more electricity than was required in 2000.
Due to the rundown of coal and nuclear power stations, which in 1990 generated 84% of electricity supplies, by 2020 they will only contribute about 10% of our needs. This leaves a shortfall of about 46%.
This is a conservative estimate because over the next 15 years these coal and nuclear power stations are due to close and no new power stations are planned.
At present, we are importing gas to run some power stations and buying excess electricity from French nuclear power stations.
However, if France experiences very cold weather there will be no surplus capacity for this country -- and blackouts can be predicted.
INDUSTRIAL WIND FARMING IS NOT SUSTAINABLE
Wind Turbines only have a working life of 20 years, so are not sustainable.
They require huge amounts of energy to produce their metal casings and the cement used in their construction.
One 320-feet high turbine requires 150 tons of cement and 300 cubic metres of steel lining and shuttering for a massive hole some 100-feet deep in order to provide enough support to resist and stabilise the massive torque generated by the spinning blades.
Access roads to the site and for each turbine must be able to bear heavy traffic.
The turbines only work a maximum of 29% of the available time and are currently subsidised by £1.5 billion annually from taxpayers' money.
When the subsidies cease, much more expensive electricity bills for every householder and business can be
Danish electricity, after their loss of subsidies, is now 12% more expensive thanks to their turbine policy which has also shown itself to be woefully inefficient.
British industry is not even benefiting from their construction! The turbines are manufactured in Denmark or Germany!
Conventional power stations will still have to be relied on and kept working, ready to take up the shortfall, because turbines can only operate between wind speeds of 10 - 50 miles per hour.
The Government has also ignored the huge costs of upgrading and supplying extra national grid power lines which will be needed for all the extra turbines.
ENVIRONMENTAL AND HEALTH COSTS
There are nasty environmental and human health costs apart from the loss of property values if you live nearby a wind farm.
The low frequency sound emissions generated have been found to affect people up to a mile away causing headaches, migraines, nausea, dizziness, palpitations, tinnitus, sleeplessness, stress, anxiety, depression and lack of concentration.
There have been instances of the turbines catching fire and falling down. Under adverse weather conditions, huge lumps of ice have fallen from the blades, in one case seriously injuring a man.
Blade rotations create underground vibrations via the base of the towers, which can disturb watercourses. We should also consider the effect of massive concrete compression on the water table.
Turbines kill birds and many of the proposed sites are on migration routes and near winter feeding grounds.
WIND TURBINES AFFECTING THE WEATHER
In Denmark and parts of Germany the public outcry against this so-called form of "green" power has halted the erection of any further land based turbines. Farmers in the Baltic Sea areas of Denmark and Germany have complained of less rain since the erection of thousands of turbines and there have been inconsistent rains and a devastating 3-year drought in the Maharashtra state of India since 1996.
The local farmers say it began when the 1,700 turbines on 5 wind farms started operating. The government has set up a committee of scientific experts after protesters attempted to sabotage one of the wind farms. The protestors want the turbines switched off from early May until the end of August to enable the monsoon clouds to develop, which they claim are broken up by the turbines.
LAND OWNERS NEED TO THINK TWICE!
Farmers and landowners should consider carefully before agreeing to have turbines sited on their land, even though they are being enticed by very generous payments. They should consider the problem of the decommissioning of these structures and subsequent reinstatement of the land. The landowner or farmer may well, at some time, be held responsible for the costs of removal of the foundations, particularly when the true costs to the energy companies for dismantling the turbines comes to light.
ALTERNATIVE RENEWABLES ARE IGNORED
No proper cost-benefit analysis and environmental audit has been carried out over the use of turbines and certainly no comparison made with other forms of energy production.
This Government's energy policy is only to erect turbines and to continue to import more electricity, gas and oil from abroad leaving the nation very vulnerable to inadequate supplies.
Again, like GM, we see our government adopting another detrimental and devastating short-term policy that benefits no-one, except the profits of the big multi-national energy companies.
The crucial point here is that better alternative renewable energy sources are being ignored or disregarded.
For example, tidal power, hydrogen fuel cells, photo electric cells, biofuels, solar panels, heat pumps and anaerobic digesters. These last 3 systems can be used in single and multi-domestic situations, as well as being used on farms.
These are environmentally friendly, sustainable, visually acceptable, far more efficient and much cheaper to install and maintain. Many have been in use abroad for a long time and could be within many people's financial means to install.