BIRDSEDGE AND DISTRICT OPPOSITION TO
Isn't Green Energy a good idea if we're going to save the world from Climate Change?
Most of us in the village would probably admit to being fairly green in our outlook. We recycle, we think about our carbon footprint and some of us even admit to liking the original 13 wind turbines on the Royd Moor site which is a suitable and safe distance from our village (and its turbines are only 1/3 the height of the ones proposed for Birdsedge).
But there are plenty of ways to generate green energy that don't include shoehorning wind turbines into inappropriate sites too close to housing. Yes, green energy matters, but so does quality of life.
It's only when there is the prospect of huge industrial structures approximately the height of Blackpool Tower looming above your village that you start to ask questions about wind turbines in general as well as the local plan in particular. Will wind turbines really stop global warming and save the world? Will they really eliminate the need for coal-fired and nuclear power stations? Will they save taxpayers money? Sadly the answer to all those questions is no.
In fact they'll cost all energy consumers, that's you and me, money. Where do you think those government subsdies are coming from? That's right. They are loaded on to YOUR electricity bill. A hidden tax, whether you are a taxpayer or not.
The Ecologist Dr John Etherington in his book 'The Wind Farm Scam' (ISBN 9781905299836) argues that wind farm technology is a wholly counterproductive and undesirable response to the problems of climate change and electricity generation. Dr. Etherington is a former Reader in Ecology, a Thomas Huxley Medallist at the Royal College of Science and former co-editor of the Journal of Ecology. In addition to ecological and social concerns, his essential points are:
- The intermittent nature of wind power cannot generate a steady power output, a fact that necessitates back-up systems from coal and gas-powered plants that significantly negate any reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. And in fact during the cold spell, through December and January 2009 – 2010, when demand for power peaked, there was not enough wind to operate turbines at all. Excessively cold weather is often associated with low pressure and still air.
- Wind power is being excessively financed at the cost of consumers who have been neither consulted nor informed that enormous subsidies are being paid from their bills to support an industry that cannot be cost-efficient. The profit to developers of wind farms comes from subsidies paid by the taxpayer.
Without these subsidies (that come out of my money and your money) wind farm schemes would be neither cost effective nor attractive to developers who are only on it for the profit. Because of European directives energy companies are forced to buy a certain percentage of energy from renewable resources at a two or three times its real value in order to save a paltry amount of CO2 emissions – and all that so that the British government can meet its quota.
Lord David Howell, former Secretary of State for Energy: "Extensive wind farm developments will be seen in due course to have taken public opinion for a colossal ride..."
Who has the moral high ground? Is it even possible to object to wind turbines and hold your head up in public? Yes it is, despite former Energy Secretary Ed Miliband saying, "It is socially unacceptable to be against wind turbines ," Just who is he trying to kid?
We should all be outraged that, more recently, Huw Irranca-Davies, as DEFRA minister for marine and natural environment, supported the fast-tracking of wind power through the planning system by allowing developers to finance local projects. Such action is contrary to the government's own 2007 policy set out in "Delivering Community Benefits from Wind Energy Development: A Toolkit," which contained the categorical statement that: "To put it simply, planning permission cannot be 'bought'.”
Proponents of wind power justify the impact on landscape, ecology and community by the need to tackle climate change through reduction of carbon dioxide emission. In 'The Wind Farm Scam' Etherington points out that, 'the saving of CO2 proposed by government's own 2010 target for electricity generated by renewables is a minute 0.04% of the global total'.
Paradoxically then, as wind turbines proliferate, we'll need to build more CO2-emitting power stations to back up hugely subsidised wind farms. Does that make sense to you?
In Germany they've put all their eggs into the windfarm basket and now this is the position they find themselves in.
Those are some of the general considerations which explain why wind farms are not the panacea we all hoped they would be.