Contents

img_0287 (1)

PEAK PROTECTION FORCE / SOUTH PENNINE PROTECTION FORCE SUCCESSES:

2017 – PINES BURN WIND FARM REFUSED AT LOCAL LEVEL

2017 – SCOUT MOOR EXPANSION REFUSED AT NATIONAL LEVEL

2015 – ROOLEY MOOR WIND FARM REFUSED AT LOCAL LEVEL

2015 – UK GOVERNMENT ELECTED ON POLICY OF REMOVING SUPPORT FOR ONSHORE WIND FARMS

2014 – GORPLEY WIND FARM REFUSED AT LOCAL LEVEL

BLOG CONTENTS:

Wind Energy Is Worse For The Environment Than Fracking

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/01/20/wind-energy-is-worse-for-the-environment-than-fracking/

Dialectic In Action (Part 2)

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/01/11/dialectic-in-action-part-2/

Dialectic In Action

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/dialectic-in-action/

Christmas Peace & Goodwill

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/12/14/christmas-peace-goodwill/

Another Awkward Question Answered

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/11/20/another-awkward-question-answered/

Kirklees & Craven Councils: Sh*tting On Their Own Doorsteps!

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/2966/

The Guardian: Sinister Propaganda & Fake News

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/11/12/the-guardian-fake-news-sinister-propaganda/

The Future Leader Of The Green Party

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/29/the-future-leader-of-the-green-party/

A Practical Solution: The Turbine Traffic Light Scheme

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/24/a-practical-solution-the-turbine-traffic-light-scheme/

I Was Born On A Marilyn

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/21/i-was-born-on-a-marilyn/

The SNP: Making English Eco-Vandals Look Like Amateurs

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/the-snp-making-english-eco-vandals-look-like-amateurs/

Leeds To Scotland & Back Again

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/12/leeds-to-scotland-back-again/

Doing Wind Badly (Part 2)

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/09/doing-wind-badly-part-2/

Doing Wind Badly (Part 1)

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/07/doing-wind-badly-part-1/

Doing Wind Well

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/05/doing-wind-well/

10:10 Climate Action EXPOSED

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/03/1010-climate-action-exposed/

Sustainable Development?

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/10/01/sustainable-development/

Worldwide Wind Scams – Daily Update

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/28/worldwide-wind-scams-daily-update

Toxic Turbines Around The Dark Peak

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/26/toxic-turbines-around-the-dark-peak

Bananas vs Watermelons: Internal vs External Loci of Control

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/25/bananas-vs-watermelons-internal-vs-external-loci-of-control/

Awkward Questions Answered

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/24/awkward-questions-answered/

More Worldwide Wind Misery

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/22/more-worldwide-wind-misery/

Royd Moor, Spicer Hill & Hazelhead

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/20/royd-moor-spicer-hill-hazelhead/

Scammers, Malware & Trojan Horses

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/scammers-malware-trojan-horses/

Wind Blight @ Park Mill Lane, Ossett

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/turbine-blight-between-leeds-mansfield/

Turbine Torture Around The World

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/wind-torture-around-the-world/

Wind Blight @ Harper Farm, New Farnley

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/17/wind-turbine-harper-farm-new-farnley/

Hegelian Dialectic & My Local Wind Turbine

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/17/hegelian-dialectic-my-local-wind-turbine/

Welcome To MindWind

https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/16/welcome-to-windblog/

Advertisements

Wind Energy Is Worse For the Environment Than Fracking

Derrick

ch13b19.jpg

I don’t really need any more words, the pictures say it all. OK, the first photo is a “what-if” mock-up I found on the Frack Free Ryedale website; the second is a real photo I took myself. As I have written repeatedly, I am not saying for one moment that fracking is without problems, or that it should be approved left, right, and centre, against the wishes of local communities.

All I am saying is: whatever problems fracking has, wind energy has the same problems multiplied by ten. If you’re just discovering some of these issues for the first time, well us Wind Warriors have already been through all this, with a fraction of the support from so-called “environmental” organisations, who have proven to be as much use as a sick headache.

Aesthetically at least, I can make the logical case that fracking is less harmful to the environment than wind power. If the photo above is anything like accurate, well the fracking wells look like nothing more a couple of fairground rides! They don’t alter the skyline or general shape and feel of the countryside at all. The red paint isn’t ideal, but it’s no worse than the sickly white paint of the turbines; it’s not artificially high-visibility or in any way in opposition to the surrounding colours. The well towers are in keeping with the basic physics of nature, tapered and peak-shaped,  rather than the “upside down”, top-heavy, creepy-looking appearance of turbines. Fracking’s land take is significantly smaller than wind energy’s, with the ability to generate dozens of times the energy a wind farm can generate in the same space, 24 x 7 to boot, as opposed to stopping and starting with the breeze.

What about other environmental problems associated with fracking? Well, anything to do with the construction of the wells has to be matched against the construction of huge wind turbines (taller than the Blackpool Tower in many cases) and their foundations. These fracking wells look barely a couple of storeys high. Any complaints about HGV access tracks – ditto, nothing we haven’t already suffered. I’ll wager there are more trucks involved with a wind farm than a fracking site, to transport all the components of these Blackpool Tower-sized monstrosities.

Water pollution? We already have that. Whitelee Wind Farm near Glasgow has been accused of polluting the local water supply. And ask the residents of Whitworth who fell ill after arsenic entered the food chain following the construction of Crook Hill Wind Farm. Animal deaths? Check… also at Crook Hill, where seven cows mysteriously died. Risk of landslides? Check… Derrybrien Peat Slide in Ireland.

I challenge people to name one eco problem associated with fracking that you don’t get equally, if not worse, with wind energy.

That doesn’t mean all the things about wind power that piss me off don’t also apply to fracking, far from it. If I don’t like the Planning Inspectorate overruling local sentiment to force through a wind farm against people’s wishes and without their consent, then equally I don’t like them forcing through a fracking site anywhere people don’t want it. I’d rather keep the corporations out of the countryside and allow local communities the final say in the shaping of their landscapes. I know the North York Moors relatively well, albeit nowhere near as the Peak District or the Yorkshire Dales, and it is a beautiful part of the world that really should be looked after with the utmost of care and attention.

Still… I don’t know. When I stare at the picture above of how fracking would impact on the landscapes of the North York Moors, all I see is a small funfair coming to town for a few weeks. Whereas when I stare at the picture of the wind turbines, all I see is the earth’s energy being sucked out of it by sinister, vampiric-looking totems of darkness. I know this runs counter to the conventional wisdom of most of the 20th century eco movements and all their propaganda, but I can only say what I see and how my mind interprets it.

Fracking to my eyes looks efficient and relatively harmless, aesthetically not too out-of-keeping with rural landscapes; whereas the wind turbines look toxic, dangerous and totally out-of-place.

I would wager that virtually all Wind Warriors agree with me about the negative impacts of wind energy, although there will be some debate about how strongly people support fracking. Some Wind Warriors are as equally opposed to fracking as they are Big Wind, whereas others believe we are screwing ourselves up in the long run by not forging ahead with it now. I’m on the fence about the long-term sustainability of fracking, but I’m interested to give it a fair chance. And that’s because every time I encounter fracking in real life, it seems to be something of an unfairly-maligned energy solution whose bark is worse than its actual bite; whereas every time I encounter wind turbines I feel cheated somehow, like they’re promising to give me loads of energy and instead are leeching it out of the Earth.

Personally I’d rather they fracked in my back garden than stuck a wind turbine up even a mile away from me. I’d even go out and take the frackers a nice cuppa and a tray of biccies 🙂

That said, anyone who’d go as far as setting up a website and a blog documenting the impact of fracking on their well-being, complaining about unfair and divisive planning decisions, underhanded corporate tactics and the industrialisation of the countryside…well, anyone who’d do that is probably a kindred spirit of mine deep down, aren’t they?!

Welcome to my world 🙂

I’ll round up today’s entry with more stories about wind energy from my news feed over the last few days. Posting a link doesn’t mean I automatically agree with every word in it, that’s up to you to make up your own minds.

https://windsor.ctvnews.ca/mobile/wind-turbine-breaks-in-half-in-chatham-kent-1.3766991

(How often do fracking wells snap in half?!)

http://savetheeaglesinternational.org/new/us-windfarms-kill-10-20-times-more-than-previously-thought.html

https://stopthesethings.com/2018/01/19/press-ganged-how-the-wind-industry-hijacked-the-media-to-peddle-its-fake-news/

https://www.thegwpf.com/its-all-over-german-parties-agree-to-scrap-legally-binding-2020-climate-target/

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/latest-lawmaker-suspects-wind-industry-spying-case-52419115

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jan/16/uk-green-energy-investment-plunges-after-policy-changes

https://stopthesethings.com/2018/01/17/ontarios-wind-power-obsession-punishing-thousands-390000-families-struggling-to-pay-power-bills-58000-disconnected/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

https://stopthesethings.com/2018/01/15/true-staggering-cost-of-intermittent-unreliable-wind-power-unplugged/

http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/01/the_green_empress_has_no_clothes.html

http://notrickszone.com/2018/01/16/another-german-offshore-wind-park-loses-millions-as-installation-costs-soar-wind-forecast-overestimated/#sthash.EyceB0rO.dpbs

http://idiocyofrenewables.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/3200-mw-of-nuclear-power-22116-mw-of.html

https://stopthesethings.com/2018/01/16/smoking-gun-research-proves-inaudible-pulsing-wind-turbine-noise-direct-cause-of-adverse-symptoms/

https://stopthesethings.com/2016/12/17/irish-high-court-finds-wind-turbine-maker-liable-for-noise-nuisance-7-irish-families-to-get-millions-in-punitive-damages/

http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-news/fined-51000–having-loud-14156575

(Nice one Kirklees!)

 

 

 

Dialectic In Action (Part 2)

The main bulk of this entry will be the continued discourse from below-the-line in the previous entry, brought up here for easier reading. There is a LOT to take in. I hope the conversation provides a useful reference point for both fans and foes of wind power, both sides of the debate given a thorough airing. Enjoy!

Just a quick paragraph about the unbelievable scenes at Scammonden over the past few weeks, all captured on camera. The timeline is approximately as follows:

Mid October 2017: “Toxic Turbines In Kirklees” filmed from Scammonden Viaduct, focusing on Daisy Lea Farm, Marsden Gate and M62 turbines. Official complaint letter sent to Kirklees Council.

Late October 2017: Scammonden Viaduct turbine filmed with no blades. Unknown whether accidental damage or planned maintenance.

November 2017: easternmost of three Daisy Lea Farm turbines filmed undergoing maintenance.

Early January 2018: Marsden Gate gate filmed with no blades. Accidental damage.

Mid January 2018: middle Daisy Lea Farm turbine filmed with one blade missing. Unknown whether accidental damage or planned maintenance. Scammonden Viaduct turbine blades reinstated and spinning rapidly. Outer Daisy Lea Farm and M62 turbines totally stationary.

Giving this scenario the best possible “spin”, only one of the turbines has been proven to be faulty. Two others have been filmed without blades, but it’s possible this was planned maintenance. A fourth was filmed undergoing maintenance, unknown whether routine or a break-fix. I can’t explain how come one turbine was filmed spinning rapidly whilst all the others were stationary, unless they were switched off for some reason. It certainly didn’t seem very windy.

The worst possible spin: between them, the turbines at Scammonden take it in turns to malfunction, with a new fault developing pretty much every other week. This reduces the output of the turbines and increases their carbon footprint. Is this disruption monitored and measured?

Just before handing over to the debate, there’s been a few items in my newsfeed over the last few days. First up, none of than Jeremy Corbyn’s big brother Piers has tweeted the following: “‘Scotland Set 2 Be 100% Renewable in 2Yrs’ LOL this is TOTAL DELUSION! FACT: If was 100% &c powered thousands would have died this by . -backed-

https://twitter.com/Piers_Corbyn/status/951994638977716224

Wonder if Jeremy agrees or not. To be fair, I once met the brother of Anna Soubry MP at a dinner, and he seemed to think his sister was totally bonkers, so it’s entirely plausible that Jeremy disagrees with his brother’s views. Equally, however, it’s possible that deep down Jeremy feels the same way. Let’s not forget that Piers enthusiastically backs “JC 4 PM”, which strongly implies that Piers believes Jeremy would shift away from what he considers the “mentally defective” “delusion” of “fakegreen”, “fakescience”, 100% renewable energy.

It’s also been gratifying to learn that hundreds of people I’ve never met, who reside thousands of miles away from me on the other side of the ocean and have presumably not read a single word I’ve written, just happen to perceive wind energy projects exactly the same way I do!

http://en.friends-against-wind.org/news/rural-america-rejects-big-wind

Right, over to the discourse. If you remember, I was being challenged (finally!) by someone prepared to step up and make the case for wind power, or at least to set straight some of the factual inaccuracies I might have thrown at the industry. I apologise to anyone I might have misrepresented, but as I have explained throughout the blog, indeed in its very tagline “Monitoring The Impact Of Wind Turbines On Mental Health”, any irrationality on my part is blamed entirely upon the turbines! My thesis has been that the turbines affect my mental health by triggering an amygdala hijack, in which my brain is flooded with “fight or flight” chemicals. The fight response is reflected in the aggressively defensive rhetoric, aimed at getting the wind companies to back off, and for neutrals to spring to my defence.

Keeping mental health in good shape means critically thinking about our kneejerk instinctive reactions, and applying logic to put the perceived threat into some kind of perspective. As the higher thinking starts to sink in, the immediate threat subsides and more considered solutions can be implemented.

In my case, the government’s current bias against onshore wind power has mercifully provided me with some time to stop, think and consider the threat I have just experienced. How different things seem from just three short years ago, when I embarked on my “Crook Hill Eco Disaster” blog in a radically different political climate; an era that seems almost antediluvian now in its across-the-board support for seemingly unlimited wind farms. But, halfway through the construction of Crook Hill Wind Farm, I was there to witness and chronicle “The Week The Wind Changed”.

Now the immediate threat of any more unwanted wind farms encroaching upon the Peak and the South Pennines has receded (temporarily at least), I have felt less under attack and more able to dispassionately look at what just happened to me and my sense of well-being. I cannot stress enough just how profoundly my personal sense of equilibrium was knocked out of kilter by the South Pennines wind farms. The blog is a testament to that. The dialectic you are about to read is all a vital part of working towards a solution.

Let’s crack on then, with Phil H on hand to provide balance, and to put into perspective some of my more paranoid reactions triggered by the wind turbines. Any allegations against wind energy he has not been able to answer or debunk remain valid objections worthy of further investigation. There’s significantly fewer of these than when we started, but there are still a few questions that remain unanswered!

Maybe you, dear readers, might have some suggestions of your own. Feel free to join in the chat!

PHIL H

This of course is the entire raison d’etre of wind farms, to contribute to lower CO2 emissions.

Well, for me, their purpose is being a way of generating electricity long-term, when there is no longer enough burnable stuff to power our country. That they produce much less CO2 than burning fossil fuels is just a side benefit.

Do we have any quantifiable evidence yet of how much less CO2 we are now emitting as a result of wind energy?

The UK’s greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions have fallen about 43% from the 1990 base-line year to 2017. This includes things other than CO2, but CO2 reduction is by far the largest component. The growth in wind power and other renewables is a significant part of the CO2 reduction. How much CO2 has been saved depends on what you think the alternative would have been in a parallel version of UK where things were done differently:
* If we had built and used more low-carbon generation (solar, hydro, nuclear) instead, then the wind energy would have made little difference.
* If we had run our gas-fired power stations more instead, then last year’s 37 TWh [my estimate] of onshore wind energy saved over 15 million tonnes (Mt) of CO2.
* If we had run our coal-fired power stations more instead, then it saved over 30 Mt of CO2.
(For comparison, the UK’s total GHG emissions was about 450 Mt of CO2 equivalent. Offshore wind was about ¾ that of onshore, in addition. So if our onshore & offshore wind had been replaced by coal, our total GHG emissions would have been about 10% higher last year.)

Sustainable

The word in the context of energy systems means ‘is usable very long-term / indefinitely’. You’re seeming to use it to mean more like ‘constant’?

What changes were made in 2015.As you can see from the tables athttps://www.ofgem.gov.uk/environmental-programmes/fit/fit-tariff-ratesin mid-Jan 2016, the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) for turbines of 100 – 500 kW was halved. I think this is just the size range made by Endurance, and that thus the financial cases for their potential customers were slashed at a stroke, and with only six months warning, so that many orders would have been postponed or cancelled.

Subsidies

Virtually all energy has received and continues to receive various subsidies, directly and indirectly. Nuclear energy took vast amounts of governments’ money to develop over decades – I can’t quantify how much, as I doubt anyone has kept a tally. But it’s reasonable that governments invest in developing such a new means of energy production, as it has the potential of being of huge long-term benefit to the country and all its citizens. Similarly for renewable energies, where the development has been mostly done by companies and individuals, but supported through subsidy payments, rather than the government doing the work directly. The Renewable Obligation, FiT and CfD schemes were started with the intention of reducing the subsidies over the years, as the renewable technologies benefited from economies of scale and their learning curves. That the industries are now talking about unsubsidised solar farms, onshore wind farms, and now even offshore wind farms, shows that the plan is working, no thanks to the sharp & sudden changes in the support schemes by the government. Contrast this with nuclear, where despite all the money spent on it over the decades, electricity from the next generation is still set to cost twice its wholesale value.

…wind farms were owned and operated by the public sector.

This would have the advantage of much lower costs for borrowing the money to build them, improving their economic case, so resulting in more onshore wind being economically viable.

Corporate Not Community … Control.

There are cooperative groups that propose and build wind turbines, and other renewables, usually based on mostly local membership, so that such facilities are thus owned by and financially benefit the community in which they’re located. Would you feel differently about the visual intrusion and harm to the land caused by a given wind turbine if you knew it was owned thus, compared with if you knew it was owned by a foreign multinational energy corporation?
is it morally right that a private company receives subsidies from the government?If they’re doing what the government and society want, and would not do so otherwise, why should they not be rewarded reasonably?
At what point should a product stand on its own two feet without the need of assistance?A good question. Compare and contrast renewables and nuclear (see above).

M6(Toll)

The difference from onshore wind farms is that the M6(Toll) was proposed and designed by the government, which then got a company to finance, build & operate it. Onshore wind farms are proposed from the start by companies, and the authorities just react to the proposals. (Offshore wind farms are somewhere between the two.)[Aside: I get the impression from the news, that the M6(Toll) has not lived up to traffic forecasts and is presumably losing the company money – so companies may be more hesitant about building public roads in the future.]

Confusing Use Of Statistics.

I don’t know how the carbon figure was arrived at. Do they mean carbon or carbon dioxide?Good questions. Let’s check their figures, starting with the homes equivalence, as you correctly did: 7,500 kW * 24*365*0.25 = 16,425,000 kWh/yr. At about 4,000 kWh/yr per home, that’s about 4,000 homes. Check!
If 16,425,000 kWh save 8,475 tonnes, that’s about 530 g of CO2 per kWh – burning gas releases about 400 g(CO2)/kWh and coal about 800 g(CO2)/kWh, so being within that range the 530 figure seems about right. More accurately, it implies that each kWh of wind energy displaces ¾ kWh of gas-derived electricity and ¼ kWh of coal-derived, which is roughly the ratio actually used in the UK in 2016. Check!
Confusingly, weights of both carbon and carbon dioxide are used for carbon dioxide pollution; they differ by a factor of 3.7. We can see that their calculation must be referring to carbon dioxide, but the quote uses the term ‘carbon’.

PEAK PROTECTION:

(1) CO2 emissions. No reason to challenge any of your sums here. I think the question is therefore, would other forms of energy generation contribute more efficiently to lower CO2 emissions? What is the opportunity cost of relying so much on wind at the expense of R&D or investment into other forms of renewable energy? How long do you estimate it takes wind farms to pay back their own carbon footprint? Do we keep track of all their construction and maintenance carbon emissions, factoring the “cost” of wind farms into our calculations. And, as always, are the figures independently and objectively audited, to ensure that every wind farm is operating sufficiently? If it could be proven that a wind farm had really not contributed to lower CO2 emissions, especially if failing to meet its claims, do you agree that it should be penalised for false advertising?

(Would punishing or even getting rid of the bad wind farms in fact help the good ones? A bit of pruning and rationalising of the wind farm network, like the Beeching rail cuts?)

(2) My definition of “sustainable” is the Oxford dictionary definition (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/sustainable): “Able to be maintained at a certain rate or level”. It does the wind companies no favours to redefine words, because those of us who are sticklers for semantics will only pick holes and lose trust in any use of words that seems misleading or distorting somehow. I think “sustainable” is entirely the wrong word to describe wind energy, due to its ups and downs, and as such I class this usage as another example of “greenwashing”. It’s not my major issue with wind power, but it’s another way in which the industry’s reputation for slippery untrustworthiness could be improved: stop playing with words and misusing the English language!!! I prefer the term “intermittent” as a more accurate description of how wind energy works.

(3) Feed-in Tariffs. Please don’t feel under any pressure to reply Phil, as you can see I am truly grateful for your contributions and am making every effort to give your words high billing so people can read them for themselves. But if you don’t mind elaborating, it might be helpful to explain to people exactly how these tariffs work. Am I right in thinking they are basically payments from public funds to those who generate electricity from renwewables? Why should members of the public be bothered by a tightening of the public purse? Couldn’t the money saved from halving FiTs be better spent on the NHS or Disability Benefits?

http://www.fitariffs.co.uk/FITs/

(4) Subsidies. At the 2015 General Election, the two largest political parties had different policies regarding wind power subsidies, and the party that wanted to bring them down won, with the party that wanted to keep them high losing. Why do you think that was? Ditto, in America, the more anti-wind of the two parties won decisively (not even getting into a Trump conversation here…I’m more interested in the psephology). Subsidies for wind farms are NOT an election winner. Why do you think that is?

I for one think the overload of wind farms has meant people have lost sympathy or support for subsidising them any further. The term “subsidy junkies” is often used to describe people who set up wind farm businesses based on the very model of government support funding them rather than what I would deem “an honest profit”, like the company I work for. Satisfied customers voluntarily choose to buy our products, with no support from public money required. the idea of wind companies being “subsidy junkies” might just be public perception, but it’s a perception based on multiple examples of wind companies appealing and appealing until they get their way, riding roughshod over local concerns.

I’m personally not in favour of my tax money being used to fund wind energy companies.

(5) “Corporate Not Community … Control”

Would I feel better about wind farms being community-owned? Yes I would. 500% better. Because then I’d know that the wind farm was integrated into the local community, at its request and with its consent. I think there’d be better aesthetics and ethics associated with community wind farms, less divisiveness and more attention to the environmental impacts on the neighbourhood.

(6) “Is it morally right that a private company receives subsidies from the government?
If they’re doing what the government and society want, and would not do so otherwise, why should they not be rewarded reasonably?”

I put it to you that they have not been doing what the government and society want, hence the cut in subsidies. Why would the government cut the subsidies were the wind companies providing a service they wanted? Therefore we need to look at where the wind companies have gone off track and understand how come they’ve lost the support of the government.

(7) M6(Toll) – now this is interesting. Maybe we’ve just stumbled across a key difference. You said: “M6(Toll) was proposed and designed by the government, which then got a company to finance, build & operate it. Onshore wind farms are proposed from the start by companies, and the authorities just react to the proposals.”

The problem is that companies will propose as many wind farms as possible to maximise profit. Left unchecked, companies could feasibly apply to build wind farms on every hill and mountain in the UK. Why not? Each hill is another opportunity to make profit! It’s not that I’m anticorporate, it’s precisely because I understand the corporate mindet (expand or die) that I’m so aware of what heppens if corporations are underregulated. By allowing corporations to tout for as many wind farms as they can possibly get away with, we have inevitably allowed some superfluous ones to slip through the net (even David Cameron acknowledged the public had become “fed up” with wind farms).

There’s also no increased standards through competition if a company gets to call the shots, and even choose its own planning advisors to provide the EIA reports – which is what happened at the Scout Moor expansion!). Whereas if each local authority had been assigned with the task of selecting a wind farm site and asking operators to tend for the contract, this would increase the incentive for wind operators to do a better job in making their schemes acceptable, instead of applying for a contract with no competition (other than from us proud NIMBYs!) and then having carte blanche to run amok as they see fit.

(8) Carbon / carbon dioxide

Another example of playing with words, or using confusing terminology. Yet again we can say “no harm intended”, but surely you can see by now, almost every claim made by a wind operator, whilst maybe not proveably deceitful, is still ambiguous and confusing to the general public.

PHIL H

Over the last 5 years, the UK government has commissioned a series of professionally-conducted surveys of the general public’s view of various energy sources (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/656795/Wave_23_Excel_tables.xlsx – Q3, Q13 & Q12), which have consistently shown support:opposition for renewables in general at about 80%:4%, and for onshore wind specifically at about 65%:6%. Only about 1½% of people strongly oppose onshore wind. Even, those who would be happy:unhappy to have a large-scale renewable energy development in their area are about 57%:17%, ie far more YIMBYs than NIMBYs. Compared with the 52%:48% majority in the Brexit referendum, I’d call this level of support ‘overwhelming’.

(1) ‘sustainable’.
That definition makes more sense applied to physiology, than renewables’ output (what fraction of the maximum output is one wanting to sustain?). In the much-larger world of environmentalism (not just wind power), that this topic is part of, ‘sustainable’ has long meant ‘being based on non-depleting resources’. Can we agree to use ‘intermittent’ and ‘non-depleting’ instead, to avoid misunderstandings? (It’s a bit like ‘hacker’ has opposite meanings for computer scientists and the general media.)

(2) would other forms of energy generation contribute more efficiently to lower CO2 emissions?
‘Efficiently’ could have 2 meanings here: financially, ie cost; and physical resources expended. New onshore wind turbines are the cheapest form of new low-carbon non-depleting generation in the UK. They have a CO2 payback of typically a couple of years, and a lifetime of a couple of decades; you’ll have to research online the figures for other generation for comparison, as I don’t have a ready reference. There have been various independent academic studies of CO2 and other forms of payback – their results vary somewhat according to the assumptions used, some of which might be considered to be biased in favour of one form of generation or another, so take the average of several studies. As I explained before, there’s no independent tracking of the performance of individual turbines or farms, and the penalty for getting things wrong is losing their money. So I would guess that proposers would err on the side of underestimating output.

(3) Feed-in Tariffs.
FiTs are effectively top-up payments to owners of small-scale renewable energy installations, from which the value of electricity generated would not be enough to justify their capital cost, to encourage people to install them nevertheless, to kick-start the industries making and installing the equipment, with the intention that with the increasing size of the industries, economies of scale and experience will reduce the costs over time, allowing the FiT rates to be steadily reduced to zero over time (the scheme runs from 2010 to 2019). The money for the FiTs comes from electricity bills, rather than out of general or specific taxation.

As far as I can tell, the FiT scheme for small-scale wind, solar and other renewables together now costs around £1000m/yr, which is less than £20 per household with a matching contribution from non-domestic consumers. Of course this money could have been spent on the NHS, as could any other sum of money you can point to in the economy, such as the £1600m/yr spent on facial cosmetics, for example. But why should there be a choice? Each use of money should be decided on its merits. The FiTs help create a clean energy future, where the reduced air pollution from the reduced burning of stuff helps improve general health, lessening the burden on the NHS and the need to pay Disability Benefits, as well as reducing our energy imports.

(4) Subsidies.
2015 General Election…bring them down won.
I’d say it was a factor for less than 1% of voters, and they would be Conservative voters already. I’d bet there were more voters exercised by bringing back fox-hunting or grammar schools than cared significantly about renewable subsidies.

in America, the more anti-wind of the two parties won decisively.
Ironically, most wind power in the US is in the mid-west, esp Texas, which is mostly Republican territory, which is why the federal tax support for wind (and solar) ended up being untouched in the two budgets since Trump’s election.

Subsidies for wind farms are NOT an election winner.
Given the overwhelming public support in the UK for renewables generally and onshore wind in particular, discussed above, the only way I find that a believable proposition is in the sense that most voters don’t care about the topic enough to translate their support for wind power into their voting.

‘subsidy junkies’…businesses based on…government support funding.
What do you think of the subsidy dependence of nuclear power then, which should be a mature technology after more than half a century and uncounted billions of subsidies already? Hinkley Point C is only going ahead because the UK government has promised that British electricity bill payers will pay EDF, a company owned by a foreign government, a larger subsidy than is to be paid to offshore wind farms built in the same timeframe, even though offshore wind is only 15yr old.

I’m personally not in favour of my tax…fund wind energy companies.
It comes from your electricity bill, so you might like to minimise this, by improving your energy efficiency, eg by fitting LED bulbs, etc, and fitting solar panels to your roof to reduce the amount of electricity you need to buy in. You’re unlikely to live in a home that would benefit from installing a micro wind turbine [grin].

(5) Corporate Not Community … Control
Would I feel better about wind farms being community-owned? … 500% better.
[starts grinning again] Great. Here’s a suggestion for your next road-trip holiday:
* Duckmanton, near Chesterfield – a 500 kW EWT turbine on former colliery land, owned by Four Winds Energy Cooperative
* Shafton, near Barnsley – another 500 kW EWT turbine on former colliery land, also owned by Four Winds Energy Cooperative
* Haverigg, near Millom, Cumbria – a 600 kW Wind World turbine on a disused airfield, owned by Baywind Energy Co-operative; this is an early modern turbine, and the first in the UK to be owned cooperatively
* Harlock Hill, Cumbria – a pair of large, 2.3 MW Enercon E70 turbines, erected just last year (ie, receiving low FiT rates) on a site previously used as a community wind farm, by High Winds Community Energy Co-operative
* Watchfield, near Swindon, Wilts – five Siemens turbines owned by The Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative since 2008; now has a co-located community-owned solar farm
* Kellybank, Wemyss Bay, Scotland – a pair of 100 kW Norvento nED100 turbines, owned by Small Wind Co-operative
* Troed y Bryn, Ceredigion – a 180 kW Vestas V27 turbine, also owned by Small Wind Co-operative
and others owned by Dingwall Wind Co-operative (in Dingwall, Scotland), Wester Derry Wind Co-operative (in Angus, Scotland), Heartland Community Wind (in Aberfeldy, Scotland), Fetlar Community Wind (in Shetland) and many more.

(6) I put it to you that they have not been doing what the government and society want.
See series of surveys discussed above which shows they have.

Why would the government cut the subsidies were the wind companies providing a service they wanted?
In the early years of this decade, the government set an arbitrary limit on the total subsidies for renewables, but the renewables industries were more successful more quickly than expected, such that the total support scheme costs threatened to breach the limit. The government chose to reduce the support rates faster and less smoothly than intended, rather than raise the limit.

David Cameron acknowledged the public had become ‘fed up’ with wind farms.
The above-discussed series of surveys show that the level of general-public support for onshore wind has not fallen in the last five years that it has been polled, and remains overwhelming.

This level of general-public support is the ‘social licence’ that could be used to justify wind power and other renewables and their support schemes, and why I think you have a lot of persuading to do to change the situation. And is why I suggest that you need to develop a compelling vision of a better alternative as part of that persuasion campaign.

PHIL H

Oops: my part of the paragraph starting ‘subsidy junkies’ should not have been in italics.

PEAK PROTECTION

OPINION POLLS:
The flaw with the opinion poll is that it doesn’t show how support for wind farms drops the nearer you get to them, so sure, lots of metropolitan respondents who never seem them day-to-day will no doubt say they approve of “clean, green energy”, But as you get nearer you find levels of protest rise. So I would say more people like the abstract concept of wind turbines rather than the reality of living near them..

I would also say that the polls don’t show the intensity of feeling, so maybe more people only casually, half-heartedly like the idea of wind power (or tell an interviewer that they do), but those who oppose specific turbine developments will have much stronger, deeper feelings, and will be more committed and motivated to pursue their case in real life, not just in an opinion poll. OK, there are a few committed pro-wind campaigners, but looking at the wind farms near me that have aroused my interest in the topic – the real strength of feeling is always more anti than pro. This is absolutely the case with the Scout Moor expansion, Rooley Moor (rejected), Gorpley (rejected), Todmorden, Crook HIll, Carsington Pastures, Knabbs Ridge and Hook Moor wind farms. It’s also the case in every other wind farm proposal where the council has rejected the scheme only for it to be overturned.

Bear in mind it only takes a single Planning Inspector to overrule a rejection and allow a wind farm, whereas councils have to vote as a group. (You’ll maybe notice I left Ovenden Moor out of the above list, even though I personally hate the place, I do not deny that Calderdale Council approved it, and therefore at least a group of local representatives sat down and came to the joint decision to approve it. To me, there’s a difference there. Local people have decided they feel it’s best for their community. Although I disagree, I respect the process that led to this decision.

You have provided so much great factual evidence of good things about wind turbines Phil. which is fantastic, but you’ve still not come up with a definitive explanation for what it is about wind turbines that has such a negative impact on my mood (and clearly many other people’s, see this photo from today’s news-feed:)?

In some people, wind turbines trigger a very strongly negative physiological and psychological reaction. They de-energise us and makes us feel unhealthy and adversely affected by their presence. People calling us NIMBYs or insulting us (not you, for which I’m truly grateful…at least you seem interested to engage and understand!) is merely simplistic name-calling and victim-blaming, and doesn’t actually begin to address the nature of so many people’s bad reactions to them.

Nothing sticks in the craw more than when someone who’s never even heard of a “nacelle” glibly writes off our concerns or calls us stupid or narrow-minded simply for expressing that wind turbines adversely affect our mental state. People have every right to disagree with our opinions, sure, but they are factually wrong if they think our opinions haven’t been thought-through, or we are making things up, or if they don’t acknowledge the hours and hours of research and study most anti-wind campaigners have carried out to understand what on earth is going on. Our feelings of discomfort are not merely “back of a fag packet” prejudices, they run much deeper and are much more substantial, even if not always logically sound in how they are expressed (hence the need for dialectic, to systematically work through the points made, one by one, to see which ones hold water).

If wind turbines are as good as you make them sound – and by God, you do make a GREAT case for them! – then what do you think it it is about them that has such a strong negative impact on so many people, consistently, nay SUSTAINABLY, with every scheme proposed, and all across the world?

It’s good to rule out the factual untruths from my diagnosis of the problem, but the fact remains that for many, many of us we get a very bad physiological reaction from wind turbines and SOMETHING must be causing it. Bear in mind of the millions of words I’ve written in this blog, not to mention all the other anti-wind blogs such as Stop These Things and Mothers Against Wind Turbines. I’m not being paid a penny so have no ulterior motive other than to log this worldwide issue that I too suffer from, and to try to resolve it. The issue being: “when we encounter wind turbines, it negatively affects our mental health and well-being. WHY????”

Knowing that it does, shouldn’t we research what could be causing this reaction? Wouldn’t that be in the wind developers’ best interests? To understand what causes opposition to their schemes and to work to improve the product so that fewer people have reason to complain? Why is it that wind power seems to be getting ever more unpopular, not more popular?

A VOTE WINNER?

I’ve addressed this in the blog. I don’t think consciously many people would shout “wind turbines!” as their number one political issue, but I think subconsciously and as part of a wider cultural interpretation, wind turbines do tend to represent in many people’s minds the EU (maybe because of EU climate change directives), or in Scotland the SNP. Why did the Scottish Tories do so well, especially in Southern Scotland? “Because the SNP don’t listen” is an answer you find frequently. The SNP has also plastered loads and loads of unpopular turbines across Southern Scotland (see my entry for some real-life comments from Scottish residents). Here in the Pennines, there are a few noteable islands of blue surrounded by the red urban areas. Areas like Calderdale and Rossendale that also host the wind farms.

I’m not claiming causality, that the wind farms directly change how people vote. What I am claiming is some kind of correlation – those parties that win General Elections seem to be those that are the least gung-ho about wind power.

“Given the overwhelming public support in the UK for renewables generally and onshore wind in particular, discussed above, the only way I find that a believable proposition is in the sense that most voters don’t care about the topic enough to translate their support for wind power into their voting.”

Sorry Phil, I think this is the first time in all your posts that you’ve said something I find factually debatable. I simply do not see any tangible evidence at all of support for onshore wind in Britain, far from it, other than in very vague, low-intensity, abstract opinion polls on the internet, not in terms of large, populist, pro-wind support movements within local communities. In fact I see the opposite (David Cameron’s quote…) The reality is that the government has effectively banned onshore wind farms in England. Unless they were ideologically opposed to wind power, why would they risk alienating so many voters by pulling the plug on something they want, like and need?

ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Having disagreed with you above, I 100% agree about the need, and responsibility for each of us, to minimise our electricity usage and bring the total amount we use down as much as possible. The danger with relying on wind farms, and maybe why they have the level of popularity you claim they do, is that it’s quite an easy way of virtue-signalling without fundamentally addressing the root of the problem. “Oh it’s OK, I can leave my lights on all day, it’s fine, I support wind turbines and their clean, green energy, so I’ve done my bit, I can get on with my life…” I exaggerate for effect but hopefully you get the point. The danger is we simply carry on with our wasteful, consumerist lifestyles, albeit releasing less CO2 into the air, but losing our natural spaces in the process. Not the world I want to live in! I want to protect the uplands for future generations. Nature is more important than electricity in the long run. Obviously we live in the real world, I’m typing on a computer…but all in all I think energy efficiency is something I totally agree we should all be striving to achieve.

“and why I think you have a lot of persuading to do to change the situation”.

With respect, bearing in mind I have more or less got the policy I want from the government now, who do I need to persuade that we don’t need any new wind farms in the UK? The SNP maybe, and clearly the Green Party. I don’t even expect the Greens to drop their support for wind power, but at least a glimmer of emotional reaction to the degradation of our upland landscapes would be a start!

I do need to persuade people to closely monitor the turbines we have, to ensure they comply with their claims and that they don’t hurt anyone. But if anyone needs to persuade anyone of anything, right now I’d say it’s the wind developers who have to persuade the government and the public of the need for their product, because right now, in England at least, people aren’t buying it any more. They could do with more like you Phil, and less like Vickram Mirchandani of Coronation Power, who was run out of town by the locals!

“And is why I suggest that you need to develop a compelling vision of a better alternative as part of that persuasion campaign.”

Not necessarily, there is a role in society for purely exposing the flaws in a product, as long as the public balance the negatives with equal and opposing positives (hence me promoting your comments here, to provide that balance). My role so far has been as a journalist and blogger, highlighting the negative impacts wind turbines have had on my own sense of well-being, along with several other people who feel exactly the same. Simply giving more voice to these people’s feelings is a socially good thing to do, I feel. Now, were I a politician or someone who works in the industry, I may indeed go forward with more positive solutions and compelling visions.

Here’s the best I can do though Phil. Here’s 10 wind farms. How could we rank them? If I asked you to rate the value of each of these and to rank them from best to worst, how would you go about evaluating them?

CROOK HILL, SCOUT MOOR, REAPS MOSS, HYNDBURN, TODMORDEN, COAL CLOUGH, OVENDEN MOOR, KNABBS RIDGE, HOOK MOOR, ROYD MOOR

Whatever criteria we judge them on, my goal is the improvement of the bottom five wind farms on the list, with a Service Level Agreement of what we expect to be a satisfactory performance. Should they underperform, they should have the option of remedial action, or alternatively they should be decommissioned. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: get rid of the bad apples and that will improve people’s perceptions of the good ones.

In a way, the “compelling vision” thing might be part of the problem – because in reality things very rarely live up to the hype. True believers in a vision tend to be prone to confirmation bias in which they filter out data that contradicts that vision, We do need believers to innovate and invent, sure, but we also need sceptics and critics to ensure compliance and to drive innovation and product development by highlighting areas in need of improvement.

If I do have a vision it’s probably, deep down, the same as yours. A clean, green environment to live in. The debate isn’t about whether this is a valid vision, it’s about monitoring the real-life implementation of the vision and providing useful feedback about any issues encountered.

(From an IT point of view…, we don’t expect praise or compelling visions about the perfect IT network. We just expect feedback when there’s a real-life issue, which we try to resolve and add details to our Knowledge Base. My job in IT is as a troubleshooter rather than a visionary, and I’ve only ever seen problems when people come in with bright ideas that don’t stand up to real-life practice (my five years in the NHS showed me this happen over and over again,.., compelling visions that ultimately cause more harm than good!).

In the case of clean, green energy, I fully accept the vision, I just call attention to when real-life experience doesn’t match up to it!

Now, that said, I do have compelling visions about our interactions with the “countryside” (an interesting term worthy of a whole essay….what exactly “is” the countryside?) As I have said in the blog, the National Parks and the Green Belts are the political crystallisations of that vision, so as a troubleshooter my role is to log and resolve any issues that affect the integrity of our National Parks and Green Belts.

I therefore have the compelling vision of encouraging more research into what it is about wind turbines that impacts on our National Parks and Green Belts (I wouldn’t have been as bothered had their impacts not encroached upon the Peak District, not because it’s “MY” back yard, but because it’s everyone’s!!!!).

I have the compelling vision of removing any reported cases of turbine torture from people’s lives and restoring the quality of life to its pre-turbine state for everyone whose neighbourhood has become blighted and unpleasant.

I didn’t draw this cartoon, I’ve absolutely no idea who did and what triggered it. But someone did. Showcasing their art is part of my compelling vision – alerting the world to the fact that people are being hurt by these things and are struggling to have their voices heard.

Above all, my compelling vision is of a world where the tops of hills and mountains, and the pockets of open countryside between towns, are places to energise humans, free, beautiful and wild, open and accessible to everyone, monopolised by no-one. A world where the most honest and clear expression of Green values is one where as a society ensure we keep our countryside GREEN!

By the way, why on earth are wind turbines painted high-visibility white paint? What is the environmental benefit of this paint? Wouldn’t they have less harmful impact if the garish white paint was removed? Even getting this paint removed would be a small but significant improvement! These are the sort of workable tweaks that I think I can bring to the wind industry, small incremental changes that would all improve the end-user experience.

Some links from today’s news feed:

In The Shadow Of Wind Farms:

http://gatehousenews.com/windfarms/home/?skipintro=true

Petition: Stop The Production Tax Credit For Industrial Wind:

https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/stop-the-production-tax-credit-for-industrial-wind.html

Turbine Failure (Germany):

https://www.tag24.de/nachrichten/nienburg-stadthagen-schaumburg-windkraftanlage-umgeknickt-windrad-sturm-burglind-412540

Turbine Failure (France):

https://www.ouest-france.fr/pays-de-la-loire/challans-85300/en-images-tempete-carmen-une-eolienne-de-bouin-s-est-ecrasee-au-sol-5480065?utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook

Deforestation In Scotland To Make Way For Wind Farms:

https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2018/01/02/huge-areas-of-forest-destroyed-to-make-way-for-7-wind-farms/

Infrasonic Frequencies:

PHIL H:

The Public Attitudes Tracker (PAT) series of surveys are conducted by an independent, professional polling company, commissioned by the UK government, from samples of over 2000 people selected at random by postcode, and interviewed in person. 2000 respondents gives a standard deviation accuracy of +/-2%, which is significantly more accurate than the typical political poll run by newspapers. This is precisely why I would put so much more reliance on it than, say, the set of commenters on your Scottish posting, who are a small, self-selected group found over the internet.

But as you get nearer you find levels of protest rise
There’s less protest if the turbine(s) is to be community-owned. So some of the protest is to do with the ownership and perception of ownership, rather than the turbine(s) per se.

the polls don’t show the intensity of feeling
The PAT surveys do – I’m trying to keep my comments brief, or it’ll become more my blog than yours. These are the approximate figures eyeball-averaged over the 5 yr of the surveys (2012-17). None of the categories shows a statistically significant trend over that time.
20% strongly support
47% support
22% neither support nor oppose, and don’t knows
8% oppose
3% strongly oppose
[My apologies for having misread the last category as 1½% previously.]

when we encounter wind turbines, it negatively affects our…
They don’t phase me, nor any of my family or friends, including those that live in rural northeast Wales amidst a number of turbines of various sizes scattered over the surrounding landscape. Indeed from the window of the B&B’s room that we usually stay in when visiting, there’s a picturesque view of a lone turbine on a hill in the near distance, Teletubby-like, which I like watching, and prefer that room for that reason.

Why is it that wind power seems to be getting ever more unpopular
The consistency of the PAT surveys over the years shows that the ‘opposed’ & ‘strongly opposed’ percentages have been stable with time. If you’re encountering increasing numbers of strongly anti-wind people, it must be because you’re encountering more members of that 3%, or they are becoming more active & vocal.

I simply do not see any tangible evidence at all of support for onshore wind

You could invest the minimum amount in the next wind-energy coop to be set up, and go to its AGMs and meet some of the hundreds of its members who believe in onshore wind enough to take part in building more of it and risking their money to do so. Of course they are making money from their investments, but they could make more, and probably with less risk, by investing in Shell or BP shares; and often/usually they will be giving up some of the money they could make to fund programs of local benefit. You might even be able to attend, as an observer, the AGMs of existing wind-energy coops – the nearest one to you is probably Four Winds. There are dozens of wind-energy coops in the UK, typically with a couple of hundred members each, that have been set up in recent years, so that’s growing numbers, in the thousands, of people who strongly support onshore wind without making their presence felt in public.

why on earth are wind turbines painted high-visibility white paint?

I don’t know. Many German ones are painted green at the base fading into white higher up, as are Ecotricity’s 2 turbines at Swaffham, Norfolk, which seems a reasonable compromise. White would be more visible to aircraft for daytime safety, though you identified one application for a grey-painted one.

rank them in order of most useful to least useful

Some combination of their capacity and capacity factor, preferably calculated before construction. With bonus points for being sited in a previously-developed area, and for being built on a site where the power’s to be used. Once built, it would be a waste of the expended resources to remove a still-functioning turbine.

Nature is more important than electricity in the long run.

If you’re seriously suggesting that the British population should put up with power cuts, and consequent freezing in the dark, in order to preserve British moorland landscapes, then you’re by far the deepest green person I’ve ever encountered.

who do I need to persuade that we don’t need any new wind farms in the UK?

Whoever you’re aiming this blog at? As well as expounding your personal reasons, you’ve also tried to corral some objective objections to wind power: some hoary old anti-renewable myths, and some interesting new lines of argument of your own. I’ve tried to show there’s little in these objective objections [thank you for allowing me the extended opportunity to do this, by the way]. But if you’d still like to bolster your personal reasons with objective line(s) of argument, if only as something of more interest for your readers, then I’m suggesting what I see as the most promising way to go. But it is, of course, your blog.

Simply giving more voice to these people’s feelings is a socially good thing to do

Sure. But I got the impression you wanted to change things as well, with this blog and in other ways.

you do make a GREAT case for them

I’ve not been trying to promote onshore wind, rather to explain why I think it’s the least-expensive, but second-worst, option for coping with the inevitable, and thus why there’s likely to be substantially more of it.

PEAK PROTECTION:

(1) Wind turbines affect some people, not others

I realise they don’t affect everyone, but they do affect some people drastically, this is undeniable. I’ve linked to dozens if not hundreds of articles by people who perceive wind turbines to have a negative impact on them. It’s unrealistic to deny that there are several people negatively impacted by wind turbines, for whatever reason. I’m interested in looking into these reasons. If someone says “I am suffering” I believe them, in the same way that if someone at work says their computer is broken, I believe them! Now the root cause maybe not be what they think it is, or it may even be something they’re doing wrong (which would be someone else’s fault really, for not adequately training them). Ultimately though, we never ever blame the client for any negative impact the computer system has on them.

It is a scientific fact that lots of people really, really do not like wind farms (over 2,000 members from all around the world in one of the activist groups I’m part of). Do you have any possible explanations why we feel this way? I have lots, which I’ve thrown out there to be discussed. There are the obvious things such as degradation of the countryside, corporatisation of open access common land etc, but there are others which might or might not be accurate, and are definitely worthy of further study. Eg infrasonic sound, shadow flicker, seasickness, epilepsy, migraines…who knows? I’ve testified in an entry that I came close to vomiting next to Todmorden Wind Farm, and had I actually thrown up I would have photographed it as evidence!

It would be equally wrong for me to say they affect everybody as it would were you to say they affect nobody. As always, the truth is somewhere in the middle, with no simple Yes/No answer. SOME wind farms affect SOME people. So which turbines affect which people, in which way, and what could be the cause? If you look at my blog in the context of me trying to log and resolve this widespread issue which has affected me too, and persuading people of the strength of bad feelings wind turbines can cause being its original objective. Obviously as more people have read and engaged with my correspondence, I’ve reached out and taken the dialogue further. But it is a scientific fact that wind turbines negatively affect my mood and sense of well-being, with no prior bias against them, only in favour of them (right up until 2014). What do you think it is about wind turbines that drove me to post so many words, bearing in mind I have no hidden agenda of any sort, what you see is what you get. Why do you think I don’t like them? Why did that cartoonist draw them as instruments of Death? Why do so many of us hate them Phil? What do you think is the real reason we are affected negatively by wind turbines?

This is where YOU need a compelling vision Phil! Wind turbine advocates need to demonstrate real understanding of the adverse reactions to their products, and they need to come up with some solutions that reassure the opponents. You don’t do a bad job personally, but the industry itself needs to be more receptive to the fact that there are several people round the world who have a bad reaction to wind turbines. Even if they were to say, “Wind turbines have all these great qualities, but unfortunately they have these side effects on certain individuals.”, that’d be reality.

Once we’re all agreed on the fact that wind schemes are almost always opposed strongly by a sizeable and vocal contingent of the electorate, which I think the UK government is now, we can start looking into the issue of what’s upsetting them a bit more deeply. But whatever it is about wind turbines that triggers us, it is a real-life issue, I passed several on the road yesterday, with this blog in mind, and I still had the negative impact on passing them. Words and explanations don’t take away the physiological reaction I still have to these machines. they literally make me feel like my very life force is being sucked out of me, and I still don’t know why! I wish someone, somewhere would be able to explain it. All I can hope for at the moment is to be listened to and understood.

Let me break it down as simply as possible. Imagine two hills of equal height, prominence and topography. One gets a wind turbine stuck on top, the other doesn’t. Now those hills are no longer equal, so the first thing we can say about wind turbines is they increase inequality. The hill with the turbine on it has now been blighted, degraded and made less pleasant than the hill with no turbine, and I would no longer visit the hill with the turbine on it by choice. More than that, I would proactively try and avoid it.

This means the countryside has in the last couple of decades become divided between unblighted (positive quality) areas, which retain a high amenity value, and blighted (negative quality) areas, of little tourist, recreational or aesthetic value. The impact of wind turbines on a landscape is that they immediately and drastically pull the quality of the countryside down from “highly above average” to “deeply below average”. Kirklees is a case in point; degraded from “almost National Park” quality countryside to “industrialised toilet” in just a couple of dozen wind turbines. Residents of Kirklees, instead of having, say, a dozen hills to choose from to get their leisure, recreation, exercise and a general sense of health and well-being, might now find they only have five or six (the wide-ranging views of wind turbines having a negative impact on all adjacent hills).

Worst of all, if one lived in an area where there are only one or two undeveloped green spaces nearby, the erection of a single badly located turbine could literally remove all areas of unspoilt natural beauty from the entire district. The wind turbine at Jaytail Farm near Silsden is one such badly located turbine (thank you Brendan Lyons of the Planning Inspectorate, based down in Bristol, for knowing better than Bradford Council what’s good for the Green Belt around Keighley. Thank you for wrecking Ilkley Moor. The people of Yorkshire are really grateful to you!) The truth is, a vast area of countryside has been degraded by this single, intrusive and inappropriate turbine.

I mentioned ranking wind farms…we could also rank areas of countryside, on a number of criteria. The introduction of a wind farm into a landscape has a clear and mathematically proven impact on the desirability of that area, compared to an equivalent landscape with no wind turbines. To me this is a logical no-brainer, and even the Environmental Impact Assessments required as part of the planning process concede the impact of wind farms as “Negative”, or at best “Neutral”. I have literally never seen a single EIA that describes a wind farm as having a “Positive” impact on a landscape.

So it is very easy to calibrate the impact of a wind farm on a landscape, and to admit that the same landscape without a wind farm would score more highly than with it. Thus the problems occur when a local council, eg Derbyshire Dales, says the impact of Carsington Pastures wind farm, barely a mile from the edge of the Peak District, is unacceptable to them, but then a lone Planning Inspector like Mr Robin Brooks has the power to say, “Nonsense! People visiting the Peak will barely even notice it.” The weighting of Mr Brooks’ opinion over the Council’s decision is arbitary and unfair I feel, and it really does appear that this weighting has shifted back in favour of local communities. That makes sense to me, it seems pragmatic, logical and ethical.

When I look at the schemes I’ve been involved with, the support for the proposals is conspicuous by its absence in the community, Rooley Moor, Gorpley. Scout Moor expansion. Crook Hill. I could introduce you to dozens of people who have their own reasons for opposing these schemes. I’d barely be able to introduce to a single supporter of each. That’s just my real-life experience. (For example in a Residents’ Meeting at a crowded church hall in Rochdale, not even specifically about the wind farm proposal, when there was a show of hands amongst residents for who supported the Rooley Moor wind farm, not a single person raised their hands). Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale, even launched a “Not On Our Hills” petition against the Scout Moor expansion, which got 1,000 signatures. It was claimed by Jake that 97% of all respondents were negative towards Scout Moor expansion. Hook Moor near Leeds was rejected THREE TIMES before approval. Crook Hill was even opposed by the LibDem MP of the time Paul Rowan (the LibDems being incredibly pro-wind power as I’m sure you’re aware!).

I’m almost tempted to say: “Fine, go ahead and believe the opinion polls if you really want!” But because I respect you Phil and want your understanding of the world to be accurate, I will say this, don’t be complacent. Don’t think that just because a poll informed you people like wind farms, that’s a true and up-to-date reflection of reality and that won’t change, or hasn’t already. My real-life experiences lead me to believe the opposite. I think the wind industry is in denial if it doesn’t acknowledge the strength of opposition against wind farms, and as I want the industry transformed, or at least the bad apples removed, I don’t mind personally if wind companies react too slowly to the increasing opposition that will only do them harm if they fail to acknowledge it. I believe that 100%. Industries and businesses go belly-up when they ignore customer feedback and continue to think they’re more popular than they really are.

(2) Ranking Wind Farms

“Some combination of their capacity and capacity factor, preferably calculated before construction. With bonus points for being sited in a previously-developed area, and for being built on a site where the power’s to be used. Once built, it would be a waste of the expended resources to remove a still-functioning turbine.”

Yes good points. I’d also get feedback from the community. How has it affected you? If opinion polls are to be used as an indicator of popularity, then let’s get some opinion polls done on a more local basis. It’s not that polls are untrustworthy, it’s just down to the questions and methodology used. Asking random people what they think of something abstract will throw up different results from asking a specific community what it thinks of a specific project. Any wind farms that are outstandingly unpopular, or have very bad capacity factors, would need remedial action.

(3) Nature is more important than electricity in the long run.

“If you’re seriously suggesting that the British population should put up with power cuts, and consequent freezing in the dark, in order to preserve British moorland landscapes, then you’re by far the deepest green person I’ve ever encountered.”

I feel the moorlands are the very last places I want to see transformed into places of power generation. It should be done as minimally and sparingly as possible, literally as few wind farms as we can possibly get by with. I think we’ve already hit upon the root of the problem here, the old system in which the whole of England was basically a free-for-all for prospective wind developers to tout their wares, then the communities would say no, only for the Planning Inspectors overturn them. I’d rather see local communities draw up areas where wind development is acceptable to them, preferably as small areas as possible, and then say no to everywhere else. Again, method and implementation has been the problem. The sheer volume of successful planning appeals says there has been a mismatch between what local councils want and what the planners have wanted. This has changed though, in my direction! So I’m reasonably happy now.

(4) Debunking Anti-Renewables Myths

“who do I need to persuade that we don’t need any new wind farms in the UK?
Whoever you’re aiming this blog at? As well as expounding your personal reasons, you’ve also tried to corral some objective objections to wind power: some hoary old anti-renewable myths, and some interesting new lines of argument of your own. I’ve tried to show there’s little in these objective objections [thank you for allowing me the extended opportunity to do this, by the way]. But if you’d still like to bolster your personal reasons with objective line(s) of argument, if only as something of more interest for your readers, then I’m suggesting what I see as the most promising way to go. But it is, of course, your blog.”

You’ve done a great job Phil, you’ve transformed the blog for the better. I hope this proves the truth is more important to me than any anti-wind dogma on my part. It’s also a blog about the role of discourse and decision-making in terms of Policy & Impact, aimed at those who maybe didn’t even realise there were two sides to the wind debate. Regarding the accusations I’ve thrown at wind energy, sure, I’m the first to admit they won’t all hold water, but in all IT troubleshooting we start with the basics and then gradually get more complicated. Is it plugged in? Have you turned it on? Were you able to log in? We’ve started with the old chestnuts and then gradually refined our questions to more complicated stuff.

You’ve definitely helped me rule out most of the basic conceptual arguments against wind power for being the trigger to the negative reaction I have towards wind turbines. I had to ask, even if simply to rule them out. So what are we left with? Something about how the wind turbines operate, whether it be the look, the sound or the motion, or a toxic combination of all elements. Do some affect me worse than others? It can depend on the weather, and the proximity to the turbines, plus how long we are in their presence. Off the top of my head, the area around Todmorden, Reaps Moss and Crook Hill wind farms routinely makes me feel nauseous. The turbines near Sheffield/Rotherham visible from the M1 are very bad triggers. Ovenden Moor is bad. If, in the name of research, I had to pick a wind farm that doesn’t affect me too badly, well Knabbs Ridge near Harrogate is relatively inoffensive (despite losing a turbine in a fire this time last year!). I’d have to do more detailed research and analysis to say for sure though..

In summary, to me it’s quite good and interesting that we’ve been able to refute some of the more simplistic accusations against wind, because it means that whatever IS causing the bad reaction is clearly more complicated and worthy of investigation. The mystery is only increased by ruling out the false causes. The best thing turbine proponents could do would be to work with victims, with good intentions and mutual respect on all sides, to really get some objective truth on this matter. A more receptive approach from wind companies to the unintended consequences of their products would be helpful, and I would love to be involved in this research. In turn, I would be happy to concede that, done well, wind “can” work.

In terms of keeping a record of wind energy’s impacts locally, well I’ve managed to capture two faulty turbines in one village, both having lost blades within seven weeks. Even assuming everything you’ve said about wind power is true, a wind turbine without blades won’t be producing a single watt of renewable energy! Especially if the turbine maker is now bust. Two going down in one village over a couple of months isn’t a great advert for the sustainability of wind turbines.

(5) More Wind Power?
“I’ve not been trying to promote onshore wind, rather to explain why I think it’s the least-expensive, but second-worst, option for coping with the inevitable, and thus why there’s likely to be substantially more of it.”

Really? Not in England, over the next five years, anyway! Not near me, anyway, if I can help it, unless I am persuaded that it’s in my interests to support any such schemes. If it is the case that there will be more onshore wind power in England, there will be more people experiencing negative impacts from wind turbines, more division within local communities, more opposition from residents, more anti-wind art and culture. It will certainly give fodder for more blogging, that’s for sure!

Final comment: Phil, you’ve been a great sport and have personally contributed to shifting my stance, from the moment you joined the debate. My position is now to drop any attacks on wind power for “not working”. Other people will still pursue this line of attack, not me. You’ve persuaded me that wind power can work, albeit not the best solution, but it’s not intrinsically an out and out scam, sure.

I can now formulate a new synthesis: yes, wind turbines do generate a certain amount of CO2-free electricity, but unfortunately in the process, something about their operation triggers an adverse reaction in several people’s mental health and well-being. Possibly even (at a lower rate) everyone’s.

That’s where I’m at now, which is significantly different from where I was when I started the blog, only a few months ago.

The power of dialectic in action 🙂

Dialectic In Action

Happy New Year everyone! I’m going to start 2018 by posting in full the conversation between a reader and myself over the last two entries. It’s already there below the original blog posts, but due to the layout of WordPress you have to scroll way down to see all the comments, and as this Dialectic has taken up most of my writing time over the Christmas period, it makes sense to promote the conversation to the main attraction of the first post of 2018, rather than a mere footnote at the end of 2017.

The following discourse, which hopefully is ongoing and can be continued in the comments below, is a perfect illustration of how I believe, as did Socrates, that we can use the Dialectic Method as a tool to help us arrive at The Truth. My strident essays of 2017 are examples of Rhetoric – emotionally intense writing designed to be persuasive, hard-hitting, always truthful yet sometimes figurative or metaphorical rather than 100% hard science. Dialectic is different, and when it comes to wind power I want 2018 to be a year of Dialectic more than Rhetoric.

Rhetoric is when words are written or spoken with the express purpose of getting you to think something, and that is exactly what I have done thus far: I’ve wanted to share with you how angry wind turbines have made me feel, and I’ve wanted you to experience some of that anger for yourselves, so that you can empathise with me and my fellow wind victims. In short, I’ve wanted to turn you off wind power! But I’ve tried to keep my Rhetoric honest and open to feedback. In a formal debate, the speakers’ opening statements are generally examples of Rhetoric, where they lay out their case and try and persuade the audience of its validity. This introductory prose itself is an example of Rhetoric – framing the conversation and getting your attention! Making you interested, I hope…

Dialectic is what should follow, and it’s only where there is no room for Dialectic that I get frustrated and annoyed, when all we get is one-sided Rhetoric with no chance to challenge and discuss it. All in all, that’s exactly what I’ve felt with the pro-wind Rhetoric that has dominated our media coverage of wind energy for so long. That’s certainly what I’ve felt with The Guardian – all Rhetoric and no real Dialectic!

Dialectic is what we see in government in Prime Minister’s Questions, although hardly of the highest intellectual calibre, it must be said (maybe the aggressive nature of PMQ’s even puts casual observers off!). Dialectic is the technique of forensic cross-examination used by the police and judicial system. Dialectic can be found in your GP’s surgery, as he or she tries to diagnose exactly what is wrong with you. Dialectic is also used in IT troubleshooting, when we have to ask users all sorts of questions about why their laptops keep BSOD’ing. Dialectic. Diagnosis. Dialogue! (all from the Greek prefix “dia-” meaning “passing through”).

Dialectic is a fundamental of good mental health, because “passing through” both sides of an argument ensures our thinking is well-balanced and even-handed, even if ultimately we come down more on one side than the other. And dialectic is easy… everyone knows how to do Dialectic! I remember it from University – well, the University Bar, where we used to play a game called The Rizla Game. Did you ever play that? You have a celebrity’s name written on a Rizla on your forehead and you have to try and guess who you are, with only Yes / No questions. That’s Dialectic, and if you’re any good, you’ll work out simply from asking the right Yes / No questions who you are. So I repeat: EVERYONE CAN DO DIALECTIC!

Hegelian Dialectic is where a simple two-dimensional Yes / No scenario is expanded to become a more complicated three-dimensional Thesis / Antithesis / Synthesis affair. If the Thesis is “Yes” and the Antithesis is “No”,  the Synthesis is that nebulous “Kind of”, “Semi”, “Up to a point….” answer. Syntheses can infuriate people who like a simple, binary existence, but if we’re more motivated by The Truth and Critical Thinking than intellectual comfort zones that aren’t strictly speaking aligned with the facts, then we need to get good at working on formulating Syntheses.

That’s what Phil H has brought to this blog, to the point where it almost feels like it’s more worthwhile to make it a double-act than simply a one-man show, because I want to share with you all the value of Dialectic In Action. I believe you will find more truth about wind power in the following Dialectic than you will from pretty much any of the preceeding Rhetoric, hence wanting to cut to the chase and bring this entire conversation centre stage.

I will certainly draw upon my Rhetoric, and I will leave it standing to show my workings, evidence of just how badly the wind turbines affected my mood.  But moving forward, grab yourselves some popcorn and enjoy the following Dialectic.

The central thesis to my opening Rhetoric was that wind turbines are essentially useless and harmful blight, and those who support them have a hidden agenda, or at least are being controlled by someone else in the shadows. Phil introduced himself with an antithesis to my thesis, if I may paraphrase: hold on, these guys might actually be telling the truth, and wind power might actually be more useful than you give it credit for.

What follows is the search for Synthesis: a process local and regional authorities have to adhere to every single time they are faced with a controversial and divisive wind farm proposal. Not everyone will be happy with the decisions arrived at, but if we tick as many boxes as possible, from both sides of the debate, then hopefully we can at least find some kind of best-fit policy that works as well as humanly possible. Might offshore (but not onshore) wind farms be that synthesis? Or does the synthesis lie in a wholly different form of renewable energy generation?

We shall get nearer these answers as the Dialectic progresses. And to everyone reading, please do feel free to join the discussion! It’s a total free-for-all, everyone welcome.

So, without further ado…

PHIL H:

I’d like to correct your apparent misunderstanding of the term ‘capacity factor’: “they don’t work almost 75% of the time“. This misunderstanding seems to be widespread, and promulgated by others who should know better.

When a turbine has, say, a 25% capacity factor, it doesn’t mean that it produces full power for 25% of the time and nothing for 75% of the time. It means that, depending on the turbine and its location, it produces full power for maybe 10% of the time, nothing for maybe 10% of the time, and intermediate levels of power for the remaining, maybe 80% of the time, such that the long term average of its output is 25% of its maximum.

So it ‘works’, in the sense of producing power, for maybe 90% of the time. If ‘works’ is defined as ‘being in a working condition’, like my car when it’s parked, it would be 100% (less malfunctions).

PEAK PROTECTION:

Hi Phil, many thanks for the explanation of what the “capacity factor” really means! Point taken on board.The net result is the same though, barely 25% of “the installed capacity to power 5,000 homes” or whatever claims are made, and that’s the bit I find thoroughly misleading. Thanks for the contribution, and please do set me straight if you see anything factually incorrect in the blog.

PHIL H:

The ‘number of homes powered’ calculations take into account the expected capacity factor (CF).

I don’t see why a CF of 25% or whatever for a wind turbine is any more or less ‘misleading’ than that for other generation. Over a year, our combined cycle gas turbine plant typically produce just 40-50% of their full rated output, our coal plant currently 10-20%, and our open cycle gas turbine plant less than 5%.

PEAK PROTECTION:

It’s misleading when a wind farm proposal is put forward on the basis that “it has the installed capacity to power 5,000 homes”, missing out the vital fact: “but a capacity factor of 25%, meaning in actual operation only 1,250 homes can expect to be realistically powered.”

PHIL H:

No: The ‘number of homes powered’ calculations do take into account the expected capacity factor (CF); they are not based on the turbine producing its full output all the time. I believe there is a legal requirement for the CF to be taken into account thus, either from Ofgem or the Advertising Standards Agency.

If you would like independent confirmation of this, look at the definition of the statistics compiled by the national wind trade association, in the ‘Homes Powered Equivalent (p.a.)’ section of http://www.renewableuk.com/page/UKWEDExplained (Their expression ‘load factor’ is effectively the same as my definition of ‘capacity factor’ for this purpose.)

PEAK PROTECTION:

Great information, many thanks! In particular that link will be very useful in furthering my research, much appreciated. OK, so let’s look at an example of the sales-pitch and break it down then. This is from Peel Energy:

“Port of Liverpool and Seaforth Wind Farms
Peel Energy’s operational wind farms in Liverpool have capacity to generate 13.6MW of electricity.”
DOES THAT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE CAPACITY FACTOR OR IS THAT THE TOTAL INSTALLED CAPACITY?

“Scout Moor Wind Farm
The 26 operational turbines in Lancashire and Greater Manchester have capacity to generate 65MW.”
DOES THAT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE CAPACITY FACTOR OR IS THAT THE TOTAL INSTALLED CAPACITY?

“Frodsham Wind Farm
Peel Energy has submitted a planning application for a wind farm
in Frodsham, Cheshire. It would have capacity to generate up to
57MW of electricity enough electricity to meet the average needs of approximately 24,500 homes.”
DOES THAT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE CAPACITY FACTOR OR IS THAT THE TOTAL INSTALLED CAPACITY?

You see where the confusion arises!

http://www.scoutmoorwindfarm.co.uk/images/scout-moor/Peel%20Banner%20Low%20Res.pdf

PHIL H:

Thanks for that link to a document I’d not seen before. It’s 6 yr old, but it mentions an interesting gas+CCS proposal I was not aware of, that seems to have come to nought. Using the document’s contents as an example:

The 13.6MW, 65MW & 57MW are indeed the maximum output powers of the farms (which is why it says “up to”), often called their ‘nameplate capacity’ or usually just ‘capacity’.

We can check the calculations for the ‘homes equivalent’ figures for Scout Moor on p4 of that PDF. The standard calculation method is based on the amounts of energy (in kWh or MWh) per year.

Expected generation would be: 65 MW * 24 hr * 365 days * (let’s guess) 25% CF = 142,350 MWh per year = 142,350,000 kWh per year

The average UK household now uses about 4000 kWh per year (it’s been falling in recent years, and so the ‘official’ amount that’s required to be used can vary according to the date of the calculation). This is the first document I’ve seen where a local consumption figure is used as well.

So I’d calculate the farm’s electricity would be the equivalent of powering 142,350,000 kWh/yr / 4000 kWh/yr = 35,588 homes. Which is a few more than Peel Energy calculated – if they hadn’t allowed for the CF, they would have got about 4 times my number.

I’d guess the CF isn’t mentioned in the document because it’s aimed at the general public, who are mostly non-technical, and Peel Energy wanted to only provide the essential information in this overview.

You can use this method to check any other such claims. I guess they will all take the CF into account, as it’s so easy for some-one to check, and if they’re found to be deliberately or accidentally wrong in even some minor part of their proposal, it’ll reflect badly on the rest of it.

We can even do some reverse engineering by working backwards from their figures, to calculate that in 2009, Scout Moor’s achieved capacity factor (usually called the ‘load factor’ when talking about what was actually achieved for a given period in the past like this) was

153,349,724 kWh / (65,000 kW * 24 hr * 365 days) = 26.9%

PEAK PROTECTION:

Thanks again for the informative reply, I’m truly grateful for the time and effort you’ve put into explaining this. So, if I understand you correctly, when the advert claims “Frodsham has a capacity of 57 MW, enough to power 24,500 homes”, the 57 MW is the total installed capacity, but the 24,500 homes is based on the capacity factor (ie running at 100% CF it would actually be able to power nearer 100,000 homes.

That genuinely clears up the mysteries surrounding these output figures and addresses my original complaint that the “homes powered” figure is based on the total installed capacity, not the CF. It does seem a weird and confusing way of describing wind farm output however, the installed capacity being neither here nor there if the capacity factors are routinely so low.

A good analogy would be saying “My car has the capacity to drive at 100mph, fast enough to get from Leeds to London in 4 hours.” Both statements are true, however at a distance of 200 miles, at top speed I should be able to do that journey in just 2 hours; the 4 hours takes into account traffic and rest stops rather than reflecting the top speed in any way. I’m glad that the homes powered figure is based on this real-life performance rather than the installed capacity, which as we can see has very little bearing on actual performance.

The next question is exactly what this “homes powered” means in real life. Does it mean meeting the full power needs of a home for the entirety of a time period (eg 100% of the power needs of my home for the entire month of December)? We know that can’t happen though, because the wind doesn’t blow 100% of the time! So when a wind farm claims to produce “enough energy to power 5,000 homes”, how can it fulfil all those homes’ power needs, 24-7, including those times when zero wind power is generated? I genuinely don’t understand! I know I’m biased against wind power, but this might explain why, and if you can correct me, then more power to your elbow!

It just doesn’t make sense to me. How can 5,000 homes be powered in no wind??? So what does the “homes powered” figure actually mean in terms of real-life operation?

Let’s use the “24,500 homes” powered by Frodsham as an example, let’s say based on a CF of roughly 25% (in fact, it’s been significantly down on that these last few months, nearer 13% according to the data below). [There’s also another column in this table, “Potential Output”, about 75% of the maximum output, which is itself significantly lower than the sales-pitch claims, more like 51 MW than the 57 MW claimed, but there we go…]

The potential output is only 38 MW, and the actual reported output over August 2017 an abysmal 5MW! That’s embarrassingly poor, surely, an achieved output of less than 10% CF!

So was this actually generated 5MW enough to power these 24,500 homes 24-7 throughout the entire month of August? How does this figure deal with the times when there was no wind?

https://www.variablepitch.co.uk/stations/8352/output/

PHIL H:

Yes, your understanding expounded in the first para is indeed correct. Your car analogy is a good one: it could do the journey in 2hr in the pre-dawn hours, but 4hr is a more realistic expectation for a typical/average journey, though it could take all day if the M1 is closed by an accident.

To understand the info in that webpage on Frodsham, you need to be clear about ‘energy’ and ‘power’:

‘Energy’ is an invisible, intangible, sort-of material; it’s usually measured in Watt-hours, abbreviated Wh (and kWh, MWh, GWh, TWh in thousand-fold multiples). An analogy is quantities of water, which might be measured in ‘bucketfuls’.

‘Power’ is a flow of energy, usually measured in Watts, abbreviated W (and kW, MW, GW, TW). An analogy is a flow of water, which might be measured in ‘hosepipes’.
The two are linked by time: A power of 1W for 1hr would pass 1Wh of energy through a system; a hosepipe running for 1 hour might deliver 1 bucketful of water.
(Aside: ‘power’ is also often also used to mean ‘electricity’; and ‘energy’ to mean ‘energy of all sorts together, ie, electricity, oil, coal, firewood, etc’.)

Applying this to the Frodsham Wind Farm Output data:

Column 3 is its maximum, ‘nameplate’ capacity, a power, measured in kW as 51,300 kW (I don’t know why the figure above the table is slightly different). It’s the same in each month as no turbines are added or dismantled.

Column 4 is the maximum energy it could potentially produce in the time period of each 1 month, measured in MWh: 51,300*24*31 = 38,167,200 kWh = 38,167.2 MWh (proportionately less for the shorter months).

Column 5 is the actual energy it produced each month, as reported to the authorities, also measured in MWh.

Column 6 is the ratio of the actual to the maximum for each month, ie the load factor for the month (they call it the capacity factor for month, I won’t quibble), as a percentage. It varies each month, mainly according to how windy it was – winter months are usually windier than summer ones in the UK, and this table of Frodsham generation illustrates this. Also, it didn’t get into full operation till Feb, so the first months may have been adversely affected by ironing out the bugs. So the average of all the months in blue at top seems low because it’s mainly the calmer summer months, and is dragged down by the months of sub-optimal operation during commissioning.

“what this “homes powered” means”
A very good question! It’s used to make a figure of energy in MWh more meaningful to non-technical people, such as planning committees and the general public:

If you’re told a 1MW (capacity) turbine will produce 2,190,000 kWh in a year, even if you know that 1kWh is one unit on your electricity bill costing you about 15p, it’s still a blindingly big number of a ‘thing’ that few people readily understand. But if you’re told that’s equivalent to the energy consumed by about 550 homes in the year, it’s easier to grasp its scale. And a planning committee might think that siting your 1MW turbine on the top of Windy Hill above the village of Little-Blighty-on-the-Moors, which consists of about 550 houses, is an appropriate scale of new development given the scale of existing development in the area – or not, if the relative sizes are very different.

What is not intended, but some people mistake it, some unknowingly, some deliberately, is to imply that the turbine will supply all the power being used by those 550 homes (or any other 550 homes), no more and no less, at all times through the year – because it won’t. That’s why ‘equivalent’ is used frequently with this figure, as a caveat. The homes’ demand varies according to daily, weekly & annual activities; the turbine’s output varies according to the strength of wind blowing. The main correlation between the two in the UK is that we use more electricity in winter, as there are more hours of darkness to light and some is used for top-up heating; and winters are windier than summers. This lack of correlation is wind power’s biggest technical drawback, which I was going to address in a later comment.

PEAK PROTECTION:

Thanks again Phil, an awful lot to take in but it really does help explain. I think from what you’ve said, and how I honestly misinterpreted it, the “homes powered…” analogy isn’t entirely helpful. I wouldn’t say people deliberately misrepresent the claim, I would say it is genuinely confusing in its implication (even if unintended) that the turbines provide sole power to these homes, however I take on board the reality that it is merely an equivalent figure based on average home usage.

I’m therefore prepared to drop my criticism that the capacity factor statements are dishonest, I’ll leave my original post intact with these explanatory comments so readers can follow the dialogue, and once again I thank you so much for your contributions to the debate!

Moving my position forward with this new information… how would changing the total capacity impact on the actual energy generated? If Frodsham has a total capacity of 51,300 kW, which actually generated 5,158.00 MWh during August 2017, how different would its output be if, say, the total capacity was only half (around 25,000 KW)?

The reason I ask is, because there’s clearly a trade-off that we as a society need to make, between our power needs and also our well-being needs. The bigger and higher capacity a wind farm, the bigger its environmental impact (unless the capacity factors can be significantly improved), because clearly it will be more visible and have a greater visual blight over a wider area (http://personal.lse.ac.uk/gibbons/papers/windfarms%20and%20houseprices%20november%202013%20v5.pdf plus my personal testimony on the psychological and emotional impact of wind turbines).

I don’t know what the figure is, this is what we as a society need to agree upon, but there is surely a cut-off figure beyond which the rate of power generated simply isn’t worth the negative impact on the local environment. Would it be acceptable to depreciate the value of 10,000 homes in order to meet the energy needs of 5,000?

Or, to develop my car analogy: we’ve already established that my car has a top speed of 100mph, but the actual time it takes to travel the 200 miles to London is generally around 4 hours, so my average achieved speed is nearer 50mph (capacity factor 50%), and I will only occasionally be able to get anywhere near top speed.

Now, I can currently fit 4 passengers in my car, but if I reduced the physical size of the engine so that its top speed was now only 75mph, I could gain the space for an extra passenger. This is the trade-off I’m referring to: larger installed capacity equals larger landtake / lower installed capacity equals less landtake. There is the clear case to be made that having a smaller engine wouldn’t significantly impact on my actual driving time, and in fact would give me an extra seat for a passenger? (I drive a small car anyway, for exactly these reasons! I have no need for a huge, inefficient, uneconomical, over-engineered vehicle…)

Couldn’t we apply the same logic to wind farms: drastically smaller and less obtrusive wind farms wouldn’t in fact significantly impact on their actual achieved output?

It’d be interesting to compare the landtake / visual impact of Scout Moor and Frodsham, vs the output of each, and to see if reducing the size of the wind farms to improve their visual impact would significantly affect their output. My logic (which might be wrong!) is this: at a capacity factor of between 10 and 20%, the actual output doesn’t actually change that much with each removed turbine, so surely the fewer turbines, the more we can optimise exactly how much energy is produced? If there are 16 turbines at Frodsham generating 5,158.00 MWh, would reducing the number to 8 turbines only lower the output by approximately 2,575.00 MWh (not a great deal less in fact), or is that too simplistic?

My thesis is that wind farms seem to be too large and over-engineered, significantly more than other energy sources, and that making them smaller and less obtrusive would not drastically impact on actual energy generation. They seem to impact on far too many of our landscapes to justify the energy generated. In short: we’ve prioritised electricity over nature, far more than we’ve actually needed to.

I know Frodsham and Scout Moor and of the two I’d say Scout Moor has a far wider and more destructive visual impact on thousands of properties, all across South Lancashire and Greater Manchester. The altitude is too high for this sort of industrial development (high-altitude places being seen since the dawn of time as special places of great value to our health and well-being). Frodsham, while hardly a place of beauty (with Ellesmere Port industries already dominating the landscape), is at least low-lying and only visible locally.

I think the impact on landscapes is equally important as the energy generation figures, and there needs to be a better trade-off between environmental impact and energy output (it seems like things are swinging more in this direction now, mercifully). But I totally accept what you’ve said about how these energy generation figures are calculated, and appreciate you filling me in. Many thanks!

PHIL H:

I don’t think your capacity factor statement is dishonest, rather ‘inaccurately interpreted’ perhaps. I’ve seen it similarly misunderstood by a British nuclear power boss, who really should have a better understanding of electricity generation.

Regarding your thoughts about the trade-off between turbine numbers, size, siting and electricity output:

From basic physics, the power harvestable from wind is strongly dependent on the speed of the wind: when the wind speed doubles, the power in it and potentially extractable from it increases eight-fold! (Conversely: to drive a car twice as fast requires 8 times the power to overcome the wind resistance, which is why driving very fast ruins fuel economy.)

So if you want to get maximum energy and financial value from a turbine, you want the longest blades, which can harvest power from the largest swept area, and site it in the windiest place possible. In most parts of the world, including the UK, the wind blows faster and more consistently the higher you get above ground level; hill-tops can be used to gain extra height. In Britain & Ireland the wind blows more close to west coasts, with their Atlantic gales, and also the further north you go, the windier it tends to get.

Best would be to build the turbine as big as possible, put it on the tallest tower you can build, and site it on the highest hill logistically possible, in the north-west of the country. In England this ideal location is called the Lake District National Park. These factors that maximise the energy output from a turbine (which is the same as minimising the number of turbines needed for a given energy requirement), are almost exactly the same as maximise its visual intrusiveness and other objectionability.

That’s where the problem enters the real world of dilemma and compromise. Is it better to site one large turbine on Scafell Pike, or several smaller ones on an unlovely industrial estate in the lowlands?

In the case of, say, Frodsham, halving the number of turbines of the same design & height would halve the farm’s maximum output power (capacity), and would halve the energy generated per day/month/year/project-lifetime. If the blades were longer and/or the towers taller, the same energy could be generated with fewer turbines in the farm. Which is worse: the distance from which they can be seen (largely governed by their height), or the ‘forest effect’ of having many shorter towers? Is it better to site several turbines in one place to confine the blight, or distribute them more widely in the hope that individual ones won’t be so overwhelming?

These are the problems and tradeoffs that wind-farm developers and planning officials have to wrestle with, as well as what’s possible regarding turbine engineering, let alone the financial costs of the various possibilities. Alas I too can offer no easy answers.

PEAK PROTECTION:

Fascinating reply Phil. The other tricky aspect of siting turbines is that of course, the higher the hill, the more remote and further away from demand it is likely to be, which then involves the logistics of shifting that electricity to where its needed.

Maybe this is the Achilles heel with wind power, to be at its most efficient it requires the very same locations that us humans require for our own energy and well-being, the upland sources of our water, more often than not areas of outstanding natural beauty or special scientific interest. Every hill turned over to electricity generation is one less hill available to energise us as a species.

For many people wind energy “jumped the shark” a few years ago, by no longer being seen to be done only sparingly and minimally, but done far in excess of what’s actually needed. This is still the case in Scotland, and as Craven Council informed me, the energy provided by wind turbines is “surplus” to requirements. (Like giving my car an engine capable of achieving 400mph when I only actually need 70mph)!

The Planning Process seemed for a few years to show no restraint, no upper limit to the amount of land set aside for energy generation, and scant attention paid to the negative impacts of wind blight (another issue with hilltop power generation – the impact is vastly greater). As a result, some kind of resistance to constant expansion was needed, a perfectly natural and logical response to saturation, in the same way as a parent saying to a greedy child: “No more cake…you’ll get fat and rot your teeth!” Without the type of resistance shown by myself and fellow campaigners, the fear is the wind companies would have not been limited by the amount of energy we actually need, or the amount of land we are prepared to lose, and would have just carried on and on sticking turbines up, regardless of effectiveness, far beyond generating the energy we actually need.

The other issue unique to wind turbines, of course, is their need for backup, and how this impacts on their ability to lower CO2 emissions (which is the reason we even have them). Is it even possible to lower CO2 emissions if we require a backup to wind power 100% of the time?

PHIL H:

You’ve touched on at least three things I was wanting to address: your “surplus” question, CO2 reduction, and deciding how much wind power we need/want. I’ll try to answer the first as an aside, leave CO2 for later, and then tackle the last point, which is what ought to be decided first.…..“surplus energy supplied to the Grid by such wind turbines”? What does “surplus” mean?

I understand what Craven Council said as a concise way to cover two things:

A turbine consumes some electricity, to power its control electronics, hazard lighting, security CCTV, etc. This is like all other generation; nuclear power stations are the largest self-consumers, drawing several MW even when not generating. It makes sense if this is taken from what is being generated before passing the rest (the vast majority) of the power on to the Grid.

Some turbines, like other types of self-generation, are installed on the site of a business (eg, the one at Knostrop sewage farm) or home, with the intention that much or all of the power be used onsite, with only any left over being exported to the Grid for payment.

So in both situations the power sent to the Grid is only “surplus” to the requirements of the site on which the turbine is installed, not in any wider sense.…..

When I read through all the postings on this blog, they seemed long on wind power’s shortcomings and short on an alternative vision, other than the status quo by implication. I would find it much easier to be persuaded wind power is a bad idea, if you or anyone else could propose a better solution to the trilemma of our future energy supply: security, affordability & sustainability. In the posting of Sep 22, you mention nuclear, clean(er) coal and fracked gas, though mostly their aesthetics rather than evaluating their ability to supply Britain’s energy needs with hard numbers.

There are a lot of people in Britain, who have got used to a lifestyle that consumes a lot of energy. It used to be mainly from coal, but is now mainly from oil and gas. All three of these fossil fuels have their problems, which I’ll pass over and cut to the chase: the biggest and most unarguable one is that they’re finite. The colloquial phrase is “they’re going to run out”: they’ll never run out completely, but before long they’ll run short, by which I mean the decreasing rate at which they can be extracted will fall below the rate we use them. Before then we, as a nation, need to decide what to do instead. There are three alternatives, each with various pros & cons: nuclear, renewables, or possibly a combination.

One of the aspects that needs to be addressed is financial cost. I’m fortunate in being better off than average, such that I could seriously ponder whether I would be prepared to pay 50% more, or even 100% more, for my energy if it were to come from a source that I preferred, for some reason, over one I disliked. But half the country’s households are less well-off than average, of course, and of them a significant fraction are in fuel poverty, for whom even a 10% increase for any reason would be a serious problem, causing many of them to heat their homes less than needed for optimum health, or even worse consequences. So I feel compelled to accept whichever of the alternatives is going to be the cheapest.

What do we know about likely future costs in the UK for the options? The best guide is what level of guaranteed price for their electricity companies are prepared to build new power generation, which has been established in recent years by the Contract for Difference (CfD) reverse auctions. For reference, the current average wholesale price of electricity in Britain is about £40 per MWh (=4p per kWh). Hinkley Point C was given a CfD for £92.50 per MWh, or with Sizewell C £87.50. The most recent CfD award to onshore wind was for £82 and for solar £79, both in 2014, since when in similar CfD auctions in other countries, the price of both has fallen substantially, eg, in Chile between 2013 and 2016 by more than 50%. As the current British government has excluded further CfDs to onshore wind and solar we don’t know how much it would now be here, but as there’s talk in the trade about new wind farms and solar farms being built with no more subsidy above the expected wholesale price, they’re probably not much more than £40. This year’s CfD for offshore wind resulted in £58 to £75 awards, and it’s generally held to be more expensive than onshore wind.

So on present, limited, evidence, renewables look cheaper than nuclear. However, to complicate the picture, both generate power over time in a way little related to the variation of electricity demand with time, so each needs to have measures, which add significant cost, to match their supply with demand. Despite a lot of looking, I’ve not found a study that compares these, so have to guesstimate that the costs of this matching are similar for the two, and that renewables still retain their significant cost advantage.

So I was going to ask if you had further thoughts than the Sep 22 posting, with or without my thoughts, about an alternative future energy supply for Britain that involved less wind, or none at all?

PEAK PROTECTION:

I’m aware that the blog might seem incredibly negative and biased. I can’t really apologise for that, because the overriding theme of the blog has been “the negative impact of wind power on my psychological state”, if you like, and any alternative points of view have been sought from readers, who I’ve repeatedly invited to step up and defend wind power. I’m truly glad you’ve seen through the spiky rhetoric and been able to make some great points in defence of wind power, addressing some of my “paranoid” concerns. That’s great! One of the hallmarks of a worthwhile debate is the removal of confusion and the correction of false beliefs.

I believe I’ve also made the point that the unremittingly negative hatchet job I’ve done on wind is precisely because for a number of years we’ve only ever had unremittingly positive spin about how “green” it is, Did you ever see that Panorama on Scientology, with Jon Sweeney, “the exploding tomato”, screaming at the top of his voice because he felt they were constantly trying to brainwash him! I’ve had to raise my voice to even be listened to. Fact is, Phil, it actually works. “The squeaky wheel gets the oil.” Look at government policy and realise that if enough people make a noise about something, it enters the Overton Window and becomes a genuine political cause. This HAS happened with wind! I sometimes use the rhetorical device of making it seem like I personally changed government policy, but of course I’m merely one of thousands of people who have all contributed to a genuine political movement.

As I hope I’m proving, with your help, the “rhetoric” is almost separate from the nitty-gritty of the actual debate and policy discussions. Although clearly I lack technical expertise in how wind turbines work, I certainly don’t lack geographical knowledge of the United Kingdom, and that’s really the topic I feel I can bring into the debate, a much better understanding of how our hills link up, and dare I say it, a finger on the pulse of public opinion much more accurate than the Planning Inspectorate. It’s at the point now where I can almost predict which turbines were allowed on appeal (generally the most offensively-sited), where the council and community said “No!” but were overturned on appeal by the Planning Inspectorate.

This more than anything has been what I’ve targetted in my official documents. This has changed recently, and of course it begs the question, if they get it now, how come they previously got it wrong for so many years? (If they were right all along, then why change the policy now?)

So my answer to your question is long, drawn-out and nuanced. I believe I gave my best answer in the “Turbine Traffic Light Scheme” entry. More of a focus on actually achieved energy generation figures. More weighting given to public complaints. A grading of all our wind farms so we can see which ones have achieved the most. Higher standards of what is expected, and higher penalties for non-compliance. Just treating wind energy the way we treat everything else – transparency, targets, accountability and democracy.

If we MUST have wind power, let’s at least have some kind of quality control and honesty about the impacts.

My solution, Phil, is dialogue like this! To be involved in the process, representing the voice of nature-lovers. To be an engaged citizen and awkward customer challenging the wind industry to up their game and be responsible corporations. A watchdog like Ofcom! Ofwind, there you go.

Just to be someone who says vocally “If you can’t PROVE your wind farm is essential, you can’t do it” Let’s compare wind farm planning proposals with motorway planning proposals, and bring wind farms more into alignment with other essential services. You would not catch a motorway developer astroturfing fake support or acting as unprofessionally as Coronation Power. We would only ever allow a motorway after rigorous, objective analysis, it certainly wouldn’t be as arbitary as whether we allow or reject certain wind farms.

My solution is simply a results-based wind policy: PROVE IT WORKS! If a wind farm can prove it is meeting the targets we as a society have set, in terms of both achieving sufficient energy generation and also an acceptably low number of complaints from the public, it gets the Green Light and can stay. If however a wind farm has not met the targets we’ve set, or it has received too many complaints, then it needs to get the Red Light!

That’s my compromise and bargaining position – prove every wind farm works sufficiently and isn’t upsetting too many people, and I’ll drop any opposition. If we were to analyse all the wind farms in the South Pennines and grade them in order of achieved output / visual impact, we might well find that 3 or 4 are doing a great job, 3 or 4 an adequate job, and 3 or 4 really underperforming. Removing the underperformers would have no negative impact on energy supplies if they are barely generating anything anyway!

Alternatives to wind? I’m not sure about fracking. My instinct tells me it’s nowhere near as harmful as wind (in real life, has any fracking ever led to any actually documented eco-disasters?) but I accept that everyone else in Britain reacts to fracking the way I react to wind blight, so I’d be a hypocrite were I to insist on imposing it on communities against their will. What do you think of fracking? And nuclear seemed like by far and away the most efficient source of electricity, although your comment raises questions about its price.

I’m in favour of renewables in principle, who wouldn’t be? But I believe there is far more to pollution than just CO2 emissions, and loss of our mountaintops is just as bad for the planet IMO, this is why I call attention to it!

I’m not opposed to Wind Done Well. Just Wind Done Badly!

PHIL H:

I’d agree that a consistent, national system of objectively assessing the visual impact and other negative consequences, taking into account the proposed location, to be compared with expected energy output, would be a useful tool for planners, local residents and others to help in the planning decision process, and even for developers to screen proposals before that stage.

Having realised the scale of wind power required to supply a substantial part of the nation’s energy demand, I have been deeply concerned at the prospect of what it would mean for the industrialisation of the British countryside. However, the size of the fall in support cost shown in this year’s offshore wind CfD was a surprise, and I think that, together with the prospect of its further fall, it can now be advocated that we should put our efforts into developing offshore rather than much more onshore.

It seems that this is now the effect of the UK government policy, as the large majority of the new turbines that are likely to be built in the next four years are offshore, so that by 2021 more power will be generated offshore than onshore.

The more that this prospect is realised, the more I’d support tightening the planning criteria for onshore wind power.

“actually achieved energy generation figures.”
I think councils’ planning departments don’t keep track of the performance of wind farms they’ve permitted like they don’t keep track of the success of other developments they’ve permitted, such as the occupancy of speculative office buildings. It’s not something they’re required to do by law, so there’s not the money or interest to do so. If you know the site’s name, you can track its performance at
http://www.ref.org.uk/generators/index.php?order=InstalledkW&dir=desc&start=0
with the Rolling Load Factor and (most-recent-)Annual Load Factor columns.

“higher penalties for non-compliance”
The universal penalty for any generator not producing what was promised in the prospectus is losing money, which also results in backers being warier of any other schemes that the developer might propose. Lower than expected generation can be due to accidents and unpredictable malfunctions, which it would be hard to justify penalties for. But where turbines are left non-producing for extended periods without being repaired, I certainly think they should be required to be removed within a specified time period.

“What do you think of fracking?”
In order of increasing total environmental damage and thus decreasing desirability, I’d rank fossil fuels: UK conventional gas, imported conventional gas, UK fracked gas, imported fracked gas, UK coal, imported coal. But I see running remaining fossil fuel generation only as a necessary evil to fill-in while renewables and appropriate storage are developed and built.

“Is it even possible to lower CO2 emissions if we require a backup to wind power 100% of the time?”
All power stations require 100% backup 100% of the time, as they can develop faults suddenly, or have to be shut down for refuelling and other maintenance, etc. Instead of each having a dedicated ‘shadow’ station running in standby, so doubling the fuel used, this is covered by the other stations acting in a pool. Wind power is no different – its output can be forecast well enough in advance to schedule other generation as part of the normal electricity system management.

“they don’t actually lower CO2 emissions”
this is a widespread misunderstanding arising from an incomplete analysis of the special case of Germany, such as the Forbes article linked to above that statement.

In Germany, for reasons of internal politics, they are effectively using the low-carbon wind & solar generation they’ve been building in recent years to replace their low-carbon nuclear generation, rather than their fossil-fuel generation, as you can see from this graph:

Thus there has been little or no reduction in their electricity system’s CO2 release in recent years from its previous levels, but the renewable power will have substantially reduced their CO2 release from what it would have been if they had closed their nuclear stations and replaced their output with more fossil fuel generation instead, or if they had kept their nuclear open, the renewables would have reduced fossil fuel burning and reduced CO2. (Everyone can have their own opinion on how sensible this policy is in a world that needs to reduce its CO2.)Thus there has been little or no reduction in their electricity system’s CO2 release in recent years from its previous levels, but the renewable power will have substantially reduced their CO2 release from what it would have been if they had closed their nuclear stations and replaced their output with more fossil fuel generation instead, or if they had kept their nuclear open, the renewables would have reduced fossil fuel burning and reduced CO2. (Everyone can have their own opinion on how sensible this policy is in a world that needs to reduce its CO2.)

Here in the UK, our wind, solar and other renewable generation has contributed a significant part to the substantial reduction in the national CO2 emissions of recent years.

PHIL H:

The third of your objecive objections I’d like to comment on is the suicides connected with wind farms. Sadly, there have been other associated deaths: eg, construction workers without harnesses have fallen from height, and a delivery lorry driver died in a road accident recently.

As usual, one has to ask what the alternatives are: what is the mortality associated with other means of generation? And as well as mortality, what are their associated non-lethal ill-health effects (‘morbidity’).

This has doubtless been looked into by several academic studies, with results available online. Without looking into this myself, I’d guess that coal (cleaned up or dirty) would be the worst, what with direct deaths in mining accidents, indirect deaths such as Aberfan, and lung disease from the dust of mining and smoke of combustion.

For this line of argument to stand up to scrutiny, it would need to shown that total morbidity & mortality of wind power was significantly worse than the realistic alternatives.

PHIL H:

“Offshore wind may be a solution, but then it screws up our beach resortsOffshore wind may be a solution, but then it screws up our beach resorts”
Only if they’re installed close to the shore. I’ve visited a few:

At Skegness, I think the contiguous Lynn, Inner Dowsing & Lincs offshore arrays are too close to the shore (about 3 miles), given their total width.

However, I visited Rhyl/Prestatyn years ago to see the pioneering North Hoyle offshore array, which is about 4 miles offshore, and standing on the beach I had to use binoculars to tell if the rotors were turning, so I thought that was a reasonable set back distance.

Visiting Llandudno recently, where the Rhyl Flats & Gwynt y Mor arrays are 4 & 7 miles offshore, I thought their visual intrusiveness on the natural landscape & seascape was a lot less than that of the pier, which seems to have become accepted over the years.

Visiting Brighton a few weeks before that, where the Rampion array is 6 miles offshore, again I had to use binoculars, and found their visual intrusiveness less than the rusting ruins of the West Pier which has Grade 1 listed status, and of the monstrous i360 tower which has actually been built on the promenade in the nicest part of the town!

The offshore windfarms that are in the construction pipeline are much further offshore, eg, the East Anglia arrays are to be 20-30 miles. At this kind of distance, much or all of the turbines will be below the horizon for people standing on the beach. Another good reason for preferring offshore wind.

PEAK PROTECTION:

Hi Phil again hope you had a good Christmas. I’m off to Brighton tomorrow to see for myself as I have family in the area, so I will take a look and report back! Just a few pieces of news from the last couple of weeks. Firstly, look back at the previous entry, “Another Awkward Question Answered”, dated 20 November 2017. I have been informed by a local resident that the upper of the two wind turbines in the photo illustrating the entry has lost its blades in the 5 weeks since I took the pic (I will take some pictures on my return to the north). Bearing in mind I was stood next to another turbine that had also just lost its blades, that’s two in one village that have had blades fall off within 5 or 6 weeks of each other. I’ll do my best to find more information about the whys and wherefores of these two failures within the area under surveillance, and no it’s not me going up there yanking the blades off, before anyone accuses me!

One turbine breaking could happen anywhere – but two in such a small area and such a short time becomes a worry and a very real “Quality Concern” (as we would call this if it happened at my workplace). Were they the same model turbine, installed at similar times, ie likely to fail at similar times, or were they separate models installed at separate times? Was it particularly windy or were there any other contributory factors? Whose responsibility is it to log and record these failures? This is what we see visually, with our laymens’ eyes: we see these unstable, dangerous looking turbines that due to their design are clearly vulnerable to being damaged by the very wind upon which they rely. It’s not even the first time the turbine in the photo has had its blades fly off, apparently. It was also without blades for a large part of 2016 having caught fire previously. Apparently the turbine maker has gone bust too. (The turbine is located at Marsden Gate, Calderdale (just), if you want to research it pending any further details I can provide). So this is just a case study of a real-life turbine failure within the area I happen to be monitoring!

The second link that I have seen across my newsfeed is this: https://www.thegwpf.com/green-activists-withdraw-adverts-which-falsely-claim-price-of-wind-energy-has-fallen-by-50-per-cent/ No disrespect to Peter Capaldi’s acting skills, but he is clearly more adept at fiction than documentary! According to the article: “GWFP director Dr Benny Peiser said: ‘The claims in the Westminster offshore wind campaign are some of the most blatant distortions of the truth that I have seen in pro-wind advertising.’” This is the trust issue Phil – who are these lying liars and why are they always lying to me, just before wrecking yet another unspoilt green hill. How can we trust a word these people say? Why do wind operators continually have to lie and deceive and overexaggerate? I’ve said before – you simply would not catch motorway constructors lying in the same way, there is something very peculiar to wind operators that seems to make them singularly untrustworthy, and this is exemplified by the “twisted, warped” shape of the blades! “By their fruits, so shall you recognize them.”

I know what it’s like to make an honest mistake, that’s fine. But this once again seems like a willful and deliberate attempt to make wind power seem like a better solution than it really is. It certainly tallies with my impression of Greenpeace as having a hidden agenda.

Finally: https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2017/12/28/wind-farms-in-england-only-supply-2-of-power/ It says 2%. Is that fair and accurate? I’d say that’s not been worth the bother, absolutely.

PHIL H:

I’d be interested to learn what you think about the Rampion array of offshore turbines in the light of my comments above – their visual obtrusiveness depends on how clear/murky the weather is. I got a free ‘flight’ on the i360 – it may or may be worth the £16 normal adult ticket price. It’s somewhat taller than a typical large turbine, for scale.

Re: the Master Resource webpage – it is 9 yr old and relates to the US. However, it says much the same thing as I did: it calculates the homes equivalence correctly, and points out that its purpose is for illustration of a project’s scale using less-technical units, but should not be used to think that that number of homes will get their electricity exclusively from the turbine(s).

Whose responsibility…failures The company expecting to receive the income stream from the electricity sales ought to be monitoring its output and need for maintenance & repairs, and holding the manufacturer to any warranty; I don’t know if it’s usual to have insurance against lightning strikes, etc. Endurance is the bankrupt manufacturer, and a quick Google shows at least one of their turbines in the area, but I can’t tell if they two failed turbines were the same model or even manufacturer.

Re: the GWPF article, about them objecting to the advertising saying “The price paid for electricity from offshore wind farms has fallen by 50% over the last five years” To be strictly accurate, that sentence should read “The price to be paid for electricity from new offshore wind farms has fallen by 50% over the last five years”. I don’t know how much of the responsibility for the wording lay with the doubtless non-technical advertising agency copy-writers, whose job is to write the snappiest and most memorable wording for their clients. The inexactness of wording is minor compared with many of the distortions and rubbish written by the general press and anti-renewable energy commentators.

Regarding who is lying to you and why, you always have to ask what is the agenda of people telling you things: Nigel Lawson is the driving force behind the GWPF, which despite its name is a pressure group against doing anything about global-warming. When he was on Radio 4’s Today program recently he made statements that many people pointed out were plain wrong, but he went unchallenged on the broadcast, though he admitted the errors later ( http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nigel-lawson-climate-change-sceptics-global-temperatures-fall-false-claim-warming-gwpf-bbc-radio-4-a7894686.html ). So this is a case of pot and kettle.

“you simply would not catch motorway constructors lying in the same way”
I’m sure there have been roads built in the UK as well as elsewhere on the basis of exaggerated claims for need – just look at the near-deserted M45.
Greenpeace…having a hidden agenda I would have thought their agenda is quite plain: get rid of nuclear power (and weapons) and fossil fuels, and replace them with renewables. I can’t see what else there is that is not obvious.

Re: the Not A Lot Of People Know That link. This is a renewable energy sceptic website that has selectively used statistics to further its agenda. England is the constituent country of the UK with by far the largest population (and thus energy consumption), densest population (and thus the hardest to find sites that are suitable for onshore wind) and the least good wind resource. England has 83% of the UK’s population, but only 25% of its onshore wind capacity (though 83% of its offshore capacity). So its 2800 MW of onshore turbines did produce only 2.4% of its electricity last year (which was the least windy year for some time). Though is the article talking about the electricity generated in England or consumed in England (the difference being the net imports from other countries of the UK & its neighbours)? A less arbitrarily isolationist approach would be to look at the island of Great Britain as a whole, with its unified electricity system – in 2016 its 8800 MW of onshore wind generated 6.2% of its electricity, and its 5100 MW of offshore generated 4.9%, for a total of 11%. The article’s headline is “Wind Farms In England Only Supply 2% Of Power” – again the ASA should make them be more accurate: “Onshore Wind Farms In England Only Supplied 2.4% Of Power in the low-wind year of 2016“. I also think ‘England’ includes its territorial waters, and so the article should include its offshore generation too, which would boost the figure to about 8% in 2016, 9% in 2017, and probably 10% in 2018 and 12% by 2023.

As a devil’s advocate, I can play a similar game with nuclear: Most of England’s population is in the south-east, and most of that is in London and its contiguous conurbation. Nuclear generated precisely 0% of the power generated in the London conurbation, so Londoners should forget all about nuclear as it’s obviously utterly useless.

Finally, the 2800 MW of England’s current onshore capacity could be replaced by about 2000 MW of offshore, which is 5 times Rampion’s capacity – this may help inform your opinion in Brighton. Have a Happy New Year there!

PHIL H:

PS to the Not A Lot Of People Know That link comment. Taking the fairly arbitrary official statistical region of England of Yorkshire & the Humber, it has 1083 MW of onshore wind that generated 2.9 TWh in 2016, and 654 MW of offshore wind making landfall on its coasts that generated 1.3 TWh in 2016. Its population of 5.5 million used about 28 TWh in 2016, if pro rata to the UK, so its turbines provided 10% + 5% = 15% of its electricity. Does that selection of statistics make your local turbines appear more reasonable and acceptable than Paul Homewood’s selection?

PEAK PROTECTION:

Regarding the advert, yes I accept the point that the GWPF has an agenda of its own, but that doesn’t mean the Greenpeace crew weren’t caught lying – they were.

Regardless of whose to blame, the bad PR from being caught in a lie doesn’t reflect well on the intentions of those involved. If it was an honest mistake fair enough, but judging from readers’ reactions in this article, people are very very skeptical. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5213733/Activists-withdraw-advert-making-false-claim-wind-farms.html#comments So yes the GWPF might be the pot calling the kettle black, but all that means is they are equally dishonest, not that the Greenpeace guys aren’t! The net result is more bad PR for renewables, more people turned off and alienated by those who would impose wind turbines on them against their will.
Greenpeace’s true intentions? Who knows? The guy who invented them certainly isn’t impressed… https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2009/mar/29/lovelock-wind

I take on board your point about the misuse of statistics relating to the “2%” figure, but the idea of blaming a “low-wind year” for below-par performance seems a bit poor really, Phil, a bit “trains delayed due to the wrong type of leaves on the line” – how can the wind ever be truly sustainable as a source of energy (ie at a constant, forecastable rate)??? I thought before wind farms were built there are supposed to be forecasts made about the amount of wind that can be expected. Are low-wind years not factored in to these forecasts? What makes a year low-wind? How often do we have low-wind years? Do we also have corresponding high-wind years? Surely we can’t be taken by surprise when the wind doesn’t blow on demand for us? The reliable course of action is surely to assume that the wind will start and stop whenever it feels like it, therefore wind power can only ever be reactive to the weather, we can never rely on it all the time. Just when we need it most, it will let us down!

PEAK PROTECTION:

Oh by the way, do we know why Endurance went bust? Weren’t they able to sell enough electricity?!

PEAK PROTECTION:

And the M45, yes I know it! A great April Fool’s Joke once claimed it had been turned into a Heritage Motorway, with only vintage cars allowed to drive it. Of course it’s a quiet, deserted motorway now, but it was one of the first ever built, as a spur off the M1 to link with Coventry, originally the main signed route to Birmingham and the West Midlands. I’m not sure if when it was built the route of the M6 had been decided, but when it was constructed a few years later it took the brunt of the traffic and left the M45 almost deserted. The “wind turbine” equivalent (well, according to my hypothesis…no doubt you take the opposing view!) would be if the M45 had been built entirely for profit for the constructors, with the full knowledge that the M6 was on its way about to make it largely redundant, but authorized anyway! I am actually intrigued now: when the M45 was constructed did they know that the M6 was coming and about to supersede it?

PHIL H:

Our energy system is somewhat weather-dependent already: if it’s windy, which is because of fronts coming in from the Atlantic which are relatively mild, our demand for gas for space heating and electricity for top-up heating falls; and if it’s overcast our demand for electricity for lighting rises.

The official National Grid position on renewable energy (RE) is that they can handle any amount, since the predictability of its generation, thanks to sufficiently accurate weather forecasting, is such that it can be managed in the system that schedules the other generation to match the demand which is forcastable only on similar timescales.

The wind is indeed not constant, but neither is electricity demand – GB’s varies between 18 GW and about 55 GW – so large amounts of constant generation, ie nuclear, similarly require extra effort & resources to make use of.
Weather varies from day to day, month to month and year to year. The economics of an RE project will be made based on the long-term average of recent years, and over the multi-decade operations of the facility it should be achieved. In a given year the wind depends on the number of Atlantic fronts that come through and the number of high-pressure systems that sit over NW Europe blocking them, both of which are probably largely dependent on the variable position of the jet stream. 2016 was a low-wind year for the UK, and also a low-rainfall year for hydro. 2017 has been a high-wind year, with UK wind farms producing about 50% more output than 2016, with only a 15% increase in capacity.

Yes, there will be times when wind and solar production will be negligible, so enough stored electricity and ‘dispatchable’ generation capacity needs to be available to cover demand at such times, after mitigating the situation with demand management. The wind and solar can thus be viewed as reducing the need to burn fossil fuel, which is CO2-emitting and will be increasingly scarce and expensive (and needs to be imported). Fuel for such occasions is also proposed to be made artificially at times of excess RE generation. The details of this and the pro & con arguments would take another whole blog.…Endurance were manufacturers of small to medium turbines, not operators of them, and seem to have gone bust as a result of too-sudden changes to the wind support schemes by the government in 2015 causing their sales to drop faster than they could manage.…I love the M45 and put up with the A45 round Coventry before it when I drive to north London, rather than using the M6, just for that experience of what roads were like in the past. The bliss evaporates when joining the M1 of course.

PEAK PROTECTION:

(1) “The wind and solar can thus be viewed as reducing the need to burn fossil fuel, which is CO2-emitting and will be increasingly scarce and expensive (and needs to be imported).”

This of course is the entire raison d’etre of wind farms, to contribute to lower CO2 emissions. How have they got on? Do we have any quantifiable evidence yet of how much less CO2 we are now emitting as a result of wind energy? BTW I think it’s very important not to conflate wind energy with all renewables, which also include biomass and solar, don’t they? A lot of the positive press seems to be about “renewables” as a single entity, often illustrated with a wind turbine, without specifying which type of renewable energy they are referring to.

There is a difference between renewable and sustainable too, which often seems to get mixed up. Of course wind energy is renewable energy, but the point I have made (borne out by 2016 being a “low-wind year) is that wind cannot be truly described as sustainable energy because the wind itself is not sustained (ie maintained at a constant rate or level).…

(2) “Endurance were manufacturers of small to medium turbines, not operators of them, and seem to have gone bust as a result of too-sudden changes to the wind support schemes by the government in 2015 causing their sales to drop faster than they could manage.”

OK, now we’re cooking with gas (or rather, cooking with wind….ahem) Wind support schemes. Subsidies. Another huge bone of contention and controversy. You can see why this blog is the gift that keeps giving, and why, when looked at closely, wind power is such a fascinating, multilayered topic. I’m actually surprised not more people have studied it. We now come onto the political/economic dimension. What changes were made in 2015, with what effect on sales?

As far as I’m aware, the main change in 2015 was a change in planning policy, with the Planning Inspectorate having less power to overturn local community decisions. To a certain extent, this is the outcome I wanted all along, just an investigation into the appeal process because it seemed to be hurting a lot of people, and almost all of the most offensively situated wind turbines are ones that were rejected locally, for very good reasons. Carsington Pastures and Crook Hill Wind Farms are two in particular that have screwed up the White Peak and the Dark Peak respectively.

Nobody round these parts wants them, as I have documented in my official letters (do some research and you’ll find out the verdict of local communities on these two schemes). They are strikingly at odds with the values of the National Parks, as I expressed to the Planning Inspectorate.

So what else changed in 2015 that caused a turbine manufacturer to lose sales? Did this affect other turbine businesses, or just Endurance? How come their business model wasn’t, erm, “sustainable”?!

(3) A few miles north of the M45 lies the M6(Toll), and this might be a better analogy for a wind farm, as it is a privately operated motorway, run for profit. Therefore in terms of the original mention of motorways – I asked if motorway constructors act as dishonestly as some wind farm constructors, referring to the “astroturfing” of support and the misrepresentation of stats, albeit accidentally (giving them the benefit of the doubt) – the M6(Toll) gives us some insight into what happens when private companies take over essential public services. This was the concern of the Green Party candidate I corresponded with, he was totally pro-wind power in terms of science, but he shared my concerns about the corporatisation of open access common land, preferring that wind farms were owned and operated by the public sector.

Subsidies are all part of the debate here – is it morally right that a private company receives subsidies from the government? At what point should a product stand on its own two feet without the need of assistance?

Presumably the M6(Toll) makes enough profit to survive without assistance now, but if say 2017 was a “low-traffic year” and the motorway didn’t generate enough tolls, would it be right to ask the government to bail it out?
I note too that the motorway had its fair share of eco-protestors. I’ve never been wound up by road developments myself, even good old Brighton has an excellently landscaped bypass that, at the time of building, I was dead worried would screw up the Downs. But it’s a job well done. I have mixed feelings for the anti-roads protests. I respect and admire the protestors for being passionate and motivated and standing up for nature. But in most cases I would make the case that the new road is beneficial to the environment in terms of how it helps the old roads being bypassed.

Allowing cars to bypass a town in a couple of minutes at 50mph or 60mph is surely better for the environment than making them crawl along urban streets at 20 or 30mph?

If we spend too long debating roads and transport we’ll be here forever (a whole other debate). so to keep it on-topic, the M6(Toll) is an example of a road run by a private company, the way wind farms are run. Is it the best model for wind farms, or are there other ways of financing and operating them that would be better for society?

(4) Finally, I didn’t get to see Rampion as it was dark by the time I arrived at Seaford, however my friends live on the coast and can see the workings on the horizon. Believe it or not, I don’t rant on about wind power in “real life” (it’s a topic I keep strictly limited to those interested in a serious discourse about it), so I just said I’m interested to know if it affects them in any way over the upcoming months.
I also saw wind turbines at Polegate, and on the way back up north, at Ockendon in Essex. These in particular look horrible, impacting heavily on the Thames Chase Community Forest, an unbelievably tranquil green belt inbetween East London and the Thames Estuary in Essex. These horrific turbines are the last thing the area needs. Horrible!

I saw a fair few “Devil’s Eyes” blinking red lights further into the Midlands. Again, horrible! I don’t think it’s morally right to inflict these bright flashing red lights on people living in the countryside, they look sinister and unnatural, and the whole point of my blog is that introducing sinister and unnatural elements into an area lowers the tone and worsens the mental health and wellbeing of those who would otherwise get refreshment and tranquillity from such areas.

PEAK PROTECTION:

I mentioned Polegate…the wind farm is called Shepham and further research reveals the same old, same old story. It seems to be absolutely typical of the wind farm experience in so many ways!

(1) Divisiveness between Thesis (Pros) & Antithesis (Cons)

Yet again there is a huge divide between those of the local population who are opposed and those in favour. My question, as always, is “Do they have an internal or external locus of control?” Ie is anyone pulling the strings behind-the-scenes? To be fair, in this case both of these look like genuine grass-roots movements. I’d be lying if I claimed residents were unanimously opposed. But many were.

THESIS: SAY YES TO POLEGATE WIND FARM!!! https://yestopolegatewindfarm.wordpress.com/

ANTITHESIS: STOP SHEPHAM WIND FARM!!!
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Stop-Shepham-Wind-Farm-358539707588888/about/

(2) Corporate Not Community Locus Of Control

I actually went for an interview with Galliford Try and winced as he told me about their wind turbine constructions! Maybe for the best I didn’t get the job…I was narrowly pipped to the post! Would I have even accepted? To be honest I just find the whole glossy brochure approach to the industrialisation of green fields makes me feel physically sick. All we need are children with gleaming white teeth frolicking around the turbine with ice creams and puppy dogs! Why does it have to be so corporate? It seems phoney and cringeworthy – ie BAD AESTHETICS! Again, unnatural and creepy, which has a negative impact on most right-thinking people’s mental health and well-being. The corporate nature changes the whole tone and impression of the scheme as purely and simply in the interests of the company’s shareholders, of no benefit whatsoever to the locals. I’m not totally anti-corporate, but nature and the countryside are supposed to be places where living creatures can escape the rat race. This is now one more area of the UK owned and dominated by a corporation with dangerous electrical equipment, one less area of public “safe space”. http://www.consense.co.uk/portfolios/galliford.aspx

(3) Opposed Locally, Overturned On Appeal

You couldn’t make it up Phil. Two hours ago I typed my first comment about how you can always tell when a wind farm was opposed locally and only approved on appeal. Well here we go again! I’d be fascinated to know if there are as many appeals pro rata when it comes to other development proposals. https://www.sussexexpress.co.uk/news/controversial-wind-farm-given-green-light-in-polegate-1-6526151

(4) Confusing Use Of Statistics

“The proposed development would supply renewable electricity generation of up to 7.5 MW of installed capacity, sufficient to power up to 4,000 homes,and would achieve an annual saving of up to 8,475 tonnes of carbon.”
Let me see if I’ve got this now… the 7.5 MW is the TOTAL capacity, but the 4,000 homes figure has factored in the capacity factor, likely to be around 20-30%. At no time will these 4.000 homes be solely powered by the wind farm, it’s merely an equivalent figure. I don’t know how the carbon figure was arrived at. Do they mean carbon or carbon dioxide? Are we CERTAIN that lowering CO2 emissions will stop the world’s temperature rising? What evidence is this based on? (Not that I don’t believe it, just interested to know what data was used to come to this calculation). https://www.eastbourneherald.co.uk/news/shepham-wind-farm-gets-the-go-ahead-on-appeal-1-6517346

So there we go, it’s a fairly typical case study that highlights some of the issues associated with wind farm construction. Is it worth it, that’s the question?!

Feel free to comment below!

Christmas Peace & Goodwill

It’s been a while since my last entry, but that doesn’t mean I’ve not been writing. Far from it, as you can see from the Comments section beneath the previous post. A massive thank-you to Phil H, whoever you are! I have no idea how on earth you stumbled across my blog, but I am truly grateful for the highly detailed technical knowledge you have brought to the discourse.

“It takes two to tango”, and it takes two to have a debate. One of the recurring themes of the blog is the importance of Hegelian Dialectic (thesis-antithesis-synthesis) as a tool for arriving at the truth: opposing opinions being graded against each other until a best-fit, win-win synthesis can be reached that factors in the salient points from both thesis and antithesis.

I’ve been frustrated at the lack of credible antithesis to my initial thesis, precisely because of my sincere belief in the power of Dialectic, the understanding that there must be more to reality than simply our kneejerk reactions to what we experience. I’ve known (and articulated) all along that my negative reactions are merely the first steps on my journey towards the truth. Not that I’m wrong, but that in order for wind turbines to spring up on a hilltop, there MUST be people angling for their construction, people with the opposing opinion to mine, people who have a positive opinion of wind turbines.

I’ve simply tried to challenge those who support wind turbines to speak up. and consistently received in return a total lack of meaningful response. More than that, I’d noticed an external locus of control that seemed to characterise all wind energy schemes, with responsibility always passed to mysterious third-parties rather than anyone standing up and taking ownership of the issues flagged.

Bravo Phil for standing up and making the case for wind power, and congratulations also for the critical thinking you’ve displayed in not just evangelising about “clean, green energy”, but also taking on board the very real negatives associated with wind blight. In return, I’ve dropped some of my own irrelevant claims against wind energy (eg any unfounded claims that the turbine capacity statements are fraudulent). Dropping unhelpful arguments from my campaigning doesn’t suddenly make me a fan of wind power, it just helps me refine my opinion and filter out any misstatements that don’t make logical sense.

The synthesis always comes back to “doing wind well”, and agreeing that if we must have wind energy, it should maintain the highest standards of probity at all times. Maybe that’s all that’s needed, and maybe it’s the egregious examples of wind done badly (particularly around the South Pennines and Southern Scotland, that I’ve experienced anyway) that give the entire industry a bad name. Any honest wind farmers out there would do well to understand it’s the rogue traders who are sullying the entire industry, and they should turf them out on their ear.

Maybe it’s something else that is behind all the problems I’ve encountered, eg crony capitalism or flawed planning policies. Wind is just the scapegoat; maybe I’d be equally unhappy with fracking at the same locations, so I should separate out my complaints about bad planning decisions from my blanket criticism of wind energy per se.

I’ve considered this, but as wind is strongest on the hilltops, as a source of electrical energy it’s intrinsically a threat to the integrity of the UK’s peaks, more than almost any other source of energy. As a Protector of the Peaks I will always be averse to wind blight at these special high-altitude places. Offshore wind may be a solution, but then it screws up our beach resorts. It’s hard to think of the right locations for wind power, other than those areas already industrialised.

Phil asks what my solution is, if not wind energy, and my answer is simply to represent the voice of nature-lovers in terms of improving the environmental impact of ALL energy forms, and to ensure that whatever method we choose is compliant with the fundamentals of conservation. It just so happens that wind power has crossed my path significantly more destructively than any other form of energy generation, and it’s wind turbines that have invaded the landscapes that energise me most as a person. Wind energy has therefore de-energised me, and thousands like me, more than any other form of power generation. That’s the story I’ve needed to share.

As well as my debating partner Phil, I’d also like to thank the UK Government. You don’t hear people say that very often! But I have received a very nice message assuring me that the relevant people in Government are aware of my blog, my videos and my training materials for the Planning Inspectorate. Whether they take my opinions on board remains to be seen, but it feels good knowing that at least the message has got through.

pilo.png

I hope this inspires people to reach out to politicians – give them a chance! If you are aware of an issue that you think should be dealt with, gather your evidence, build a case and present your findings to the authorities. Be prepared to listen to and engage with opposing opinions, drop those elements of your case that don’t stand up to cross-examination, whilst holding onto your core beliefs. In this case, dropping my false accusations about “capacity factor” fraud doesn’t impact on my core belief that too many of our hills have been degraded for insufficient benefit.

I’ll hand the rest of this entry over to the vast amount of links that I’ve encountered over the last couple of weeks.

PEACE & GOODWILL TO ALL READERS!

(Phil, check this link… what’s your verdict?) https://www.masterresource.org/false-claims/windpowers-homes-served-misdirection-media-beware/

https://www.thegwpf.com/britain-starts-dismantling-wind-farms-after-successful-lake-district-campaign/?utm_source=CCNet+Newsletter&utm_campaign=aa1b32e593-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_12_07&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fe4b2f45ef-aa1b32e593-36418213

https://stopthesethings.com/2017/12/14/germanys-green-dream-turns-nightmare-merkels-plans-for-wind-powered-future-in-tatters/

http://www.fennonen.fi/en/article-page/german-energiewende-turned-into-a-dead-end.html#.Wi5UGwlHb_I.facebook

https://www.technocracy.news/index.php/2017/06/29/solar-energy-produces-300-times-toxic-waste-nuclear-power/

http://www.windconcernsontario.ca/real-world-evidence-shows-wind-power-is-expensive/

http://www.windconcernsontario.ca/ontario-government-failed-to-respond-to-wind-turbine-noise-reports-documents-show/

http://calgaryherald.com/news/politics/province-downplays-bird-death-issue-as-it-expands-wind-power

https://abcbirds.org/top-10-myths-wind-energy-birds/

https://america.cgtn.com/2017/12/09/windmills-golden-eagles-america-wyoming-turbines

https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2017/12/13/wind-turbine-issue-should-be-priority/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

https://stopthesethings.com/2017/12/09/australian-court-finds-wind-turbine-noise-exposure-a-pathway-to-disease-waubra-foundation-vindicated/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/almost-150-businesses-without-power-in-the-adelaide-cbd-during-the-second-black-out-in-a-week/news-story/82042e02b13473cf6157a857f1213df9?nk=c18e55fc3611ca5b8091bf258c7f953b-1513258722

https://stopthesethings.com/2017/12/08/scots-win-court-battle-to-stop-wind-farm-proposal-poisoning-water-supply/

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/another-windfarm-lined-up-glenkens-11661429

http://idiocyofrenewables.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/so-many-offshore-wind-turbines-you-cant.html

https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/coal-and-gas-working-flat-out-to-keep-uk-grid-going-on-coldest-night-of-year/

Another Awkward Question Answered

20171031_151953

Disappointingly, nobody has so far dared venture an opposing point of view in the comments section of this blog, despite open invitations to all those whose pro-wind policies and propaganda I have criticised. The best dialogue has thus far all come from fellow Wind Warriors!

Hence it’s left for me to debate myself, to try and come up with my own antitheses to the points made on this blog. This requires a degree of empathy: genuinely trying to step inside the shoes of those who might have the opposite opinion, attempting to see the world through their eyes, and trying to consider how my plain speaking makes them feel. It really does matter how we make people feel – I know, because this whole blog is all about how wind turbines make ME feel, and I myself took issue with the emotionless man from Friends Of The Earth at the Gorpley planning meeting who seemed too technocratic in his approach, too dismissive of human emotion, too stuck on a list of numbers on a piece of paper, and not passionate enough about the magic of the wild, unspoilt moors.

The trick, of course, is to have head and heart in lockstep. As long as emotions are tightly attached to facts and science, we are functioning exactly the way we were intended. Amygdala hijacks (if you’ve forgotten, they’re sudden, intense rushes of negative emotion, aka temper tantrums, freakouts, meltdowns etc etc) are perfectly explicable and in keeping with the laws of nature. Annoy your cat if you don’t believe me! The scratch marks on your arm will be a direct result of science and feelings coming together in your moggie’s brain.

What I ask those with the opposite opinion to do is to pick apart where the negative emotions displayed in this blog seem out of alignment with hard science, and that’s where the high-level intellectual discourse and detective work come in. I KNOW that wind turbines have a negative impact on my feelings, the challenge is to work out, with hard science, what the exact physiological process is. Is it triggered by the look, the sound, the concept etc? Is it only when things go wrong that symptoms set in (eg corruption, malpractice etc), or is it the very essence of wind turbines working exactly as they are meant to that sets me off?

This blog is basically an extended and public journal of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy on myself, done in public to submit the findings for “peer review”, and also to provide inspiration and support to those who might also be suffering, but haven’t got the time or wherewithal to really go to town on the topic. On a wider note, it’s also part of my concerted effort to remove any stigma about mental health being something only people with problems need to concern themselves with. Far from it, we should all be mindful of our mental health at all times, in exactly the same way we are conscious of our physical health.

If my rambling prose is sometimes self-indulgent, that’s because this is my full, unexpurgated treatise on the topic of wind energy. Because I’ve been a Wind Warrior for three years and have only just started blogging, there’s an awful lot of background needed and explaining to do, point by point, but over time all the “old news” will have been caught up on, and into the future the blog will go wherever destiny calls! The best scenario of all would be to pull the blog down along with the turbines, once it’s no longer necessary to restore some natural balance to the still-distorted global dialogue about the impact of wind power. We’re slowly rebalancing things, but plenty more work needed.

I hope that my official letters draw upon this bottomless sea of prose, extracting the germane points and cutting to the chase, according to the specific scenarios being discussed. Indeed, having this vast reserve of words “in the bank”, it’s now much easier for me to draw upon key points whenever they occur in real life, simply pulling out pre-prepared paragraphs and being able to insert them into correspondence. It’s quite efficient, and dare I say “Green” doing it this way. Give a man a fish and all that… well this blog is a loaded trawler, and from this point forward, whenever I encounter an opposing viewpoint I’ve already debunked, I can simply chuck a wet fish of a retort in its direction!

Because I rarely talk about wind energy outside the context of a serious in-depth discussion with those who have some knowledge of the topic, I can only draw upon a handful of real-life, pro-wind points of view. They derive mainly from two sources: (a) those who have proven with their actions that they support wind turbines – whether it be developers, councils, landowners or advertisers; and (b) comments in online debates, which offer scant information about the identity of the posters, merely the opinions themselves. Not that I want to stalk them or attack them on the street for supporting wind; but it would be nice to get some more information about the demographics of those who post pro-wind comments on forums. What sort of areas do they live in? Where are their nearest turbines? On what do they base their opinions about wind energy? How old are they? Are they for real or are they part of an astroturf campaign? As it is, I just have to guess and intuit from the limited information available.

There is another awkward question that I’d love to be asked from these mysterious posters on The Guardian. You’ll get a better debate here between I and I than you will on the whole Grauniad website, so grab some popcorn… and once again I hope this proves my intentions with the spiky comments! Think of it like fencing. Maybe there’s a generational difference at a play here too; those of a certain age may have grown up with formal academic debates, but not many schools teach it these days, so we can’t really blame people who’ve never really experienced the fun of a debate that the strong words are all part of the discourse. Egos have to be checked in at the door, and we should never forget the endgame of all this chat…SYNTHESIS! RESOLUTION! THE WIN-WIN! THE SHARED TRUTH UPON WHICH WE CAN ALL AGREE!

I certainly wasn’t bothered in the slightest by having someone in The Guardian call my opening post “Bollocks” (presumably that also includes the 63 peer-reviewed examples of “bollocks” I linked to!); far from it, I wanted to reach out and talk more to this person, to find out why they thought what they did, and to ask them if, say, a Drive-Thru McDonalds taking over their local nature reserve would be equally as “majestic” as a power station on a mountain?! Sadly, The Guardian yanked me out the room before I’d even taken off my coat and gloves!

So here’s the question:

Taking their comments at face value, there are still an awful lot of people on The Guardian’s website who like wind farms and don’t have a problem with them. Why are your opinions more important than theirs?

It’s precisely because their opinions are important to me that I engage with them and want to find out more! I just want to find out WHY they think what they think, and what I would say to everyone is: if you found out your reason for thinking something was based on a lie, would you still think it?

Were someone to put their hands up and say, “You know, I realise the wind industry is a crock of shit, but I still like the look of turbines; moors are kind of boring and these metallic spiders make the skyline more interesting…”, that’d be a valid, intellectually-sound, if aesthetically-challenged, viewpoint. It’s one I call the “Guilty Pleasure” viewpoint, and each of us has things we know logically to be wrong, but we still like. That’s fine, that’s part of being human! It’s why we call gorgeous chocolate gateau “Death By Chocolate” om nom… but would you really take someone seriously who claimed chocolate cake could replace toothpaste; for optimum dental health simply stuff your face with cake all afternoon?!

I sometimes wonder if I do the flipside: that the very act of being a Wind Warrior is in itself a Guilty Pleasure, that the science really is settled that wind turbines are a force for good, and it’s just an excuse for me to prance about like some cheesy TV cop, wasting everyone’s time and energy when science and progress are clearly against me? I ask myself this every day, and the self-doubt lasts precisely as long as it takes for my news feed to pop up with some new incident of gratuitous eco-destruction and crimes against humanity. Stuff like this:

https://stopthesethings.com/2017/11/20/outrageous-wind-farm-plan-for-battlefield-graveyard-draws-fury-from-french-australians/

All I want to do is ask those supporters of wind power WHY they like it so much, and do stories like this have any bearing on their support? What would make them stop liking wind power? I’ve even done this myself regarding Sajid Javid, and I’ve kept it all up there as an example of critical thinking in action. I spent the first half of a blog entry singing his praises, before returning at the end of the blog to say I’ve found out more information that has modified my opinion somewhat; I still like him and give him the benefit of the doubt, but blindly supporting him would have unintended consequences were I not to acknowledge that he might want to build loads of houses all over the countryside.

Nuance and keeping an open mind are essential, whilst never losing sight of our core beliefs… in my case this means: “If we MUST have wind turbines, let’s have a proper conversation about where to put them, what their effects are, do they actually do what it says on the tin, and what penalties are in place should they do more harm than good?”

To prove the point even further about the need to deal with opposing opinions, here’s (gasp) a video that looks, on the surface, like a pure Win for wind energy. I’d be lying were I not to incorporate this into the discourse…

See, I’ll always give voice to those opposite opinions! The retort to that one is actually quite easy, in fact. Of course Scotland’s wind capacity is at an all-time high, there’s more wind turbines built than they’ve ever had before! If I buy more speakers I can play my music louder, duh. Plaster the countryside with millions of turbines and I daresay when the wind blows you will indeed be able to generate more electricity than if you had fewer turbines, that goes without saying.

The trouble is, when you have days like these…

http://www.heraldscotland.com/opinion/15664722.Good_day_is_bad_for_renewables/

And what happens when, no matter how much wind power you can generate, you still end up with higher CO2 emissions???

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2017/10/10/why-arent-renewables-decreasing-germanys-carbon-emissions/#46490e1768e1

So, let’s just recap. I’m not saying my opinions on wind farms are any more important than anyone else’s. Rather than belittle or sideline those who might have an opposing opinion, I am proactively reaching out to them to learn more about WHY they support wind energy.

I’ve merely presented scientific evidence that wind farms increase incidences of suicide, they lower property prices and spoil landscapes, they don’t work almost 75% of the time, and even when they do work, they don’t actually lower CO2 emissions.

I’m simply asking if any of this changes anyone’s opinion about wind farms. Now you know that they trigger suicides, they destroy the natural wilderness, and they don’t even lower CO2 emissions anyway… what exactly about them DO you like???

If any pro-wind supporters are now utterly fazed and confused, and need a friendly therapist to help them restore some balance to their thinking, please get in touch. Free CBT provided to anyone who wants it! It’s the very least I can do to help “save the planet” 🙂

EDIT: Craven Council have replied to my FOI Request, and their short (but relatively prompt) reply only confirms what I’ve been saying all along: they keep no performance metrics for the turbines under their jurisdiction, they allow them with absolutely no knowledge of whether they do any good or not.

THIS IS MADNESS!

“I confirm that the Council does not hold any recorded information to answer your request. However, to be helpful you may wish to contact the National Grid who may have details on surplus energy provided to the Grid by such wind turbines:

https://www.nationalgrid.com/uk/contact-us “ 

Well thanks for replying Craven… yet again you make my point for me:

EXTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL! EXTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL! EXTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL!

Essentially Craven are saying, “Don’t look at us to take responsibility for the turbines on our watch. We just allow them to infect our countryside. We don’t have a clue whether they actually do any good or not. And it’s not our issue anyway…”

WELL IT DAMN WELL SHOULD BE!

And what’s all this about “surplus energy supplied to the Grid by such wind turbines”? What does “surplus” mean?

“More than what is needed or used; excess”

So it appears that Craven Council have just admitted (perhaps deliberately, although they couldn’t possibly comment…) that any energy produced by wind turbines is totally surplus to requirements, totally superfluous, totally unnecessary and of absolutely no benefit whatsoever to an efficient and effective energy supply. What a complete and utter waste of space!

The virus scan continues…. next stop: the National Grid!

Kirklees & Craven Councils – Sh*tting On Their Own Doorsteps!

20171113_144915.jpg

The more I think about it, the more I’m troubled by The Guardian deleting my comments, and their total lack of response to my email.

Just stop and think through what has transpired:

In the comments section below an article about the impact of wind turbines, The Guardian secretly deleted three links to scientific research proving their harmful effects.

These links ARE the news, for crying out loud, not the inane drivel churned out by the Grauniad’s fourth-division partisan hacks! And I have better subbing skills, to boot. Whoever deleted my comments must have a very dark heart indeed. Whoever has read my email and failed to respond must too have a very dubious set of ethics (why give out the Reader’s Editor’s email address if you’re not going to reply to messages from readers?).

What a nasty bunch of people at The Guardian, a total disgrace to the noble profession of journalism. It takes a special kind of twisted misanthropy to promote the use of wind turbines whilst deliberately covering up the scientific evidence that they increase incidences of suicide. Here’s that evidence again, no apologies for repeating it over and over:

https://peakproductionscouk.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/beaa6-turbine_zou201710.pdf

THAT is the real news!

Luckily, nature is on hand to restore some balance to the distorted techno-bubble in which these Guardian columnists reside. And guess what, it appears as if nature has struck again! I could not believe my eyes when I spotted a couple of workers in high-vis jackets astride the nacelle of one of the dreaded Scammonden Three I’ve contacted Kirklees Council about. As I say in the following video, nobody climbs a turbine for fun, so the chances are there’s some fault or other. That said, I can’t rule out routine maintenance (maybe even as a direct result of my drawing the risks of the turbine to the attention of the council).

Here are the planning documents for the Scammonden Three. Clear as mud, aren’t they?!

http://www.kirklees.gov.uk/beta/planning-applications/search-for-planning-applications/detail.aspx?id=20122f91075

http://www.kirklees.gov.uk/beta/planning-applications/search-for-planning-applications/detail.aspx?id=2012%2f90540

These documents reveal that the person behind the turbines is none other than my nemesis Matthew Titmarsh (sorry Tidmarsh), head honcho of turbine manufacturers DC21 – is that as in Agenda 21? I’ve bantered with Matthew before, he knows me and my work, and he knows I’m out to close down his business. That’s his van and his handiwork in my avatar photo… my facial expression says it all.

I suspect, deep down, Matthew might even grudgingly respect me, the way Columbo villains grudgingly respect the Lieutenant’s tenacity and sleuthing skills!

b77kjDr

One thing’s for sure: two of the turbines I’ve had under close surveillance have mysteriously stopped working since I started blogging about them. Spooky! Check out my video “Toxic Turbines In Scammonden”. What powers have I unleashed??? Is the downtime of these toxic turbines factored into the capacity claims of the manufacturers, one wonders?

I’ve not yet got round to debunking this classic trope of turbine fraud. It’s along the lines of broadband sales-pitch: the total “capacity” is normally quoted, as in: “The new wind farm has the capacity to power 5,000 homes”. What this really means is that, working at top speed, without a break, from the very moment they are erected until the very moment they are taken down, if the wind blew constantly (but not too hard), the turbines could potentially generate a certain amount of power. How this relates to homes isn’t clear.

What happens to the actual generated output when the wind stops, however, or when the men in high-vis jackets have to switch off the turbine in order to prevent its blades flying off?

A more useful figure is the “capacity factor”, which unsurprisingly is rarely quoted. The capacity factor is the percentage of the total capacity actually achievable, and get this, you rarely find a capacity factor of more than 30% of the total capacity. Scout Moor’s is 27%, so instantly our 5,000 homes powered by wind turbines is down to around 1,300. Or, if you prefer, the 5,000 homes being powered for barely 100 a days of the year, with nobody knowing in advance exactly which days those will be!

Each of you reading has the capacity to win a million pounds on the Lottery. Try asking the bank manager for a loan based on this capacity alone! I have the capacity to date a different supermodel every night. I have the capacity to rob a bank or jump off a cliff. I certainly have the capacity to spend the rest of my life bombing wind turbines!

What really counts is the ACTUAL ACHIEVED PERFORMANCE, under real-life conditions. (When it comes to destroying turbines, needless to say, my capacity factor is limited to words, not explosives!)

Looking at the falling-apart wind infrastructure around Scammonden, the capacity factor of each faulty turbine is currently ZERO!

I’ve a new council to pick a bone with. Craven Council, watch your inbox for some Freedom of Information requests relating to the horrific turbine at Sandford Farm. Reading through the article below, I see yet again it’s a struggling business relying on the turbine to survive. How??? I would dearly love to know how the turbine actually makes money for the farm. How well has it performed? How much less CO2 is there in the atmosphere since the imposition of this ghastly turbine upon the Dales?

Where are the stats, goddammit?

And what, pray tell, was turning the blades at the time I caught the turbine spinning rapidly in very light winds?

Maybe if we didn’t allow the supermarket chains like Tesco to greenwash their way to profit, smaller businesses like Sandford Farm wouldn’t need turbine subsidies to survive!

http://www.cravenherald.co.uk/news/10976288.Planners_approve_100ft_wind_turbine_at_Rathmell/

It’s not just the Sandford Farm turbine that has got my gander up, it’s the dozens of inappropriate turbines dotted around the countryside south of Skipton. The whole area between Addingham, Crosshills, Cowling and Earby has been transformed from rolling green hills into a revolting, industrialised toilet. Yet again the wind turbines make the area look tired, degraded, deprived, shabby and second-rate.

Whatever electricity is generated by wind turbines is merely energy transferred away from nature, humanity and the Earth.

Yet again we’ve found a way of de-energising the planet for money. This latest scam goes by the name of “clean, green energy”. Clean as in laundered money; Green as in dollar bills. 

What a sick joke.

How to game the system… it’s all here in DC21’s website. “Turn the wind on your land into REVENUE”.

https://www.dc21group.com/

Fetch the suitcase from the van, Rodney…

Series 4

EDIT: Yet again I wonder if I’m coming across as too harsh and sarcastic. It’s just about punchy prose that gives people a bit of a jolt. I mentioned capacity factors; well on the afternoon of 15th November 2017, the capacity factor of every single wind turbine I spotted, from Knostrop, Leeds to Tow Law, County Durham (visible from 20 miles away!) was a big fat ZERO. Check the stats, if you can, but not a single wind turbine for a good hundred miles was spinning yesterday afternoon. Not a single home in the North East was powered by the wind. Not even enough power to bake a stottie!

EDIT 2: Some late news updates. Firstly, a massive thank-you to one of my very favourite websites, Australia’s Stop These Things, who have linked to one of my posts. “STT welcomes Britain’s Peak Protection Force”, they write. In return, STT are given a very warm welcome here! Feel free to add to the discourse any time 🙂

https://stopthesethings.com/2017/11/17/what-the-wind-industry-doesnt-want-anyone-to-know/

I’ve also had contact from Greece, yet again proving that defeating the wind scam is a global process; however rather than being top-down or with an external locus of control, it’s a grass roots network of independently-minded localists each drawing upon their own experiences, and using shared truths to bring on board fellow travellers. I’ve been forwarded this link, which is well worth a read.

http://www.defenddemocracy.press/the-united-nations-climate-change-conferences-and-action-by-citizens-by-wayne-hall/

This is a very entertaining read that’ll make you laugh AND think!

http://manhattancontrarian.com/blog/2017/11/15/the-climate-alarmists-definitely-dont-believe-their-own-propaganda

More truths that probably won’t make their way into The Guardian. Germany’s CO2 emissions continue to climb, despite having led the way (into the abyss, some might say) with the rollout of massive wind energy projects.

http://www.powerengineeringint.com/articles/2017/11/energiewende-has-made-things-worse-for-climate-says-report.html

WIND ENERGY IS BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT!

The Guardian: Sinister Propaganda & Fake News

crane-1

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last entry, a nice little hiatus in which hopefully any readers have brought themselves up to speed with the plethora of evidence against wind energy and its destructive impacts. I’ve not come into contact with that many turbines since my last entry, just the usual horrendous and dangerous blight that lines long stretches of our motorways.

I’m pleased to report that the broken turbine next to the Scammonden viaduct currently remains broken, its three blades lying lifeless on the ground and its naked nacelle exposed to the elements. Will anyone bother fixing it? I shall keep you posted. Let’s hope that whatever has afflicted this turbine spreads and takes out the remainder of the unwelcome turbines around Kirklees and Calderdale. I’m certain that by the end of the year, just over six weeks from now, more of these turbines will fail. As always, I will be quick on the scene to take video footage of any accidents.

My several M62 journeys have afforded me regular views of Scout Moor, Crook Hill and the various single turbines on the hillsides immediately north of Manchester. There is a whole swathe of Green Belt that has been trashed by these inappropriate turbines, the two off Ashworth Road near Rochdale in particular casting a negative shadow over the otherwise scenic Pennine foothills.

WHAT KIND OF DISEASED MIND THINKS IT’S ACCEPTABLE TO INFLICT THESE MONSTERS ON THE PUBLIC?

I’ve also been down to London a couple of times since writing, taking me out of my current home patch and back to my Southern roots. Both the A1 and M1 link West Yorkshire with London: heading south, the A1(M) splits adjacent to Hook Moor Wind Farm, a horrid and dangerous affair rejected THREE TIMES by Leeds City Council, and once again only approved on appeal by the Planning Inspectorate under their abysmal and probably corrupt old methodology (the one still largely prevalent in Scotland that says: whatever a wind developer wants, a wind developer gets, and to hell with the general public).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-16116701

I generally prefer the A1 as there is far less wind blight than the M1, large parts of which are now almost undrivable due to the hazardous wind blight that dominates the landscape between Lutterworth and Northampton, hundreds of massive turbines with their flashing red lights (“Devil’s Eyes”, the locals call them apparently) stretching off as far as the eye can see. One of these turbines, in particular, caught my attention and sparked another One-Man campaign.

I’m referring to the horrible turbine at the Tesco Distribution Centre near Daventry, accompanied by a misanthropic and anti-democratic banner “Less CO2 emissions using wind turbines”. Despite my best efforts to have this banner forcibly removed – so far I’ve contacted Tesco head office, the local Planning Department, the Highways Agency and the Advertising Standards Agency to complain about its offensive, bias-motivated hate speech – it’s still there leering at motorists and sticking two fingers up at nature lovers. Oh well, it’s living proof of the kind of people who promote wind turbines: huge great capitalist corporations like Tesco who can use them as a greenwashing/money-laundering tool.

Lesson for activists: don’t be discouraged by a lack of support from the authorities when you alert them to a new issue. Technological and administrative processes will always be more adept at dealing with known issues over unknown ones. I see this at work constantly – there are templates for how to deal with known and understood issues, but the moment you step outside the Overton Window and present someone with a new and unaccounted-for problem, then you get the tumbleweed treatment. But don’t get discouraged, because eventually when enough people start to experience the same issue, often after a serious failure of some sort, solutions will soon be found.

And so, even if right now nobody is directly forcing Tesco to remove the offensive poster, in terms of the wider war Tesco is on the losing side; it’s just taking longer for them to acknowledge how badly they’ve screwed up. Maybe this is a symptom of their problems as a corporation – they don’t listen to the public, they’re not honest, they’re basically a terrible company with whom I’ve not shopped for over a year now.

http://peak-productions.co.uk/tescotorture.html

Only a fool, or a horsemeat fan, would shop at Tescos.

The A1 corridor has generally avoided the worst of the wind blight, other than the two horrifying wind farms near Doncaster, and at the other end, the truly nauseating wind farm near Biggleswade. YUK! There are also several lone turbines between Worksop and Grantham, yet again disgusting and totally out of place, rendering vast areas of the countryside unpleasant and inhospitable. Wind turbines are truly a pox on an area.

So that’s the real-life turbines I’ve encountered these last couple of weeks. The main developments have come from the internet. First up, some GREAT NEWS! Leeds-based spivs EnergieKontor have been forced to take my advice and combine sex with travel (ie fuck off). They’re not wanted at Bonchester Bridge, as I made VERY clear to them down the phone and via email 😉 Luckily I no longer need to place the company under a curse, as the local community has done it for me. No thanks to the Scottish Planning Inspectors, who recommended the awful Pines Burn proposal; instead this is the voice of the council themselves who have stood up to the bullies and told them to vamoose.

http://www.thesouthernreporter.co.uk/news/environment/controversial-wind-farm-plans-rejected-1-4607651

And there’s yet more bad news for doomed EnergieKontor, with Communities Secretary Sajid Javid once again proving himself to be spot-on in his judgement.

http://lincolnshirereporter.co.uk/2017/11/government-steps-in-to-stop-new-wind-farm-in-lincolnshire/

What a LEGEND! I’ve always had a soft spot for the Rochdale-born MP, ever since his secretary empathetically responded to my Rooley Moor objection letter. saying that although Mr Javid couldn’t formally help me as I didn’t live in the constituency myself, he most certainly took on board my views. I’ll say! Every now and then I hear the salient points from my letter repeated in Mr Javid’s own words. Either he’s just naturally on my wavelength (great minds think alike and all that!), or else he’e genuinely listened to what we Wind Warriors have been telling him all this time, and realised there might actually be something in what we’re saying.

SAJID-JAVID_2880378b.jpg

Now we come to the main point of today’s entry: as always I’m writing the full truth as I understand it, because truth is its own reward. The truth is a thing of beauty and spirituality, the sun that lights up and energises human consciousness. Maybe it’s a personal thing, and I really don’t mean to sound like I’m virtue-signalling in any way, but the truth is pretty much the only thing I’m interested in. I’d rather go through life alone yet wedded to the truth, rather than fall for any kind of illusion whatsoever, and this is one of the worst qualities of wind turbines – they bring lies and untruth into my safe space, causing amygdala hijacks and adverse physiological reactions with their creepy deceptions and covert hostility.

I now have another piece of evidence, through sheer luck witnessed by an impartial observer, that there are Dishonest Bananas out there deliberately and systematically misleading the public about the negative impacts of wind energy. My witness is a dear friend of mine, an incredibly clever man who used to work on security systems for the Ministry of Defence, ie someone who knows a thing or two about logic, science and technology. For what it’s worth, my friend is not a Wind Warrior, indeed I encourage him to play Devil’s Advocate and to logic-chop my hypotheses. He wants hard facts, evidence and valid reasons for opposing wind blight; like everyone he supports the idea of clean, green energy, and originally gave full support to the rollout of wind farms. I’ve only semi-persuaded him of their horrors, which is good, because, once again: HONESTY! I don’t want fake support, it’s not what this intellectual odyssey is all about. It’s about getting to the truth of the matter.

I once again refer to my role model Lieutenant Columbo: what motivates him above all is to prove, with incontrovertible evidence, that whatever lies he’s been told are false. And that’s how it is with me. Hit me with some truths and I’ll incorporate them into my understanding of the world. I gain absolutely nothing from expressing myself within an echo chamber; although it gives me emotional support and boosts my confidence by sharing my findings with fellow Wind Warriors, what I want more than anything is to peel away the soft support for wind amongst casual observers, and to bring previously pro-wind supporters around to the side of nature and truth. You must all know by now, I’m equally happy to shift my stance if it can be proven that I’m believing lies and basing my own views upon untruths.

I was alerted to a debate on The Guardian’s website, which I thought might be fertile ground for engaging with some wind supporters and planting some seeds of truth. As you can see, I’ve linked to The Guardian several times, including in my very last post. I’ve not previously been biased against The Guardian, although I did remark upon how comments are disabled on some of its more dubious opinion pieces.

I now realise that The Guardian is really NOT interested in an honest exchange of opinions, as for reasons best known to itself, it decided to delete my perfectly civil, inoffensive comments (right in front of my witness’s eyes). Because there was hardly any direct speech in my initial comment, merely some useful links to scientific research that I thought would forward the discussion, I can repeat verbatim what I typed, and let you be the judge of exactly why the Guardian might have decided to pull my comments within seconds.

The “debate”:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/11/brighton-rampion-wind-farm-turbines-renewables#comment-108069496

My contribution, which sparked a couple of replies before deletion:

“Scientific evidence that wind turbines increase rates of suicide: ‘Current technology uses wind turbines’ blade aerodynamics to convert wind energy to electricity. This process generates significant low-frequency noise that reportedly results in residents’ sleep disruptions, among other annoyance symptoms. However, the existence and the importance of wind farms’ health effects on a population scale remain unknown. Exploiting over 800 utility-scale wind turbine installation events in the United States from 2001-2013, I show robust evidence that wind farms lead to significant increases in suicide.’

http://www.eric-zou.com/s/turbine_zou201710.pdf

Scientific evidence that people would rather live further away from wind turbines:

http://www.spatialeconomics.ac.uk/textonly/SERC/publications/download/sercdp0159.pdf

63 peer-reviewed articles proving health problems associated with wind turbines:

http://windvictimsontario.com/10/post/2015/04/63-peer-reviewed-articles-regarding-impairment-of-health-in-general-and-relating-to-industrial-wind-turbines.html

Go ahead and screw yourselves up, but not me (or the whales), thanks.”

Someone rapidly replied, calling my post “Bollocks”, before going on to say: “There are four beautiful turbines near me and I’ve not topped myself yet.”

Now bear in mind that this is the apparently progressive Guardian, so one might have assumed that issues relating to suicide and mental health would be treated with a smidgen less callous indifference. But, as I have said repeatedly throughout this blog, when it comes to wind turbines, normal standards don’t apply, and the nature-destroying, humanity-harming predatory corporations that would otherwise be on the receiving end of the progressives’ ire have miraculously been transformed into planet-saving Messiahs who can do no wrong. Nowadays at The Guardian, it’s us poor victims of eco-vandals who are laughed at and ridiculed, while the bulldozers are cheered on.

WHERE’S YOUR HEAD AT, GUARDIAN READERS?

Lest it be forgotten, The Guardian is as capitalist and corporate as McDonalds and Coca-Cola. It sells fantasy. It won’t take you very long perusing their website before intrusive pop-ups start asking you for money to support their “independent journalism.” Yet someone truly independent like me, who brings real news and scientific research to the debate, free of charge, has their contributions instantly deleted!

I simply asked the chap who claimed to live near these four wonderful turbines for some more details about them, so I could do my own research into what makes their design such a success story. My comment was gone within seconds. No insults, no rudeness, no bad language, rather a genuine attempt to enter into an intelligent discourse with someone with an opposing view. Our opening salvos should be seen as just that – the real debate should come after the initial introductions, as we settle down into a full and fearless exchange of ideas, in pursuit of some shared consensus about the nature of reality.

The Guardian blocked the discourse after barely two messages each. How does that move the dialogue forward? Why would The Guardian block links to peer-reviewed scientific research? What is their agenda? I received no notification that my comments were in breach of any rules, they simply disappeared into the ether as if I’d never posted them!

If the science is wrong, then here’s the perfect opportunity to debunk it. There’s no way on earth I would continue to promulgate information I knew to be false! The net result of just rubbing out the science is that The Guardian has proven itself to be untrustworthy. Even if people disagree with some of my opinions, the objective truth is that I have clearly done my research and know my topic inside out. I am equipped with dates, places, policies, scientific research and personal contact with wind victims all across the world. Surely someone with my experience and passion for this topic should be welcomed with open arms into any debate about wind farms? What kind of debate is it when those who are most interested in the topic, those who have done the most research and fieldwork, are not even allowed to take part?

The answer is, it’s not a debate. It’s not motivated by truth, it’s motivated by a hidden agenda. Maybe there is an acceptable level of disagreement tolerated (anything incoherent that makes dissenters look stupid!), but in my case the simple and intellectually honest act of linking to the latest scientific research was deemed beyond the pale.

It’s almost like The Guardian’s biggest enemy is science itself.

More than that, The Guardian has revealed itself to be an enemy of nature. How any truly Green-minded individual could support this fake news rag is a mystery. The scientific research I have drawn upon really does exist, that’s the truth. The research might be flawed, possibly, in which case the voice of nature would be to draw attention to those flaws and move the research forward, applying the Hegelian Dialectic principle of thesis-antithesis-synthesis. As with all debates, whenever I come across a thesis I disagree with, I try and present the antithesis. Science, truth, rationality and reason are all about the synthesis – factoring in all those awkward contradictions to arrive at a one-size-fits-all axiom of inarguable truth! In this case – my antithesis to the central thesis of The Guardian’s viewpoint was simply erased from history.

What they should have done is kept my comments up there and allowed people to fire logical shots at any flaws in the research. We could have batted the dialogue backwards and forwards, really getting under the skin of the topic, before gradually reaching some level of agreement. The Guardian denied its readers the opportunity to experience the voice of nature, instead it has created an artificial bubble of non-reality in order to make profit from the fantasies of its readership.

As my ex-MoD friend pointed out so succinctly, what’s more important to The Guardian (and maybe all media outlets) is to reinforce the existing beliefs of their core readership, than simply to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!

That’s where this blog comes in. And, as always, priority is always given to those who disagree. I actively want you to reach out and express opposing opinions to mine!

I can’t think of any circumstances whatsoever in which I’d delete a single comment on here, even if “offensive” in anyway. If that’s what I make someone feel with my words, then that’s the true voice of nature. I’d be lying to you all, and above all myself, were I to delete any comments that arise from my think-pieces!

EDIT: I’ve emailed The Guardian with a link to this piece, and I’ve invited them to reply to my allegations. They have yet to respond. But surely that says it all: once again I am being totally transparent and hospitable, welcoming even those I vehemently disagree with to have their say and to move the dialogue forward. I’ve said in black and white, repeatedly, that if the facts change I’ll change my opinion. I love everyone, it’s not PERSONAL, just an intellectual battle of ideas, with the best idea going ahead and shaping government policy. Luckily, the man who actually makes the decisions, Mr Javid, is a beacon of rationality and reason in an ocean of delusion, deception and detachment from nature.

I hope this proves the difference between my approach and that of The Guardian: I invite them to express themselves, I welcome them to my forum and offer them the right to reply. The Guardian, on the other hand, sneakily delete comments they don’t like, and shut out those with the wrong opinions (I’ve had confirmation that this has happened to others as well). As a result, their comments section is artificial, unnatural, contrived, skewed, flawed.

There’s a word for The Guardian’s approach: BIGOTRY.

Bigotry: “intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from oneself”

On the issue of wind energy, comment is truly free on my website. Literally everyone reading is encouraged to have their say, particularly those with an opposing opinion. I might actually learn something from those contributors bringing new information into the discourse! Whereas The Guardian’s website is an exercise in pure, closed-minded bigotry.

I hope everyone reading can spot the difference and figure out whose approach is the more honest, natural and true!

_98788710_metro16-11-17copy.jpg

EDIT 2: Hmmmm. I may have been a bit hasty in my unqualified support for Sajid Javid! A few days since this post (it’s now the 17th November) and I see Mr Javid has ruffled a few feathers with his intent to launch a massive house building programme. Surely this is the antithesis to my own BANANA (Build Absolutely None Anywhere Near Anyone) stance? If it was Sajid who used the word NIMBY, rather than the sub-editors at Metro, then WE REALLY NEED TO TALK!

Luckily I’m not a bigot. Luckily I don’t shut out opinions that differ from mine, but instead I engage with them, I deal with them head-on, and I really try and get under the skin of the antithesis to my original thesis, as always in search of synthesis.

Do we really need new homes? Why? What reason is there that the population has outgrown the buildings available? Is it that we are having more and more babies, with families getting bigger and bigger? Or is it that there are more families to house? If so, where did these new families come from? Have we stemmed the increase in our population, or is it still rising?

Anyone have any ideas why our population has risen so dramatically since 1997?

The synthesis to the house building problem is to ensure we pick the right locations. Nobody wants to live higher than 300 metres above sea level in the UK, unless they’re a glutton for ice-driving, so our uplands should be safe. I’m more worried about the Green Belts that separate our urban areas.

Being totally intellectually honest about it, where I’m sat right now was once upon a time fields. Vast swathes of North Leeds were built upon relatively high altitude open moorland (the clue is in the names: Moortown, Moorallerton, Tinshill, Cookridge etc), yet now these formerly green fields have been covered in suburban sprawl.

Indeed my town of birth, Crowborough, is an urban Marilyn (see my post “I Was Born On A Marilyn”). A few hundred years ago it’d have been part of the ancient Forest of Anderida, now it’s a medium-sized town housing 25,000 people. The trig point is in somebody’s back garden! So everywhere was countryside once upon a time. Where do we draw the line?

I’m starting to think the best synthesis of all would be an actual face-to-face meeting and interview with Sajid Javid, preferably on film, in which I can put my questions to him. Even if I fundamentally disagree with the house building policy – and I’d need to chat with him first of all to work out exactly what he wants to do, and where, before knowing whether I agree or not – I’d thoroughly enjoy the intellectual discourse with a man who clearly has a strong point of view about the wellbeing of the UK. A letter to his secretary will follow…let’s see if we can hook up the first ever MindWind video interview with an MP!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/11/16/sajid-javid-calls-giant-leap-new-homes-built-challenge-philip/ 

The Future Leader Of The Green Party

 

a7f8-bac5-4eb3-8f3f-7ba53c600edf.jpg

If I’m directing this blog at anyone in particular, it’s the future leader of the Green Party. Whoever that might be…

The future leader of the Green Party will be a very special person indeed. Can you think of a more important role, to ensure the conservation and protection of the UK’s green and pleasant countryside, than its official spokesperson in Parliament?

The health and wellbeing of Britain’s countryside is an indicator of the health and wellbeing of our population as a whole. Our Green Belts are often described as the “lungs” of our cities – the source of our fresh air, food and water, and a vital recreational, recuperative resource that directly contributes to our health and happiness. Screw up the countryside and you screw up the adjacent cities. Prioritise the well-being of the countryside, however, and the surrounding population will soon feel the benefits.

This is just the voice of nature, no dispute really. And if the Green Party truly wants to represent the voice of nature, then Items 1-999 on its manifesto will relate to the conservation of our countryside, at pretty much all costs. Items 1000- onwards can possibly pertain to other social issues, but only once the survival of our natural habitats has been guaranteed.

The Green Party’s continued unconditional support for wind power schemes, with their proven negative environmental and psychological impact (http://en.friends-against-wind.org/health/impact-of-wind-turbines-on-suicide), indicates that under its present leadership the party has become corrupted with tainted money. Bought and paid for by international banking syndicates looking for a fig-leaf, to make it almost socially unacceptable to oppose their “clean, green energy” BS. It’s called “greenwashing”, it’s a known phenomenon.

As I said in a previous entry, when it actually mattered most, the Green Party sided with the bulldozers, lending a veneer of eco-credentials to the Turbine Mafia, steamrollering their way over our unspoilt moors with their terrifying Weapons of Moss Destruction. On this issue at least, it’s the Tories and UKIP who are siding with nature and humanity, and the Green Party siding with the global investment banks.

If that shocks you, then you need to do some research, fast, into what on earth has gone so wrong with the Green Party that EVEN THE TORIES have better environmental policies than the Greens.

Don’t think that’s going to make me vote Tory by the way – they’re merely acting the way anyone with half a brain would do when confronted with a scam as egregious as wind energy. But all across the North Midlands, South Pennines and Southern Scotland, formerly safe Labour or SNP seats swung blue in the last couple of General Elections, indicating to me that opposing wind blight is now becoming an important factor in electoral success.

The Labour Party coming out firmly and unambiguously against wind blight would be as significant a shift as Tony Blair’s “Clause IV” moment. Come on Jeremy, even your own brother campaigns vociferously against Agenda 21, and he says at heart you feel the same. Speak out and win the next election by a landslide!

Seeing how the Tories and UKIP have taken the lead in starting to campaign against wind blight has been something of a reality check as to just how disastrously the other parties have lost the plot when it comes to the conservation of our countryside. Most upsetting is that the protection of our moors and uplands from HGVs and bulldozers should be the natural impulse of the Green Party. It’s almost as if Joni Mitchell never wrote “Big Yellow Taxi”; with a few notable exceptions, the party has revealed itself to be totally apathetic to the eco-destruction of our wild natural spaces for profit.

The appalling Rampion Wind Farm off the coast of Brighton, blighting the South Downs National Park for over a hundred miles, really is the final nail in the coffin of the Green Party’s reputation as a serious environmental organisation. RIP Green Party. RIP Brighton. RIP the old ways of doing things.

Still… where there is death, there is rebirth.

And where the field lies fallow, that’s precisely where we should be planting the seeds of future growth, development and success 🙂

If, hypothetically speaking, one was to groom potential candidates for the leadership of the Green Party, what personal qualities would one look for, and how would one wish to help prepare them for the role, should they choose to accept it?

Step One is to ensure that the Green Party fundamentally remains a party of geography. Detailed knowledge of the geography of the UK is the sine qua non of environmentalism, as I have said repeatedly over these pages. Every Green Party activist needs to know the lie of the land, they need to know from memory how our hills and rivers link up, in order to truly understand how we came to live where we live and how we interact with our landforms. So many social problems of today stem from the geographical characteristics of the environment.

A deeper knowledge of geography would help the Green Party figure out that sticking dozens of industrial wind turbines over the high moors from which rise the Rivers Irwell and Calder might just possibly increase the likelihood and severity of flooding!

Tied in with a love and passion for geography should be appreciation for and dedication to the spirit of the National Parks, because these places represent the Green idyll, and anything that has a negative impact on the National Parks is clearly against everything the Green Party should stand for.

My own journey into environmentalism started with my Geography A-Level coursework, which involved a trip to Mam Tor and my first real academic research into the geography of the Peak.

I WAS ONLY 16! The Peak Vibe has stuck with me ever since. In fact, that Geography project seems strangely recent, like it’s much more prominent in my memory than anything else from that era. It almost seems like yesterday I was throwing quadrats over the hillsides and counting the daisies in each square metre!

Our National Parks are where the physical geography of the UK meets up with our social history. I’ve already discussed the Kinder Trespass, and I really can’t emphasise just how important this movement was in paving the way for the creation of the National Parks. Another old comment I’d like to recycle (to save people having to trawl through dozens of previous entries): whatever problems the Labour Party has had under Blair, Brown and Miliband, once upon a time it was the party of working class outdoor pursuits. I am hopeful Jeremy Corbyn is as committed to the principle of the National Parks as his political ancestors.

So our future leader of the Green Party must be rooted in geographical knowledge and the need to conserve our National Parks. These founding principles will underpin every subsequent decision they make – is a policy in keeping with the nature of the geographic world, and does it help conserve our National Parks? If not, then it’s not a policy the Green Party should have anything to do with!

I’ve said this before (something of a Greatest Hits entry this, but good to get these salient points all linked together in one post): honesty and integrity are also crucial for the Green Party to separate itself from the more mainstream options. If the Green Party isn’t dedicated to honesty, then it’s absolutely unfit for purpose. There is simply no room whatsoever for any kind of untruth or deception within the environmental movement. The harm done to environmental causes through being associated with untrustworthiness is immense.

Dogma and hidden agendas are enemies of truth, especially when it comes to the murky world of renewable energy. Nothing is as it seems. This is why we should go back to basics, back to the 70s Green slogan “Small is beautiful” (tell that to the turbine operators!), and away from crony capitalism and Cultural Marxism. Free and open debate and discourse are better for the environment than a movement based on people being afraid to speak out for fear of not seeming adequately “progressive”.

I sometimes feel embarrassed to speak out against wind blight because it’s not an “approved” Green position. Stop and think through the implications of this for a second: if saying all the right things is all that it takes to be considered Green, just consider how easy it becomes for a bad person to abuse the Green ideal, simply by “talking the talk” rather than “walking the walk”. I call these people Dishonest Bananas, and they’re basically scammers who take advantage of people’s good nature by telling them what they want to hear. This has happened on a global scale with the endless repetition of the “clean, green energy” mantra, to the point where calling out wind blight is commonly seen as being opposed to clean, green energy.

NO! It’s simply saying that wind energy is neither as clean or green as it claims to be, and if the Green Party was all about honesty, geography and conserving the countryside at all costs, it would have no problem in calling this out.

The future leader of the Green Party will be no more dogmatically attached to wind turbines than they are to typewriters. If a technology is obsolete and outdated, and superior alternatives are available, then the genuinely environmentally friendly course of action is to just tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, rather than continue to promote failed wind power with dubious claims and bogus support.

This brings me on to the next radical break with the past the future leader of the Green Party needs to make.

Enough with the Climate Change crap already!

Climate change is a symptom, not the root of the problem. Having a War on Climate Change will probably go as well as the War on Terror and the War on Drugs. The Green Party needs to stop scaring the bejesus out of everyone with its apocalyptic nightmarish visions of the world going up in flames. What on earth does all this nihilism do to the mental health of its members? Bad decisions will be made in a panic, so far better to take a deep breath, go for a long ramble, and critically think about ways in which we can sort out the issues associated with wind energy.

All this needs to be part of a much wider engagement with the environment – it’s not just about CO2, it’s about all the other ways we destroy the planet, such as industrialising mountains and killing whales. A much more rounded discourse is needed, not just splattering climate change sceptics or ridiculing those with genuine concerns about the impact of wind turbines on their health and wellbeing.

I know from my correspondence with the Green candidate for Rossendale, that there are indeed members of the party who truly believe in wind energy. They need to take responsibility for policing the industry, and they need to be aware that simply believing in a concept does not automatically grant immunity to those who let down the cause. Believing in the concept of the police does not equate to approving of police brutality; believing in localism does not equate to endorsing xenophobia. Critical thinking once again… separate the wheat from the chaff, analyse what works and what doesn’t, be open and honest about what requires improvement.

All parties do this in order to adapt, evolve and survive. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has moved on from Blairite policies; the Tories have moved on from Thatcherism. No party today has the same policies as it had a couple of decades ago. The Greens should be no exception – it’s not still 1992!

Well, I hope this gives some pointers and good constructive advice for anyone reading who is considering standing as leader of the Green Party. We need a great Green Party, the environmental conscience of Westminster. I would love to vote Green, and with the right leader and the right policies, I would vote Green tomorrow!

Wind energy is the Achilles Heel of the Green Party, however, and I for one will continue to campaign until the problems with wind energy generation take centre stage in Green Party discourse! It will take real leadership and true passion for the geography of Britain to transform the party into one genuinely concerned about the best interests of our green and pleasant land.

There are future leaders of the Green Party out there with the intellect and empathy required to restore some natural equilibrium to the environmentalist movement, I know this for a fact. Although the mistakes the party made in the past made me angry, and the lack of concern for the health and wellbeing of wind victims made me upset, I am confident that the next incarnation of the Green Party will be smart and compassionate enough to learn from these mistakes and to reconnect with the voice of nature: ECO not EGO 🙂

When they return to nature, I’ll give them my vote!

COURSEWORK FOR ASPIRING GREEN LEADERS: READ “SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL”!!!

“Socialists should insist on using the nationalised industries not simply to out-capitalise the capitalists – an attempt in which they may or may not succeed – but to evolve a more democratic and dignified system of industrial administration, a more humane employment of machinery, and a more intelligent utilization of the fruits of human ingenuity and effort. If they can do this, they have the future in their hands. If they cannot, they have nothing to offer that is worthy of the sweat of free-born men.”

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/nov/10/small-is-beautiful-economic-idea

BEWARE THE GREENWASH! 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenwashing

“Put it this way, he’d rather say nothing and carry on getting support from various greenies.” Well that’s not very honest, is it Jeremy? Be like me, an Honest Banana: if you think they’re misguided, set them straight!

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/is-jeremy-corbyn-a-climate-change-sceptic-his-brother-suggests-he-could-be-a6760346.html

Here’s the Green Party’s official energy policy statement. There’s not a lot I’d argue with in there, so it’s just about ensuring compliance with these fine aims, and calling out those projects that fail to live up to the hype. Most wind schemes breach several of these targets, eg “3. Ensure secure, reliable and resilient energy supply.” Well, can we rely on the wind? Exactly how resilient is our wind energy supply when the wind stops blowing???

Don your Critical Thinking Cap, do your research, and separate the Heroes from the Zeroes!

https://policy.greenparty.org.uk/ey.html

“A fraud promulgated by fools based on a fantasy” – so is the Green Party dishonest or merely stupid in its support for wind energy? Either way, the party needs a reboot – out with the old, in with the new. Less dogma and deception, more nature and truth please!

https://stopthesethings.com/2017/11/01/wind-power-a-fraud-promulgated-by-fools-based-on-a-fantasy/

Just in case you missed it above, here’s that Smoking Gun once again: WIND FARMS CAUSE SUICIDES. ***SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN*** 

http://en.friends-against-wind.org/health/impact-of-wind-turbines-on-suicide

EDIT: SOME BREAKING NEWS!!!!

I can’t wait a whole blog entry for this. Remember a couple of weeks ago I informed Kirklees Council that any useless turbines would be recommended for destruction? I WARNED YOU VERY CLEARLY AND UNAMBIGUOUSLY THIS WOULD HAPPEN!

When will you start listening to the voice of nature, Kirklees Council??? This is why I send emails, take videos and write blogs…. This was the scene at the Scammonden suicide blackspot yesterday. I posted a video message from here just a couple of weeks ago.

THIS IS THE REALITY OF “SECURE, RELIABLE & RESILIENT” WIND ENERGY.

WAKE UP!!!

 

 

 

A Practical Solution: The Turbine Traffic Light Scheme

vu9suzjtzjplayqdxodu (2).jpg

To everybody who thinks this blog is one long moan, and in answer to the age-old question I get in forums: “OK, what would YOU do then, if you’re so clever?”:

I do indeed have some great solutions to the problem of turbine torture.

Maybe I should jump ship and get a job with the Planning Inspectorate. Boy could they do with me in charge. Heads would roll for the mistakes made over the last decade; there would be a root-and-branch overhaul of the basic training received by inspectors (including compulsory cartographical exams – if they can’t hand-draw from memory a map of the hills, mountains, rivers and settlements of the UK, then they’re simply not knowledgeable enough to have a valid opinion on planning policy).

There’d also be much more emphasis on understanding the UK’s social history as it relates to matters of conservation; far more engagement with the public, more of an “open source” approach to the inner workings of the Planning Inspectorate, encouraging all citizens to contribute to the nation’s knowledge base and to actively feel part of the planning process, rather than having to stand back and let people with less geographical knowledge make important decisions on their behalf. At all times there’d be a culture of Kaizen, the Japanese approach to total quality management and continuous process improvement, in which feedback and new information is ALWAYS welcomed and incorporated, rather than resented and obstructed with a haughty “We know best” attitude.

NO, PLANNING INSPECTORATE, YOU DON’T KNOW BEST. I BLATANTLY KNOW FAR MORE ABOUT THE GEOGRAPHY OF THE PENNINES THAN YOU.

I KNOW FAR MORE ABOUT THE IMPACT OF INAPPROPRIATE WIND BLIGHT ON MY NATURAL HABITAT THAN YOUR INSPECTORS WILL EVER UNDERSTAND.

UNTIL YOU START LISTENING AND LEARNING FROM PEOPLE LIKE ME AND MY WIND WARRIOR FRIENDS, YOU WILL CONTINUE TO BE CONSIDERED PART OF THE PROBLEM, NOT THE SOLUTION.

Let’s hope Scout Moor marks a new era. I’m glad you made the right decision. Better late than never.

If I was in charge of the Planning Inspectorate, above all there would be a ZERO TOLERANCE policy to any kind of gratuitous eco-destruction whatsoever. The Planning Inspectorate would start off pure BANANA in its mentality towards wind turbines: Build Absolutely None Anywhere Near Anyone. This is clearly and unambiguously the best policy for the environment: zero building equals zero carbon footprint. Therefore refusing all turbines would be the default position of the Planning Inspectorate. If someone brave wants to chance their arm on a wind turbine proposal, they would have dozens of stringent hoops to jump through before even beginning to get planning permission.

We are where we are, however, and sadly the Planning Inspectorate was corrupted for a decade, using flawed processes open to abuse and malpractice. The inspectors I’ve named and shamed, Robin Brooks, Brendan Lyons and George Baird, ARE guilty of eco-vandalism (not a libellous allegation, but a proven scientific fact) because they each made a personal decision to allow our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty to be degraded for profit.

You can argue the toss of whether they broke the law in any way (I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say their decisions were lawful, if unethical), but the end result is undeniable: these were the individuals who could have said “NO!” to the bulldozers, they were entrusted with the personal authority to uphold the will of the councils that had already rejected the applications; they were legally empowered to reinforce the view of the communities that each scheme was unacceptable. Instead they chose to allow the imposition of horrible wind blight on the public, against their will and without their consent.

Thankfully, having learned from my training materials, the Planning Inspectorate finally called it right with their rejection of the Scout Moor expansion. Good stuff, and credit where credit’s due. Maybe things have changed now, in which case it’s just the legacy issues that need resolving.

It’s only because of the mess left by the Inspectors, and those who hadn’t trained them properly, that we now need a remedial solution, and I have one. I present my Turbine Traffic Light Scheme. I’m drawing inspiration from my day job (remember, I work for a huge and globally popular corporation, so my ideas aren’t just back-of-a-fag packet, they’re based on seeing what successful people do). Every 90 days I carry out a full IT Health Check at various sites. I turn up, I clean and maintain every single piece of kit onsite, I audit software and hardware and work with the client to evaluate the performance of every device. Should I unearth an issue with an item, I log it and assess the viability of repairing it or replacing it. Once I’ve left a site, I know exactly what equipment is there, what state it’s in, and what needs doing to make any necessary improvements.

We talk about domains in IT, a collection of devices belonging to an organisational unit. We could say local councils are domains, and so every wind turbine within a council’s boundaries could be seen as a computer on the network. Step one is to draw up the complete inventory for every council. There is no reason on earth why this information shouldn’t be in the public “domain”: every resident of the UK should be able to Google “list of wind turbines in Kirklees” and find definitive, up-to-date information.

No IT Department in the world would allow unaccounted-for computers loose onto the domain, and it should be the same with wind turbines, they should all be registered and itemised, maybe even giving them an “asset tag” (eg KIRKWT0856), like a car number plate. These should be displayed on the turbines, but their main use is in quantifying the performance metrics of each turbine.

What sort of data is in the public interest, and should be added to our inventory? Well, obvious things such as the date of construction, the end date of the contract, the owner’s name, the financial arrangements, the capacity factor of each turbine, the carbon footprint of construction, the CO2 emissions offset so far, the expected date after which each turbine will have saved all the CO2 it took to construct and maintain it. Can you think of any others? This could all be stored in an Excel spreadsheet.

Once we have all the data, we as a society have to look at what we want our service level agreements to be, and what our penalties should be for non-compliance. If a turbine only offsets the CO2 it took to build it nineteen years into a twenty year contract, is that really acceptable? Is nineteen years of psychological harm to people worth it, merely in order to lower CO2 emissions slightly for a few months in two decades time? Would it not be better to hold fire and wait a few years till we can do it more efficiently and less environmentally destructively? All that money going towards inefficient turbines, would it be better invested into R&D for better technologies? We will only know once we have the data available.

The final step of the audit is the Turbine Traffic Light Scheme. I should be able to look at every turbine in a borough and immediately see which ones are performing at a satisfactory level, and which ones are underperforming. We also need to factor in visual impact and the views of the public. If a member of public complains about a turbine, then this will be quantified as a negative reaction.

(There’s no point in recording positive reactions, as knowing the wind companies, they would just astroturf bogus support, whereas I cannot foresee a single person making false complaints about turbines, ergo all complaints will be genuine. Who would make a bogus complaint about a wind turbine, and why? Nobody makes money from opposing turbines, and if someone is motivated by not wanting their home depreciated by wind blight, that’s a perfectly valid reason that should be recognised! The best compliment that could be paid of a wind turbine is that not a single person has complained about it.)

Those turbines that both perform according to the terms of the SLA and have an acceptably low number of complaints would be permitted, on one condition: the turbines would have to be repainted dark green, in keeping with the landscapes and much more blended in to the countryside. Green turbines would be a mark of honour – they would have gone through the audit and proved themselves to be genuinely good for the environment.

Whereas red turbines….these are the ones that have failed, ones that have breached the SLA and had too many complaints from the public. They are basically condemned, dead men walking, and should be scheduled for demolition. Is it worth painting them red if they are to be destructed anyway? Well, maybe we give the operators a choice: six months in the red with a final chance to prove themselves, in which case they can ultimately go green, or else give up right now, admit defeat and take the turbines down without the need to splash out on red paint!

We could possibly have an amber stage, those turbines that haven’t been tested yet or still have work to do to meet all their targets. Ones that aren’t out-and-out failures, but equally haven’t emphatically proved themselves.

Even within a large wind farm, every turbine needs assessing individually. It might be that only two or three out of an eleven turbine array are doing anything, in which case they would get the green paint, and the rest would get the red treatment!

What my Turbine Traffic Light Scheme would do would be to give turbine operators an incentive to up their game and earn genuine approval based on achieved performance rather than simply hopes and promises. It would also stigmatise rogue operators, whose red turbines would immediately stand out as having failed to prove themselves. I would hope that sensible people would rather remove their red turbines than leave them standing as a record of failure!

Well, it’s just an idea to get the ball rolling. The important point is now that I’m starting to form syntheses, refinements of my still-dominant BANANA thesis that also take into account the idea that it might just feasibly be possible to do wind well. I’m doubtful that many turbines in the UK would achieve green paint status, but I’d be prepared to give them a chance to prove their abilities.

Just as long as we stop rewarding failure!

EDIT: My introduction to Kaizen was, like all my other discoveries, based on serendipity. I worked on a short contract installing display systems for hybrid cars at Toyota dealers across the North. “What a great, well-run operation”, I observed. Further research into Toyota’s workflow processes revealed that the company’s methodologies are rooted in Kaizen philosophy. https://lifehacker.com/get-better-at-getting-better-the-kaizen-productivity-p-1672205148