Over the past few months, WARD has been harrangued by Friends of the Earth (Wharfedale Branch), who take the view that wind-power and wind turbines should be supported as environmentally friendly, and energy-effecient: whereas WARD has reflected its own opinions (based on scientific evidence) that wind turbines and wind farms do not ‘stack up’ as energy-efficient, economically viable in the longer term, and that they are damaging to the natural environment and tend to have a negative effect on property values locally to any turbine(s). As the UK has a high proportion of owner-occupied properties, most of which are mortgaged and therefore equity values are crucial, the UK is more affected by property values than many other economies. WARD recognises that we are a small nation with a limited land-mass (242,000 sq. km, including its islands), that we are heavily built-up, with limited open space between urban communities, and that green space is precious.
Hundreds of years ago, mankind’s more advanced economies abandoned wind power because it was unreliable, and found better/more reliable methods of generating energy. It is not necessary to burn coal or oil or gas to generate energy, and few of us are going to advocate nuclear power as a complete solution given the issues of decommissioning. However, littering the country (or coastal waters) with huge turbines is not the answer either, and it seems Germany (the European country with the largest installed capacity of wind turbines) has come to the conclusion that wind is not the solution they had hoped, and has started building new coal-fired power stations (utilising clean-burn technology and particle capture which was developed and pioneered in the UK but, like other technologies, we failed to exploit it). Germany has an installed wind-power capacity of 32GW, but its peak output was achieved in April 2013, at a mere 17 GW (53% of capacity) for some 2 hours before declining to 8GW. During several days in April 2013, the peak output achieved from all Germany’s 22,300 turbines was 4GW. For a recent anaysis of the conclusions in Germany, see http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2013/08/13/german-green-energy-bluster-running-out-of-wind/ and http://notrickszone.com/2013/04/28/wind-power-in-germany-puts-out-only-a-small-fraction-of-rated-capacity-in-april-standby-plants-losing-money/
WARD has based its view on its aims and objectives – of protecting the green spaces and our communities – and on an analysis of the available, independent, scientific evidence. A wealth of which can be found through the Global Warming Policy Foundation whose aim is to restore balance and trust to the climate debate. Friends of the Earth (Wharfedale Branch) are free to express their own opinions on their own website,or in the comments section of ours, but it’s not for WARD to carry their ‘singular opinion’ or support their interpretation of data without question.
For anyone who wants an independent assessment of the efficiency, costs and economics of wind power, we would encourage you to review the 2012 Report of the independent Renewable Energy Foundation (REF) at the following link: http://www.ref.org.uk/attachments/article/280/ref.hughes.19.12.12.pdf.
For Friends of the Earth response in support of the Menston Wind Turbine please see here.
Alan D Elsegood, Secretary, WARD