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Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby David Craig » Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:53 am

Well argued case, tho' I an uhappy about the political influence which seems to go with being a friend of Eck. But if you have influence, its hard to say you shouldn't use it to make a better world..

No-go zones is a good start, though sightlines are a more accurate measure of the landscape impact than proximity.

We are not closing the stable door, because developments to date have chosen the less sensitive sites; now these have been bagged, pressure will grow to use more sensitive sites.

We need a tidy-up bond scheme to remove redundant turbines.

Finally, we all know that green energy is 'uneconomic', in the sense that it is more expensive per kW-hour. The objective is not to produce the cheapest electricity, but to save the planet. In the words of JFK " We choose to do this, not because it is easy...."
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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby GuruJock » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:03 am

Is it too simplistic to say that there is no simple solution, no one size fits all energy source. Surely we need some hydro power, some wind and wave energy, maybe we need to keep some of those ugly old power plants and, dare I say it maybe even a nuclear power plant or two. Wind turbines, love them or loathe them are here to stay. Personally I see them as a necessary evil, (to an extent). As a lover of Scotland's beautiful countryside I hate the thought of our wildest, remotest areas being turned into wind farms, so in that respect I could say, "not on my doorstep!" The truth of the matter is I would rather see them on my actual doorstep, I live in Fife and although the countryside is braw here its fairly heavily populated and not of the outstanding natural beauty, (sorry Fifers no offence intended), which is under threat further North.
It is apparent that the majority of us want to live 'greener' lives, there are, of course some simple measures we can take; reduce, re-use, recycle and all that. But we love the outdoors, so how do we get there, of course, we jump in our cars and for the majority of us that means petrol/diesel, please no one mention electric cars as I'm confused about this, when one minute we're being told to use less electricity then the next it's all electric cars are getting better all the time and that's how we're going to save the planet :crazy: Surely education from a young age would be a simple and cost effective idea. It was always drummed into me as a youngster to switch off the lights, t.v, etc. when not in use.
We all wear clothes and use pieces of 'kit' which were probably manufactured abroad and shipped to this country. What, I ask is the environmental impact of this? Do we want to have our green cake and eat it? :sick:
It appears to me that the politicians like to rant about 'going green' so why don't they pass a bill whereby every new build must have some form of renewable energy source, solar panels or the likes. I've heard the argument that this would make housing too expensive. Surely if this was widespread practice the cost of this energy source would come down and because of the greater demand jobs would be created. The extra initial cost would, over time be recouped through lower energy bills. Once again maybe a bit too simplistic.
In short we all have to play our part, local council, government and us.
We need to leave a better planet for our children and better children for our planet. :thumbup:

Or is it a case that Scotland is becoming overpopulated, just throwing that in the mix as food for thought. :shock:
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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby willieross » Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:18 pm

I find it really sad that some one like Cameron McNeish, and so many others on this forum, should just 'give in' and accept wind turbines destroying our landscapes. SSE and other developers must be rubbing their hands with glee that such a prominent opponent, (as Cameron himself would like to imagine he is, as he has 'shouted so loudly in the past'), has rolled over and accepted the spin, false information and lies the wind industry spout at every opportunity. If he has 'shouted so loudly in the past' he should continue to shout just as loudly, if not louder, to help inform Joe Public that, so called support for wind turbines will not deliver all that is proclaimed by the wind industry and politicians, but will mean very expensive power costs, lost jobs, no significant reduction in CO2 produced (possibly greater amounts), landscapes and seascapes being destroyed, and some, namely, landowners and developers (mostly foreign), becoming very rich through the subsidies we are all forced to pay. (The landowner at Stronelairg set to pocket £60m. God knows how much SSE will pocket!)
Perhaps if Cameron had shouted loudly on 23rd March 2013 alongside Rhona Weir, the 94-year old environmental campaigner and widow of Tom Weir, at the SNP conference in Inverness, the publicity generated would have gone some way to help educate Joe Public about the true implications of wind turbines. Perhaps if some objectors on this website had joined in, some further publicity from a larger crowd of marchers would have been generated.
See here for further information,http://scotlandagainstspin.org/
As for Cameron's suggestion that "anti-wind groups align themselves with the recreational NGO’s and forget nonsense about moratoriums and opposing offshore wind". Is he suggesting that we should all roll over and surrender to spin of the wealthy power companies? Is it really 'nonsense', to try to correct something which is unreliable, intermittant, expensive, damaging and so really wrong, as wind turbines are?
If we are to 'accept a few crumbs', is it only SNH who decide where wild land is? And does that mean that all other areas are open for turbine development? Even if it means massive turbines are sited close to peoples homes, with all the health impacts involved, (denied by the SNP and wind industry), the loss in property values, (denied by the SNP and wind industry), and of course, costs involved to the consumer and the massive increase in fuel poverty wind power will cause.
Naturally, these 'crumbs' will only be offered after Stronelairg, in the 'wild' Monadlaith is approved. Which it will be, since Highland Council don't object as it will cost them dearly for a public enquiry, the RSPB objection will be bought out by the developer, and SNH will eventually remove their objection when Salmond, their paymaster, tells them to.
And to those who state they would rather have wind turbines than a nuclear, coal or gas fired power plant. Remember, it doesn't matter how many turbines are planted on or around our country's shores, nuclear, coal and gas fired power plants will still have to be built and run constantly alongside turbines, for all the times when the wind doesn't blow or blows too much. It is not a choice between turbines or conventional power plants. It is continue to pay (at what cost) for imported gas, imported coal, and, probably imported nuclear power, on top of all the subsidies for turbines. Failing that, the lights will go out.
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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby BigG » Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:54 pm

What would these posters have to say if we were witnessing the building of dams and the flooding of communities? Was that too big a price to pay for electricity from the glens? Onshore wind may well be an interim fix and remember that when windmills are no longer producing, they are conditioned by planners to be removed and covered over. Scotland is changing in many ways, wind turbines can help transform our energy production from coal and nuclear to clean energy systems but they won't necessarily be the long-term solution.
Meantime it's up to councillors to find areas where locals will accept them-not easy!
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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby Peter1919 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:10 pm

I actually like the visual impact of wind turbines. I have even gone so far as to deliberately plan a hike to go near to wind turbines so I could have a good look at them up close. Having said that I would not support them being built in sensitive locations, For example views of Ben Lomand over Loch Lomand would be ruined if a wind farm was built on the slopes of Ben Lomand.

Ok I do not live in Scotland but I do try to get up there for a weeks walking every year so I am one of the tourists that Scotland is keen to carry on attracting and I support Cameron's conclusion that wind turbines should be built away from Scotland's most important wild country.
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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby willieross » Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:20 pm

BigG, today, 'building of dams and flooding communities', would never be permitted on a scale to make any significant difference to our needs. Scotland, or the UK for that matter, does not have the available land area. Our current hydro power provides only a fraction of the total requirements of a population which depends more and more on electricity. Therefore, hydro as you describe, could never be an option.
As for your claim that, 'when windmills are no longer producing, they are conditioned by planners to be removed and covered over', you are wrong. There are no finances set aside to remove used turbines. The wind industry may claim they will be dismantled and removed after their 25 years of expected use, but there is no legally binding set-up for enforcing this. Developments are sold on from one company to another, and you can almost guarantee any requirement to remove turbines will be lost in legal contracts. Latest evidence also suggests turbines will only last between 12 to 15 years. Any cost to remove them will be massive, thereby eating into developers long term profits, thereby making it less likely they will ever be removed.
If ever they are removed, the disposal of the blades, which are made of plastic composites, also has environmental impacts. They can only be incinerated at extremely high temperatures, (more CO2 production), releasing carbon particles into the atmosphere. Or disposed of in landfill. Germany, Denmark, USA and other countries, now have huge mountains of spent turbine blades waiting to be disposed of. Some analysts have even suggested that wind turbine blade disposal will be the asbestos problem of the future.
The base for every large turbine uses approximately 1000 tons of concrete. How is that to be removed? Or is this what you mean will be covered up? With what? Topsoil, which is easily washed away? Particularly in the harsh environment of the Scottish hills. Or, perhaps covered with lots of very large cairns, to remind future generations of the folly of wind turbines?
Finally, Scotland may well be changing. But unfortunately, due to the blindness of the SNP and UK Governments, the change to relying on wind turbines, (and that is what we are doing by supporting wind power so eagerly), will cost us, and our children, dearly. Wind turbines will never 'help transform our energy production from coal and nuclear to clean energy systems'.
They are a short term, money making scam, for those who care little for our countryside.
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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby CM Donald » Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:52 pm

Here are a few facts for you to mull over:

1. Permission for wind farms is granted for a temporary period;
2. When that period ends, conditions require the turbines to be removed (this normally includes tracks, other structures and section - albeit not all - of the turbine foundations);
3. Condition also require individual turbines to be removed if they cease to function for a certain period of time or longer;
4. Developers have to pay a bond to cover the costs of restoration. For large schemes, this can run to hundreds of thousands of pound and more and can be used by local authorities to restore the site in the event that the developer goes bust etc.
5. Folk like to bash the SNP over wind turbines, but please be aware that as someone who works in the industry on the local govt side, the Lab/Libdem executive was very much promoting wind energy and was changing planning policy accordingly, until they were booted out for being generally incompetent. The SNP has simply continued this trend and it is only possible because successive UK GOVERNMENTS have also supported wind power and, because they still hold the purse string, they are the ones who've created an environment within which it thrives.
6. There is no such thing as clean energy (yet). Yes, you may be able to find fault with wind farms, but you'll find just as much, if not more, with coal, gas and in particular nuclear. All energy production has environmental costs, but I for one would prefer to see some turbines on a hillside than another Dounreay...
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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby gaffr » Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:14 am

Many thanks to all for the loads of interesting facts and figures. I just wonder how far a bond of a few hundred thousand pounds will stretch in the tidy-up process. Looks as if above ground maybe but below ground a cover-up. Maybe Millions and hundred of millions would be more realistic to carry out these tasks. :lol: I also wonder if it was, or will be, the power companies that pay for the de-commissioning of the nuclear power plants. :) Could we please have some more facts on this part of the power supply equation.
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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby bruni » Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:21 am

I read Cameron McNeish's article with complete and utter dismay. The timing of it is curious, could it have anything to do with the 44,000+ objectors to turbines? Is Commissar Salmond fretting what this might do to his vapid referendum in 2014? you bet it is! I am afraid this defeatist attitude will do nothing to stem the protests, if Eck seriously thinks a public figure such as MCNeish coming out with this verbiage will stop the protests, he is seriously delusional. Wind turbines are useless, the generation capacity is about 2-5GW on a windy day: I suggest reading the Adam Smith Institute report "The limits of wind power (about 10% apparently) and the "Scottish Energy 2020? by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers report. It is beyond dispute turbines need 90% backup from conventional power sources such as coal, gas and nuclear,
Rupert Steele, of Iberdrola, admitted that the 30GW of wind power planned required 25GW of backup,
the climate change derangement syndrome exhibited by third rate 'politicians' is rank insanity. The UK came very close to black outs in the very recent cold spell, thanks to the generosity of Quatar, at great cost no doubt, two tankers of gas saved the day. The destruction of birds and bats from these ugly, noisy, expensive, useless machines is intolerable,. two rare hen harriers were killed in Perthshire by turbine blades, how many more rare birds are killed and disposed of by wind farm operators? I for one am not giving up and I advise everyone who feels strongly about the issue to step up their efforts, we have the right to protest, use it or lose it.
I also agree with the comment about Salmond never replying to representations, he is an ignorant man paid for out of the public purse who is obviously so arrogant he believes he does'nt have to defend his policies, there lies the road to dictatorship, you have been warned.
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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby BigBillwp39 » Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:53 pm

I agree with the need for windfarms but they do need to be sited away from areas of natural beauty. I think the idea of offshore farms would be better, but as I understand this is not a viable solution because the cost outweighs the benefits. As an alternative to windfarms I make the suggestion that the scottish government should introduce a policy that all council owned property (which should include housing stock, as I expect there to be at least 25,000 homes) should have solar pv panels fitted. This would help towards the co2 output being reduced. It could be that the local councils don't foot the bill for the instalations but actually rent out the roof space to the energy companies and benefit from lower energy bills. Or add the cost onto the rent payments as the tennants would benefit from low cost or no cost energy.
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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby caithnessian » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:11 pm

I started to worry about Cameron when he did a TV programme for BBC walking from the Borders to Cape Wrath without mention or sight of turbines which sadly reflected usual BBC bias. His article here is so disappointing and reflects the selfish attitude of the MCofS and Ramblers, but not I believe JMT who do not support wind energy to the same extent. Why should mountains be protected any more than people or the less dramatic but still beautiful parts of Scotland? As soon as we have one group saying not here but somewhere else it weakens the whole argument and I doubt very much whether those who want to inflict windfarms on communities would really be happy to have their own homes surrounded by turbines. Would he honestly want to have to sleep with his windows shut as the only way to block out the noise (higher levels are permitted at night) ? Would he really want to keep his curtains drawn in the daytime to avoid flicker or the ill effects of the perpetual motion? Would he really want the views from his windows and garden dominated by huge machines? Those who have to suffer are trapped; they cannot move away as their homes are unsaleable. Offshore is as bad; we have no idea what damage we are doing to the oceans and the cost of maintenance and removal is far higher. Others have pointed out the uselessness and financial cost of wind energy but I have yet to meet an advocate of wind energy who has actually had to live very close to one or more windfarms (forget the 2km separation distance, it means nothing with this Govt.). Seeing turbines in the distance is one thing, living surrounded by them is quite another.
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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby cavg » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:00 pm

Wind turbines look lovely, something about them I like - suppose its subjective. We go all gushy when we see old fashioned 'wind mills' in rural areas of England on biscuit tins and I cant see the difference. I don't want Scotland to be a theme park for the well heeled that complain about spoilt views of wilderness, and the amoebic wiggy trump springs to mind here. Wondering about the argument about the forestry commission plantations or the highland clearances for sheep and birdy whacking - who is really driving this argument?
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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby Circles » Wed Apr 17, 2013 3:01 pm

Some of these post's would appear more rational and less emotional rant if they actually discussed the alternative approach to power generation they were advocating rather than 'just say no'...I particulary enjoyed the implied statemenst that wind power releases more CO2 that Coal...or that a plastic composite is the equivalent to asbestos...it can result in mesothelioma as well?
Green energy - how does it compare to Coal, nuclear, hydro, solar :shock: or other options
Cost - as above (but you need to accept that power companies will make money on what ever option is chosen as they need to have a return on capital invested...the alternative is the government paying for it...and tax payer swill end up paying one way or the other...no such thing as free power)
Visual impact - as above
Are we going back to the stone age? or can we have a rational balanced of the pro's and cons of the various alternatives to determine the best approach for all with the significant effort targeted at the most important sites to be protected...the declining wild land
He who defends everything defends nothing!
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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby cheekykarma » Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:13 pm

This is a hard argument.

Wind energy is good. Good for the environment. Modern. Wise.

Does though blot a landscape a bit. I like the structures in some areas. Yet I do not want them to follow me all around Scotland and be in every photo I take.

Is it an argument that cannot be won?

I think not.

It is a political thing. A short term profitable thing. It makes you look like you care and build for the future. Yet as a politician or if you follow the world of energy.....

You know what is being built in Cadarache in France. ITER.

You know the Chinese already have a fusion reactor.

And you know it is that serious that Russia and China plan to mine the moon for Helium 3 for fusion reactors.

So the future of energy is very much here, and once you have a few fusion reactors running, then the energy from a windfarm, is well a bit like doing something in the wind.
Nuclear fusion is very safe. Fusion is rather clean. Instead of a fraction of mass being converted to energy - near on the entire mass is converted to energy. It is amazing science to build the energy of a Star rather than a perpetual bomb.

Yet yes there is much more detail for far cleverer people than I to argue regards fusion. Yet I know it is here. I know it is not going away.

So what should be asked now of politicians is when future energy sources enjoy once again abundant power. Should we not consider the dismantling of turbines and recycling of the windmills in the future to restore the simple beauty of landscape?

Wind farms have a place. They belong in rural settings. They also are wise in urban settings - the smaller scale turbines. The larger scale farms across moors etc yes have a place.......... for now.

But do not try to kid us on that when you have the power of fusion at hand. You need the wind to blow upon a Star.

In future I expect one fusion power plant to allow x amount of turbines to be brought down. Clever maths people can work out the math. Politicians then will score points on restoring the beauty of the land ...............

Do you not just hate politicians .............. ;)
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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby weedavie » Sat Apr 20, 2013 11:44 am

atseacliff wrote:Just to pick up on Morag1's final comment - as someone who lives in East Lothian we have a plethora of wind farms in the wonderful Lammermuirs and active campaign groups opposing further development - see the link below. Come and have a look and decide for yourself whether enough is enough.


I'd back this one up. I occasionally use the Lammermuirs and each time I return I'm more hacked off by the degree of vandalism. I'd far rather see windfarms in the Mounth. Such a development might even make Tom Buidhe look slightly interesting.
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