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Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby Paul Webster » Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:35 pm

In his latest Viewpoint column, Cameron McNeish discusses windfarms and pragmatism:

Cameron McNeish wrote:I’VE never been very big on pessimism but I believe many hillwalkers and wild land enthusiasts are now engaged in a battle that cannot be won.

I dislike the visual effect of windfarms as much as anyone and I’ve yet to be convinced of their value in terms of energy output but after years of campaigning alongside that wily old fox from Ramblers Scotland, Dave Morris, I have learned the value of pragmatism.

Read the full article - The Wind Compromise - and feel free to have your say.

Please remember when discussing controversial issues that other posters may have very different viewpoints but everyone's view should be always treated with respect.
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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby AssyntCrofter » Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:12 pm

Wholeheartedly agree with the view apart from maybe one small issue:
"...we should be asking the Scottish Government to set aside those scenic areas that could be described as ‘wild land’ for full protection from all potential developments, including wind turbines..." That would mean no micro-hydro, no low-level unobtrusive wind turbines, no ground-placed solar panels?
A few years back the 'Assynt Foundation' took it upon itself to try and erect two massive wind turbines right in from of Suilven, one of the most iconic mountains of the Northwest Highlands, and it was only through a concerted effort of a few individuals that this catastrophe was averted. And that was the actions of an organisation that was 'acting on behalf of the community'!
Yes, we need more renewable energy.
Yes, we must preserve the wild lands we have left.
These are not mutually exclusive statements.
Good article, well said Cam!
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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby malky_c » Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:30 pm

I wasn't expecting to say this, but I pretty much agree with everything in that article.

I was thinking about the recent refusal of planning permission for the Clach Liath development. All very good, but if in 2 or 3 years a wind farm pops up on the hills west of Achnasheen instead (and there are certainly some recently bulldozed speculative tracks up there), it will look like a bit of an own goal for the anti-windfarm organisations. I know which development I'd rather see go ahead (and I would've been able to see the Clach Liath one from my living room)
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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby foggieclimber » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:17 am

I have previously written to Alex Salmond suggesting that Scotland needs to be mapped with specific areas excluded from future wind turbine development. I suggested that as well as National Parks being excluded that also areas around our main mountains (Munros and Corbetts) should be excluded. Further, I suggested that he also implement the recommended 2km minimum distance away from villages, towns and cities such that residents of these locations do not have to put up with the associated noise, shadow flicker, etc.

Aberdeenshire is already a complete and utter mess with turbines literally here, there and everywhere. Why scatter them all over the place? Instead build extensive windfarms in strategic places out of the way of our best scenery and out of the way of habitation.

No response ever received from Wee Eck!
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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby morag1 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:49 am

I agree with Cameron and I think he put his point across very well.

I read recently that people living on one of the islands now have a windfarm and for the first time ever they have electricity 24 hours. Before that the children were having to get dressed by candlelight before going to school and the lights were going off at around 9pm. Who wants to live like that?

Electricity bills are so high that some people are turning down the heating in an attempt to save money. Who wants to live in a cold house, in Scotland, in winter? What about the elderly and those with long term health problems, just ask them what they think of windfarms.

Could hill walkers not all get together and identify areas which would be suitable for windfarms so that these are not placed in scenic areas like Glen Nevis and Glencoe? Does anyone ever go to the Lammermuir Hills? Would that not be a good place for a windfarm?

Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby atseacliff » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:51 pm

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.

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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby whiteburn » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:55 pm

At the risk of upsetting a lot of the UK population I believe that they, together with most of politicians, are so remarkably ignorant and ill informed on the issues surrounding energy policy and the economics of electrical generation and distribution that any opinion survey only serves to demonstrate the old adage that anything can be proved with statistics.
To illustrate:
I believe almost everyone would answer YES to the following question (rule one don’t ask a question that you don’t know what the answer is going to be):

"Do you support a balanced energy policy that includes renewables e.g. hydro and wind power?"

It’s the interpretation (spin) that’s put on the output that’s significant:
A) Unreserved support for wind farms.
B) The politicians need to stop prevaricating and get a balanced energy policy put in place.

The real answer is B) but the SNP would have you believe A)

What’s the old saying “lies damn lies and statistics”, I suppose a bigger divergence from “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” is a politician interpreting statistics (firstly, he/ she opened their mouth so you know there’s a lie coming!)

For many years the urban greenies and the renewable industry have successful in hoodwinking the UK public with a dream that all of the country’s energy problems can be solved by a few wind turbines. The politicians jumped on the band wagon to prove their green credentials as well as being able to ignore the gaping deficit in electrical generation capacity (no matter how many wind turbines are built) that’s just around the corner. Plus lobbying to build a power station (coal, nuclear or gas) generally doesn't get you re-elected.

Few urbanites have even seen one of the full size (10+ * 0.5MW turbines) Wind Farms, or walked further than 100m from the car, so how can they be expected to intelligently pronounce opinions on the matter?

If everyone is so happy with wind farms why the Pentland Hills and Firth and Forth estuaries aren’t filled with them? It makes more economic sense and practical sense than building wind farms 200km north, having generation next to demand reduces transmission losses and infrastructure (power lines) does need upgrading. Perhaps it’s energies companies belief that the planners will not be sympathetic (visual impact upsetting the tourists etc), opposition from local nimby groups (including many ‘greenies’) that they’ve shied away? Or could it be the SNP government steering the companies away from even considering ‘the right thing’ so they don’t lose the urban vote?

I live in rural Aberdeenshire where there has been a rampant expansion in wind turbines over the last 2 – 3 years, I can count >30 from the kitchen window! I haven’t objected to these turbines as I believe they’re in the right place, near population, despite believing they’re ugly and make no economic sense.
Most recently there’s been crowing a lot about how much renewable power was generated in 2012 but what they don’t mention is how much that power cost to generate (excessive) or how many conventional power stations have been shutdown as a result (zero).
The SNP government’s apparent energy policy is to become the exporter to the UK of expensively produced renewable energy (supposedly reaping in huge subsidies) while importing cheaper electricity from nuclear, coal and gas power stations in England when the wind doesn’t blow. Seems like a really twisted Independence strategy to me, basing your future energy policy of subsidies from a neighbouring country. Ask Denmark’s government how effective these economic tactics have been in their similar dealings with Germany, it’s not good news.

All of this will be at the expense of those who love the wild countryside, those that just come to Scotland to see it and those whose livelihoods depend on the tourist industry.

Cameron, what the SNP are doing is wrong; you should tear up the membership card and start lobbying all outdoors people to vote against them!
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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby morag1 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:26 pm

atseacliff wrote: a plethora of wind farms in the wonderful Lammermuirs

oooops, thanks for the comment atseacliff, I didnt realise that and if you live in East Lothian then I appreciate you must be sick of them :(

As Cameron states in his article, we have to be pragmatic and try to find ways of living with them or find places where they can be sited which are acceptable to most. I was going to ask if anyone goes to the Moorfoots but Im sure someone on this site will come and say they live there and are fed up with them too.

We just have to keep on trying to find a solution to the problems, love them or hate them they are here to stay, Scotland needs to find an energy source as the fossil fuels are drying up. Cockenzie power station has now closed, I cant think what on earth is going to replace that, it kept the lights in East Lothian burning for nearly 40 years.

Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby Circles » Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:57 pm

Pragmatism is what is required...but it usually turns to (understandable) self interest when it is in your backyard

As I noted on another thread recently...energy generation capacity is required...no matter what type or where its located, there will be a group unhappy...it's inevitable that some area is going to see these continue to go up and be unhappy
Same as we see when you try and build a new road
...or a new railway
...or some affordable housing
...as the great philospher Garth Algar said "We fear change"
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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby bootsandpaddles » Tue Apr 02, 2013 5:05 pm

foggieclimber wrote:
No response ever received from Wee Eck!

The only way to more or less guarantee a response from a politician is to write to your MP. They will then contact the relevant minister who is obliged to reply. It seems to work quite well. Not that you will get a satisfactory answer but at least you should get some sort of response.
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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby RockyRab » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:54 pm

I'd like to see the SNP commit to nuclear power rather than erecting wind turbines here, there and everywhere. I feel like wind turbines are there solely to benefit the land owners and electricity companies rather than the rest of us.
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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby foggieclimber » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:16 am

Interesting why we are closing down our coal-powered stations - EU Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD).

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/news ... itten.html

Perhaps part of the solution would be to tell Europe to GTF with their Directives?
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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby foggieclimber » Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:32 am

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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby whiteburn » Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:53 am

foggieclimber wrote:http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/industries/naturalresources/article3729507.ece

Call be Mr Cynical but if accurate I see this as Uncle Alex's attempt to be all things to all men....again!

It underlines the point that a lot of individuals and NGO's (SNH, JMT, etc) have been making for a long time that the Scottish government (SNP) has completely failed in it's duty to provide detailed guidance to the renewables industry as to where the siting of wind farm would be acceptable..... the usual trick from politicians, do nothing, say nothing and hence they can't be held to account.......something Alex is a master at..........they left it as a free for all.

RockyRab wrote:I'd like to see the SNP commit to nuclear power rather than erecting wind turbines ......

The SNP are hand in glove with the Greens and share a completely blinkered view when it comes to energy policy;
Fossil fuels and Nuclear = Always Bad (apart from when the SNP wants oil to fund Independence)
Renewables = Always Good
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Re: Cameron's Viewpoint: The Wind Compromise

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:48 pm

As Cam says the march of wind turbines is unstoppable. As long as there is much money to be had from eu subsidies they will continue to spread. What I will find interesting is when these hand outs stop will turbines that fail (one close to me actualy burst into flames) just be left to rot? As most farms are said to be uneconomic to run without subsidy I would gamble they will be. What a wonderful sight that will make :roll:
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