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Behemoth

Wind farm 'maps' generate new row

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4484236.stm
Lozzie

Shocked

I have a question though: The Scottish RSPB lady says ""We'll be looking at the death of up to 50 golden eagles, 50 merlin, about 250 red throated divers, hundreds of dunlin, hundreds of golden plover too."

How do they figure that out? How do they know that these birds will DIE as a result of teh wind farm? do they mean - when the construction work is bing carried out?

She also says: "We welcome renewables, but not at the expense of the environment. "

Perhaps she is one of those people that think nuclear power might be more beneficial to local wildlife?

Confused Sad Confused
dougal

ISTR reading somewhere that the average gi-normous wind turbine kills one or two birds per year - even where there are a lot of birds around.
The towers and blades are pretty visible...
... whereas power transmission lines are relatively invisible (EDIT: I just mean the *wires* are nearly invisible), and quite a lot of birds fly into them - big birds especially, like swans. Many cables get "flagged" with marker balls on the wire - makes them even uglier, but safer for birds. Not something that gets a lot of publicity.

I must admit I'm rather intrigued as to how anyone can come up with a figure of 234 turbines, rather than 233 or 235... (Maybe its based on how many you can buy for your round number of millions? Or are there 234 "sweet spots" within economical cable length on the island?)
And then there's the optimisation of the locations for each of them - I'd guess it mainly has to do with the shape of the terrain... but *optimising* the layout seems like one heck of a challenge...
Gervase

I'm puzzled by many of the claims made by those who object to wind farms (and given that one of the most prominent is Noel Edmonds...well, enough said!).
Have they ever seen one of the turbine towers up close? They claim that the noise is a problem, yet all I can hear even on a blustery day is a steady and gentle 'swoosh' from the blades.
And as for the carnage among the birds - if that were the case one would expect to see feathers and carrion littering the ground under the turbines, and I've never seen any. I imagine that domestic cats have a far greater effect on the bird population than the UK's wind turbines (at least ours do!).
Like many issues where lines are drawn in the sand, people on both sides seem to rehash the same old arguments, regardless of whether or not they're based on fact.
For myself, I rather like our local wind farm - there's something rather wonderful and elegant about the turbines - and they're certainly a darned sight easier on the eye than pylons.
gil

I think part of the visual objection can be that in rural areas there are few manmade features cluttering up the skyline (even allowing for the increase in mobile phone masts), and you can see further afield. A wind farm tehrefore makes a massive visual impact on a wide area.

We have one windfarm starting to build early next year, with plans for the other one (on the other side of the valley) on hold, hopefully indefinitely, because of the issue of low-flying aircraft (proposed site is on MOD flightpath). One is OK. Two would be toooo much.
dougal

I 'm with Gervase that the aesthetics of big wind turbines aren't offensive to me. While powerline pylons in beautiful countryside are.
And for me personally, I'd far rather have wind turbines than the RAF practising low flying...


The BBC don't mention that the RSPB figures for 50 dead eagles are an estimate for the 234 turbines over 25 years that the windfarm is expected to operate for.
When the RSPB man said "We'll be looking at the death of up to 50 golden eagles, 50 merlin, about 250 red throated divers, hundreds of dunlin, hundreds of golden plover too" he is even misunderstanding his own organisation's position. The RSPB believe that hundreds of dunlin and golden plovers will be *displaced* (not killed) by the development.
The figures are based on the developers 'environmental impact statement' which I believe has to give 'worst case scenarios'.
http://www.rspb.org.uk/scotland/action/lewis/impacts.asp
sean

As far as I can gather the RSPB and its supporters and members are totally divorced from reality. When I worked for Oddbins we used to get hate-mail/ people coming into the shops telling us that we were going to be responsible for the extinction of a whole range of species on the Iberian peninsula. This was based on some of our wines having screwtops/synthetic closures.
wishus

I think wind farm turbines can look quite pleasant... perhaps not as pleasant as the bare, unadulterated skyline, but I think many of the voices you hear raised in protest about these things are often NIMBYists.My boyfriend says he is going on an anti-protest protest about objection to wind farms near where he lives in Northampton.
Cathryn

I do have a problem with windfarms. If you go up off the main road between Llangurig and Llanidloes - all you can see for miles is windmills - every hill top. And if you go the back way between Rhayader and Devils Bridge - go soon because this huge wide moorland is going soon. It is NIMBYism - I only ever go on these roads half a dozen times a year at the most but it is beautiful land and I am going to miss it. Our local one which I go riding in regularly is very noisy - there is no way I would live anywhere near it. But then I had a problem with the supersize fan that they use in the Institute of Grassland research to pollinate plants artificially. We lived about half a mile away and the low level noise used to drive me mad. The rest of my family barely heard it. On the other hand my daughter can hear high pitched noises which I cannot hear at all.

I cannot come up with any alternatives though and there's my problem. Is it the M56 just past Chester going North where there is amazing industry that glitters brightly every night - why can't windmills go up there? (The place with all the cooling towers) I love driving that way when it's dark - the windmills would look good there during the day.
Bernie66

could be my local motorway the M53. It might look glittery at night but as soon as I get out of my car when driving back from Wales the air quality changes back to nasty as you pass that industry.At least winfarms there would be providing something useful as opposed to just an aweful air quality. moan moan moan.
judith

If I look out of my bedroom window I can see the windfarm they are in the process of building. So far they have erected 13 of the intended 17 turbines. I am very much in favour of wind power, but even so it is a shock to have these huge structures suddenly appear - literally overnight - in my beloved view.
I don't think it is nimbyism to feel that way. I love watching turbines and I would far rather have them than a power station across the valley, but they are so huge and so out of place in this beautiful landscape that it is difficult to come to terms with the sight.
sean

I think that's fair enough. What people like the RSPB seem to fail to consider is that the power has to come from somewhere, barring some huge societal shift which just isn't going to happen.
Still, it could be worse, they could be building a coal fired jobbie in your field of view.
Bernie66

sean wrote:
I think that's fair enough. What people like the RSPB seem to fail to consider is that the power has to come from somewhere, barring some huge societal shift which just isn't going to happen.
Still, it could be worse, they could be building a coal fired jobbie in your field of view.


Or a new "Tony approved" nuclear one; think i will go for the wind turbines.
gil

and we get the best of both worlds here Evil or Very Mad
On the hills the windfarm, and Chapelcross nuclear power station towards the Solway Firth. OK, it's being decommissioned now...

Rumoured plans to build a replacement on the same site may or may not have been scuppered by the thought that when global warming gets worse, the Solway plain will be even more prone to flooding.

I'm wholly in favour of wind, solar and water power. I think turbines look OK, and the sound doesn't bother me. Just not more than one clump of them visible from one place. Anyone here already experienced the disruption caused on narrow winding roads by construction traffic ? We've got that joy to come.
ele

sean wrote:
I think that's fair enough. What people like the RSPB seem to fail to consider is that the power has to come from somewhere, barring some huge societal shift which just isn't going to happen.


What's confusing me is that the RSPB have their own green energy package which includes wind energy sources, so I'm guessing that they are pro windpower but not in environmentally (bird) sensitive areas.

http://www.rspbenergy.co.uk/Home/Products/RSPB/WhatIsGreenEnergy.aspx
judith

gil wrote:
Anyone here already experienced the disruption caused on narrow winding roads by construction traffic ? We've got that joy to come.


Gil,

We found that was one of the benefits! Before they could get the towers and the blades up to the site, they had to do several months of road widening. I didn't realise that you could simply pick up a hedge and move it back ten feet - but you can!
Now our direct route into Newtown - which used to scare the willies out of me - is much safer to use.
Unfortunately, they are going to put all the hedges back to where they were when the work is complete!
Dave.T

I agree with Gil, I live on the other side of the Solway, at the moment authorites are trying to press ahead with more wind farms, local objections have been overturned. The sites may of been designated of scientific and natural importance as well as be on the feeding grounds of migrating waders but apparently this is not significant enough to stop the construction going ahead. Why are other european goverments moving away from wind power as a alternative energy source ?
Treacodactyl

In an article that was anti-windfarm they mentioned that even if we had a huge number of wind turbines we would still need the same number of gas/coal/nuclear power stations in case of the lack of wind.

I know the whole of the UK can be covered in high pressure for over a week in the depths of winter leading to very cold and still conditions so this sounds plausible. The article went on to say that to cover the sudden demands for power the power stations would need to be run burning the same amount of fuel but not generating electricity. I can't remember the exact details but is there any truth in this or is it just a scare story?
Behemoth

I thnink winn needs to be considered as one of the options no the only option. You will need standby for power. Could biofueled power stations do the job?
gil

Judith wrote:
Before they could get the towers and the blades up to the site, they had to do several months of road widening.

Shocked Evil or Very Mad
Yes, we've been wondering just which route they will choose to widen, given the local geology / geography - rock pinch points and river cliffs in an already narrow upland river valley (lovely scenery too). Any choice will involve significant amounts of rock blasting as well as earth-moving. And route diversions while they do it. Never mind moving hedges, they'd have to (re)move parts of the hills. And put them back afterwards ?? Except that access to the windfarm will still be needed during its operational life, and then [perhaps in 25 years time, its projected lifespan], they might come and take down the turbines.

Judith wrote:
Now our direct route into Newtown - which used to scare the willies out of me - is much safer to use.

It is amazing what difference a bit of ironing out bends can do for (perceptions of) road safety, and reducing risk of accidents. Better sightlines are a good thing for many of us, I'd agree. However, it makes some people just drive faster and with less care. And drivers who don't know the roads tend to underestimate their dangers, and not to heed the warning signs for steep hills and sharp bends (even ironed-out ones).

And this is all because these hills apparently get ideal wind conditions for generating power. I wonder too how far the company also thought it would be cheaper and easier to get away with dealing with scattered, isolated farming communities (for which they read 'a handful of cash-strapped, ignorant peasants', especially post-FMD). There were some plans to build an offshore wind farm further out west along the Solway, but nothing has been heard of this recently - that's where a lot of comparatively wealthy and savvy folk retire early to go yachting and admire the view, and they objected.

sorry about the rant. It's a difficult issue. And perhaps none of us should object if it is for the greater good of the planet / society, or reduces use of fossil fuels and nuclear.
puffedpride

There is a gert big single wind turbine just sprouted up at the Reading M4 interchange. Gave me a shock when I was driving down to Dad's for Xmas!

Thought it looked beautiful. Given that there are offices, a brewery and gravel pits, as well as the motorway surrounding it, I think it actually enhances the locality. It would be nice to see more urban ones like this, although I guess we will have to get used to some of our countryside being covered in these things, if we are at all serious about global warming.
alison

I saw it for the first time at New Year too. It is in Costco carpark, next to Reading Football ground

I thought it looked great too.
dpack

pretty or not do they produce more energy than is needed to produce them ? are they as good at producing power as water based technology ? are they a red herring produced by the oil interests ?
puffedpride

That's a new one on me dpack! Surely the energy and resources needed to mass-produce wind turbines cannot be that great? And they need bugger all in terms of maintenance/servicing costs, I should think...........and in terms of decommissioning costs!

What say you?
Bretagne

Living near a wind farm I have several issues with them.

1. They are noisy (even though the power companies say they are not) A low hum is not pleasant throughout the night.

2. Thousands of tons of concrete have been pourred in to the soil to provide a foundation. The turbine has a life of up to 20 years what then for the giant slab of concrete?

3. It only seems to turn on quite windy days - approx 20% of time - is this efficient use of resources?
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