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Wind power - why bother?

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: December 27, 2012

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THE recent mass circulation of a brochure in the larger Swansea area by npower Renewables contained a lot of propaganda about their proposed wind turbine power station in Mynydd y Gwair, north Swansea, owned by the family trust of the Duke of Beaufort, one of the UK's senior and wealthiest of aristocrats. Let's get to some facts that npower did not say in its brochure.

A survey conducted in November and December, when it is generally windy and cold, when power is seriously needed, revealed the following factual statistics:

Wind turbines produced below 20 per cent of their capacity for more than half the time; wind turbines produced below 10 per cent of their capacity for more than a third of the time; wind turbines produced below 2.5 per cent of their capacity for the equivalent of one day in 12; wind turbines produced only 1.25 per cent of their capacity for the equivalent of one day a month; a third of the time they produced significantly less than 10 per cent of their capacity. This is not security of power and will need significant, prompt back up to cope with the vagaries of the wind.

So why bother? Well it is worth bothering for foreign-owned npower, which will use foreign manufactured wind turbines brought to Swansea by foreign ships with foreign crews delivered by non-Welsh hauliers to site and erected by foreign construction crews.

Why? Because of the massive subsidies wind power gets. Where do these subsidies come from? The UK public, including the poor of Swansea, pay via levies on all our existing energy bills — at the last check it was revealed that about 12 per cent of all our energy bills go to "Government environment projects", of which wind power subsidy gets the lion's share. If that does not convince you, then think of the environmental desecration of that beautiful upland common in north Swansea which will be filled with steel and concrete and crisscrossed with service roads providing just two jobs on site for two men in a van to visit the site once a fortnight for a two-hour inspection.

K I Richard (Mrs)

Craigcefnparc, Swansea

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  • Latinus  |  January 14 2013, 7:33PM

    More pain...the mad world of wind technology After all the recent painful increases in energy prices it is unbelievable that a report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has warned that consumers could see bills rise in the coming years after 'generous' deals worth £17 billion were agreed with energy firms delivering wind-generated power to homes. Thus it begs the question as to whom can we thank for this myopic and idiotic scheme? Step forward Labour leader Ed Miliband who agreed the scheme during the last Labour government - to compound this felony Coalition ministers have agreed the contract will guarantee that the power firms will be paid even if they fail to deliver energy to households. I doubt if Lewis Carol could have dreamt up such madness especially when we now have a Labour MP, Margaret Hodge, who chairs the PAC, describing the contracts as a 'licence for the private sector to print money at the expense of hard-pressed consumers'. This is not fantasy, it is happening now, as only last September Scottish wind farms were paid millions when they had to shut down due to high winds – how deep are your pockets dear reader? Unfortunately the madness does not end with the provision and running of costly, ineffective, countryside destroying wind farms as there is also the question of redundancy. The Conservative MP for Daventry, Christopher Heaton-Harris has pointed out that consumers could be left paying for 'redundant' wind farm technology because of the deals, and has stated there is every chance that in 15 years you could be seeing huge numbers of redundant offshore wind farms that we will still be paying for – that surely is comforting news bearing in mind energy bills have more than doubled since 2004. At the end of the day I guess the wind industry can be summed up by saying it is an imposed and despicable exercise in forcibly moving money from the pocket of person A to that of person B – come the next election everyone needs to think very carefully who they are going to vote for!

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  • SWATT  |  January 07 2013, 2:12PM

    Lunkhead you state; b)flooding - which is only an an issue if water courses are blocked, c) prevention of flights by emergency service helicopters - they do have navigation aids capable of negotiating unlit mountains never mind windmills and d) non-existent noise issues. in fact Flooding is an issue where hundreds of acres of rain absorbing uplands are covered by concrete and roadways for example it is estimated that the windfarms overlooking surrounding Gilfach Goch produce up to 12,000,000 gallons extra rainwater run-off in a 24 hour period which increases the flow of the Rhondda Fawr & Fach rivers, which are already susceptible to flooding inhabited areas downstream. Helicopters- can you produce evidence of short range navigational aids navigational aids which would ensure a helicopter could weave its way to a windfarm. Noise- European and Scottish government have for many years acknowledged windfarm noise can damage human health and have imposed minimum distances between households and windfarms up to 2 km. The UK government is currently investigating this problem, whilst the Welsh government has no mandatory distance whatsoever households and windfarms. If your next-door neighbour wanted to erect a 400 foot wind turbinein his back garden the Welsh government TAN 8 guidelines offer no mandatory protection.

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  • SWATT  |  January 07 2013, 1:56PM

    the insanity of wind turbine electricity for the bankrupt UK is clear. UK government estimate costs as follows: a) proposed wind turbine coverage £120 billion b) cost to upgrade the National Grid to accommodate wind turbine fluctuations £80 billion c) cost of 'backup' generation ( mainly gas) four when the wind blows too much or too little £80 bilion total cost for wind plus grid plus 'backup' £280 billion a more sensible plan would be to; 1) install the 'backup' generators at a cost of £80 billion 2) allow electricity consumers a vote on whether they should a) pay the additional £200 billion for unpredictable intermittent wind electricity b) spend £200 billion on alleviating fuel poverty, increasing old-age pensions, improving the national health service etc. Incidentally the Welsh Government as lost a unique opportunity to enrich Wales by imposing the same conditions on windfarm developers as ar mandatory in Denmark where all households within 6 km of a windfarm automatically share in the profits. by the Welsh Assembly failing to impose similar conditions Welsh communities will have lost over £2.1 billion over the next 25 years.

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  • NeathPTboy  |  January 07 2013, 1:54PM

    Lunkhed, You said 'Stick to genuine reasons such as performance and polluting manufacturing methods'. From this statement alone you are openly admitting that you lack any ability to fully understand the financial impact that erecting these useless items on Welsh hillsides is going to have on your and your childrens household budget in the coming years and decades. I'm pleased that even with a limited understanding you already realise that wind power has performance (reliability is a better word) and polluting issues. You also stated that you have A Level qualifications in sciences, which is very impressive, but I would suggest returning to junior school to do a little refresher course in mathematics too, that way you would be educated enough to do the simple sums which will prove that wind is a complete waste of your money.

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  • notowind  |  January 07 2013, 11:34AM

    Philosoraptor, Nonsense !! The BLADES and TOWER of 475 ft wind turbines are SO BIG.......of course you will see them from 30 or 40 miles ! There are SMALL 150 ft turbines [ like the ones at Gilfach Goch above Bridgend ] visible from 15 to 20 miles. These 475 ft ones are the SIZE OF BLACKPOOL TOWER AND ON TOP OF HILLS !! Where is your common sense? As for helicopters........THEY WILL BE TAKING OFF AND LANDING IN THOSE SOUTH WALES HILLS !! They will not be flying at great height all the time ! The police will be chasing criminals...car thieves etc.....at pretty low level over those hills. Air Ambulances must PICK UP CASUALTIES FROM THE HILLS !

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  • Philosoraptor  |  January 07 2013, 11:11AM

    Make the point, please HOW can Air Ambulances, police helicopters and mountain rescue helicopters FLY SAFELY to Morriston and Glangwili Hospitals, with gigantic UNLIT 400 to 475 ft wind turbines on most of the hills from Aberdare, Glamorgan to Ammanford , Carms to Llanybydder , Ceredigion?? Thick mist descends within minutes in the hills !! It could be DEADLY !!" -------------- Common sense would say they fly 500 ft higher.

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  • Philosoraptor  |  January 07 2013, 11:10AM

    by notowindSaturday, January 05 2013, 5:52PM Well said ! Quite right! I hope you have written to your NPT council at Neath Port Talbot to OBJECT to the giant 415 ft wind turbines they propose at Mynydd Marchywel , above Rhos, Pontardawe and Cilybebyll. They will be easily visible from all high ground within a 25 to 30 miles radius. If anyone doubts that, I stood on Mynydd y Betws , Rhydaman a few years ago ,where they have a "visual lay-out map " of all the hills one can se from that view point . For example , Worm's Head, Gower was visible and so was Black Mountain/Mynydd Du , Brynamman. ----------------- Gower was visible, Black Mountains were visible, the proposed wind turbines would not... because they are not the size of the Gower or the Black Mountains. PS. I have been there to that site and although Worms Head in a line of site, it was too small for the human eye to see.

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  • notowind  |  January 07 2013, 2:37AM

    LunkHead You need a reality check on wind energy and a PROPER understanding of what I say. [1] You say that traffic congestion is ONLY an issue during construction !! BUT HOW LONG WILL THE CONSTRUCTION TAKE?? THREE YEARS AT LEAST !! Why? Well the 60 [number] x 475 ft high turbines on Nant y Moch, Pumlumon, ......on the battle scene of Owain Glyndwr's victory at Hyddgen.... entail [officially ] 600 lorry loads...EACH 140 FEET LONG AND POLICE ESCORTED !! Those loads must travel from Swansea Docks to Pumlumon. The loads are SO LONG, that they cannot even travel the shortest A road route from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth, because the roads are too twisting. Therefore, the lorries must travel from carmarthen to Narberth Roundabout, then up the Tenby Road to Crymych and Cardigan. If they took TWO of those huge loads every day, it would take a year, and the bends and roundabouts on that road make it horrendous. There is a SHARP right angle at Llanbadarn Fawr, Aberystwyth. How do you get ONE 140 ft load around THAT?? Then they must negotiate Nant yr Arian !! DO YOU ACTUALLY KNOW WALES.. AND WELSH ROADS .....OR SOME PAROCHIAL LITTLE PATCH?? That is just 60 wind turbines. There will be another 70 from Brechfa Forest to Llanllwni ....ON NARROW HILL ROADS......AND PAST GLANGWILI HOSPITAL.....THAT IS 700 LORRIES , OR 2 A DAY FOR A YEAR !! ....Again from Swansea Docks !! Then there are another 80 turbines.......or 800 x 140 ft loads for the Heads of the Valleys and Hirwaun ! Tnen in Montgomeryshire ....HEARD OF THAT AREA ? ...there is talk of 700 GIANT TURBINES IN A COUNTY 790 SQUARE MILES !! 700 WIND TURBINES 475 FT HIGH IS THE NUMBER THREATENED ACCORDING TO LOCAL MONTGOMERYSHIRE MP GLYN DAVIES. THAT IS 7000 LORRIES EACH 140 FT LONG TRAVELLING FROM MOSTYN DOCKS, DEESIDE VIA WELSHPOOL TO MONTGOMERYSHIRE, OR DREFALDWYN........A COUNTY THAT MAKES GLAMORGAN LOOK UGLY !! They will take that electricity to Manchester .........NOT WALES......THROUGH TURBINE-FREE SHROPSHIRE !!! There is not ONE wind turbine in Shropshire !! IT IS ENGLAND of course !! [2] You say that there will only be flooding if "water courses are blocked" NONSENSE !! You get rapid run-off and FLASH FLOODS during a period of heavy rain if the GROUND cannot absorb the rainwater and slow down its entry into rivers. There will be RAPID run off from huge concrete bases of wind turbines, and the large network of new roads on top of high-rainfall hills. Since when do concrete tarmac and gravel absorb rainwater ? Pen y Cymoedd wind farm from Aberdare to Neath is so vast, ...with so much concrete and tarmac .....that it will cause rapid run off into Valley rivers, and flash floods ! [3] Of course there will be helicopter problems !! Hundreds of 475 ft wind turbines [ 50 ft short of Blackpool Tower ] are planned from ABERDARE TO LLALLWNI CEREDIGION ! It is 9 MILES from Brechfa Forest to Ammanford......and there are continuous turbines planned on the hills from Ammanford to Swansea and Neath and across to Aberdare. Wind farms will be 5 MILES FROM EACH OTHER....AT MOST !! How is it they light a 500 ft , VERY SLIM TV mast and NOT A 475 FT VERY WIDE , REVOLVING TURBINE ? Of course they will light the latter...which will kill RAPTORS ! Emergency helicopters have to land continually on these hills during their work. [4] "Non existent noise issues"??? RUBBISH !! ASK THE POOR SUFFERERS OF ALLTWALIS, PENCADER !! They CANNOT SLEEP AT NIGHT !! Ask the infrasound sufferers !! Wind turbines give them severe head-aches . Gwen Burkhardt had to sell her farm and move 20 miles. MAKE NO MISTAKE.......WIND ENERGY IS THE ONLY FORM BEING USED LARGE SCALE AMONGST RENEWABLES !! ENGLISH SHARE OF WIND TURBINES ARE BEING DUMPED ON WALES !! TWADDLE ?? JUST FIND OUT HOW MANY WIND TURBINES THERE ARE IN ABERDEENSHIRE , TO COLLECT GENEROUS WIND ENERGY SUBSIDIES !! YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IS HAPPENING !!

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  • Lunkhed  |  January 06 2013, 9:07PM

    Did I say I was green? My points, if you are capable of getting them, is to write in coherent sentences that are readable and junk the pathetic arguments such as a)traffic congestion - which is only an issue during construction, b)flooding - which is only an an issue if water courses are blocked, c) prevention of flights by emergency service helicopters - they do have navigation aids capable of negotiating unlit mountains never mind windmills and d) non-existent noise issues. Stick to genuine reasons such as performance and polluting manufacturing methods. You might actually get people to listen to you. Yes, there are other sources of energy, such as fracking, nuclear, coal, tides, waves, gas. Don't pretend that wind is the only option under consideration and make out that the entire country will be submerged by windmills as that is twaddle that destroys your credibility. Decide which option you actually support and explain why that is better than wind.

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  • notowind  |  January 05 2013, 5:52PM

    NeathPTboy, Well said ! Quite right! I hope you have written to your NPT council at Neath Port Talbot to OBJECT to the giant 415 ft wind turbines they propose at Mynydd Marchywel , above Rhos, Pontardawe and Cilybebyll. They will be easily visible from all high ground within a 25 to 30 miles radius. If anyone doubts that, I stood on Mynydd y Betws , Rhydaman a few years ago ,where they have a "visual lay-out map " of all the hills one can se from that view point . For example , Worm's Head, Gower was visible and so was Black Mountain/Mynydd Du , Brynamman. Also visible 38 MILES TO THE WEST....was "Foel Cwm Cerwyn ", the highest point in the Preseli Hills of Pembrokeshire , not far from Newport, Pembs. Now I could see that , WITHOUT 415 ft wind turbines being present on it !! Therefore, one would obviously have been able to see Mynydd y Betws FROM Foel Cwm Cerwyn ...in the opposite direction ! Of course, there are now new wind turbines on Mynydd y Betws......therefore they will be EASILY VISIBLE FROM WELL OVER 38 MILES ON A CLEAR DAY........COMMON SENSE !! Therefore , I hope that everyone in your area...and all over Wales....object to EVEN MORE GIANT TURBINES AT MYNYDD MARCHYWEL , NPT and nearby MYNYDD Y GWAIR, SWANSEA !! It is not too late to send objections to NPT Council; Local AMs and MPs, plus local Press and Radio. Make the point, please HOW can Air Ambulances, police helicopters and mountain rescue helicopters FLY SAFELY to Morriston and Glangwili Hospitals, with gigantic UNLIT 400 to 475 ft wind turbines on most of the hills from Aberdare, Glamorgan to Ammanford , Carms to Llanybydder , Ceredigion?? Thick mist descends within minutes in the hills !! It could be DEADLY !!

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