Grantham Journal Letter: ‘Wind turbine opponents are anything but confused’

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I write in response to Jacob Stuart being perplexed and confused by community opposition to the industrialisation of our landscape by uneconomic intermittent wind power stations (Journal, October 25).

Short briefings from groups like reVOLT naturally draw attention to the visibility of such schemes from heritage assets (such as Lincoln Cathedral and Belvoir Castle) for two simple reasons; it underlines the scale of these gigantic machines which will far outstrip anything seen in our region and secondly that in the rush for a supposedly green solution, we are now prepared to trample over any pretence at protecting our rural green belt from industrialisation.

On the economic argument, to assist with Mr Stuart’s confusion; protest groups quickly ascertain that the economics of wind generation don’t add up. Sadly in our current political and planning processes, this knowledge does nothing to prevent their erection. A site such as Temple Hill will generate around £30m of subsidy for the developer (on top of the actual sale of any electricity it might generate), around £5m for the landowner and the equivalent of five pence per household per week of ‘Community Fund’.

This is all paid for by every energy bill payer reading this piece. With such sums of money available, it is no surprise that turbines are being erected in unsuitable locations in order to secure these generous and guaranteed returns.

Finally, should anyone wish to argue that wind is free and green is good; wind turbines use renewable energy but they are not low carbon. The industry interchangeably uses these terms. Wind specifically requires a back-up infrastructure to cope with the intermittent nature of the energy source (the wind doesn’t always blow!). Hence the need to build effective base load and standby generation capacity.

A rush for wind underlines the need for nuclear and fracking; not an argument most green campaigners are comfortable with. May I tactfully suggest on purely economic grounds we skip this wind energy false dawn and channel the money saved into reducing fuel poverty for the majority rather than making a small minority very rich and assist all those less able to insulate their homes and move to efficient heating and lighting.

Mr Stuart, as our Community Columnist, I invite you to meet any one of the many protest groups that ‘spring up’ to hear their arguments before decrying them as confusing and ill-informed; we are anything but.

Paul Miley

Spokesman - reVOLT