27.07.2012 - Wind debate rages on!

Sometimes we think we should be sponsoring the Letters pages of The Buteman as the debate over our proposed application for wind turbines at Ascog Farm rumbles on and on.

First off this week is a letter from Mr Norrie Crawford, who:
  • Suggests that wind turbines are very inefficient. Unfortunately, he is wrong. As the RenewableUK page he presumably means to cite points out, 'A modern wind turbine produces electricity 70-85% of the time, but it generates different outputs depending on the wind speed. Over the course of a year, it will typically generate about 30% of the theoretical maximum output. This is known as its load factor. The load factor of conventional power stations is on average 50%.' Crucially, of course, wind turbines don't need any fuel and last time we checked nobody was charging for using the wind!
  • Is worried that 'rare earth metals are used in the magnets [of wind turbines] and the majority of the world's supply is in China, causing heavy pollution, major health problems and environmental erosion with increased CO2 emissions in that country.' This scare story appears to be based on a much-criticised Daily Mail article and is utterly irrelevant to our proposal. Enercon, our preferred supplier, does not use neodymium in any of its turbine designs.
  • Is concerned - or perhaps hopes! - that delays in grid connection will pole-axe the project. Wrong again, Mr Crawford! According to SSE our proposed scheme will require 'some circuit reinforcement... The minimum cost reinforcement will be to upgrade the 11Kv overhead line section between Roslin Crescent and the tapping pole 69 with 70mm Cu overhead line conductor.' This will cost, but the cost and the scale of work should not jeopardise the project if planning permission is granted.
Mr Crawford's letter, aptly titled 'Two missed points in wind debate' is reproduced below.

©The Buteman

Secondly, and much more accurately, there is correspondence from Mr Mick Common hitting back against 'Alarmist claims' on wind energy published in the Letters pages of last weeks paper.

Mr Common has written to The Buteman before and always comes up with lucid and non-pejorative arguments, in contrast to anti-wind objectors who regularly slur and belittle all those who do not agree with their world outlook!

©The Buteman

As Mr Common concludes 'there is little reason to believe that, were planning permission granted, a couple of wind turbines at Ascog would noticeably reduce the number of tourists coming to Bute.'

Since the advent of cheap air travel the tourism sector on Bute (and at other nearby Scottish resorts) has been suffering.

©The Buteman

The bad weather this week, fifty years after the article reproduced above, has seen another slow 'Glasgow Fair' with few visitors evident at the fun fair along the front or generally elsewhere on the Island.

Perhaps it is time to look at other more sustainable sources of income on Bute?