The perpetual argument concerning wind farms is farcical.
Wind turbines (apart from personal such as that a farmer might erect) are a complete waste of time and (forgive the pun) energy.
A wind turbine produces a fixed percentage of present-day requirements. But as this current usage increases, as logic dictates, the turbine’s output cannot. Therefore, a point in time arrives when the turbine is no longer effective.
It is our current usage which must be addressed, not whether or not a turbine can subsidise it. The average home owner – using lights, water heater, washing machine, tumble dryer, dish washer, electric cooker etc. – can, without difficulty, save around 20 per cent of the energy consumed purely by being sensible and attentive to the wasteful habits we all have.
If those in power were as dedicated to reducing energy consumption as they declare, distributing a “smart” meter free to every home, revealing energy usage, would result in an effective reduction greater than any number of wind farms and at a minuscule cost in comparison.
However, being sensible in the home, though decidedly invaluable, is not itself that which brands wind farms senseless. Hydrogen power plants currently being tested successfully in vehicles will without doubt translate into power plants for the home.
Tackling energy needs at source – i.e. the home as opposed to struggling with the problem in a large scale – is far more practical and effective. Ideally, if every home had its own hydrogen plant (which is not science fiction) the energy requirements and associated problems would be reduced a thousand fold.
Moving forward 20 years, we will be on the threshold of nuclear fusion which is today in its advanced stages of development. Billions of dollars have been spent in southern France over the past two years on ITER (iter.org), a large-scale scientific experiment intended to prove the viability of fusion as an energy source. Nuclear fusion, the cleanest source of energy available, that of nature itself, is already proving to produce a hundred-fold energy compared to that required in its production.
Coincidentally, at this same point in time, wind farms will be facing costly servicing and replacement issues. It will be financial suicide for the operators to invest further in something which will have become clearly unviable.
So what will happen to all of those wind turbines? It’s not rocket science – they will be cannibalised and the remains lowered to the ground and discarded. No matter how much pressure is brought to bear upon those who constructed them, they will never be removed from the locations in which they collapse.
Out of sight out of mind, they will rot in the ground, polluting the land in their hundreds for hundreds of years – having failed to realise and deliver that which they were irrationally built to accomplish – apart from the financial gains of an irresponsible few. It is our local council that we must turn to and demand that this lunacy is halted. Investment in the local economy – investment which will embrace the new technology of hydrogen, solar and others which, in turn, will produce real employment, unlike that wooden horse the wind turbine – must be its singular responsibility.
I was pleased to see Conservative MP David Mundell opposing the wind farm project in the Devil’s Beef Tub, an area of history and scenic beauty (Wind farm firm back with scaled-down Devil’s Beef Tub project, Southern, September 22).
However, it would be more reassuring if he would not use words such as “the area is entirely inappropriate for a wind farm” and actually come out to state his position on putting any more wind farms in the Borders, given their current level of profusion.
Mr Mundell’s ambiguity on his position regarding wind farms is especially concerning when you see the hypocrisy of his fellow Conservative MP Neil Carmichael who, in his constituency, opposed a single wind turbine near the village of Nympsfield in the Cotswolds, which he described as a monstrosity; yet it now appears that he plans four of these monstrosities on his own land in Northumberland.
That the current planning debates in England and Wales and the scandalous extortion from the public of inflated energy bills are supported by the Liberal Democrat and Conservative government in Westminster simply shows that it cannot be trusted on any of its promises, be it on reducing immigration, eliminating student tuition fees, a referendum on a federal states of Europe, votes for prisoners and so on.
I would welcome a statement from Mr Mundell and Scottish Secretary and Borders MP Michael Moore that would clarify any opposition (or support) to the decoration of our region by such vested interests and their position on how they are supported by unjustified subsidies from the public and private purse.
Given that Scottish and Southern Energy has now confirmed it will withdraw from plans to develop nuclear power as it opts for yet more wind farms, the government has done little to reassure us on what they are doing with respect to addressing the impending shortfall of power generation capacity in the UK as the deadlines from the EU on closing our coal-fired generation capacity approaches.
Surely it would be of more use were Mr Mundell to follow up on a promise he made after his initial election to Westminster; namely that he would do his utmost to bring an operational nuclear power station online within his constituency following the decommissioning of Chapelcross.
Tourism is vital to the economy of this region, as demonstrated by the figures in last week’s Southern and action by the Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership to stem the drop in visitors to the area.
Many, maybe most, tourists visit the Borders for its superb landscape. However, to both sustain and expand the existing jobs and businesses generated by tourism we need to protect and care for the landscape. This means that we should not do things to the landscape which diminishes it. If we do, we are damaging our local economy and destroying local jobs.
It is no surprise that in the same edition of TheSouthern you report on the determination of an energy company to build a large wind farm at Earlshaugh in the heart of the Ettrick Forest. This is one of the finest areas of wild land in the Borders, adjacent to the Devil’s Beef Tub and Hart Fell, which many visitors come to to walk and enjoy.
If you go the Earlshaugh website and open the viewpoint from Hart Fell, the long line of wind turbines stretched across the whole horizon from north to south says it all. Those wishing to invest in recreational and landscape tourism will not want to sink their capital into a landscape looking like that. They will go elsewhere, to places that are unspoilt.
Renewables have their place, but not at any price, and certainly not at the price of landscape tourism which is such a vital part of the Borders economy.