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NEWS ARCHIVE

 

In a statement, one of the candidates – Mr John Jenkins – told reporters ‘Our policy is totally non-political. Our single issue is to draw attention to the pointless exploitation of Wales by wind farm developers rushing to take advantage of Welsh Assembly TAN 8 policy and overly high ‘Renewable Obligation’ financial subsidies. SWATT are calling for a complete time-out, a moratorium, on all further wind turbine developments in Wales until the key questions of cost-effectiveness, noise, impact on human health, impact on our environment/quality of life and impact on the local economy (particularly house prices & tourism) have been addressed.’
Wales has an identical wind profile to England but we already have a disproportionately high number of on-shore turbines’ said Jenkins, ‘and many more developments are proposed, some of them around valleys communities. It is not right that the government – our political representatives - are rushing ahead with mass wind farm developments that will ruin the lives of local people, without answers to even the most basic questions.’

 

[Click here for further details]

In a proposal dating back to October 2004, Awel Aman Tawe had applied for planning permission for the erection of two wind turbines with associated engineering on land at Cefn Gwrhyd common , Gwaun Cae  Gurwen, Swansea. The application was turned down twice by the Neath Port Talbot Council but the developers appealed to the Welsh assembly.

On September 28, 2006, The Planning Officer for the National Assembly for Wales rejected the application due to the negative impact of the proposal on the common and the people using it.

During these deliberations, the Assembly had received 14 letters in support of, and 660 letters objecting to the proposal.

 

In June 2005, RES Developments Ltd. had applied for planning permission for a 10 turbine wind farm and associated equipment on land adjacent to Rhos Garn Whilgarn, Talgarreg, Llandysul.

On September 20, 2006, Ceredigion County Council refused permission for this development for the following reasons:

"The proposed development would have a detrimental impact on nearby dwellings by reason of loss of visual amenity and noise. The development would also result in the loss of visual amenity in a landscape area and the Local Planning Authority acknowledge that there was strong objection from the local community."

 

ABS Energy Research, www.absenergyresearch.com , an independent energy market research company, highlights new authoritative evidence that shows how wind power actually works in Europe, as opposed to what is being claimed. Here are some of the key findings cited in their report:  

·          There is a mismatch of supply and demand. During periods of high pressure weather systems that bring cold  winters and hot summers, wind speeds are at low levels but demand is at its highest. In other words, when demand is highest, wind power makes its minimum contribution.

·                    Because of the variability of wind power, back-up fossil fuel plants must be operated at low load to maintain system reliability. Evidence shows that switching base load fossil fuel plants on and off to balance a system produces higher carbon emissions than continuous operation. So the backup required for wind is a higher than expected source of emissions.

·                    Each country mentioned in the ABS report has experienced extreme difficulties in balancing the grid. During times of maximum feed-in from wind turbines, regional grids become heavily overloaded. Germany has found that it will need a further 2,700 km of costly high voltage transmission lines to accommodate its new wind capacity built in remote areas.

·                    Wind power capacity in Germany is expected to reach 48 GW by 2020; however, this wind energy is so intermittent and unreliable that it is equivalent to only 2 GW of stable fossil fuel capacity.

·                    In Denmark, during 2004, wind accounted for 20% of total electricity production but supplied only 6% of consumption. This happened because wind farms produced a surplus at periods of lowest demand. Denmark exported 84% of its wind-generated electricity to Norway, at a financial loss. Because the Norwegian electricity system uses carbon-free hydro power, the effect of emission reduction from Danish wind farms was nullified.

The ABS study gave this advice: ‘Wind power has been promoted for politico/ environmental reasons and wind developers have benefited from substantial subsidies, leading to exaggerated claims. A reality check is needed.’

Inquiry into Energy in Wales by the Welsh Affairs Committee of Parliament

In July 2006, the final report was published by the Welsh Affairs Committee, click here for details.

 

Wind turbines have caused the deaths of huge birds of prey on isolated islands off the Norwegian coast, reported the Environment Times on February 24.

  The discovery of four dead white-tailed eagles, and the failure of almost 30 others to return to nesting sites within the wind farm area, has increased fears that wind farms in Britain could take a similar toll on native and migrating wild birds. The white-tailed eagle, or sea eagle, Europe 's largest eagle species, is found in significant numbers on Smøla, a set of islands about six miles off the north-west Norwegian coast. The island is listed by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area because it has one of the highest breeding densities of the bird in the world.

Smøla also has a 68-turbine wind farm.

  Dr Mark Avery, Conservation Director at the RSPB said:
"These findings are shocking yet may only be the tip of the iceberg. Research on Smøla is being stepped up and if more dead birds are found, and even fewer are able to breed, we will be doubly determined to fight wind farm plans that could cause similar destruction in the UK ."

 

WIND FARM BLAZE RAISES CONCERNS OVER SITING

 On the 23rd of the December one of the five 200ft wind turbines at the Nissan Car plant (near Sunderland) suffered a catastrophic fire after undergoing unsuccessful attempts to repair a fault. The entire structure, including nacelle (the box on top of the tower, to which the blades are attached) and 75ft long blades were destroyed. Police were forced to close the nearby A1231 and A19 for over an hour and half, until the turbine structure had burned away, because of safety fears.

 The Nissan fire brings into sharp focus public concerns about the careless siting of risk-prone industrial structures, particularly since these are now increasingly being proposed in areas close to domestic residences and public rights of way.

 Because of their very large size the latest generation of turbines, many of which now exceed 300 feet, much larger than the Nissan turbines, undergo very considerable stresses during operation. The rotor on a modern turbine can weigh as much 37 tonnes, and rotating at between 15 and 20 rpm, the tips are travelling at speeds in excess of 150 mph. The nacelle contains large numbers of flammable components, including lubricating oils. Fires are a well-documented problem on the continent, which has much more experience with wind turbines than the UK.

 In Europe there is growing resistance to the installation of large wind turbines. Denmark is currently planning to replace 900 smaller wind turbines with 150 larger machines, but due to public concern no suitable sites have yet been found for these machines (Jyllands Post, 28.12.05: http://www.jp.dk/indland/artikel:aid=3464792/). Danish effort is now almost entirely concentrated on offshore locations.

 Campbell Dunford, CEO of the Renewable Energy Foundation said: “The fire at the Nissan car plant, and the disruption to the local road system, shows that we need a much more responsible attitude to wind-farm planning, which is a ill informed and subjective affair at best in the UK. As Denmark has now concluded, if wind turbines belong anywhere, they belong well out to sea.”

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