LETTER: Dislike for wind energy is clouding people’s judgement

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I wish to reply to the letter from Mr Grysa of December 24th, though it appears from what he has written, his intense dislike for wind farms has clearly clouded his judgment, yet in the past he has voiced support for offshore wind.

His intolerance to wind power is ironic given that he lives in a county where windmills have been a part of the landscape for many centuries and indeed they have been instrumental in shaping the land.

With regards to the shutdown of the Bicker wind farm, there could be any number of reasons for this, such as grid issues, or that the Spalding gas power station had priority on the grid at that time. Whilst it is true that in exceptionally high winds wind farms will shutdown, it is not that common.

Wind farms generate useful energy for about 80% of the time, this includes any downtime due to maintenance or the wind speed being too low ( less than 8 mph) or too high (48mph) This is measured at hub height, usually 80 meters for a 2 MW machine.

With regards to the Jane Davis High Court appearance, Mr Grysa claimed that the out of court settlement was “substantial” and yet failed to give a figure, would it be possible to do so?

It is a shame that Mrs Davis decided not to pursue her claim for a conclusion, a cynic would perhaps say that she took the “money and ran”, and ask why this was the case?

It would be interesting to know how many other residents of Deeping St Nicholas found the wind farm noisy or was Mrs Davis the only one ?

Mr Grysa goes on to say that “many people affected by turbine noise do not report it, ”the reason being , as they are effectively blighting their property”.

Surely this rather simplistic reasoning must be applied to any formal noise complaint made to the local authority, be that against a factory, airport or indeed a thermal generation plant and lets not forget the numbers of formal noise complaints against wind farms are tiny compared with complaints in general, over a 15-year period there were just 16 a year against wind farms and an average of 300,000 noise complaints in general.

Whilst it is true that atmospheric conditions will affect how any noise is carried from a wind farm, the same applies for noise from any source, noise from traffic in still conditions can clearly be heard a good mile away, the same can not be said about a wind farm, in addition there are just 4201 onshore turbines and over 25 million vehicles on our roads.

I have visited a good few wind farms, both on and offshore and spent many hours beneath the turbines and would never describe the noise generated as an issue.

Mr Grysa quotes James Lovelock as describing wind turbines as “ugly and useless”, it would be useful to know what he was comparing them with and are looks not subjective and is this not also the same James Lovelock that wanted to dump nuclear waste in tropical forests?

David Attenborough, the eminent naturalist was reported as saying “I have a care and an affection for the future, a wind turbine with its graceful lines, collecting energy from the environment without causing material damage is a marvellous demonstration of the way we can minimise our pollution of the atmosphere, if we wish to do so.

It would help to protect the countryside we have known for centuries, but also the wider world beyond.”

Does Mr Grysa think that well respected environmental groups such as Greenpeace, WWF, Friends of the Earth and the RSPB would fully support wind power, If they did not think it was viable as a way of addressing man-made climate change?

Indeed, in September of last year, the RSPB submitted a planning application for a single turbine at its headquarters in Bedfordshire and in a press release, Paul Forecast, Director of the RSPB East, when referring to the application said, “Climate change is a far more serious threat to wildlife” and “That the turbine is the single biggest step the RSPB can take to meet its goal of cutting emissions.” FOE Cymru published a document, entitled “Wind Power 20 Myths Blown Away, it goes on to say “ wind power is one of the cleanest, safest and most cost effective forms of energy available.

Mr Grysa said in his letter that my motives for supporting wind power are “sincere, if misguided”, I would say not, sincere in my support for wind power, I truly hope so, given I was actively involved with Greenpeace from 1988 to 2010, and for 15 of those years was an Area Co-ordinator.

Finally, Mr Grysa asked for evidence of green jobs in the wind farm sector, which is quite timely as on Dec 18th,

The Government granted planning permission for the £450 million Able Marine Energy Park on the south bank of the Humber which has the potential to create 4,000 high quality jobs supplying components for offshore wind turbines.

In addition towers for the turbines have been manufactured at Cambletown and Chepstow for a number of years now.

All fossil fuels Mr Grysa are finite and one thing is certain, the wind will be blowing long after the last fossil fuel powered thermal generation plant has fallen silent.

Jonathan Lincoln - UK

Coordinator

Sustainable Energy Alliance Beck House, Stanhope Road, Horncastle