LETTER: There are energy solutions other than wind power

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Much has now been written by myself and Mr. Lincoln on the great wind debate and I fear that the exchange of too much in depth detail may begin to bore your readers; so let me broaden the argument.

The whole thrust of Mr. Lincoln’s argument in favour of industrial wind turbines is to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and to reduce our Co2 emissions. Well he’ll be pleased to learn that there are a whole raft of initiatives addressing these very issues.

Photovoltaic solar panels convert daylight into electricity. It is true that they are not a stand alone solution given that they will only generate during the day but at least their period of generation is entirely predictable, unlike wind. There are also water heating solar panels which can heat up a water tank during the day giving hot water at night. Both these forms will effect a considerable saving of power station generated electricity and have the added advantage that our roofs, upon which they are mounted, already exist; unlike an industrial wind turbine which requires some 1,000 tons of not very eco-friendly concrete. Even small scale domestic wind turbines can be far more efficient than their industrial counterparts given that they can generate direct current electricity which can be used to charge a bank of batteries. This can then be passed through an inverter which converts it to 240 volt alternating current - on demand. Electricity can not be stored on large scale systems such as the national grid.

There are other devices such as ground and air source heat pumps which generate heat by the same sort of method as a fridge generates cold, and will make a significant saving on normal energy requirements. Burning wood in a log burner is another way of reducing our dependency on fossil fuels as timber is a renewable resource.

Insulation is one of the most effective ways to cut energy bills and reduce Co2, as by better insulating our homes we reduce the need for energy. Likewise huge savings can be made by fitting low energy light bulbs, turning off all standby lights, buying low energy consumption rated appliances and reducing the use of things like tumble driers. It is estimated that the average household could save £150 - £300 per annum by following the above advice.

Of course there are any number of other initiatives to achieve the reduction of fossil fuel dependency and/or Co2 emissions. Recycling, reducing air travel, shopping locally for locally sourced produce (it tastes better too!) and planting trees which will absorb carbon dioxide.

Is it not strange that Mr. Lincoln and his ilk never seem to mention these alternatives, all they do is constantly try to sell us industrial wind turbines. Of the aforementioned alternatives none will negatively impact on our quality of life and none will ruin a beautiful landscape, indeed planting more trees will positively enhance the landscape. So why is it that the proponents of industrial wind farms are strangely quiet about these more effective alternatives?

Some years ago the large multinational conglomerate of companies who saw wind as way of making huge profits pulled off a marketing coup; the result was that the image of a wind turbine has become emblematic of the ecological movement. With the possible exception of solar, all the above initiatives do not make huge profits, indeed by saving electricity the profits of the energy producers will be diminished. But there was another hugely profitable advantage to wind power. Convincing people to support industrial wind farms had two major effects; firstly it made them feel as though they were doing something to reduce Co2 and secondly it removed the requirement for them to reduce their own electricity consumption and may even have resulted in them using more, knowing, as they thought they did, that they were saving the planet by supporting wind.

By reducing the amount of electricity we consume we can permanently shut fossil fuel burning power stations, unlike building thousands of wind turbines which will ensure that alternative generating sources will always be needed. Of course the big problem for the pro-wind lobby is that there is no profit in us just saving energy or planting trees and profit is what drives the push for wind. So if you are canvassed either in support of or against wind just ask yourself this - What does the person opposing industrial wind turbines stand to gain? The answer is nothing other than preserving our beautiful countryside and protecting our quality of life. But ask yourself - What does the industrial wind turbines supporter have to gain? and I think we all know the answer.

Gary Grysa

Minting