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Let’s talk some sense

by turbinetastic

People fear change. Those who fear it the most are perhaps the ones with the most to lose; those who have benefitted from the status quo. Worst of all, perhaps, is the fact that those same people who have benefitted often have the money and the influence to disproportionately shape public discourse. What they say isn’t always true.

There are those who will tell you that wind farms are without benefit. They will claim they are ugly and that they despoil the countryside, as though the countryside were a pretty picture to be admired rather than a place where resources have to be carefully balanced. As though there is no room for those of us who believe that wind turbines have a dignity and elegance of their own. They will claim they are polluting, that they keep energy barons rich on subsidies, that they are imposed on an unwilling public without due process… the list is endless.

There is very little a single voice can do in this society, it seems. But I work in the wind industry because I believe that wind power takes society in the direction it should be heading: towards a better use of resources. And so I will use my voice, so that those who are interested can hear a more balanced view.

My intent is to post once per week in 2012, taking a single incident or article about wind power and trying to provide a balanced viewpoint within the fog of propaganda. Wind farms have their faults: they are not The Answer. For today, they are a way forward. It is dangerous to society, to discourse, and to the planet to let the lies go unchallenged. Let’s challenge them.

Let’s talk some sense.

 

‘Turbinetastic’ has kindly agreed to syndicate his posts to this blog. This post was originally published on his own blog on 13/11/2012.

LINKS

Turbinetastic’s Blog

 

15 Responses to “Let’s talk some sense”

  • Iain G Richmond:

    Turbinstatic,

    I enjoyed reading your blog. I am a climate change skeptic and agree that being wasteful with the planet’s limited resources is not only irresponsible but also unacceptable.

    You are perfectly correct in say that Wind generation of power is not the answere. However there are many who seem to think it is and they are in government so I reckon that is what is going to happen.

    What is your opinion on the retention of the Nuclear option?

  • Iain G Richmond:

    I note you think that wind turbines have ‘A dignity and elegance of their own’.

    I live within a mile of a proposed Wind Cluster of three 120m turbines.

    I don’t particularly relish the prospect but it is reassuring that people like yourself may wish to purchase my home should it ever come on the market. I contemplate advertising it thus;

    “Set In a remote location this detached house in the Scotish vernacular design is set in beautiful landscaped gardens surrounded by some of Scotland’s most lovely rural landscape. The surrounding hills provide a spectacular backdrop enhanced by the elegance and dignity of three of the largest onshore wind turbines you can imagine. The fact that they lie due south west gives the added attraction that in winter in low sun conditions you can enjoy shadow flicker for at least two hours from your lounge window. Not only that being down wind of the prevailing wind you can also enjoy the ‘thwhump’ sounds that the turbines produce,particularly in still of the night,from your bedroom window (no need to open it for the effect!)
    These turbines will be in place for at least 25yrs with the definite possibility that the site will expand over time to approximately 10 Turbines.
    There has been huge interest in this property so early viewing is essential “

  • admin:

    Iain,

    I see this is a ‘proposed’ development which does not exist yet. Why not wait and see if you are indeed bothered by either flicker or noise. It is understandable that you are fearful of a new development, but you may be pleasantly surprised.

    It would be daft to claim that wind turbines cannot have an effect on property prices – it must surely happen in some cases, as it can happen due to a a new road, airport runway, high speed rail link, new water treatment works etc etc. Denmark has a compensation scheme for home owners who suffer a loss of property value caused by wind turbines. I have never understood why the UK wind industry does not adopt a similar practice voluntarily – I am sure it would diminish the rampant NIMBY-ism that currently plagues windfarm planning applications.

  • Iain G Richmond:

    Hi Turbinetastic,

    Why don’t you wait for Climate Change. It doesn’t exist yet and after all it’s only a consensus belief and not a verifiable scientific fact.
    If there is a few degrees increase in the average temperature you’ll be able to BBQ when you like and tend your cabbage patch in the winter. You may be pleasantly surprised.
    Your friend and colleague, Admin, has also been helpful in advising me on world population control which he reckons is best left to War,Famine, Climate change and eradication of the Catholic Church !!

    I’m sure this would diminish the vigorous protests of the rampant anti global warming theorists and the far right activists that currently plague the planet.

  • admin:

    Iain,

    Just to make it clear – Turbinetastic is a guest poster, not a colleague – the posts were originally published on their own blog.

    The comments posted as Admin are mine, not turbinetastic’s. Turbinetastic may well read this thread, but if you want to be sure you should perhaps coment on the turbinetastic blog rather than here (or as well as here).

  • Iain G Richmond:

    Ok Admin,

    I’ve tried to post on Turbinetastic’s Blog but nothing has yet been posted. Anyway I’ll post it here as you suggest…….

    “As I write the 3500 UK Wind Turbines are producing 800MW of electricity (according to the UK Grid Carbon Intendity APP) which is approximately 1.8% of the total production in the UK. I have been following wind production over the past month (unscientifically admittedly) and production averages out at about 3-4%.

    This output is the same as a single gas fired generator such as Uksmouth in Wales which sits on 50 acres of land and cost £600 million to build. It runs without subsidy.

    Currently the Uk Wind Farm Operators and Land Owners receive £522 million annually in subsidies Guaranteed for 25yrs (Ofgen) and much of this goes to energy companies and investment funds based abroad. Most of the turbines we erect are built abroad in Spain, Germany or Danemark.

    The Government intends to increase the number of Wind Turbines to 32000 thus, I assume, also increasing the subsidy by an equivalent factor. This would mean annual subsidies of £5 billion !! And As you correctly point out to accommodate this the National Grid will have to be updated at, I guess, a cost in billions rather than hundreds of millions because of the intermittent nature of the beast.

    This stupendous annual expenditure on subsidies for 35000 Turbines would on days like today, very cold and windless,result in ( hypothetically) only 8000MW being produced or the equivalent of only 10 Uksmouth size generators.

    This doesn’t seem very smart.

    Do you really believe that this is a good investment when we already have safe, well tested technology that produces rock solid, zero carbon power from Nuclear fission?

    New state of the art Nuclear power stations will, I believe, produce (regardless of atmospheric conditions) 1500MW and are designed to be producing this amount for 60yrs with a capacity factor of 90% for 365 days a year.

    Four of these stations could easily provide all and more of the electrical power that Scotland would ever need.

    And For those of you who think that Wind Farms are Elegant, dignified and wonderfully aesthetic we could, with the savings on subsidies, create Wind farm Holiday theme Parks Where you could enjoy the flicker, noise and bird strikes to your hearts content”

  • admin:

    I’ll leave this to Turbinetastic to answer, but will make a comment on your assumptions on nuclear.

    No-one is ready ot build these ‘state of the art’ nuclear power stations. You speak as though these devices are available off the peg and can be flung up like timber-framed houses, but this is far from the reality. The two EPRs currently being built at Flamanville and Olkiluoto have thrown up all sorts of problems during construction and are massively over budget and over time. And of course nuclear power stations will not be built without substantial subsidy in terms of a guaranteed cap on insurance liabilities and the requirement for government to pick up the tab in the case of a failure of the business during the decomissioning phase.

  • Iain G Richmond:

    Hi Turb,

    Thought you might like to look at an example of rampant NIMBYISM that as you say currently plagues the planning system.

    http://no-way-gsk.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Montrose-Society-Objection.pdf

    I suppose you’d have them all shot at dawn for their totally unreasonable objections!!

    • admin:

      I think it was me that mentioned rampant Nimbyism in another post. Turbinetastic is somewhat more discrete in their language. If you want to talk to Turbinetastic specifically then why not reply to his/her posts on the Turbinetastic blog.

      So – to the document you posted a link to. The planning system exists for good reasons, and these people are of course allowed to object. If there are sufficient objections that are directly relevant ot the local plan then the development will not go ahead. However, I lived near Montrose for many many years and know the town well. The claims for its scenic beauty as expounded in the document you link to are somewhat over-egged in my opinion.

  • Iain G Richmond:

    Hi Admin,

    RE MONTROSE…….

    You have a point but there also has been some serious over egging on the efficacy of wind turbines by GSK and I doubt very much if you would relish living 248m from these monsters as is the prospect of the folk o’ Ferryden. The Turbines could be in the Orkney Islands and GSK could still have the same electrical and financial benefits. Why they want to put them actually IN Montrose beats me as they don’t actually own the site it’s leased from Angus Council.

    RE TURBINETASTIC……

    I’ve been posting comments for several days now and haven’t had any replies. No doubt he’ll come out with all guns blazing……So far as I can see the only sycophantic posts published.

    I feel very privileged to have the freedom of expression allowed on your blog, Admin.

    RE NUCLEAR……

    You are absolutely correct about Olkiluoto, Flamanville. The problem has been the extremely demanding standards of construction required by the regulators for the buildings to house the reactor. And thank God for that. So what if it takes another couple of years to complete properly. The reactors will be producing a massive 1750MW each for the next 60yrs. In that time every single Wind Turbine will have to have been be replaced three times.

    I looked at the construction and decommissioning costs for reactors like Flamanville. My source for this information is the impeccably neutral, unbiased and objective organisation……GREENPEACE.

    They reckon that Flamanville will cost £2.5bn to build. This may seem a lot but an Astute class nuclear Submarine costs approx £1.2bn so it seems pretty good value to me considering the power it produces 365 days a year for 60yrs. And the fact that the income from that high carbon footprint stuff North Sea Oil is bringing in £13.5bn annually makes it look like a no brainier to have.

    It will take eight years to build and in that time (at current rates for only 3500 turbines) we will have paid £522,000,000 per year in Subsidies to Multinationals, offshore investment funds, Men in tight suits and Land owning Lairds. A staggering total of over
    £4 BILLION . Jeeeez!

    AH! I hear you say but what about the cost of decommissioning. Well the Greeny accountants at GREENPEACE have come up with a figure of £72 Bn plus a figure of £21 Bn for additional safe storage etc. The decommissioning process will take place over 20 years.

    I don’t know where they get their figures but I will for the moment accept them.

    So the cost of decommissioning per head of the Uk population per year over 20yrs can be calculated as …….(PLEASE CHECK MY MATHS IT IS NOT MY BEST SUBJECT!)

    £93bn divided by 60m population divided by 20 = £77 per year per head. Or roughly £1.25 per week. I think GREENPEACE reckoned £250 per household per year which will equate fairly well to the CCL which we will all be paying soon(forever?)

    Admin, when I looked at the figures I was quite surprised and I’m willing to be proved wrong but the French aren’t a stupid race and produce 74% of their power by nuclear. They are one of the lowest carbon producers in Europe. There must be lessons to be learnt here.

    BTW today hasn’t been good for Wind Generation with only about on average 80MW BEING PRODUCED. infact over the last couple of weeks there has been an abysmally Low output which probably galvanised the 101 Tories into action against the ludicrously generous subsidies being paid to renewables.

    EDF, for example, has said it is willing to invest in new nuclear power stations in the UK “without subsidy”, to include all the costs of construction, operation, decommissioning and waste disposal. Provided there is a level playing field which I presume means that renewables would have to compete under the same rules. (BBC business report)

    End of renewables I reckon!! You can’t get a better offer than that for a ZERO CARBON, GUARANTEED ROCK SOLID POWER SUPPLY.

    I hope old Turb can come back on this. I’m quite willing to listen to someone else’s view point.

  • admin:

    EDF’s ‘level playing field’ is, I believe, referring to a suitable carbon floor price. I note that you did not include insurance in the list of what was included as ‘without subsidy’. If governments agree to fund a cap on insurance liability for nuclear stations then that is a potentially massive subsidy.

    Re. Montrose – if you don’t like wind turbines on the Scottish hills then surely the answer is to install them on industrial sites like the Glaxo site in Montrose (which was a bit of an eyesore last time I was there). There’s just no pleasing some people!

  • Iain G Richmond:

    Hi admin,

    Thanks for your reply.

    Again your are perfectly correct I hadn’t noticed that our Greeny Accountants had made an allowance on the insurance liability. They appear to suggest a figure of £30 billion. This seems a lot but when you consider that HMRC have written off 10.9bn of unpaid tax 2009/2010 it doesn’t look that bad.

    Anyway I know it’s a concern but what does it mean for the great unwashed?

    Well I assume that the cover will exist over the life time of the plant and its decommissioning which is a total of 80 years so the annual fee will be 375,000,000.

    This works out at £6.25 a year per head of the UK population or Twa bags ‘o Chips.

    I’m sorry to see you adopt the polluters’ principle of ” it’s a mess so a bit more wont make that much difference.

    OLD TURB,

    Hasn’t afforded me privilege of a reply yet on his own web site so I beg your indulgence to post it here.

    on February 8, 2012 at 12:44 pm | ReplyFanger
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Hi Turb,

    Your blog on Trump made me chuckle. No admirer of the man myself I felt your open letter to him was sanctimoniously pharisaical and straight out of ‘Oor wee bit butt an’ Ben’ school of prose. It almost had me greeting’ intae ma tartan hanky.

    You are obviously of the Nationalist Politcal persuasion, either a Wind farm industry employee/director and or have never had to face the challenge of opposing the application for Wind Turbines by the men in tight suits, Big Business boys and absentee Landowners the likes of the London Financier Chris Morran (Glen Fiddich)
    I reckon they could give old Trumpy a run for the ruthless money grabbers prize. And who can blame them when our government hands it to them on a plate ! Everyman has his price as they say. (£522,000,000 paid in subsidies alone last year)

    I also think your misty eyed assertions concerning Wind Turbines should be challenged they don’t seem that Eco friendly when you consider….

    – At least 3,500,000 tonnes of concrete will have been poured to date as foundations into mainly pristine peat lands which actually are carbon sinks only to be destroyed by the process. And more than 35,000,000 tonnes if all the planned Turbines in the UK are built. (concrete has an extremely high carbon footprint )

    – hundreds of miles of roads have been laid just for servicing these machines.

    – You seem to assert that they will show consideration to our ecology and environment which patently they don’t.

    – A similar sized industrial complex with 400ft chimineys say producing porridge (a useful,and healthy product to sustain mankind) and located on The Braes ‘o Doune site would never be allowed to proceed.

    – Nothing in the beautiful world of nature rotates so there intrusion into our lovely landscapes is all the more awkward and incoherent visually.

    As for their ability to provide power for industry and homes consider the following …..

    – AS BASELOAD = IMPOSSIBLE

    – ABILITY TO RESPOND TO DEMAND = USELESS

    – AS A PREDICTABLE POWER SOURCE = USELESS

    – CAPABLE OF PROVIDING 80% OF OUR POWER SUPPLY = FANTASY

    – ENHANCING SCOTLAND’s ENVIRONMENT = WHATEVER!

    – WORK EFFICIENTLY = ONLY IF YOU CONSIDER 24% OF CAPACITY EFFICIENT.

    – SAVING THE PLANET = IF YOU BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ YOU WILL EAT EVERYTHING YOU SEE

    – PROVIDE MANUFACTURING JOBS IN SCOTLAND = NO BUT IT WILL IN SPAIN, DANEMARK AND GERMANY JUST LIKE THE NEW FORTH BRIDGE WILL PROVIDE JOBS IN CHINA, POLAND AND KOREA.

    – MAKE HUGE PROFITS IN FITs and ROCs FOR THE BIG BUSINESS BOYS AND LAND OWNING LAIRDS ON THE BACKS OF THOSE ON LOW INCOME AND THOSE WHO ARE IN FUEL POVERTY = ABSOLUTELY !!!!

    Jeez I think I’ll go and pour myself a WHISKEY!!!!!’

  • Hi Iain,
    Sorry it’s been so long to reply to these. I’ve just gone through and approved your comments on my blog also, so you should now see them posted. I have a limited online presence at the moment due to other committments, I’m afraid!

    I’m not personally decided on the nuclear option. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2012/feb/02/nuclear-waste is a good article by George Monbiot, who is avidly pro-nuclear, on new nuclear technology which removes much of the issues with nuclear waste, which is obviously a major improvement. However as has been pointed out nuclear is expensive to build and the expertise which built the current generation of nuclear power plants has more or less been lost. I think the physics behind nuclear is sound, I like that it’s another low-carbon technology and of course it’s a baseload generator, which is pretty important if we’re to make full use of renewables.

    I would take care with using “At this moment…” comments with relation to wind farms. It’s not a good way of evaluating their usefulness. Anyone who’s ever been outside is already aware that the wind doesn’t always blow. There are ways of assessing output which I do intend to talk about on the blog, which take the variability of fuel supply into account.

    I would also take care with quoting subsidies, as all generating technologies are subsidised in one way or another; similarly all are paid for by customer fuel bills at the end of the day. Similarly all generating technologies have their weaknesses; wind power is not good for baseload but is highly responsive, whereas nuclear makes good baseload but is poor at responding to changes in demand.

    My experience in the industry tells me that the “huge profits” so often quoted are in fact mostly plumbed back in to further developments. I have family in the oil industry and I’ve seen the sort of money floating around there, believe me that electricity generation isn’t a patch on oil when it comes to profits, even including the FITs and ROCs.

    I accept the following:
    1. Excessive carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of a planet will cause it to warm. (See Venus, which is approximately 200° hotter than its position near the sun would indicate due to the greenhouse gases in its atmosphere.)
    2. Humanity has been burning fossil fuels at an increasing rate since the industrial revolution.
    3. There has been a measurable increase in temperatures on a global scale over the past 100 years.
    4. The consensus of climate scientists — of which I am not one — is that burning carbon is an action which places our planet in danger.

    So yes, I think we should take what action lies within our power to reduce our carbon footprints. Reducing our fossil fuel use also reduces our reliance on foreign imported oil, reduces the stranglehold on energy currently held by the oil industry, frees up more oil to be used for medicines rather than burning it, and provides us with electricity which we can generate ourselves.

    While it may not provide Scottish manufacturing jobs, it certainly is providing jobs for electricians, the people doing the grid upgrades, the engineers who plan and build the foundations, the people who work on-site, the people who maintain the turbines.

    **** VERY IMPORTANT NOTE ***

    If you have evidence that a developer is “patently” not taking due care of the ecology and environment in which they’re working, aside from the fact of the construction or operation of the wind farm, then you should be contacting the relevant agencies immediately. SEPA, or the RSPB, or perhaps the forestry agency, depending on the specific complaint. You could also try contacting the planning office in question or the developer themselves.

  • Iain G Richmond:

    Hi Turb,

    Thank you very much for your reply. It’s always gratifying to have the benefit of a different perspective and opinion well argued and reasonably presented even though I disagree with much of it.

    I can’t understand your reticence on nuclear power. Perhapsyou were a victim of indoctrination by the nuclear alarmists who’s Armageddon scenarios very much mirror those of the AGW proponents.

    Do I detect the fact that you may not have a Scientific or engineering background ?

    “We made the mistake of lumping nuclear energy in with nuclear weapons, as if all things nuclear were evil. I think that’s as big a mistake as if you lumped nuclear medicine in with nuclear weapons.”

    Patrick Moore,
    former Director of Greenpeace International

    I think you would agree that there is no better zero carbon Baseload supply than nuclear. I would also challenge your claim that it is expensive.
    The Flamanville nuclear reactor in northern France cost £2.5 Bn to build, will operate for 60yrs and outputs a massive 1600MW. I realise there are other cost for nuclear to be considered but it is still extremely competitive when you consider that the Walney Offshore Wind farm opened today at a cost of £1.2bn has a capacity of 368MW which realistically speaking means that it’s capacity factor will only be 100MW whichmis actually pretty pathetic. (please refer to my post on Scot renewables for full nuclear costs)

    You mention subsidies for other generating industries. I’m not aware that Gas, Coal, nuclear or Hydro generation qualified for FITs or ROCs. Perhaps you could elucidate. What subsidy does the oil industry enjoy?

    I am at a loss to understand how you can consider that Wind generated energy is ‘responsive’. Do you want me to believe that when there is a sudden demand for power you can simply turn up the wind as necessary to provide what is demanded above what the Baseload supplies.
    Bearing in mind that a high pressure area affected the whole of Europe over the last week when virtually no power was wind generated I think it will be interesting to read your next blog where, it seems, you may be able to offer a solution to this problem.

    ‘At this moment’ is what power generation is all about. Demand must be provided instantaneously because electricity is impossible to store in quantities that the grid requires. The whole systems fails if your generation isn’t instantly available in predictable quantity and I very much doubt if this applies to wind generation.

    There are certain paradigms that you adhere to and these I would challenge…..

    1. Excessive carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of a planet will cause it to warm. (See Venus, which is approximately 200° hotter than its position near the sun would indicate due to the greenhouse gases in its atmosphere.)

    What is excessive? 650 million years ago the CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere was 20 times more than today and the Earth did not suffer runaway GW.
    Mars has an average temp of -65C and its atmosphere is 95% CO2. Comparing these atmospheres with Earth is I suspect irrelevant.

    You are correct in saying that CO2 in the atmosphere increases atmospheric temp but only the first 20PPM (Archibald. Modtran calculations) the rest has a diminishing effect rather like putting blackout paint on a window the first two coats will have 95% effect the next twenty coats will have only 5%.
    Methane and water vapour ( the main greenhouse gas) have 20x more effect than CO2.

    2. Humanity has been burning fossil fuels at an increasing rate since the industrial revolution.

    Yes but do you think that Alec Salmond or any other leader will stop the exploitation of fossils fuels ??

    3. There has been a measurable increase in temperatures on a global scale over the past 100 years.

    Yes a rise of 0.7C which has been eliminated in the last 10yrs by a downward trend or levelling.

    “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environ- ments of the Earth.”
    Source: http://www.petitionproject.org

    4. The consensus of climate scientists — of which I am not one — is that burning carbon is an action which places our planet in danger.

    There is no such thing in Science as a consensus only verifiable observation. ‘Scientific Consensus’ is best represented by the words Maybe, Perhaps, Possibly or Could be. It’s amazing that we are prepared to spend Trillions on such assumptions when its effect will be zero.

    I believe that Alec Salmond’s drive for 100% renewable power in the form of Wind and wave generation is not only an unachievable fantasy but a reckless one. I suppose as an ex RBS banker he’s used to taking risks with other peoples money!

    I firmly believe that we must reduce our dependency on fossils fuel and that Nuclear Power holds the key particularly if Nuclear fusion can be mastered. Wind and wave generation will , in my opinion, be seen to have been an expensive folly benefitting only the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor and gullible.

     We live at a time when emotions and feelings count more than
    truth, and there is a vast ignorance of science. James Lovelock

  • admin:

    Yes a rise of 0.7C which has been eliminated in the last 10yrs by a downward trend or levelling.

    An outright lie.

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