River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Letter to the Editor

December 2007

Peter explains his reasons for disliking the dreaded Wind Turbines

Dear Ray,

When I saw 'A True Turbine Lover's' reply in The Pump, I thought...'great...someone who can add to the debate and hopefully provide some sensible answers'. Sadly I was wrong.

Let me make it clear, I have no problem with wind turbines as such. I neither love them nor hate them. From what I can find out, they are merely at such a very early stage of development they are certainly not able to produce power at a steady, useful production level ...that's one of the reasons why Denmark, we are told, is pulling down more turbines that it is putting up.

However I do have a problem with turbines that

a) are underdeveloped.

b) don't work all the time.

c) seem to placed in one of the least windy areas of the country.


Remember when the Swaffham turbines were first mooted? We were told then they had an amortisation period of 50 years, a service life of 25years and there was no mention of carbon footprint payback...mainly because we hadn't heard of it then. At that time we were told the Swaffham turbines would be just short of 29% efficient. Now I appears from the operators own figures recently published, that they are only reaching one third of this figure. As a simple engineer, this appears to me to make the turbines just 9.667% efficient.

If a turbine is calculated to pay back (financially and presumably ecologically) in fifty years then multiply that by three and even if it made sense in the beginning, sure as heck it doesn't now. Putting it simply for example, if it takes 100 Carbon Footprint Units (whatever they are) to make a turbine and commission and service it and we only save 1 carbon footprint unit per year by using it. (Remember every turbine has to have a free running fossil burning power station on line behind it all the time, in case the wind drops...that's the rules.); then even if the turbine last its full 50 years, we are still into minus territory of ecological benefit. At the moment, from the published numbers from the turbine operators themselves, it appears that this is the case, and therefore the planet...yours and mine...is still better off without them until they get better payback.

The thrust of my earlier assorted scribbling was only to ask for real facts on these things, from either side of the debate, not just the over optimistic sales 'gumf' from the earlier Turbine Operators brochures which we now all know was just that...over optimistic.

However, if you have some verifiable numbers, from reliable independent sources, to disprove any of this, please send them to Ray for publication...'cos that was all I have been hoping and asking for.

Peter Bodle

PS. By the way, I actually see the turbines through the front screen of my car as I drive (on business...A47 westwards), towards them, so your fears for my safety through driving without due care and attention are unfounded, though your concern is appreciated.

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