Author Archive


24
MAY

Erik Blakeley says:
Recycling Rare Earth Magnets


Category: Climate Change, Sustainable Living
Tags:


Recycling Rare Earth Magnets

The recycling of rare earth magnets from wind turbines is of great importance but is also highly practical. A 3MW wind turbine can use up to 2.7 tonnes of rare earth magnetic material (23). Ironically this is precisely why wind turbine magnets are not a major problem. In these quantities it is highly advantageous and economic to recycle magnets from wind turbines. The real problem with rare earths is in the vast number of tiny magnets in throw away electronics such as mobiles phones, earphones and computers that cannot easily be extracted from waste electronics material (24) (25) (26).
Erik Blakeley



11
FEB

Erik Blakeley says:
The Bird


Category: Climate Change
Tags:


He could have moved the Bird

I was reading recently that a senior American politician from the Climate sceptic camp seriously suggested that anthropogenic Climate Change couldn’t possibly exist because God wouldn’t permit anything as trivial as human GHG emissions to interfere with His world http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/climate_desk/2013/12/creationists_and_climate_change_political_union_of_science_critics.html .

I understand that there is a real debate especially within the Evangelical Christian movement as to whether we live in an age of miracles or whether miracles are just a feature of biblical times. I recently asked pretty seriously whether Eric Pickles, an Evangelical Christian, was expecting a miracle to solve the Climate Change problem given his attitude to wind farm planning applications.

My attitude to miracles is that He could have moved the bird! What do I mean? Well let’s take a fictional but typical example of a “miracle”. A plane is taking off from an international airport with 150 people on board. It strikes a bird and, because it is so close to the ground, the resulting damage is enough to cause the plane to crash before the pilot can react. 149 people die horribly in the flaming wreckage but one small baby is thrown clear and survives albeit as an orphan with nasty burns. The baby comes from one particular faith group who hail this as a miracle (“Praise the Lord!”) If challenged they say something like “What were the chances of the baby surviving it must be a miracle!” Arguing over the probabilities isn’t my objection to the notion of this sort of event as a miracle. I reject this sort of thing as a miracle because God could have just moved the bird 100m to the right or left so that the accident didn’t happen at all and no negative outcome would have resulted except one slightly disorientated bird who would quickly work out where he was and carry on with his life as before. It seems to me that there are only two possible explanations for this. The first is that it was no miracle. It was just that when you live in a world so surrounded by bad stuff, then eventually, however unlikely, a few good things come along. The second is that God is so obnoxious that, when faced with the choice of two miracles involving very similar tweaks to the laws of physics, one that will save one life and one that will save 151 lives, He will pick option A because option B doesn’t give Him the same publicity.

Some may think this is either a silly point or one disrespectful of God and/or peoples’ faith but remember we are talking about the politics of the American religious right who are simultaneously driving both the climate change denial agenda and such things as the campaigns to force schools to teach creationism alongside or even instead of evolution. They are driving those agendas remarkably successfully. When we consider the possible outcomes of climate change some of the worst case scenarios seem too terrible to contemplate even if we don’t believe that God would step in to help us. We say “What are the chances of catastrophic anthropogenic Global Warming? Surly that isn’t likely.” By the way you know that you are reaching the last bastion of climate change denial when the sceptic starts talking not about “Global Warming” or “Anthropogenic Global Warming” but about “Catastrophic, Anthropogenic Global Warming” or CAGW. It is true that we cannot be certain when or if CAGW will kick in due to tipping points and the range of possible sensitivities of the system to CO2 concentration, but we can be certain that there is a probability that it will occur, that that probability is significant and that it is far higher than the probability that no further Anthropogenic Global Warming will occur if we continue with business as usual. I suggest that, with due respect, if God was going to get us out of this fix he would have done so quietly and subtly long before now and we wouldn’t be having this debate. We need to act now not waste time arguing about the exact probabilities!



04
FEB

Erik Blakeley says:
Reaction to January`s Wind Figures


Category: Renewable Energy, Wind Power
Tags: , ,


Reaction to January`s Wind Figures

Another record month for wind but one with a couple of holes in it. The real achievement of wind power in supplying a new record share of our electrical energy needs in January was of course played down by opponents of renewables pointing to intermittency in the output. If you look at the monthly data from the Grid http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/ you do indeed see a couple of days (c. 19th and 21st Jan) that were especially quiet and a couple more that weren’t great. However the striking thing about the graph is actually how steady at between 3 and 5 GW the wind output was for at least 20 of the days in January. If you now look at the data for the other technologies you will see that the slack at the low wind output times was taken up by CCGT or Combined Cycle Gas Turbine generation. This isn’t the inefficient Open Cycle Gas Turbines as is sometimes claimed by those that try to suggest that wind turbines don’t save carbon emissions as these days OCGT are used very rarely and then mostly to deal with the massive spikes in the demand curve or massive fall outs caused by a big failures in centralised coal or nuclear generation or grid problems. Modern CCGT generators are much more flexible than older kit and can deal with pretty much anything the intermittency of wind will throw at them.

So the next issue is whether CCGT necessarily means fossil fuel natural gas. Well no. If we were ever to be lucky enough to get to the point where our wind and other renewables capacity was so high that we had to curtail output because there wasn’t the immediate demand to use the power we could use surplus renewable energy to produce hydrogen and synthetic gaseous fuels. These could be mixed with the normal gas in the gas main to a percentage of in excess of 10% (which I understand would be the maximum percentage for pure hydrogen addition before there were technical issues with burners and other infrastructure). Furthermore stand-alone combinations of wind, solar, hydrogen, syngas and AD/biomass sourced gas feeding to some storage capacity and CCGT dispatchable generation could very conceivably be designed to cope with a much wider range of gas compositions making the use of pure natural gas a thing only of the most urgent crisis in supply.

Currently we are earmarking massive capital investment in Hinkley Point and look set to repeat this several times over in new generation nuclear reactors. If this sort of capital is available it could be being spent on a small number of massive pumped storage facilities on the scale of Dinorwig and a more significant number of small plants such as Glyn Rhonwy http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2013/09/the-time-is-right-for-small-pumped-storage-in-the-uk-developer-says . We do not need to wait for yet to be developed battery storage or smart grid solutions (which do seem set to materialise pretty soon nonetheless) to be increasing our ability to tackle intermittency with storage.

Next is the assumption that Renewables means wind. Wind has to be a major player in any current significant renewable portfolio but, by mixing in a number of smaller players we both increase capacity and reduce overall intermittency. Solar, hydro (not pumped storage), wave and tidal are either already available to deploy in larger amounts or are requiring only limited further development to make them economically viable. Such technological diversity reduces the chances of total renewables unavailability to practically zero even without storage solutions and certainly will reduce the periods of very limited supply to such short timescales that our technological fixes can cope with it.

Next is the Question of better grid links to the Continent. Weather systems track across the continent often West to East so if it is calm here one day it is still windy in Germany and will be calm in Germany tomorrow when it will be windy here. Better and more efficient long distance grid connections such as those based on new generation High Voltage Direct Current technology (HVDC) can make the swapping of surplus renewable energy between countries much easier. The best way forward on this is not entirely clear but “technically there is no big obstacle left to prevent the building of a supergrid. So when could it take place? Actually it is probably already happening. Several of the exisitng HVDC schemes could feasibly form part of a future European supergrid.” http://www.powerengineeringint.com/articles/print/volume-21/issue-6/special-focus-hvdc/how-close-are-we-to-realising-a-european-supergrid.html

Finally there is the question of what we have to do to make using fossil fuels OK to plug the gaps. Although fossil fuels are finite and will run out eventually it is clear that the pressing issue is Green House Gas Emissions so the answer is simple ie Carbon Capture and Storage http://www.ccsassociation.org/what-is-ccs/ . This has been talked about for generations now (ie more than 25 years) but development has been painfully slow because there has been no incentive on those making big money from fossil fuels to invest in it. If those people are made to see that they have to compete with renewables not only in terms of immediate financial cost but also on environmental standards I am pretty confident that they can make it work albeit at a cost and perhaps with limits on the rate of usage of fossil fuels to keep pace with the rate at which we can stuff the CO2 underground or elsewhere. This is fine if fossil fuels are part of a varied portfolio of energy sources including large amounts of renewables instead of being the monster supplier they are now.

Finally finally I must stress that although all these solutions to the intermittency problem are to some degree in the future so is the problem itself except in the minds of the renewables opponents. The variation in demand produced by us all wanting to drink tea during the same commercial break in our favourite soap or the fact that it is cold in winter and warm in summer means that the system will have to cope with intermittent demand whatever our generation strategy and even with a new record being set for wind generation for Jan 2015 we can add plenty more renewables capacity before a calm day will put the lights out!


1Comments | Post your own comment

  • Jack Olver comments:
    "A NY Times article of Nov., 2014 points out that at that time wind and solar were cost competitive with fossil fuels in the US. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/24/business/energy-environment/solar-and-wind-energy-start-to-win-on-price-vs-conventional-fuels.html These cost estimates don’t take into consideration the world wide damage done by the extraction, transportation and burning of fossil fuels. The US Academy of Sciences put the cost fossil fuels added to America’s health care alone at $120 billion a year and that doesn’t count the cost of global warming, other untraceable pollution and damage to other parts of the world while extracting and transporting fossil fuels. Fossil fuel companies are currently not held accountable for these hidden costs of the energy they supply. If customers did have to pay those costs or if those costs were deducted from the profits of stockholders and employees renewable energy would seem cheap. "
    February 8, 2015 a 12:27 am


29
JAN

Erik Blakeley says:
The Great Global Warming Hiatus Con


Category: Climate Change, Uncategorized
Tags:


The Great Global Warming Hiatus Con

A presentation of the case – the pdf of this is available here: The Great Global Warming Hiatus con pdf

gghwgghw1gghw2gwgh agghw5gghw6gghw7gghw8gghw9gghw10gghw11gghw12gghw13gghw14gghw15gghw16gghw17gghw18


2Comments | Post your own comment

  • Erik Blakeley comments:
    "Here’s an update on this giving more evidence that the so called hiatus never really existed. http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/news/recent-global-surface-warming-hiatus "
    August 24, 2015 a 11:29 am

  • Erik Blakeley comments:
    "If you click on the pdf link at the top of the piece you will get the panels in the right order. "
    January 29, 2015 a 4:52 pm

  • Erik Blakeley comments:
    "Please note that due to technical difficulties the the panels in this piece have appeared in the wrong order. If you are feeling clever you can work out the correct order to read them in. If you prefer to wait I will add to this thread when they are in the correct order. "
    January 29, 2015 a 4:49 pm


17
JAN

Erik Blakeley says:
What Pause in Global Warming?


Category: Climate Change, Sustainable Living
Tags: , ,


What Pause in Global Warming?

I have recently been engaged in frankly a rather pointless online debate with a Climate Change Denier that took too much of my time and showed no signs of being read by anyone else but the pair of us and he seemed entirely brainwashed by Denial propaganda, incapable of engaging with the basic science behind the issue and much preferred to just regurgitate the classic Denial nonsense. However it did prompt me to look again at one of the most important Climate Change Denial claims – the claim that there has been a pause in global warming since 1998. Now I thought this was just a case of one of those statistical blips and deviations from the trend line that you would expect in a set of scientific data covering over a century but on digging deeper I found that it is in fact such a mendacious misrepresentation of scientific data that it amounts to a huge lie by the Denial propagandists. Let me explain why.

The measurements cited by the Deniers are those that show that the mean surface temperature of the planet in 1998 is very much the same as it was in 2011-2013 based on findings by Prof Matt England of the University of New South Wales. Now, at first glance this seems very reasonable as a bit of data suggesting a pause in global warming but this is not the case.

Firstly is the surface temperature in isolation a reliable measure of “global warming”? No it is not. The planet can also warm as the deep oceans absorb heat, as the upper atmosphere absorbs heat and as heat is absorbed as the latent heats of fusion and vapourisation when ice decreases and the atmosphere carries more water vapour. These combined effects vary in their relative contribution to the overall global warming and therefore to claim that a pause or even a reversal in the data for any one of them in isolation means that global warming has stopped is false.

Secondly, it has always seemed to me odd that the Deniers are often so specific about there not having been any global warming since 1998. Not since the late 90s, not since 1997 and not since 1999. Why is 1998 special? It turns out it is. Not only can the deep oceans absorb heat, it appears that under certain conditions relating to winds and currents they can push heat back to the surface. This means that over and above the sort of natural spread of data discussed earlier some years can be warmer in terms of surface temperature than others regardless of the presence or absence of global warming. 1998 was a warm year. Therefore, if you specifically take 1998 as your base-line then the 15 years after it give data that either shows lower or broadly similar surface temperatures. If however you don’t cheat in this way the trend line, even in surface temperature in isolation, is in keeping with the predictions of climate change science.

Finally if you google “prof Matt England University of New South Wales” you will find some Climate Change Denial websites slagging him off because, much to their annoyance, he has spent quite a bit of time since publishing his data (perfectly good data in itself it turns out) telling people that Global Warming has not stopped and his data is being misrepresented.

So next time some Denier or wind NIMBY tells you that there has been no Global Warming in the last 15 years tell them they are talking rubbish!

I will leave the last word to Prof England in a quote I found on-line:
“Global warming has not stopped. People should understand that the planet is a closed system. As we increase our emissions of greenhouse gases, the fundamental thermal dynamics tells us we have added heat into the system. Once it’s trapped, it can go to a myriad of places – land surface, oceans, ice shelves, ice sheets, glaciers for example.”


1Comments | Post your own comment

  • Erik Blakeley comments:
    "As a post script I have just heard confirmation that 2014 was the warmest on record. Of course it is tempting to say “See global warming is back – 2014 is the proof” but of course the 2014 figures on their own are not proof. They do however act to confirm the upwards trend line and, combined with all the other factors that need considering make it very clear that global warming never stopped. We must nail this question of whether it is right to read too much into individual peaks and troughs. If we don’t the Climate Change Deniers will simply abuse the 2014 figures in the same way they abused the 1998 figures. It is very likely that 2015, 2016 etc will not be higher than 2014. This does not mean that global warming has stopped again. We need to keep looking at all of the factors and at the long term trend lines in those factors. "
    January 19, 2015 a 9:14 am


17
DEC

Erik Blakeley says:
Renewable Energy Salesmen?


Category: Climate Change, Green Electricity & Gas, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Uncategorized, Wind Power
Tags: , , , ,


Renewable Energy Salesmen?

I used to think that the climate change deniers paid for by big fossil firms and anti-renewable  NIMBYs were the worst threats to progress in the fight to cut emissions of GHGs and slow Climate Change but I have recently come across possibly a more sinister and depressing opponent – the Renewable Energy snake oil salesman! These people, either through genuine but misguided enthusiasm or through a malicious wish to fool people into investing in schemes that are about as likely to bear fruit as chocolate teapot manufacture, come up with a way off piste suggestion for a grandiose scheme to solve all of our energy and climate change worries. Now don’t get me wrong I am all in favour of “out of the box” or “blues sky” thinking, but they go straight from some vaguely worked out concept diagram to claims that all further investment in wind or PV or any other low carbon technology are now redundant and pointless. They are one step further into lunacy than the magic bullet salesmen who think that one of the current technologies, be it wind or PV or nuclear, is a one size fits all answer to all our problems.

Why are they so bad? Well at some point they are going to try to persuade people who are concerned about the problems of Climate Change and Energy Security to invest money in these schemes, money that could be invested in home insulation, roof top PV or community wind or hydro projects for example. At least the NIMBYs and climate change deniers are only trying to persuade people to ignore the science and the need for action. The snake oil salesmen nobble the people who have been persuaded to care. They cannot do what is sensible which is to propose an idea for development and try to get universities or industry to make small scale investments to produce trial prototypes or even just to put their ideas out for peer review because they know full well that they will be rejected as deeply flawed or just physically or economically impossible. Instead they launch some small development company and produce a flash looking sales video on U-tube purporting to be a “lecture” on the merits of their scheme and then try to get money out of small investors or crowdfunding. These people are only one step removed from the guy who sold empty plastic boxes with car radio aerials glued to the outside as bomb detectors.

The other really bad thing that they do is to give ammunition to those who oppose wind turbines or PV farms because they suggest that we don’t need to deploy the current crop of well-developed technologies because there is some magic wand solution just around the corner if only the mainstream scientific and industrial cartel will stop suppressing these wonderful inventions. When challenged the snake oil salesman will readily claim to be the victim of conspiracies and prejudice – they can be quite paranoid.

New technologies will come along and in 50 to 100 years we will almost certainly be deploying a markedly different mix of low carbon technologies than we are today but for now we need to deploy as much as possible of the good range of well-developed kit as we possibly can. Universities and big business can pursue the blue sky stuff and take the financial risk. If you have a few hundred or even a few thousand to invest put it into something established and don’t be taken in by the snake oil salesmen!


1Comments | Post your own comment

  • Vince Adams comments:
    "I was talking to a friend this week and he said that quietly Countries all over the World were making amazing progress turning from old energy solutions towards Renewables whereas the UK appeared to be dragging its feet.
    This headline caught my eye and I wondered, is that the reason why ? Does UK big business have far to much influence ? “Electricity customers in the U.S. got good news last week. A new report from Accenture highlighted a potential revenue loss for U.S. utilities of $48 billion per year by 2025 due to distributed solar and energy efficiency” How do we ensure that the UK is not left behind ? "

    December 17, 2014 a 6:07 pm


05
NOV

Erik Blakeley says:
Carbon Capture & Storage


Category: Climate Change, Energy Efficiency
Tags: , , ,


Carbon Capture & Storage

This is interesting:

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/defiant-coal-industry-pushes-emissions-cleanup-research-in-face-of-ipcc-report-20141103-11gag2.html

Whilst I do see some scope for CCS as a transition tactic there are two really important factors that the coal industry doesn’t seem to be tackling:

1. The coal industry has been talking about CCS and Clean coal for over a quarter of a century and has done little about it. They will only do something about it if governments force them to do so and they have resisted all attempts at carbon taxes or suitably biting environmental protection legislation.

2. The GHG problem is a stock problem not a flow problem. I came across this concept in a book by an employee of Shell in which he pushed CCS as a major part of the solution. The down side of this is that 20% or 50% reductions in GHG emissions do nothing but delay catastrophe. In order to avert eventual disaster we need to achieve almost 100% reductions in GHG emissions which means that fossil fuels with CCS can only form a small part of the long term energy mix as the practical limitations of finding storage of all our CO2 emissions from the current or even greater usage of fossil fuels would be, in all likelihood, impossible to overcome. This is another reason why the NIMBY fixation on how much RE will get us to the 2020 targets is so stupid and shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the problem.


1Comments | Post your own comment

  • vince adams comments:
    "As a kid in 1950 we had Pea-Souper fogs in London, result coal was made to go smoke free and it happened over a very short time. The pea supers vanished and all was well.
    Now we want Clean Coal so why can’t we just say do it or we use No Coal. Its as simple as that with political leadership. "

    November 5, 2014 a 6:26 pm


29
OCT

Erik Blakeley says:
A word on Intermittency


Category: Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Uncategorized, Wind Power
Tags: , , ,


A word on Intermittency

Those opposed to renewable`s talk about the energy grid as if it would gallop along smoothly using nuclear and fossil fuels all operating at 100% capacity factor with no need for excess capacity or spinning reserves if it weren’t for those pesky wind mills! Now intermittency and the inability to turn up wind power and some other renewable`s (hydro and biomass for example are what we call dispatchable) is an issue but it isn’t anywhere like the issue that the antis make out. Recently Wind set new generation records and so I went on to the gridwatch site and managed to download a week’s worth of figures for wind and some of the important fossil fuels. Here they are:

griddatagrph

So what does this tell us?

  • During the week covered wind did indeed set new records providing more than 5GW pretty much continuously through Saturday and Sunday.
  • There is a marked difference between the wind output during Wed-Friday and that over the weekend and into Monday but the variation within those extended periods is relatively minor and the ramp between them is not especially steep.
  • The Demand curve shows massive changes with huge ramp rates.
  • CCGT is dealing with the changes in demand by changing its output very rapidly and coal is also being made to contribute some balancing changes.
  • OCGT is hardly used at all only coming into use briefly during the Thursday am peak (Just below 500 on the X axis).

What does this mean?

  • Wind is not adding to the problems of peaking and balancing in a significant way. This is dominated by the behaviour of the demand curve.
  • Assuming reasonably accurate 24 hour weather forecasting the output of wind should be predictable to a good level of accuracy sufficiently far in advance to schedule fossil fuel plants to be off-line and therefore genuinely reduce CO2 output. As the size of the wind fleet grows the variation in wind output decreases as the averaging effect of a numerically large fleet spread across the country kicks in – wind never just instantaneously disappears. Minor variations in wind output will be easily accommodated in the balancing flexibility of CCGT already needed to account for variation in demand.
  • Wasteful OCGT is not being used in large quantities undermining wind carbon savings.
  • The curves for CCGT and coal have been effectively lowered by the presence of wind without increasing the ramp rates that they have to follow. This means that a genuine saving in CO2 emissions is the result.


27
OCT

Erik Blakeley says:
Climate Change Deniers


Category: Climate Change, Energy Efficiency, Fuel Poverty & Security, Green Electricity & Gas, Renewable Energy, Wind Power
Tags: , , ,


Climate Change Deniers

So right wingers are calling for us to ditch the Climate Change Act entirely and to stop making progress on decarbonisation unless it is matched by other countries. Sounds good? Sounds reasonable? Well No and No in my opinion.

It’s easy to say let’s not bother, let’s just go for the cheapest quickest option and to hell with the longer term consequences but sticking our heads in the sand won’t make those consequences go away. All these arguments hinge on what is likely to happen regarding Climate Change. We are all sceptical about individual scientific results after so many false scare stories about food or vaccinations etc etc but there is something different about the work of the IPCC. It doesn’t just look at one set of data from one scientist it has been looking at thousands of sets of data from huge numbers of scientists on all sides of the debate and has been returning to the data at regular intervals to incorporate new findings. This iterative process means that it rules out the occasional rogue set of results or biased experimentation. We can rely on the trends that the IPCC reports regarding the likely outcomes.

What the IPCC is saying is that scientists are more and more certain that the effects of Climate Change are real, dangerous and being initiated by human actions that we are in a position to modify and that we should be doing so. Climate Change deniers are on a par with believers in a flat Earth. They just refuse to accept anything that isn’t immediately obvious from their exceptionally limited vantage point or that upsets their preconceived assumptions. They grasp desperately at any individual piece of work that casts the tiniest doubt on the consensus opinion like the measurements that show that the recorded temperature figures over the last 15 years or so haven’t risen appreciably. They ignore all the other data such as the diminishing ice levels in the polar regions, the increasing occurrence of severe or extreme weather conditions, the changing pattern of the jet stream or the changing behaviour of flora and fauna in response to the changes in the timings of season changes. They ignore any logical explanation of their pet data that might still be compatible with the consensus view such as the suggestion that the oceans are acting as more of a buffer to temperature rise than we expected which, whilst it buys us some time to make the changes we need, does not mean that Climate Change and global warming do not exist.

The right wing economists suggesting that we do away with the Climate Change Act are like people who would rather burn all the furniture in their house than go out and chop some firewood in the yard. It’s certainly easier in the short term but doesn’t make much sense when you want to be able to sit down or go to bed in the future or need to pay for replacements for all the stuff you have ruined.

Is it reasonable to say that we shouldn’t do anything until we can get everyone else to agree? I think not for two main reasons. Firstly it is a false claim by the Climate Change deniers that the likes of India, China and the US are doing nothing. They are making significant efforts with renewable energy and new technologies and we actually need to try harder to keep up if we are to remain a country that makes much of its wealth by technical innovation. Secondly it is true China and India are also increasing their use of non-sustainable technologies but only because their per capita wealth and consumption is so much less than ours and they would like a richer and more affluent population. We cannot reasonably say that we will not lead the way on sustainable technologies unless we first get our per capita carbon footprint down to the level of India or China’s which I would suggest we need to do by advancing sustainable tech not by making ourselves poor.

The other thing that is being said is that we need to ditch the Act and reject renewable`s because “The lights might go out!” Well firstly I would argue that it is the anti-renewable campaigns that are stopping us building the scale and quantity of renewable capacity that is the problem here and a quick temporary fix through some dash for gas is not the answer. Secondly there is this unwritten assumption that the lights going out is the end of the world. If there were to be some limited phased outages during the 8pm winter peaks of demand during a couple of winters over the next few years would this really matter so much that we need to tear up our plans for long term improvements in favour of short term measures that will push us ever closer to real catastrophe? So you miss your favourate soap on broadcast TV and have to go to bed early. Hospitals and other vital services now have much better stand by generation due in part to the green incentives favouring CHP plants and old people’s homes are better insulated than they were due to the ECO schemes so a couple of hours without power won’t see the temperature drop excessively and you can always watch the program on your computer tomorrow. It is only the politicians who have made this an election losing issue who might suffer particularly if this were to happen. Lastly what are they suggesting doing that could come on line before these suggested outages in 2016-2020? About all we could do is build a few OCGT power plants of the sort that the anti-renewable lobby say are undoing any good that wind turbines do do because of the intermittency of wind. If we want to do something now we should be pushing ahead with the energy saving side of the “green crap” to keep demand down to the levels we can reach and keep building the sustainable low carbon capacity that we will need in the next decade as we reach the 2020 targets and progress beyond them toward true sustainability.

A relevant and interesting article can be found here: http://www.scoop.it/t/climate-change-science-risk-economics-sustainability


2Comments | Post your own comment

  • Erik Blakeley comments:
    "Anna has a point but unfortunately the news today is full of further calls by Owen Paterson to ditch the Climate Change Act because the National Grid is mildy concerned that there may be power cuts this winter. Ironically the final straws have been the ongoing problems with several of the nuclear power stations and the fire at Didcot gas powered station. Its hard to see what the logic is as no large scale centralized plant can be built between now and Jan 15 unless it is already under construction. There might be some fossil fuel capacity being underused but using it isn’t illegal it just means buying out a larger proportion of the ROCs so there is no need to scrap the Climate Change Act to get a short term fix like that. There might be time to build a bit more dispersed capacity which gives us a choice of fast tracking some solar and wind or building a few inefficient Open Cycle Gas units or internal combustion gas units both of which would be very polluting, expensive to run and would in all likelihood commit us to widespread fracking if we intend to use them as anything but a few months stopgap. There are people who are only interested in the easiest way to make more money. To some degree we all feel that way and that is why the cliche “Its the Economy Stupid” entered common usage. Short term the cheapest way of dealing with the problems we face are probably the dirtiest. This is why the question of climate change does matter. It is the reason why it is worth paying more for rapid decarbonisation now because it will save us much higher costs and loads of suffering in the future. The big tobacco firms spent ages casting doubt on the links between smoking and cancer and telling young smokers why give up something you enjoy now just because there might be a risk many years in the future and we cannot even be certain that there is a risk. They manipulated and bent the science until it was no sort of truth all in the name of profits. Climate Change deniers are doing the same thing now and they have the added advantage that many of the people with power and influence probably won’t live to see the worst results of climate change. "
    October 28, 2014 a 9:19 am

  • Anna Celeste comments:
    "In a way I personally feel that it almost doesn’t matter whether people believe in climate change or not, or disagree about whether it is a natural phenomena or man-made or a bit of both – what matters is that we should all have the common sense to realise either way, we simply can not go on exhausting our planet of its natural resources like we are currently doing, there will be nothing left very soon, and we have to work in balance with nature which means harnessing energy sustainably i.e., from renewable energy sources – IF we cherish the earth, its animals, our people and the future of our own children and family that is. I think that is what matters and that it is worth fighting for : ) "
    October 27, 2014 a 2:30 pm


24
OCT

Erik Blakeley says:
Challenge Navitus – the movie


Category: Renewable Energy, Sustainable Energy Stories, Wind Power
Tags: , , , ,


Challenge Navitus – the movie

I thought I would have a look at the Challenge Navitus site today and noticed that they have some animations of views from various places of the proposed offshore wind farm Navitus Bay http://www.challengenavitus.org.uk/windfarm-animations.html . Now I have been telling people that the view of the farm would merely be one of a collection of sticks on the horizon with the blades practically invisible and that even those sticks would be invisible in any but ideal viewing conditions.

I expected the Challenge Navitus site to be trying to scare people with distorted views etc but what did I see – EXACTLY what I have been telling people – a collection of sticks on the horizon so far off shore that even the slightest sea mist would obscure them entirely! Yet this will ruin the Jurassic Coast and cost Bournemouth £100M in lost annual revenue according to the antis.

When you consider the huge amount of low carbon electricity that the farm will generate, the short term boost to the economy of the area from the building work and the long term presence of jobs in maintenance and operation tasks, I cannot see that this is anything but a no brainer. Put them another 5km off shore say the antis so that they disappear entirely. It is true that they are so far offshore that they are almost invisible but another 5km means deeper water, longer cables, more loss of energy, longer round trips for maintenance boats and generally significantly more expensive electricity.

The cost of offshore wind and the dangers faced by those working on it are the two most important issues with this otherwise great form of energy and these would be made more of an issue by abandoning this optimized choice of site just because, if you look very carefully you can see a few sticks on the horizon whilst you sit on the beach. This is the purest form of selfish, whingeing NIMBYism I think I have ever come across.

There is nothing wrong with the views that Challenge Navitus present. It won’t ruin anyone’s holiday unlike the increasing and already fatal collapses of the Jurassic  Coast linked to the extreme weather conditions we have seen over the last few years and, whilst one or two extremes cannot be conclusively linked to Global Warming, the pattern of recurring extreme events has long since passed the point where we have to accept that the “normal” climate is changing.

The biggest threat to the tourist industry besides justifiable worries about collapsing cliffs and disappearing footpaths is the negative propaganda by those telling people that holidays in Dorset will be ruined by something as trivial as the views of Navitus as shown in the animations. It doesn’t say much for what Dorset has to offer if Navitus could have a serious detrimental effect. It suggests that sitting zombie-like on the beach staring obsessively out to sea (presumably wishing you were somewhere else – anywhere else) is what holidays in Dorset are all about! Dorset has so much more to offer than this and much of what it does offer is based on the sort of fragile ecosystems and geology that will be badly effected by climate change.

Dorset should be offering eco-friendly holidays powered by clean electricity generated in and around Dorset not forming the King Canute Re-enactment Society!


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  • Erik Blakeley comments:
    "The Daily Echo recently ran a piece http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/yoursay/letterstotheeditor/11547376.Navitus_opposition_seems_to_be_missing_the_point/ in which a writer says that discussions of the visual impact of Navitus are missing the point and what matters is the need for “100% guaranteed electricity supply” implying that a this is impossible with wind power in the mix and b it is possible without wind. No system offers a 100% guarantee. The anti-renewables lobby try to make out that the combined behaviour of thousands of wind turbines and millions of PV panels not to mention dozens of large hydro plants and hundreds of micro hydro schemes is the same a a single wind turbine. Combined they become much more predictable. Their combined variability is much less than that seen in the demand curve and even that produced by failures in large centralised plant as recently seen in both nuclear shut downs and the fire at a large gas powered generator. The antis then make out that back up for renewables must be provided by fossil fuels and imply that no back up is needed for fossil fuels or nuclear. Storage and the manufacture of synthetic fuels and hydrogen using excess renewable capacity at times of low demand, which can be used in the same sort of CCGT gas plant that is used with natural gas, can provide back up and balancing meaning that carbon neutral renewables can be the back up for renewables. If we go down a route dominated by massive nuclear plants we have to provide enough back up to cope with several of them going offline at the same time. Recent history has shown us that the volatility of the gas price leads to wasted effort as a dash for gas means lots of gas plant being built that may then be mothballed because of a rise in the price of gas. Renewables do generate issues but so do all forms of generation and looked at fairly, including issues such as climate change, pollution, nuclear terrorism etc etc renewables deserve to be technologies of choice for this new century. "
    October 27, 2014 a 10:10 am

  • vince adams comments:
    "I really like this, the shots that confirm how unobtrusive Wind Turbines are when properly sited……its amazing how beautiful they can look.
    Plus the idea of attracting tourist is a reality in my view rather than being offset people generally will take very little real notice but when prompted say how wonderful they are. "

    October 26, 2014 a 2:33 pm


08
OCT

Erik Blakeley says:
How Many Is Enough?


Category: Energy Efficiency, Green Electricity & Gas, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Living, Wind Power
Tags: , , ,


How Many Is Enough?

This article appeared in the Daily Telegraph – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/renewableenergy/11125908/Thousand-more-wind-turbines-than-UK-needs.html.

And here is a response:

Where do you start? It is total nonsense!

What is worse is some of the total C**P in the comments after the article.

The first point is that, on current planning application process times, all they are saying is that wind power might reach its share of the 2020 target in time although this actually seems unlikely as some applications take as much as 10 years to reach fruition. I suspect that other forms of renewables will be way behind target given the slower than expected technological development in things like wave power and the persistently high LCOE figures for offshore renewables and nuclear (far higher than the relatively low cost of onshore wind) which are likely to make it difficult to have such technologies take up their projected share of the burden without causing unsustainable price rises for the consumer.

Secondly, and I keep stressing this and suggest that everyone else does so too, 2020 is not the end of the process! David Cameron himself recently stressed the importance of the 2050 target for 80% decarbonisation which is the only one that actually makes a difference when we consider the risks of run away climate change because the 2020 target of 15%, if it is achieved and then no more progress is made, will merely mildly delay the point at which we reach a significant tipping point and the driving force of climate change stops being human activity directly and starts being more related to factors such as the lack of albedo effect once the ice caps have gone or the mass evolution of methane from the oceans and melting tundra.

If, and it is still a big if, we can build a bit more onshore wind than the 2020 targets suggest now it is a good thing in that it helps us have a better chance of making the 2050 target. In the comments following the article we get the same old rubbish about wind farms being too intermittent, they don’t save any carbon emissions because fossil fuel capacity is on spinning reserve, its all about subsidies for greedy land owners and developers. All of these are just lies. The variation in demand is far greater than the variation in wind power so the need for spinning reserves is going to be there regardless of whether we have wind power or not. Much of the reason why peaking and balancing generation (the spinning reserves) is so less efficient than baseload generation is because much of our peaking and balancing currently comes from low efficiency open cycle gas turbines (OCGT`s). This need not be the case in the future. Pumped hydro and electrochemical storage technologies both have the response characteristics to perform peaking and balancing. Efficient new generation combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant is also much quicker to react than the older CCGT and they could be run more and more on Anaerobic Digester gas and hydrogen derived from surplus wind or other renewables.

We need to get rid of the out of date OCGT technology not the wind turbines! Even with the old OCGTs causing minor issues the effect of renewables in general and wind in particular is now proven in the National Grid and DECC figures that show reductions in coal consumption and consequent CO2 reductions clearly linked to renewable generation so the positive effect of renewables isn’t even a theoretical effect in the future, it is already making a significant contribution despite the relatively low share of overall capacity – lesson learned build more of what is working not less!

I heard an article on the radio recently that was very interesting. I have thought for some time that we are in the same position regarding climate change and renewable energy that we were in regarding lung cancer and smoking in the 1970s and 80s in that people with scientific knowledge (I won’t call them scientists because their lack of respect for scientific truth debars them from that title in my opinion) are being employed by those with huge financial interests in stopping the development of renewables to generate spurious but believable “evidence” against renewables. The radio piece I heard actually suggested that not only were the big fossil fuel firms using the same tactics as the tobacco firms they were actually employing the same people!


2Comments | Post your own comment

  • Erik Blakeley comments:
    "The new EU targets that the Govt has agreed may or may not be good news as far as reaching the ultimate targets of full decarbonisation but they certainly require a near doubling of the renewable energy contribution between 2020 and 2030. Given that the amount of renewables we will have by 2020 will have been put in place over several decades this will mean a scaling up of the rate of delivery of renewables. This means that any suggestions that we have enough are just stupid. "
    October 24, 2014 a 12:19 pm

  • vince adams comments:
    "Well said now lets move on and focus on how to maintain, strengthen and ultimately turn our energy supply into 80% renewable by 2030
    Cancel Hinkley Nuclear Power and make the possible Possible "

    October 8, 2014 a 6:06 pm


24
SEP

Erik Blakeley says:
How much is enough?


Category: Dorset Energized News, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Wind Power
Tags: , , , , ,


How much is enough?

Anti- renewables campaigners have been making much of the suggestion that we have enough or nearly enough Renewable Energy capacity to meet the 2020 target in Dorset. I maintain that this is false on many levels.

To show why I think it is untrue we have to look at what lies behind this sudden shift of tack. After all it is only very recently that these same antis were saying that Renewables are a waste of time because they hardly ever generate much electricity, could never make a real difference and are only about fat cat industrialists milking subsidies. Now they want to make out that the small amounts of renewable capacity we see around our county is enough to meet our targets. It is true that renewables nationally are making a significant impact. With continuing rapid investment and capacity building we might make our targets.

Where is their data coming from? Some of the most comprehensive data they are using has recently been prepared by Dr Peacock of the Dorset CPRE. His data suggests that if 80% or more of the large scale field mounted PV projects in planning (including several in the most tentative early stages of planning) are approved and built before 2020 then we might reach the 2020 target as interpreted in the Dorset Renewable Energy Plan.

Firstly there is a world of difference between having planning applications in the system and having enough renewable energy capacity on the ground so currently we do not have enough capacity to meet any targets and any anti who claims otherwise is either mistaken or lying. Secondly the list of planning applications includes some very large schemes and some on very sensitive land including one of 220 acres and one 100 acre site not only in the AONB but also on an SSSI. It would seem very unlikely that the CPRE or other groups who have opposed renewables applications in the past would support anywhere near the 80% of the capacity mentioned in Dr Peacock’s submission. I’m not entirely convinced that such schemes are the best way forward and would look to see some pretty convincing Environmental Impact Assessments before giving them my automatic support.

Next is the all-important question of what the Dorset Renewable Energy Plan calls for. I have been critical of the plan since I first read it a couple of years ago. I do not believe that it goes anywhere near far enough in setting targets for renewable energy generation in Dorset. I went as far as to state my opinion at the time that is was more of a NIMBY’s charter than a plan for renewable energy! The way it is being used by anti-renewables groups has proved me right. What is wrong with it? It calls for Dorset to generate 7.5% of its primary energy excluding transport from renewable energy sources cited in Dorset by 2020. Not only is this only half of the 15% target set nationally for 2020 but the exclusion of transport makes it in effect even less than that. The authors of the report envisage the other 7.5% and all the corresponding savings in transport emissions to come from “national” measures. I interpret this as meaning “put it in someone else’s back yard” and would point to the antis’ attitude to the most important national measure in our area as evidence for this interpretation. The measure I refer to is Navitus Bay – the lowest impact scheme for Dorset possible who’s only downside is the same as all offshore schemes in that the cost of the electricity it produces is likely to be about the same as that of nuclear – ie fairly high. Even more important is the fact that the Dorset Renewable Energy Plan, like all the thinking of the antis, appears to regard 2020 as the end of the process. We have been hearing in the last few days about the climate marches and pressure on world leaders to set meaningful targets for carbon reduction not just for the next 6 years but for real progress towards proper sustainability and carbon neutrality by the middle of the century.2020 is only a way marker. If we exceed the target for that date, however it is calculated, then that is a good thing not a mistake. We are still taking the low hanging fruit. Any extra progress we make now will only help us keep up the momentum when things get harder in the next few decades. We certainly should not reject any projects just because we may or may not reach the 2020 target without them.

In conclusion, Renewable energy technologies have proved their potential and are making a real impact but we still have a long way to go. Dorset is trailing badly compared with other counties and needs to get on with building as large a capacity of a mixed bag of renewable technologies as possible. Far from being especially unsuitable for renewable energy generation Dorset has excellent resources and limited pressures on space and demand so we should be doing better than other places not worse.


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27
AUG

Erik Blakeley says:
Yes to Slyers Lane Wind Farm


Category: Renewable Energy, Sustainable Living, Wind Power
Tags: , , , ,


Yes to Slyers Lane Wind Farm

I was very interested to see that the No to Slyers lane site features a link to another anti wind turbine site trying to make big news out of the dismantling of the Addingham wind farm just up the valley from Ilkley in Yorkshire http://noslyerslaneturbines.co.uk/weve-got-our-view-back/ .

Now it just so happens that I lived in Ilkley about the time that these wind turbines were in the prime of their lives. They didn’t ruin the Yorkshire countryside in any way shape or form. I walked and drove around the area frequently and the only way they impinged on me was as a pleasant reminder that I was near home (a really wonderful home, wind turbines and all) as I drove back from the West past the reservoir. It appears that they have reached the end of their expected life span and have been taken down (we’ve never said that they can last forever – what can?).

What does this actually mean? Well first and foremost it proves our point that wind turbines do not permanently affect the landscape. It is easy to take them down, recycle much of the materials in them and return the landscape to the form it was in before they were built so the idea that wind turbines permanently despoil the landscape is rubbish. Secondly the site concerned tries to make out that they hardly ever ran and didn’t produce much energy etc etc. I don’t have the performance figures for these particular turbines but great advances have occurred in the technology over the 2 decades that they have been running, so using any performance figures for them, good or bad, doesn’t make any sense in evaluating modern turbines except to say that these old stalwarts did their bit to prove and improve the technology.

However the same people trying to tell you that wind turbines never work and are useless except as subsidy farming money makers for the greedy industrialists who build them are also the same people who have recently tried to tell you that we don’t need any more renewable energy to meet out 2020 decarbonisation targets because renewables have now topped 15% of electricity generation http://www.viewfrompublishing.co.uk/news_view/32595/15/1/dorchester-does-dorchester-care-about-turbine (“In a statement issued by the No Slyers Lane Turbines group they claim that the UK has already reached its EU-set target for renewable energy.”). There are two points here. The first is the obvious one that they must be deceiving you with one of these arguments as they are mutually contradictory. The second is that either they know little or nothing about the decarbonisation targets for the UK or they are happy to mislead you!

Oh how I wish that we had enough Renewable energy to meet the EU target! The EU target isn’t for 15% of electricity generation from renewables it’s for 15% of the energy use of the whole economy from renewables of which electricity generation is only one part (“Even though we are starting from a low level, the UK can meet the target to deliver 15% of the UK’s energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020.” –  renewable roadmap document from UK Gov: here)

Electricity is perhaps the easiest sector to decarbonise and will need to carry slower moving parts such as the road transport network. What is more, the answer for road transport will involve switching from petrol and diesel to electricity in a big way and the answer for home heating is likely to involve much more use of electric heat pumps so our electricity generation capacity will have to expand rapidly to provide for increasing demand from 80GW at present to around 120GW over the next couple of decade,s even if we improve energy efficiency meaning that we still need lots more electricity from renewables!

Anti-renewables campaigners will continue to use misinformation and false claims to try to convince you that wind farms or solar parks are dreadful because they cannot rely on their only real argument which is that these technologies are visible from some distance away and they don’t want anything in their back yards to change ever, however much we need to solve the bigger problems in life.


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05
AUG

Erik Blakeley says:
The Sham that is “Localism”


Category: Dorset Energized News, Renewable Energy, Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,


The Sham that is “Localism”

It would seem that this last week has been another good time to bury bad news.

What with the situations in the Ukraine and in Gaza, the air crash in the Sahara and the more jolly stuff from the Glasgow games the fact that the government put out more details about its plans for underground nuclear waste storage hardly got a look in in the news. Apparently sums in the millions will be offered to communities that offer to host nuclear waste storage and when (sorry – if) no communities are stupid enough (sorry – community spirited enough) to offer themselves up then government ministers will allocate sites and the normal local planning rules will no longer apply and local authorities will not have a veto.

What with HS2, fracking and nuclear waste it is clear that localism only applies if it generates the decisions that central government wants like a brake on renewables development because it doesn’t suit the government’s friends in big business if little firms can go setting up wind turbines or solar farms producing real competition for struggling fossil fuels and demanding that government do something about our creaking national grid. So given that the government knows that no communities are going to volunteer to take on nuclear waste, where will the axe fall? Well let’s face it Dorset in general got to be a contender. It’s got sea transport links, low population density and rolling chalk hills that would be easy to burrow into to make the vast caverns for the storage of bulky low grade radioactive material. Additionally it is conveniently at the opposite end of the country to the existing facility at Sellafield minimising waste miles if the job is split between Dorset and Sellafield such that Dorset copes with the stuff from the South Coast reactors. What’s more it has no come back at all when it is pointed out that Dorset isn’t pulling its weight in decarbonising the economy so It’s their turn. Even better there is a specific site that would be ideal that is already government controlled with a village to give its name to the site that hasn’t even got any residents to complain – Tyneham.

If Scotland votes for independence a reduced UK may well not continue to support a fleet of main battle tanks. We no longer have the capacity to build them and we didn’t send Challenger to Afghanistan because it would have cost too much. Without Challenger the Lulworth ranges could be redundant and Povington Hill could be hollowed out for the purpose.

I’m heartily sick of hearing opponents of wind turbines and solar farms telling me that nuclear is the answer. Not only do I know it isn’t because of technical reasons that I may cover at another time but also because I believe that the only reason that they are saying it is because they envisage everything to do with the nuclear industry being in someone else’s back yard not in their beloved Dorset! Well here’s your chance to put your money where your mouth is. Start a petition to get nuclear waste under the Purbecks. It certainly won’t have the visual impact of a decent number of wind turbines. You’ll probably get lots of signatures but not from many people in Dorset I suspect! Alternatively we could take a leaf out of the book of the people of Delabole. Not enough people know that one of the reasons Delabole is the site of the very first wind farm in England is that it was proposed as a site of a nuclear power station and local people wanted to have a constructive counter argument to show that they were doing their bit rather than just NIMBY!



17
JUL

Erik Blakeley says:
Observations on a journey to Falmouth


Category: Sustainable Energy Stories, Sustainable Living, Wind Power
Tags: , , ,


Observations on a drive to to a Conference in Falmouth

I have just been lucky enough to attend the one-day conference on Integrated Renewables for Autonomous Power Supply http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/events/details/index.php?event=2164  at the Penryn outstation of Exeter University. Many speakers from Britain, Norway and India gave impressive talks on PV, Biomass, Storage and Grid Integration along with some informative poster presentations by leading academics and up and coming research students. There was also a tour of the BREEAM excellent rated research facility. Not only did this fill me with excitement over the progress being made towards overcoming the storage and grid integration issues surrounding a truly low carbon energy industry but my journey along the A30 across Bodmin and down to Falmouth gave me a great opportunity to see some of the wind turbines and solar parks that are allowing Devon and Cornwall to so impressively out -perform Dorset in decarbonisation.

Now I know what you are thinking “If you’re so green what are you doing driving to Cornwall?” Well I could point out that I car shared with my partner and we stayed an extra night to make a mini break of it so it was far less environmentally damaging than an air flight to anywhere for a holiday but instead I will put my hand up and recognise that my ownership of a car is amongst the least green things I do. There are people who manage to do without a car by choice for environmental reasons and there are those, of course, who cannot afford to run a car but it is clear that personal transport is one of the most appreciated advantages of relative affluence and for good reason. I could not do many of the things I most enjoy in life without a car; I could not have commuted to my places of work from the pleasant places I have been lucky enough to live in without a car and I would not even have met my partner if I had not been able to travel long distances with large quantities of camping and living history equipment to re-enactment events using my car. Most adults in this country either own a car or would prioritise acquiring a car were their financial situation to improve. As far as the GHG emissions issue is concerned we are on the brink of a personal transport revolution with battery cars and hydrogen fuel cell cars ready to be used but just out of reach for most because of the lack of support infrastructure and high prices due to the lack of economy of scale in the manufacturing of the new vehicles.

As I was driving along the A30 seeing the regular appearance of wind turbines of many different designs I was of course struck by the fact that, although they were striking in their appearance, they did not ruin the views or do anything to diminish these counties as potential holiday destinations. There were several points at which I observed things that were something of an eyesore. The “Cornish Alps” of tin mining waste are a constant reminder of the long term damage done to environments by mining either for metals or for coal. There are a couple of places on the route where high voltage transmission cables and pylons criss-cross otherwise appealing valleys but we generally ignore these because we are now so used to them and very few of us would be prepared to do without reliable low cost electricity made possible by the National grid.

Finally I mustn’t forget the visual and noise impact of the very dual carriageway I was driving along. We have come to terms with the carving up of our countryside by dual carriageways and bypasses because we know that we can only enjoy the benefits of mass car ownership with a modern road network and, had we stuck with the road network of the 1950s we would be in a state of perpetual gridlock and economic collapse. I remember when the anti-road protestors focussed their efforts on the Newbury Bypass in the 1980s behind the charismatic figurehead of “Swampy”. I was very much in two minds about this as, at the time, I was doing student placement work at Harwell and travelling there each week from Leicestershire. Newbury was always gridlocked on a Monday morning and a Friday evening. The conditions for the people living next to the through road must have been extremely unpleasant and the traveller could spend an hour or more stuck in or around Newbury. Now, with the Newbury bypass and others on the A43 and A34 the run from the NE Midlands to the South Midlands is one of the easiest journeys you can take long distance in England and you get to see some lovely countryside which, although significantly affected by the roads, has not been totally ruined by them. There are certain houses and communities that I can see have suffered quite considerably especially when compared with the miniscule effects of distributed renewables like wind turbines or solar farms but on balance one can say that the price paid does not outweigh the benefits to the country of our modern road network. I see the situation with renewables as much the same as that of bypass politics in the 1970s and 80s. We all want cheap electricity and we don’t want our children and grandchildren to suffer short lives of suffering due to climate change initiated war, disease and economic collapse but some of us still don’t accept that this requires action now to change our economy and in so doing change our countryside even though the real downsides of that change are trivial in the extreme.

The other important aspect of this is the economic benefits to Cornwall of Renewables. The positive and proactive attitude of elected representatives and individuals in that county especially has meant that large sums of money that would have been flowing out of the county to the coffers of large energy firms is now going instead to farmers, land owners and ordinary home owners who are contributing to the green revolution. New employment opportunities are being created in academic institutions like the Penryn campus and in the support industries for renewable energy generation. Dorset is missing out on these things and again it is indicative of the selfish attitudes of those who are driving the anti-renewable agenda in our county. Many of them are much richer than the average in the county. They have built up big pension pots and share portfolios through their economically high intensity jobs in the SE of England and elsewhere causing all sorts of environmental issues there and around the world. Their invested capital continues to do so. For many who have lived all their lives in Dorset the only opportunities are low pay boring jobs in care homes or ever decreasing numbers of low grade public sector jobs. An opponent of renewables recently attended a meeting in Blandford who had moved to Dorset recently after a successful career in the SE of England. He stated that he couldn’t see the community benefit schemes relating to the proposed wind farms doing any good because the community he lived in already had a village hall and a post office so what was the point? I am sure that if you have a large income that comes to you without any need to travel to work or to work for that matter and your children are grown up and live in a completely different part of the country then you might struggle to see what a community benefit scheme should be spent on but if you are struggling to find a job or cannot find the child care facilities to enable you to work or have to rely in your old age on public transport because you don’t have a big fat pension then I am sure you might be able to think of some constructive ideas for the money.


5Comments | Post your own comment

  • Keith Wheaton-Green comments:
    "Thank you Richard for coming on to this site to spur some of us on to debate these important issues with you. We all have to be careful not to get too het up discusing issues we feel strongly about and flinging accusations around. So I will try not to accuse anyone of being childish or pontificating or being rich enough to own race horses. I’ve seen a couple of other large wind turbine applications at close hand and have some observations.
    First, they both failed. You will take heart from that. I – of course – don’t. Second, the two camps were clearly divided between mainly the farming community (wealthy – on paper – landowners and relatively low paid farm workers)and those not associated with the land who usually (not always) had no historical association with the land. (as opposed with landscape). The farmers may be sitting on land and property worth millions with large sums flowing through their business but their disposable income can be modest. They work very long hours as standard and consider themselves guardians of the land (and landscape)which they expect to pass on to their childern rather than realise paper wealth. I was once told by a farmer only half jokingly that I shouldn’t expect him to take my opinions on local matters seriously because my family had not been in Dorset since Saxon times. Despite that comment, farmers are usually quiet, self effacing, not prone to voicing their opinions and actually quite easily intimidated.
    Wind turbines make sense to farmers because they give resource efficient future financial security.
    The opposing camp were very ably led by people who had moved into the area, often to retire. They had excellent communications skills (as do you Richard), experience and expectations of being listened to and time enough to coordinate their actions. They put high value on the landscape the farming community have created and looked to the past (Hardy’s Dorset!!)rather than the constant change and planning for the future they may have experienced in their own working lives.
    I mention all this because I wonder if there is the same polorised situation in Winterborne Whitchurch.
    My personal opinion is that wind turbines are essential infrastructure projects for a future economy based on use of free natural local resources. 10% of UK electricity was generated by wind in 2013 (see DECC website.)As with all large projects there will be casualties and I believe those householders who are most affected should be fairly compensated (community fund?)
    I would echo Vince’s offer that together we seek locatons for big wind turbines that are not offensive to people with your particular sensitivity to the landscape. This is an importnat task and I hope you can help us. "

    July 23, 2014 a 5:21 pm

  • Erik Blakeley comments:
    "I am afraid that nothing Mr Fry says really contradicts what I said in the original piece. Obviously affluence is relative but I do think it is fair to say that the majority of people who are fortunate enough to be able to retire to Dorset are more wealthy than many who have lived here all their lives especially given the difference between average earnings in the SE of England (where many retired persons move from)and in Dorset. If I made an unfair assumption in suggesting that Mr Fry came here after a “Successful career in the SE of England” then I apologize. I know he said he came from the SE I inferred the rest form his ability to afford the move. Mr Fry says that he merely wished to question how funds for Winterborne Whitechurch could be used fairly because the community only has a “village hall and church both run on shoestring budgets”. This does not make much sense as not only does it suggest that those existing facilities could benefit from not having to run on such shoestring budgets but it also means that there are many other things that could be started with the money available such as a local job club or subsidized child care or a community car share project. With a bit of imagination a sum like £36k could easily be spent without looking too far from the site of the wind farm. The reason why the REG rep couldn’t tell him how the money would be spent is that these community benefit schemes are meant to be flexible enough to enable local communities to decide what they need from the scheme so it’s not down to the firm to dictate what is done and I am sure that some in WW could come up with much better suggestions than mine. It is not set in stone how the money should be allocated geographically and this is also a matter for negotiation with the communities who feel they have a claim on the money if they are prepared to engage constructively. I don’t accept that the idea of 15 turbines over a distance of 10 miles is excessive and is very similar to the spacing I saw along the A30 without the environment being ruined which is the main point of my piece. "
    July 23, 2014 a 9:33 am

  • vince adams comments:
    "Richard I’d like to take up your challenge at the meeting that you are not against renewables/wind turbines per se but the siting of them. I kind of get that and if the perspective in the village is that you are being dwarfed as it were then developers and planners have to take this into account.
    So lets meet and go out into Dorset and find the sites that you think would be more acceptable.
    Can we find sites where there is consensus, if we can then frankly that would be marvellous.
    I am available anytime at vince@dorsetenergized.co.uk so lets breathe some new ideas into how we move renewables flly forward in the County.
    By the way the other key point is that I believe that energy savings for villagers say within a 5 mile radius of any sites would be better than community funds.
    Even better than that lets create community funded projects that the people all have ownership of. "

    July 22, 2014 a 6:56 pm

  • Richard Fry comments:
    "I am the person you refer to (fifth paragraph) who recently attended the meeting in Blandford. Your misrepresentations and assumptions are quite honestly untrue, ignorant and insulting. In particular, I am not rich, I stated clearly that I am in my sixth year of my life-long ambition to live in beautiful Dorset, and with regards the projected £36k per annum (forecast total £900k) ‘REG (the turbine producer) Community Benefit Fund’, I actually enquired of the REG rep. present how the allocation of such huge funds for “good causes in the community” in Winterborne Whitechurch (a small village south of Blandford possibly to be dwarfed by 4 Giant turbines) could possibly be allocated fairly as we only have a village hall and church, both run on shoestring budgets. Therefore, would the funds be issued to satellite villages or even Blandford. You may remember that the REG rep. could not answer the question satisfactorily to the consternation of others at the meeting. A far cry from what you state. Your childish outburst re fat pensions, portfolios, etc is somewhat pathetic. Maybe the millionaire landowner providing the sites for the turbines may wish to respond, providing he’s not away with his racehorses. Finally, I again clearly stated that far from being against renewable energy, I was actually objecting to the siting of turbines right next to my rural village, and that if the three current applications in North Dorset go through, that fifteen giant turbines will be situated in the ten miles between North Dorchester and Winterborne Whitechurch. The flood gates are opening… For some one who pontificates so wordily and so often, I wonder how often you stray from reality and the truth as you appear to ‘wind yourself up’ – ref to one of your previous blogs. I have no intention to debate the issues with you, but would like others who may wish to, to be aware of your ‘flexibility’ of the truth in your reports. "
    July 19, 2014 a 3:51 pm

  • vince adams comments:
    "Anyone who can afford a decent car make the change soon to Electric, not hybrid but full on Electric..
    The fun you will have the serenity the release from the grunt and grind of driving conventional cars will disappear overnight.
    People of Dorset take up Erik’s call for us to as they say “Get a life”, support UK like so many regions have done in the past by supporting clean renewable energy.
    The problems we have can all be surmounted by development, financial support and growing renewable markets. Its like the tele, the mobile phone etc someday renewable energy will be the norm. Don’t fight it join the revolution "

    July 17, 2014 a 5:51 pm


08
JUL

Erik Blakeley says:
Fracking or Wind Turbines


Category: Fracking, Green Electricity & Gas, Renewable Energy, Wind Power
Tags: , , ,


Fracking or wind turbines?

Which would you choose?

I oppose fracking. My main reason for doing so is that I fear that fracking is being used as the means to put off developing our plentiful and clean renewable potential simply because it makes it easier for the Chancellor to generate a boom and bust economic recovery that will get him re-elected next year and perhaps in another 5 years time at the expense of a sustainable recovery and meaningful reductions in green house gas emissions. This is enough to make me oppose fracking. However there are lots of other reasons suggested for opposing fracking. Lots of frightening stories are out there on the internet. The problem is how to assess which risks are significant enough to be worth considering which is even harder than sorting the facts from the falsehoods. As a campaigner for renewables and therefore against fracking it is tempting to point out that some of the chemicals used in fracking in America are carcinogens and can have other toxic effects and fracking has been accused of causing earthquakes or of releasing natural gas into water supplies to the extent that gas escaping from domestic taps can be lit with a cigarette lighter. However it is not clear how comparable the fracking process in Britain would be to that use in America and, cynic though I am, I do still suspect that any use of the technique would be better regulated here than in the cowboy environment of the fracking industry of America. So it is hard to tell just how bad fracking would be for its potential neighbours in Britain. If you want to see the worst case scenario for fracking see this site: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/dec/14/fracking-hell-live-next-shale-gas-well-texas-us

Perhaps a better approach is to ask ourselves how is it likely to compare with the alternatives? We do need to do something. Our energy infrastructure is wearing out and will not meet the needs of the 21st Century. If we ignore the ethical element we might get away with being NIMBYs and expect others to put up with things that we want the benefits from but don’t want to see near us but we cannot be BANANAs (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody). The obvious alternative is wind turbines. Scare stories abound about noise and flicker and the amounts of concrete used in their foundation and of course there is the subjective aesthetic question of visual amenity. Now I have done much more research into the realities of the issues relating to wind turbines than I have into fracking and my conclusion is that every issue except the subjective question of visual impact is either grossly over stated by the antis or even absolutely untrue and that, when you are talking about small wind farms of less than ten turbines sited 500m or more from the nearest houses the visual impact is very much dependent on how much of a Victor Meldrew you let yourself become by staring at the turbines and winding yourself up into a froth about them. I truly believe that you have every reason to ignore them because they won’t do you any harm. It would be unfair of me therefore to suggest that you believe all the very worst stories about fracking and reject all the ones about wind turbines even though I believe that there is much more truth behind the fracking stories than the turbine myths (can you detect my bias there??!).

So what can we say for certain. Developing a fracking field involved months of heavy industrial work during which a great deal of noise and dust is created and millions of gallons of fracturing fluid will need to be tankered in or made up on site using local water resources and more concentrated chemicals which may or may not be a significant risk to you but certainly would not be something you would like to see spilled into your local stream if one of the many tankers was to have a crash. Most of the fracking fluid will come back to the surface via the bore hole and will need to be stored onsite until it can be tankered out again for safe disposal or reprocessing/recycling at another well. Part of the job of the fluid is to corrosively attack the rock the stop the cracks closing up again. This means that the fluid will return to the surface loaded with dissolved minerals. Now this might well not be the sort of thing you would bottle and sell as a health tonic as it is likely to include heavy metals in much the same way as the acid mine water does that has sterilized many a stream in Yorkshire or Wales. With the best will in the world I do believe that losses from storage lagoons and tanks will occur and sure, the firms will be fined by the Environment Agency etc, but only after the event when your environment is polluted.

Once the well heads are in place there will probably still need to be storage tanks on site and there may well be the requirement for periodic refracturing when the whole fluid insertion and pressurisation process will need to be repeated.

In comparison the building of a wind farm of 6 turbines is a minor inconvenience. Each turbine requires a concrete foundation equivalent to about 6 modern family homes and once they are in place the structure of the turbine itself can be erected in a single day especially if road links to the site are reasonable and it can be brought in largely prefabricated. Power electronics for the farm about the size of a single lorry container gather the electricity from the individual turbines and feed it into underground cables that connect into the 11kV mains at the sort of transformer station that you will already have in your village or community. Thereafter they run extremely quietly and require relatively low levels of maintenance for years of clean electricity generation.

In conclusion my main objection to fracking is because of the implications for the long term energy policies of our country but I am also in no doubt whatsoever, 100% certain etc etc that I would choose a wind farm in my back yard over a fracking site any day of the year but will I get the chance to choose? Of course I won’t. As long as the government thinks it can make a quick buck to boost GDP and it calculates that the anti-wind turbine campaigners are active in more marginal rural constituencies than the anti-fracking campaigners are they will push ahead with fracking in just the same way as 12 new nuclear power plants will be pushed through because it is a flaw in the democratic system that the unreasonable objections of 100 constituencies to wind turbines outvote the reasonable objections of 12 constituencies to nuclear expansion.

Localism is all very well but is must go hand in hand with a sense of the bigger picture. We can all share in the benefits of dispersed generation by renewables but we must all accept a little of something in our back yard unless we want to take our chances in the fracking and nuclear lotteries and condemn our grandchildren to suffer the longer term consequences.


1Comments | Post your own comment

  • Keith Wheaton-Green comments:
    "I was going to suggest that you also put your blog on the DART websie but on investigation discover that they have no blog section! Presumably they don’t want to encourage discussion but simply appear as the font of all knowledge. "
    July 10, 2014 a 2:04 pm


09
JUN

Erik Blakeley says:
The Nocebo Effect & Wind Turbines


Category: Wind Power
Tags: , , ,


The Nocebo Effect & Wind Turbines

I’ve been trying to track down the Australian stuff re wind turbine syndrome and the nocebo effect and found this quote

The 2009 American Wind Energy Association and Canadian Wind Energy Association study investigated the nocebo affect concluding that: “the large volume of media coverage devoted to alleged adverse health effects of wind turbines understandably creates an anticipatory fear in some that they will experience adverse effects from wind turbines. Every person is suggestible to some degree. The resulting stress, fear, and hyper‐vigilance may exacerbate or even create problems which would not otherwise exist. In this way, anti‐wind farm activists may be creating with their publicity some of the problems that they describe.”

I enclose the paper I found with further refs:

Wind Turbine Sound Fact Sheet – wind_turbine_sound_FactSheet


1Comments | Post your own comment

  • Erik Blakeley comments:
    "Further to the above I have now found coverage of the Australian study I was thinking of that showed much better links between “wind turbine syndrome” and the activities of anti groups than with wind turbines themselves. As well as this further indication of the dangers of the nocebo effect and the irresponsibility of anti-wind farm scaremongering I think it is worth taking notice of the story of the gentleman given at the end who was suffering badly. His house was within 3.5km of 17 turbines that were part of a 160 turbine scheme. Now I would suggest that his symptoms were still the result of the nocebo effect but this does not mean that he was not suffering. Furthermore it is not reasonable to expect people to be happy about that sort of concentration of turbines near their homes and it is terrible that his plight is made worse by the activities of those pretending to be his friends in the anti-camp. It is only by accepting small wind farms of less than 10 turbines in lots of places so that everyone has a few close to them if they are lucky enough to live in a rural area with a good wind resource that we can ensure that people are not subjected to these mega farms except in places like the wildest parts of Scotland where there are no communities to be bothered by them. It is the actions of the antis, once more, in hijacking the planning process, that make it uneconomic to apply for just a few turbines so increasing the likelihood that turbines will be built instead by the score in mega farms. Here’s the link to the article reporting the research http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/mar/15/windfarm-sickness-spread-word-australia "
    July 8, 2014 a 10:39 am


12
MAY

Erik Blakeley says:
Visit to Oakdale Wind Farm


Category: Wind Power
Tags: , , , ,


Visit to Oakdale Wind farm 10th May 2014

Residents of Winterborne Whitechurch and other interested people were invited on a coach trip to visit the Oakdale Wind Farm near Caerphilly in Wales on the 10th May. Despite over 40 people expressing an interest in coming barely a dozen appeared on the grey morning at 8.30 for the trip to begin. At least the forecast was helpful. There would be little point in showing people a wind farm during a calm day when many of those with concerns are particularly worried about the noise of the turbines running at high load factor. We expected blustery showers – exactly the sort of weather to maximise the noise from the turbines.

Oakdale Wind Farm 1.8MW turbine

After a long drive we finally arrived and the weather did not disappoint. Wind speeds at 7 feet above ground level were 8m/s with gusts into double figures. As we were 100m below the hub height, we could be pretty confident that the turbines were seeing the 13m/s or more needed to generate full 100% capacity factor peak output and the gusty conditions would be testing the gearboxes in such a way that they should be generating as much noise as they ever would. The coach was parked 400-500m from the turbines and the driver turned off the engine. We got out. What could we hear? Well, wind and that was about it. No deafening whooshing sound or explosive thumps just wind noise. The ground did not shake with scary infrasound vibrations and no one swooned with nausea or dizziness. We walked closer and by 300m from the turbines we could just about pick out a slight rythmic undertone to the wind noise but you had to know what you were listening to to know it was there. A skylark took off from the grassland surrounding the turbines and started to sing. It was clearly audible and a pleasure to see even if it failed to ascend much in the high wind.

We reached the turbine base and started to discuss what we could see. No one was shouting and what noise there was, was still as much due to the natural sound of the wind as the turbines. The heavens opened and we all made a run for it back to the coach well soaked for our pains.

Oakdale Wind Farm - up close

So 4 hours in the coach to get there and a damp 4 hours in prospect to get back after 15 minutes on site. What did we learn? Well, I think it was fair to say that many were surprised as to just how quiet the turbines were including myself. I have visited a few wind farms but this was my windiest trip to date and the quietness exceeded even my hopes. Many expressed an admiration of the engineering and architectural qualities of the turbines. Noone seemed to think they were an eyesore in themselves. So everyone was now keen to have wind turbines at Winterborne Whitechurch? Well no. There were two main worries. The most important can be summed up as “Why do they need to be so big?” Some people said they appreciated all the reasons why we needed renewable energy in general and wouldn’t object to hosting wind turbines if only they were say half the size. So why can’t we build them half the size? A suspicion seemed to be lurking beneath the surface of the conversation that this was just about big business maximizing its profits. Unfortunately it is really about the inescapable laws of physics. If you halve the size of a turbine you don’t just halve its output and you certainly don’t halve the costs to build and run it. Because the amount of wind pushing on the turbine depends on the area of the circle traced out by the blades halving the size will quarter the output if this were the only relevant consideration. Unfortunately we are far from finished.

As you go further up from the ground the wind speed (velocity V) increases. This is called wind shear. The amount of power in the wind that the turbine can use is dependent not on the speed of the wind or even the square of the speed of the wind. It is dependent of the cube of the speed of the wind because the energy of any sample of air is equal to ½ mV2 as many might remember from school Physics and the amount of air passing the turbine is dependent on the speed of the air passing so these considerations combined makes the Power dependent on the cube of the speed. Once the mast data from Blandford Hill is available we can work out an equation to model the precise rate at which wind speed varies with height but just for the sake of argument let’s assume that a turbine half the height of those suggested still sees wind speeds three quarters of the speed seen by the full size version. This means that the power available to the small turbine is (0.75)3 times the power of the big one or 0.422 times its value. Therefore overall we can expect the output of a turbine half the size of the one suggested to be about 10.5% of that from the large one or put it another way we will need 10 times as many turbines to produce the same results. Now we know for sure that building and running a half sized turbine (with all the additional costs of cabling, transformers etc) will cost at least half as much as running the big one and will probably cost much more than that but assuming we lose no net cost benefits of scale this still means that the electricity from the small turbine could cost 5 times that from the big one. I suggested to some of my fellow visitors that this might be the case and some seemed sceptical and others said they wouldn’t mind paying more for their electricity if it meant we could make do with smaller turbines. But five times the cost? And the countryside covered in 10 times the number of turbines? It doesn’t make sense to me. I really don’t find the prospect of being able to see say 4-6 large turbines from my house unacceptable and would welcome them but 40-60? Even I would join the ranks of the NIMBYs at that. If there is a big business conspiracy at work in the energy debate today it is the big multinational oil and gas firms desperate to squeeze the last drops of profit out of their diminishing resources even if it means bankrupting our fuel impoverished economy and wrecking the environment in the process not the relatively tiny firms like REG or Good Energy trying to introduce new sustainable technology and challenge the effective cartel of the big energy companies.

The other objection was that it would change the Dorset countryside. Unfortunately the Dorset Countryside has changed, is changing and will continue to change regardless of whether or not we have wind turbines. It is only a few years since our countryside started turning bright yellow every late spring with oil seed rape. This changed the look of the countryside and caused real health worries for allergy sufferers. But oil seed rape seems to be an indispensable part of our modern food economy and also our emerging biofuel economy so we put up with it and, now we are used to it, hardly notice it except for those like myself who curse when we see the bright flash of yellow from our car because we know it will be rapidly followed by a tightening of the chest and a spluttering coughing session (I recognise that my degree of suffering from hay fever is trivial compared to many for whom it is much more of an issue). I tried to point out that even our beloved hedgerows are recent additions to the countryside in many areas and were understandably greeted with loathing by many who lived there because they destroyed the quasi democratic system of three field agriculture and handed the best land to the richest and most powerful land owners. Many suffered real poverty because of them. I was derided for trying to equate a huge industrial object like a wind turbine with lovely natural things like hedgerows. However I say there are parallels. Hedged fields are not natural – acres of monoculture surrounded by bushes forced to lie flat and trimmed to a standardized height? They provide protection for the displaced and threatened nature that colonises them and wind turbines are part of what we must do to protect threatened nature from the effects of climate change and by so doing protect the species we rely on for our food, our natural building materials and the biofuel to cheer our winter grate.

Oakdale Wind Farm -750m away

Finally one of our group mentioned the fact that the wind turbines are a very similar height to Salisbury Cathedral although I think the person was trying to wind me up a bit at that point. This fact is a recurrent favourite of the anti-wind turbine protestors and was mentioned by just about every one of that opinion at the planning meeting I attended a few months ago regarding Silton. I fail to see the relevance of this information as a point against wind turbines unless there is some suggestion that by building something the same height as the cathedral we are committing sacrilege and risk the Wrath of God. Now I know that Dorset can be a bit behind the times but surely this is too medieval even for here. On the other hand what this fact says to me is that for nearly a thousand years we have been prepared to build structures in the Dorset landscape of this size if it is over a matter that is of sufficient importance. I truly believe that Climate Change and our need for sustainable clean energy are two of the most important issues we face as we enter the 21st Century and that although they will bring changes, wind turbines will not ruin the countryside, nature or people’s lives but they will give us a fighting chance of doing something about these important issues whilst there is still time.

If you have read this you might be interested in this item on the Good Energy Blog – someone`s firsthand experience of living next to a wind farm – http://www.goodenergy.co.uk/blog/living-next-to-a-wind-farm-a-personal-experience


3Comments | Post your own comment

  • Erik Blakeley comments:
    "Hi Sally again, Sorry for the confusion. Of course I got Slyers Lane mixed up with Tolpuddle. However I have just checked the map for Slyers Lane and as it is next to the A35 my comments about infrasound and noise from road traffic still apply. Although road noise may be annoying neither the vibrations from the road nor any that might come from the wind turbines (and they will be far less if you are equidistant from the road and the farm) are going to harm you but you are at risk from those who would frighten you with false claims of health risks. The placebo effect is very powerful whether used for good or bad. Being vulnerable to it isn’t a matter of low intelligence or anything negative about the person. In fact it perhaps suggests a good imagination but whether the cause is the imagination or not the effects can be very real which is why I get so angry about those who go around frightening people about wind turbines just because they know that saying that they just don’t like the look of them in their neighbourhood isn’t such a good argument. "
    May 13, 2014 a 9:33 am

  • Erik Blakeley comments:
    "Hi Sally. I hope you enjoy Delabole. Have you seen the piece from the gentleman living near Delabole? The link is at the bottom of my piece. If you live in Tolpuddle then I think it is worth pointing out that any noise or subsonic vibration from the wind farm at Slyers Lane will be dwarfed by those from the road between the farm and the village. Infrasound isn’t unique to wind turbines. It comes from traffic and household appliances. The degree to which people are annoyed by anything is heavily influenced by their mental attitude to the thing. I honestly do not believe there is a plausible scientific reason why vibrations from wind farms pose any significant medical threat to people except through negative suggestion and placebo caused by the scare stories put about by opponents of renewable energy. "
    May 12, 2014 a 5:18 pm

  • Sally Cooke comments:
    "Thanks Erik for sharing your experience. It’s good to know it was so positive. I am very interested to find out more about how people experience turbines, incl. whether there are individual differences between people, and also design factors that are crucial in avoiding problems with noise / subsonic vibration etc. Off to Delabole on Saturday to learn more for myself (I live near the proposed Slyers Lane turbines). "
    May 12, 2014 a 1:42 pm


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