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 .

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 (“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.