Archive for ‘Wind Power’


Vince Adams says:
Time for us all to face the truth and do something about it

Category: Climate Change, Wind Power
Tags: ,

Keith Wheaton Green speaks with such personal understanding and eloquence regarding our continued Denial of the most obvious. Is it really just total selfishness by a few who hold back everyone of us and generations to come after us ??


Someone in denial obviously can’t see the truth even when the evidence is all around them. I believe I have only been in denial once in my lifetime to date – when a loved one was dying but I refused to believe it even though everyone around me understood the truth. Obviously, denial has no impact on the inevitable. And so it is with climate change. It can be difficult to accept the truth when it affects cosy lives or  world views. Change, or the perception that things will change can be uncomfortable.

I saw this discomfort last week when – yet again – I attended a planning determination for a wind farm in Dorset, this time on the outskirts of Dorchester. The proposed six large (giant?) turbines would produce the annual equivalent of Dorchester’s electrical consumption. That British paranoia with wind was on show yet again. Fifty three of us speakers (for and against) were each given a firm maximum of three minutes. Everything and everyone was polite and professional. The surprise for me was the fact there appeared to be more speakers in support than against the turbines. I haven’t seen this before. Again and again, speakers were passionate and eloquent. People of all ages – even several living in sight of the turbines – expressed a desire to see beautiful turbines. Comments included “turbine installation is reversible, climate change is not, our selfishness is leaving a poisonous legacy to our children, this is the last turbine application in Dorset and our last opportunity to do the right thing, landscape impact of the turbines is dwarfed by the new residential developments of Poundbury and Charlton Down.”

I think the floods of the last three years, the fact that the 15 hottest years on record were during the last 16 years and the uncharacteristically warm, daffodil blooming December 2015 has led to the penny having dropped. Dorchester seems to have a surprising wealth of well-informed people.

However, the planning establishment are wedded to the concept of “landscape harm” and their professional (?!) opinion was that this outweighed the benefit of renewable energy generation. The case officer spent most of his presentation time explaining that harm, with only a passing mention of the schemes benefits. I would say he was in denial of the benefits and the degree of public support. He was not alone. One speaker erroneously stated that there had been no global warming since 2000 and that wind turbine saved no carbon emissions because of the back-up generation required. There were many other statements made that were simply not true. Denial of reality to keep themselves in the cosy zone of their imagined reality.

Councillors had evidently already made up their minds and voted 6 to 3 to reject the application with little discussion. There is no prospect of an appeal to our wind turbine hating government.

Our government is also evidently in denial. Despite David Cameron speaking with apparent passion in support of the firm targets to reduce carbon emissions in Paris, and his statement that Britain was “already leading the way in work to cut emissions,”  the current trajectory to reduce UK emissions is dire. Thanks to previous DECC ministers, Eds Milliband and Davey, we did indeed show leadership up until election of our current government. The introduction of the feed in tariff in 2009 and the renewable heat incentive in 2011 led to impressive expansion in renewables. Wind now regularly supplies around 14% of electrical demand (and is not as intermittent as you might think) and photovoltaics show up as a significant reduction of midday demand. (If you don’t believe me, have a look at the excellent gridwatch.templar website where you will find up to the minute and historical easy to understand data.) However, our current government cannot claim responsibility.

Here is a list of what they have done to halt our progress;

  • Closed the Renewables Obligations 12 months early
  • Closed the ‘Contracts for Difference’ (CfDs) to onshore wind (which aimed to support new investment in all forms of low-carbon generation and to offer price stabilization.)
  • Removed Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) pre-accreditation and implemented a wholesale review of FiT with expectation that it could be scrapped entirely.
  • Changed  planning laws for Renewable Energy, making the rules significantly different from shale gas
  • Removed renewable electricity from the Climate Change Levy (CCL) exemption
  • Accepted that the whole of South West England has no grid access for renewable energy
  • Removed tax breaks for small community-led projects.

And no one can deny that.

1Comments | Post your own comment

  • Vince Adams comments:
    "David Saunders long term guru of renewable energy comments on Keith’s article “Nice article, lovely to see your passion, and worrying of course to know it’s against the stream of government thinking. I attended a public economics lecture at Bristol University last night, on ’the one thing that would change everything’. Beautifully and clearly arguing that if polluters pay the real costs of pollution, rather than externalise them, it would put everything right – meaning climate change. He dismissed 4 or 5 other approaches including a magic techno fix, and said he’d expect to get questions on the alternatives, which gave me the chance to ask one… And I was fresh from Regen SW’s much-smaller-than-last-year-because-of-the-cuts Smart Energy day in Exeter. I’d been practicing my future-of-energy-in-two-diagrams on various of the attendees and exhibitors, while picking up ideas for the shared renewable energy systems that we want to be planning for our bale-build-community-led-hopefully-very-affordable-cohousing projects. So I framed the question by saying that I’m actually rather skeptical (based on long experience, plus observation of the Thatcher and Cameron governments) about us being able to persuade the government to legislate to tell us to do the right thing, even post-Paris, and especially in light of recent moves – like the elimination of the petroleum production tax in the budget which is hardly aimed at reducing emissions. So can I ask a question about a technology solution? Given permission, I pointed out my thesis that solar was following a Moore’s law curve (and at Exeter yesterday, people were agreeing, and no longer putting up the ‘but the energy companies will fight it all the way’ argument, if only because they already have been fighting it all the way, and what we’ve achieved is in spite of that opposition). And it is significant – solar has grown by a factor of ten three times in the last 21 years, in roughly eight, then seven, and then six years respectively. Halving its cost each time, to the point where – in 2014 – it supplied one percent of world electricity, and is lowering grid prices for energy, with or without subsidies. Given this, I said that doing all you can to reduce pollution, or charge people for making it, is a fine ambition. But what if you replace pollution with something that ACTUALLY COSTS LESS and does not pollute? And what if that replacement, whether it’s a techno fix or not, and whatever timescales they may have been talking about in Paris around 2030, 2040 or 2050, is on target to produce ten percent of our electrical energy in 6 years or less, and then
    one hundred percent in a few years more? Because it will have shut down a whole bunch of the polluting energy sources, and replaced our current electricity supply with something far cheaper? Wouldn’t that be alright? He said “I have just two words for you – ‘I agree.’ “. And then slipped into a kind of precautionary ‘do both’ reply, with which I have no problem whatsoever – though as you are pointing out Keith, the likelihood of our present government legislating to promote the right things seems both microscopic, and receding. He was helpful enough to mention the issue of storage being something we’d have to work on for solar, giving me the opportunity come back and say something about that. Fortunately I had already discussed the issue of storage in the gas grid earlier in the day with a Wales and West Energy guy. Rather than shutting down the gas grid to stop methane emissions – which they recognise has to happen some time – they are already thinking about switching it to hydrogen instead of methane, made from hydrolysis using excess summer solar energy. In Germany, the gas grid has three months worth of national energy demand in storage capacity – so it is already a massive, low cost storage solution. I summarised and shared this information at the lecture, and got another ‘I agree’ from the lecturer, and was shortly afterwards surrounded by students as the questioning ended and the lecture started to disperse, and had a fun chat with some of them. It was very sweet, actually, to find that an old geezer who had been a bit of a nerd for most of his life, could find lots of common ground with today’s young people. And my point is?… Whatever our governments are doing or saying, it is a truism that politicians are at best generalists, and not in touch with real trends and or solutions in areas in which they are supposed to be expert. (And only a truism, not the fiull truth – there are smart politicians, and politicians who aren’t in the pockets of vested interests). But it does make it uphill work talking with politicians. If it’s around getting permission for wind farms, that becomes a problem. But if it’s around putting solar on most roofs that can take it, there’s no need to have that conversation, and eventually they come round to your point of view, because it’s so obviously working, and there’s no way for them to stop you. Except, of course, that by virtually removing feed in tariffs, they have done their utmost to stop solar dead in its tracks, and stop the next tenfold increase in the UK. Which would, incidentally, take us from 8Gw, to 80Gw, which is quite a lot more than our peak daytime electricity demand, and takes us well into the territory where nuclear is long dead (whatever the cleanup cost) and storage has become the issue, and by which time, switching the gas grid from methane to hydrogen will have become a well-discussed and understood topic, and we’ll be working towards it – hopefully. It’s the least cost solution so it should be a no brainer for people owning gas grids to switch to hydrogen. Renewables have already demonstrably caused a lowering of grid wholesale prices, and only solar has the ability to halve its cost again, and then one more time again. Meaning a wholesale price for energy around 1p to 2p per unit? That would be cool, wouldn’t it? Whether we manage to get this to reduce prices for energy end users is up to us – communities have to own the solar generation, and distribution as well, for this to happen There’s no reason why not – or, rather, there’s every reason why not, as it will go against vested interests, and the need for corporations to continually increase profits in a growth economy. SO. In just two diagrams and far less time than it took me to write this, and even less time than it took you to read this (if you’ve been kind enough to do so) we have a complete solution to our energy problems. Abundant, cheap, secure, 100% renewable year-round energy. There’s plenty that could be said to flesh it out, and fill in the evidence base to support the logic, as well as fill in the steps that get us from here to there. But the bottom line is it’s pretty simple, and almost absolutely unstoppable – as with Moore’s law in electronics, it did not need government legislation to get super powerful smartphones in everyone hands, and reduce the cost of storage from £600 for 40 megabytes (my first hard disk drive in or around 1992) to £199 for 8 terabytes (my latest, which would have cost £120,000,000 at 1992 prices). Similarly, government can’t stop the growth of the solar economy, because economics itself drives the change – but government could help the development of the solar hydrogen economy. Once Hinckley C is dead (or, rather, once it is recognised as dead) there’s no reason for government not to go for this. Discuss? Tough about the wind, and cost of nuclear cleanup, but no worries about the long term renewable future. And the ‘long term’ is a lot sooner than governments imagine – see above…” "

    March 18, 2016 a 4:40 pm


Vince Adams says:
Time to get off the fence

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

The future of our Planet and what our kids will inherit is now of crucial importance. Renewable Energy is clearly the key energy solution going forward and Wind specifically on-shore wind energy is the most productive source.

It harms almost no-one, it even has aesthetic beauty and it delivers energy directly to the people who need it.

So its time to ask your MP’s, Local Councillors etc why they don’t give it their 100% backing and to help you support this campaign the Pro Wind Group have produced the following letter.

Its extremely well crafted and if you agree with its points I urge you to print it and send it as soon as possible to your local representatives.

Its time that the majority had their say !!

Thankyou for subscribing to


Open Letter to WDDC Councillors about Renewable Energy in Dorset

17th May 2015


Congratulations on your recent election to West Dorset District Council.

You and the other newly constituted local councils around the country are now in the hugely responsible position of facing a wide range of decisions that can make or break national aspirations for climate change mitigation.
The United Nations Development Programme estimates that over 70% of climate reduction measures are undertaken by local government.

Climate change is the issue of our times. Indecisiveness now will result in huge costs later.
The UK Committee on Climate Change states in its progress report for 2014 that ‘urgent and intensive action before 2020’ would save £100 billion, reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels from politically unstable countries and have a positive impact on energy prices.

Economic Benefits of Renewable Energy to Dorset 

There is considerable merit in embracing the move to renewable energy purely on economic grounds.
According to Regen SW there are already 10,000 jobs in the renewable sector in the SW and this is expected to rise to 34,000 by 2020.

Currently about £30 million enters the local economy in the form of feed-in tariffs earned by households and there is potential for more.
There are increasing opportunities for people to invest in solar panels on their local school or village hall through organisations such as Dorset Community Energy, a not-for-profit community benefit society.
Standard practice for wind farms is to offer an annual community benefit of £5,000 per MW and solar farms £1000 per MW for the lifetime of the project. Existing solar farms across 11 Dorset parishes have already agreed a community benefit spend of £2 million.

Opponents tend to exaggerate the level of subsidy. Government figures calculate the total subsidy for UK renewable energy to be £38 per household per annum. The costs of the established technologies of solar and wind are dropping even faster than expected and it is highly likely that by 2020 they will be cheaper than other forms of energy and will need no subsidy.

The move to renewables in the UK will come. The only question is whether Dorset politicians will assist Dorset in benefiting fully from its huge natural resources of sun and wind.

Making Progress towards Renewable Energy in Dorset

There are already some great success stories in Dorset:

  • The Piddle Valley community of 2500 homes is supplied with 100% renewable energy from solar and biogas
  • The largest solar farm in the UK is the 60MW farm near Bournemouth airport that is so well screened that most people are unaware of its existence.
  • Corbin Industries in Bridport employs 70 people to make frames for solar panels.

However there is still a mountain to climb during your tenure as councillor.

Much of the low-hanging fruit has been picked and the challenge is becoming clearer.

The Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole Renewable Energy (BDPRE) Strategy sets a 7.5% target for renewable energy generation for 2020. The strategy has been produced by the Dorset Energy Partnership that includes Dorset County Council, all the district and borough councils and a wide range of community groups. The latest figures (March 2015) indicate that 3.4% of total energy consumption can be covered by projects that have been built or are in construction.

So we still need to double the capacity in the next 5 years. This really is a minimum since further national targets beyond 2020 are increasingly ambitious.

The Dorset Energy Partnership, which includes WDDC, has clearly rejected widely circulated claims by some groups that targets have almost been reached.


Protecting Landscape, Wildlife and Heritage Assets

Last month no lesser person than the director general of the National Trust, Dame Helen Ghosh, made an unequivocal statement that climate change poses ‘the biggest threat’ to the land and houses in the care of the National Trust. She cited loss of biodiversity and wildlife on the land and the already substantially increased flood, stormwater, subsidence and gale damage to properties. She promised that the trust would lead by example in moving to renewable energy generation.

The Government’s ‘UK 2012 Climate Change Risk Assessment’ examines threats to the built environment and concludes that the risks posed by sea level rise and higher average temperatures will have a substantial impact by mid-century and that extreme weather events resulting from climate change are already causing substantial damage.

It is important to protect our landscape, wildlife and heritage assets for the current generation, but the only way to secure their long-term future is to tackle climate change.

Local Government Decisions

You are the tier of government best placed to show leadership and to bring businesses and communities along with you. You are in a position to turn good ideas into tangible results – cooperatives for local energy production are a good example.

You will face planning decisions that must be guided by key statements in the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) – ‘all communities should play their part in contributing to renewable energy generation’ and ‘local government should design policies to maximise renewable energy’.
The BDPRE Strategy is clear that to achieve the 2020 target the full range of renewable technologies will need to be exploited in the form of both small and large scale projects. In particular there will have to be some larger scale, appropriately sited, solar and wind farms in the mix.
Developers are aware that the number of suitable sites in Dorset is very limited, in particular because of the extent of the designated AONBs (Areas of outstanding Natural Beauty) and other environmental designations. Most developers consider site selection carefully before committing large sums of money to a project.

Councillors need to be clear that if they reject the projects coming into planning in the immediate future they are prepared to accept that Dorset will not reach its target. Dorset people will be refused the opportunity to play their fair part in the national endeavour to decarbonise electricity.

The next 5 years offer an exciting opportunity for councillors to make a real difference to our social, environmental and economic future by ensuring that initiatives and planning decisions are firmly focused on the achievement by 2020 of the targets we have set ourselves in Dorset for all the reasons we have outlined above.

The following groups are signatories to this letter:

Transition Town Dorchester

Dorset Community Action

Dorchester Churches Together (Ecology Group)

West Dorset Friends of the Earth

Dorset Energised

Charminster Clean Energy Group

Dorchester Quaker Meeting

West Dorset Pro Wind

Bridport Renewable Energy Group

Weymouth Environmental Action Centre

Transition Town Bridport


Vince Adams says:
New Spanish Blameless Wind Turbines

Category: Uncategorized, Wind Power, Wind Power
Tags: ,

New Spanish Blameless Wind Turbines

Big news from Spain, the launch of bladeless wind turbine’s indeed.

50% less cost, even better rates of energy generation they also have less impact on the landscape, people and wildlife.
Wow with all those plus’s can we assume that all the Anti’s will now give up on their opposition and get fully behind the Countries move towards fossil free energy generation.

The wind has been our friend since the beginning of time with transport, food production and even drying our clothes before tumble dryers were even invented. So lets embrace its force and use it for the common good.

If you would like to comment on this or any other subject please go to our blog comment page or the comment section below this article.

For more information go to :

1Comments | Post your own comment


Guest Energizer says:
Wind Turbines in the landscape in Portugal

Category: Wind Power
Tags: , , ,

Wind Turbines in the landscape in Portugal

I stood on a hill in the Eastern Algarve looking at the beautiful landscape towards Spain.

It was too early for Spring Flowers but nevertheless the views were breathtaking.

I could see a multitude of Wind Turbines glowing in the winter sunshine and all turning in the distance – were they in Spain or Portugal ?

Wind turbines in Portugal?

Wind turbines in Portugal?

It didn’t matter- they were a part of the total experience. I knew at once that they must have been creating pure, clean energy and it felt good.

Wind Turbines in Spain?

Wind Turbines in Spain?

No intrusion of the view just enhancing !!

This is a guest post by Lin Adams – while holidaying in Portugal

2Comments | Post your own comment

  • Gurdal Ertek comments:
    "Wind turbines are becoming more and more efficient thanks to scientific and technological advances. We had conducted one of the first benchmarking studies on efficiency of wind turbines in the global market: Also, we recently published another research study, this time on wind turbine accidents news: Best Regards, Dr. Gurdal Ertek "
    January 15, 2019 a 12:16 pm

  • Kathryn Flint comments:
    "I agree, wind turbines are aesthetically pleasing and they don’t take up much room compared to a solar farm producing the same amount of energy. I was on Hambledon Hill very recently and the solar farm really is an eye-saw which detracts from the typical English beauty of its surroundings. "
    May 15, 2015 a 9:57 am

  • vince adams comments:
    "Dorset artist says yes to Wind Turbines they even enhance the landscape and are so important for our future on this planet "
    January 27, 2015 a 10:01 am


Anna Celeste Watson says:
West Dorset Pro Wind Group gaining massive support

Category: Dorset Energized News, Wind Power

Last Saturday Stu and I were out in Dorchester and spotted a big sign in town saying ‘Yes to Wind’! We were so excited about seeing something so positive about local renewable energy we went over to chat to the people on the stall and were even more pleased to see they had lots of people gathered around, and a huge stack of signatures of people writing their comments with their support of the Slyer’s Lane wind farm proposal near Charminster here in Dorset to the West Dorset District Council Planning Department, including lots of families with small children who obviously care about the future of our area and want clean, safe and secure renewable energy.




I personally commented that in Dorset (as in all areas) we need to play our part in supporting a mix of renewable energy sources, and that I find wind turbines rather cool, beautiful and inspiring – although of course that is not the point! (Just as its not the point if people think they are visually obtrusive – nothing is as visually offensive as a gas station or electricity pylons for which no one ever protested over!).

In stark contrast, the anti-wind group down the road seemed to have little support, at least from what I saw and heard. In the interests of being fair, personally I would like to say that I do respect their views too and they also have a right to air those views, but it did visually illustrate to me that the anti-wind fraction really are a very small minority of people (usually in the more affluent villages where they have lots of money to mount their campaigns) who campaign to make their voice heard the loudest, whereas the large majority of people are for wind power, but usually just don’t feel strong enough to do anything about it. Its generally often groups that are against something that campaign (whatever the issue!). Even more reason why I can’t praise the West Dorset Pro Wind Group enough – they are getting out there to the people and making them actively take simple positive action!

Say ‘Yes to Wind’!

As well as getting lots of front page press for their campaign which Lets Get Energized have previously reported, the West Dorset Pro Wind Group were giving away posters and info too – so if you haven’t already got your ‘YES TO WIND’ poster you can do so by clicking the image below to download and print:


Support the Slyer’s Lane Wind Farm near Charminster Dorset

Here is more information from the back of the poster which shows just why we would should be supporting the Slyer’s Land Wind Farm Proposal:

Why is it important to support this proposal?

In the context of global warming and need to develop clean energy sources now, this is an opportunity for our community to benefit from a £24m investment in wind power capable of providing sufficient electricity for most of the homes in the Dorchester area. This local energy will be clean, safe and secure. Research confirms that a majority of the general popula!on support wind farms, but that those who oppose them tend to be more vociferous in making their views known. Planning officers need to have a full and objective picture in making their recommendation, so it is important that those who support the proposal for a wind farm write individually to record your opinions and reasons.

What are some positive reasons?

  • Wind turbines generate power 70-80% of the time.
  • One wind turbine supplies the same power as 20 acres of solar panels (10 football pitches).
  • Modern wind turbines do not create any significant noise problems.
  • RSPB supports wind farms; there are many other more serious hazards for birds.
  • UK is the windiest country in Europe.
  • Slyers Lane site has potential to allow school children to see the technology close up and so help inform this genera!on on their difficult future decisions re energy sources and costs.
  • A Community Fund @ £60k per year (index linked = £1.5m over 25 years) to support local community projects.

How valid are some of counter arguments?

  • Local house prices will fall – independent research on the development and operation of 3 UK wind farms of comparable size showed that local house prices followed market trends.
  • Wind farms discourage tourism – recent survey research for Cornwall County Council found this is NOT the case. Visitors primarily influenced by economic factors and holiday patterns.

Will the key issue be visual amenity?

Some welcome wind turbines as icons of good modern design; others as industrial monstrosities. Visual amenity is a very subjective opinion. Our countryside is always changing to reflect the times. It has seen windmills, water mills, the buildings and spoils of lead, tin and coal mines, quarrying, china clay workings, and rail and road developments but the countryside is resilient and adaptable.

Modern wind turbines have a design life of around 25 years after which they can be dismantled, so that a site can be returned to its natural state.

Why is it so important to record your support during the public consultation?

Research confirms that a majority of the general population support wind farms, but that those who oppose them tend to be more vociferous in making their views known.

Planning officers need to have a full and objective picture in making their recommendation, so it is important that those who support the proposal for a wind farm write individually to record your opinions and reasons.

Find out more about supporting the Slyer’s Lane Wind Farm Proposal and the West Dorset Pro Wind Group at:

Closing date for comments is 20th December

I literally just spotted the West Dorset Pro Wind Group out in Dorchester again this morning and they told me they have over 850 comments now so are hoping to get 1000 before the deadline this weekend.

You can also write a letter of support which MUST include your name, address and application number: WD/D/14/002611 and email to OR comment online at It doesn’t take long, after first registering with the Dorset For You website, it’s a breeze and literally takes a few minutes.

Find out more at:


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 . 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!

2Comments | Post your own comment

  • Erik Blakeley comments:
    "The Daily Echo recently ran a piece 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


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  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 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


Guest Energizer says:
Samsoe – An Energy Island

Category: Biomass Energy, Combined Heat & Power, Energy Efficiency, Green Electricity, Solar Energy, Sustainable Energy Stories, Sustainable Living, Wind Power
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Samsoe – An Energy Island

INTRO: Here is an article by Arthur Blue, a new contributor to our Blog, about an island in Denmark. Arthur is based in Argyll, but the article is highly relevant to Dorset which is also of course rural, with remote areas, and the potential to produce much of its own energy.

So to the article:

An Energy Island

I was in Denmark recently, enjoying herring on rye bread, blethering with old friends, and brushing up my rusty Danish.

Economists of the Anglo-American persuasion are convinced that the Danish economy is far too heavily loaded with taxes and welfare systems to take off and fly, but fly it does and the evidence is in front of your eyes in Copenhagen, where the amount of new investment, both public and private, is impressive, as are the famous open sandwiches.

Yes … a decent one costs about Dkr 100 ( £12.50 ) , but it’s enough for a good meal on its own. But to avoid both cultural and culinary overload we decided to have a long weekend on the island of Samsoe, famous for its early potatoes … in late May these were selling for very high prices in the capital … and for being self-sufficient in electrical power and domestic heating. It’s an island slightly larger than Bute, with around 4,00 permanent inhabitants, with large numbers of visitors during the season, mostly staying in summer houses well hidden amongst the trees.

The background to this is that in the latter half of the last century Samsoe, together with other small islands and remoter areas, was falling behind in development, what with high transport costs, falling population, difficulties for small concerns trying to compete in the larger market, and loss of young people, once they had qualified, to the mainland. It’s all very familiar. Denmark has the usual assistance programmes, but the trends continued. However in 1997 the Ministry of Energy announced a competition …. which local area or island could present the most realistic plan for a transition to 100% self-sufficiency in renewable energy. Small easily-defined communities were chosen since the social effects could thus be more readily monitored. Four islands and a peninsula entered the competition, and Samsoe won, with the objective being to highlight renewable energy and study how high a percentage could be achieved using available technology and ( almost ) without extraordinary grants.

Bearing in mind that most of Samsoe’s electricity comes from wind, the first thing to strike me was that the views are not dominated by turbines, for though you can usually see one or two in the distance if you look really hard, you do have to look for them. There is a large offshore array which exports power to the mainland and which offsets the island’s CO2 emissions from vehicle fuel, this isn’t particularly visible from inland, though the ferry passes close by, and in any case no-one complains about it since it also provides an income for the local energy company. As with other things who owns them affects the way you see them.

Local electrical demand is mostly covered by 11 1-MW ( medium-sized ) turbines across 3 clusters, plus a number of small privately-owned units, and there is an interconnector with Jutland through which power can go both ways, if required.

Demand management … smoothing the peaks …. has been the subject of much thought and consultation, and it’s considered that there is still a great deal to be won in that direction, both on Samsoe and elsewhere. Domestic heating on the island, like many places in Denmark, is based on district heating plants, since its only with industrial-type technology that you can achieve satisfactory combustion when burning waste or biomass. Planners can require the use of district heating for new buildings in urban areas, but in the case of older existing buildings the owners have to be persuaded to convert and there are various grants for this, including special arrangements for pensioners. District heating is not suitable for isolated houses either, and on Samsoe these have their own heating. Around 50% of the isolated year-round houses on the island have now converted to some form of RE, using straw or biomass and solar water panels. On the summer-house front RE is low, though a number have installed air-to-air heat pumps A programme of thorough insulation was of course carried out as an essential first step in all this, for which there was a very good take-up. One old lady in Nordby could only afford to replace her windows one at a time, but she managed it, over about ten years.

There are 5 village-based district heating systems on the island, mostly fuelled by biomass ( waste straw and wood chips ). One of the plants has a substantial input from solar water panels, and since the heat is transmitted by water surplus electrical power can easily go into the systems if necessary. Another plant also takes waste heat from a jam factory, and a proposal to use waste heat from the ferry, which could have supplied about 30% of demand at the port, fell through not because it was technically difficult … it wasn’t … but because the ferry service being tendered out there is no guarantee that a future operator would be interested in co-operating. To get everything going it was decided by NRGi ( the island energy company ) that a very low registration fee of Dkr 80 ( £10 ) would be charged for those who signed up before the plants were built. This model is an exception to normal practice since in Denmark those who wish to join an existing district heating scheme can find themselves paying around Dkr 36.000 ( £ 4,000 ). A consequence of the cheap registration is of course slightly higher heating prices, since the payments also have to cover repayment of the initial investment, however if you’re starting from scratch a high take-up significantly reduces distribution costs. In addition some of the larger farmers make their own tractor fuel from rape, the oilseed cake being a useful cattle feed, and the straw going into their heating plant, these, like most Samsinger, are highly practical people, who wear overalls rather than rainbow-coloured jumpers, and who think that it makes economic as well as environmental sense to go renewable. However plans to go further and use more local oil cake to replace imported fodder, and sell the oil, have faltered on account of the government’s fuel taxation policy And an Energy Academy has been set up on the island, using the expertise acquired with the local project. The Academy is the headquarters of Samsoe’s energy and development organisations, with 11 full-time jobs in energy education and world-wide consultancy, one of their current projects being on Mull.

The above is where Samsoe has got to after about fifteen years, but it wasn’t all easy. Mikael Larsen, who heads the Energy Academy, says that the technology is the easy bit, and the bigger the easier, since all you have to do is sell a feasible scheme to one or other of the big players who then bring everything in ( and take most of the profits out again, though a small local share can still be very useful ) And big schemes are usually very high-tech, and well beyond local capabilities. Thus with the Samsoe offshore array. The local projects, on the other hand, are much more low-tech, can use local firms for more of the work, and have a much better social pay-off. The hardest part of the project is not the design and building, or the financing, but persuading people that it is indeed feasible, and obtaining workable consensus on it. There are always those who for various reasons don’t wish to be involved, or are too old or too crabbed to be bothered. Many of the holiday visitors, though they contribute very usefully to the island economy, aren’t particularly interested in going over to electric cars, and the summer houses, being spread out, don’t lend themselves to district heating. So the political side … though not party-political … was by far the biggest challenge. It always is. An ocean of coffee and a mountain of cake was needed to get the plan rolling, and doubtless a fair quantity of the golden brew which comes in green bottles.

So did anything go wrong during all this ? Yes indeed. The ferry heat project fell through, as did another which proposed to use waste heat from the island slaughterhouse, when the latter closed a few years into the project. A methane project is still on the back burner.

And the three electric cars which were given to the district nurses were an absolute disaster owing to unexpected call-outs, unpredictable driving patterns, and the nurses forgetting to recharge the things after a busy day. But the electric car used by the Energy Academy apparently can get to Copenhagen, over 100 miles away, quite easily given a quick top-up at some intermediate coffee stop. In several years use that vehicle has had only one failure … a broken wire. But you learn from the failures, sometimes more than from the successes. So the project rolls on, with one aim being to fuel the ferry with locally-produced biogas ( a ferry has room for quite a big tank ), and possibly the production of hydrogen for vehicular use, as vehicle fuel is now the largest energy import to the island. Local electric car use could also be greatly expanded. It’s all well worth a closer look. You can have a very good cycling holiday on Samsoe, too, while you’re looking.

( Further information is available on the web, in English, at also, since Samsoe is by no means the only island to have gone down the renewable road, at which is one of the EU’s development arms. )


Erik Blakeley says:
Visit to Oakdale Wind Farm

Category: Wind Power
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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 –

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


Lets Get Energized says:
Ace Energy help Salway Ash Primary School in Bridport go green

Category: Community Energy, Heat Pumps, Solar Energy, Wind Power
Tags: ,

Salway Ash wind turbine1

Salway Ash School1

Salway As ASHPs1

Passionate in its the efforts to green up community buildings across the south west, North Dorset based Ace Energy helped win over £70,000 in grant funding to install renewable energy at Salway Ash Primary School near Bridport in Dorset. The company went on to install solar PV, two air source heat pumps and a wind turbine all of which provide renewable heat and power to the new Eco Assembly Hall at the school. Salway Ash now have 32 kW of green energy being supplied to their primary school which is saving hugely on fuel bills and helping protect the environment now and for many years to come.

School Governor Melanie Kennedy commented:
“Ace Energy has helped us put together an innovative renewable energy scheme as part of the building project to create a spacious new environmentally conscious extension to our small village school. The company has provided us with advice, technical information, specifications and quotes for the systems together with clear instructions regarding all the grant funding available for these systems and invaluable guidance through this complicated process. If you are looking for clear and easily understandable advice, full detailed technical information, a prompt response and strong support together with comprehensive help on the grants system, I have no hesitation in recommending the service Ace Energy provides to anyone considering Renewable energy technologies.”

Community schemes like Salway Ash continue to attract large amounts of funding and will save enormously in energy bills – and of course help create a cleaner greener environment.

Contact Ace Energy if you would like to consider renewable energy for your community scheme or commercial building.

Excellent examples where funds can be gained include care homes, educational buildings, farms, charities – even businesses can apply for full funding on such schemes – so why not get in touch to see what can be done to benefit your project – you’ve nothing to lose but so very much to gain from renewable energy!


Vince Adams says:
Our friend the Wind

Category: Climate Change, Wind Power



Natural threshing of corn,
Drying clothes,
Travel in sailing boats,
Windmills to grind our corn.

Unlike the Sun, it goes almost un-heralded
and by many derided as something cold, mean and menacing.

So now is the time to face up and give our thanks and to support the new technology that turns wind into energy and count our blessings.

Like so many things, because it is free we don’t really value it…

These photos are from my travels to Sweden where mills are at the heart of the community even in small hamlets – old mills used for food and new windmills (wind turbines) used for energy – showing that wind power can span the centuries to gather natural carbon-less wind.

So let’s embrace wind turbines in some way and harness the power of the wind for everyone.

Find out more about wind power here:

1Comments | Post your own comment

  • Chris Wharton comments:
    "I am chair of a community project set up to create community-owned clean energy for the benefit of the community. We are convinced that wind power is a vital bridge, enabling us to act now to reduce carbon emissions with suitable urgency, but when new tidal power comes online in about 20 years, the wind turbines can be recycled and the land returned to nature. So we have applied for a small community-owned turbine. Please support it at Cornwall Council’s planning portal: – Please reference ‘PA13/06802 – Endurance turbine community owned’. For more information go to: THANKS! "
    October 16, 2013 a 1:12 pm


Paul McIntosh says:
Windy Weekend (A Report on the Tolpuddle WindFarm Meeting)

Category: Dorset Energized News, Wind Power

Last weekend was spent gaining a direct insight into the rather polarizing and fractious debate around Wind Turbines in Swanage and Tolpuddle [at the WindFarm Meeting on Saturday 12th January 2013 at the Tolpuddle Village Hall].

It started with a question and answer session at a well attended meeting headed by the ever articulate and lucid Oliver Letwin in Tolpuddle Village Hall on Saturday; followed by a rather bracing Sunday morning on Swanage sea front. Although both events had their energies originating from the ‘anti’ side of the spectrum, both had their supporters, with Swanage in particular seeing a well organised ‘pro’ counter demonstration, challenging the challengers by their own event title.

The Tolpuddle event, organised in part by Tolpuddle Against INdustrial Turbines (TAINT) was not as hostile as one might have assumed, thanks in part to Oliver Letwins ability to hold the views of the agitated protesters in his well organised tones. Perhaps it was also due to the rather early start (9.30am) although the hall was completely packed. He did come down on the side of opposition to the application, on the principle of scale, which some might think to be a rather clever ploy as he did highlight his general support for Wind Power as part of a future energy mix, including Nuclear of which he is a supporter. My interpretation was that he left room for the proposals to be scaled down to be more acceptable to the Dorset Landscape, a view which I am a little sympathetic view since seeing a presentation by land rights campaigner Alistair McIntosh (no relation) who asked some difficult questions of the environment movement as to the impact of very large turbines on the Scottish landscape.

The meeting benefited, although the majority of attendees might disagree, with the presence of Ampair chief executive David Sharman. Ampair, based in Milborne St Andrew of all places, is the UKs oldest Wind Turbine manufacturer. David also has a local connection and no ‘declaration of interest’ apart from a rather tenuous one suggested by a member of the audience that he would benefit from the overall market benefit to his product. An interesting exchange was had between Mr Sharman and Letwin, in particular Letwin being asked to declare his overall support for Wind as part of the mix, as detailed in the recent 2020 Conservative report which is suggesting future policy approaches to a Conservative Government post 2015. Also more importantly he pulled out Letwins personal view that their should be a form of national guidance as to what are the most suitable, or rather what are the most unsuitable, sites for Wind Turbines in the UK. He stated at the moment this was his personal view, but in a few months time this might become a Cabinet view. This raises a potentially interesting dichotomy which Mr Sharman pressed him about, a central planning type approach would go against the the broad thrust of a market driven planning system and the policy of localism, mainstays of current Coalition policy. Letwin seemed convinced that the current planning system rules, at any rate, would be able to reject the application on valid grounds. I suspect he has had discussions with the local authority, as he delivered this statement with some weight.

Letwin also reiterated his faith that the increasing flexibility of the Grid to respond to intermittent sources of energy such as Wind (typically called the Smart Grid) including using electric cars as ‘storage batteries’ would mitigate concerns over efficiencies of renewables. Although some might disagree with his politics Letwin does read around enough to formulate his own views and reasoned arguments. I asked a question concerning community ownership and perhaps the community could take up the responsibility for generating as much energy as they can locally, which Letwin deftly took up using the example of community owned shops. Their was no mutterings that I could hear against this type of proposal, but neither was their rampant enthusiasm. I was left thinking that if only this kind of enthusiasm, energy and action could be harnessed to work on solutions, rather than simply a blanket ‘No’, then we might have a better future.

The demonstration in Swanage was a more heartening affair for me, with the reassuring prescence of well prepared counter-protesters from the local Greenpeace and Transition Town groups and other enthusiastic activists. I think it as fair to say that the originators of the ‘anti’ protest were somewhat bemused to have such a vocal repost, myself and a friend had several interesting and reasoned conversations with our opposite numbers and there was some press coverage although with the authority of being the originators of the event, the ‘anti’ group tended to get the top paragraph quotes and headline, although the Guardian of course was a bit more sympathetic.

The overall musing from both events was again somewhat astonishment at the sheer voracity of some of the opposition, and how it links to, imperceptibly at times, frustrations over power and ownership of land (Crown Estate and private landowners), subsidisation arguments (despite greater subsidies elsewhere in the energy market) and despite the obvious effects of the industrialised agricultural system over the last 100 years, aesthetic concerns over the landscape. You cannot help thinking that their is a psychological component buried deep underneath all this. Which indeed puzzles me still further, as those who have gained the most in the relatively cheap fossil fuel energy, post war economy, tend to be of the generation who make up the bulk of the ‘anti’ protesters…. surely a few dots on the horizon is a small price to pay so that those since born have the same?

Links for further reading:


BBC News article:


Guardian Article:

6Comments | Post your own comment

  • vince adams comments:
    "I have just read some of the comments on the website and I am sorry that we just don’t appear to be making any headway with education about wind turbines.
    Please Mary worry not your relatives with autistic children will not hear the turbines from nearly a kilometre away, indeed the children may even love the sight of the new Windmills. Not so long ago almost every major Town in England had windmills really close to their centres, why… because that was were they milled the corn. It was food from wind and now its energy from wind.
    Dear Mr Carmichael none of your points are valid. The CO2 emmisions are zero and the payback of carbon in production takes an average of 18/24 months. Compare that with Power Stations and oh by the way how many years and where will Nuclear Fuel go.
    The old chestnut about not creating on-going good energy is nonsense… why do you think the World is investing in them when you say its so inefficient, maybe you have to ask yourself some questions before making statements to rubbish this wonderful new clean free energy!!!
    Yours in the hope we can slowly but surely change your thinking by giving proper, true responses to your comments.
    Finally Bill I have some sympathy with your comments. Good people and true have been fed fairy tales that they believe to be true, now is the time to help to breakdown these ridiculous barriers and realise that we are all in the same boat. "

    February 8, 2013 a 6:44 pm

  • Anna Celeste Watson comments:
    "We must take everyone’s views into consideration but I do get a bit disappointed to hear the same old arguments over and over on every post about windpower, as they do sometimes seem perhaps a little narrow minded and selfish. I do agree with B M Carmichael though that windpower is just one option and there are no goodies or baddies here, but I would love to see the same people who hate wind turbines show their passion in a more positive way (or at least readdress the balance of their protest) to engage with and promote all the other more accessible forms of renewable energy that are less emotive, and of course took more steps to save energy in the first place : ) "
    February 7, 2013 a 12:54 pm

  • B M Carmichael comments:
    "the tragedy is this, it is easy to decide that people who are anti windfarms are anti renewable energy, may be it gives comfort to those who accept wind power blindly as the solution, you will find if you really bothered to, that in fact most people who are anti windfarms are pro renewable energy, they are just against windfarms and other inefficient and damaging renewables. windfarms currently globally cause CO2 to be produced, because they make the power station cycle in power, because wind energy is so intermittent and unreliable. There are many reasons why people do not favour windfarms, there is so much information out there to find out why, but dont be lazy, and self satisfied, dont just think that people who are anti windfarms are out of the ark, they may well be better informed than you, and that is why they have chosen to feel as they do about windfarms. Sorry if this offends. Just think, and question why? It is not as simple as you would like it to be, have a real challenge try and find out why! "
    February 7, 2013 a 12:46 pm

  • mary comments:
    "your small dots on the horizon are less than 900 metres from my relatives home, they have children who are severely autistic who are hyper sensitve to sound, one of whom also suffers from epilepsy. Do you wonder why they might be amongst those desperately unhappy at the thought of having the wind farm so near to them. A child who is severely autistic and has severely challenging behaviour as well has enough to cope with, the World is a baffling place for them, and sometimes a very cruel one. "
    February 7, 2013 a 12:22 pm

  • Bill comments:
    "Ampair chap did not indear himself when he said that the anti windies were all incomers, that rather disgraced anything he further said! Not a clever move! Perhaps it would make more sense in the first place if windfarms were put in places that were the least sensitive and less likely to cause protest, build them away from peoples homes, away from coastal areas that depend on tourism to make their bread and butter, remember Dorsets average wage is less than the national average to start off with we can’t afford to shoot ourselves in the foot can we! To have a strategic Government plan that works out the best places where to put the windfarms in the first place would probably have saved alot of grief and upset. I think you are not on the right track about the psyche regarding the antis though, I know of people who have probably been greenpeace members than some of us have been alive, who have probably been pro renewables likewise, and they are immensely worried by the windfarms impacting on humans, because it lessens the popularity of wind farms in the first place, making people anti. It would be sensible to try and make people happy in the first place would nt it! "
    February 7, 2013 a 12:11 pm

  • Vince Adams comments:
    "Paul what a great report. What really strikes me is that if the protestors could only take your attitude and talk things out, come to a consensus, the World be be such a better place.
    Thanks for your blog, I am looking forward to the next round and will try to be there. My last walk was as a student marching from Aldermaston to London – people can still make a difference. "

    January 23, 2013 a 2:20 pm

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