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November 2011 deadline - 12 noon Mon Oct 10th Wind Farm Debate Continues Dear Gazette,
Re: Andrew Langley’s report on the proposed windfarm off Swanage as printed in the August issue of the Purbeck Gazette.
I would agree with him that the visual effects of the windfarm as seen from South Dorset should be minimised. I would also agree that myself, as well as many others, were not aware that ENECO had had public consultations on the proposals. I suspect that these were held in Holland!
There are many answers needed before this proposal goes ahead.
This is an area of natural beauty (we recently had a case where the planners refused planning permission on these grounds for a well-screened caravan site in Harmans Cross). To be consistent, the wind farm should be refused on the same grounds. The worry is, if built, South Dorset could lose its status as a World Heritage site. Imagine what would happen if a proposal was put forward to build a wind farm on the Great Barrier Reef!
Wind farms in Cornwall, Pembrokeshire and Norfolk that I have seen, are extremely ugly, only 50% of the units work at a time. It also appears that the blades are at a fixed angle, so can only work when the wind is in the right direction.
At sea, the towers present a navigational hazard. As an ex-mariner, I know that ships at anchor must display an anchor light. The turbines are effectively a moored ship, so each must display a 360-degree “anchor” light. Multiply this by 150 to 240 times and we have serious light pollution.
Being in a busy shipping area (liners from Southampton pass close by, as do ferries from Poole to Cherbourg and to the Channel Islands, as well as coastal freighters), there is a real danger that eventually there will be a collision, possibly due to very heavy seas, or loss of engine power, either of which is not unusual.
Aircraft from Hurn airport fly over the area. In the event of an emergency, such as engine failure in a jumbo jet, the pilot would have no option but to ditch into the sea as the land area is heavily populated. The turbines would rip the plane to pieces. Unlikely? Yes, but these things do happen, if only once in a hundred years.
For the turbines to be visible from the air as a safety measure, each would also need additional light. More light pollution!
Figures quoted for output, is this for any particular wind angle? If, as I suspect, the heads are fixed, in what direction will the blades work? As a youth, this area had a generally south-westerly prevailing wind. Seventy years later and living in the Isle of Purbeck, we now get a large number of easterly winds, less from the southwest and some westerly and even northwesterly. What happens to the output in these conditions? I also gather that too much or too little wind stops the output.
As there will have to be a very large, heavily-armoured cable to bring the power ashore, where will the shore end be situated? Are we likely to get large pylons to carry this power to the national grid? If, as stated, it provides 0.7% of the UK power consumption, that’s a lot of pylons marching across the AONB in Dorset.
Whilst not against the theory of wind farms, there are better methods, such as capturing the tidal power in the Severn Estuary, consistent and ever repeating. Large fields of solar panels in Dorset would be unobtrusive, easier to maintain. As they would work in any forms of daylight, they
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would be more consistent than a wind turbine, So they do not work at night, but then the need for power is greatly reduced at night which is why current power stations sell cheaper electricity at night to keep the generators running efficiently.
From my schooldays, I seem to remember being told that energy was consistent, merely changing its form, If the turbines extract energy from the wind, then on the outside of the turbines, the wind will have less power. Could this not effect a climate change, say, that the drying winds of March needed to remove excess water from the winter would no longer work, leading to crop failures, etc.?
Don Butler Wind - Safer Than Nuclear Dear Nico,
It is always a pleasure to read the latest edition of the Purbeck Gazette. It really is a people’s paper...well done.
However, W. Rees’ (August edition, letters page) comments apprehensively on the positioning of wind farms in Dorset. Everybody uses energy, more so now than ever, and it has to be sourced from somewhere. In our area of the country, part of our beautiful coastline is taken up with nuclear power stations with all the trimmings and uncertainties.
No-one has access to that part of the coast except the nuclear industry and its workers and it occupies a considerable chunk of our coastline. The horizon is dominated by a huge white dome that inhibits the sky line. You can’t see past it, it is massive. If this nuclear power station were to fail not only would the site become contaminated but the surrounding land and sea for miles around, its inhabitants and the wildlife would be evacuated, and/or die becoming uninhabitable for hundreds of years and beyond. Lost forever.
If Dorset doesn’t want wind power in their backyard then someone else has to have it in theirs. Personally, I would rather have wind farms than nuclear power stations...at
least I will always be able to enjoy the beautiful landscape with all its joys for as far ahead as is possible to see. It is a safer option. If you don’t want wind farms then campaign fiercely to reduce energy consumption or put in for a nuclear power station on the Heritage Coastline...(you can have ours), but you can’t have it all ways.
Thank you, Sue Godfrey via email.
Wind Farm - Andrew Langley Dear Gazette,
I am glad that my article in August’s edition has sparked some debate about the offshore windfarm, and I hope there will be much more.
ENECO has published its “Statement of Community Consultation” (SOCC) which is open for comment until 16th October; see http://www. navitusbaywindpark.co.uk/ news-and-events.as
document lays out the formal consultation process and timetable, and contains some information on the plan, so you may want to read and comment on it. The position of the farm has not changed from the preliminary plan.
In the SOCC, ENECO mentions turbine heights up to 190m (623ft) which is significantly taller than those depicted in the diagram of my August article (remember, this diagram was simply to show the scale of these turbines, 13km away, relative to the Needles cliffs; the turbines will not actually be in front of the Needles when viewed from Swanage). As ENECO says, taller turbines means fewer turbines, so you may prefer this compromise.
Thanks to Perham Harding and Mike Sanderson for finding comments on
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