Campaigning for a greener future

wind farm

Antiwind Super Group NAWAG Could Cause Problems For Wind Farm Developers

At a time when governments and organisations are striving to make commitments to cut carbon emissions, the source of the UK’s energy is a bone of contention for many. Discussions about nuclear, new generations of coal fired power stations and carbon capture and storage (CCS) are discussed almost daily, and the arguments about wind power are certainly high up on the agenda.

Despite being a technology that is used successfully by a number of other countries around the world to meet power needs, and the installation of new wind turbines and wind farms across the UK being a flagship policy for green energy companies such as Ecotricity and Good Energy, wind energy certainly has its enemies as well as its advocates. Across the UK, more than 200 anti-wind action groups exist, 30 of which have joined together to create the National Alliance of Wind Farm Action Groups (NAWAG), headed up by chairman of corporate communications and public affairs at PR group Weber Shandwick, Jon McLeod.

McLeod took up the role of chairman of the super group following the proposal for a new wind farm development at Matlock Moor in Derbyshire, near his home, however he maintains that it is purely a personal interest in opposing wind farm developments and that the PR firm will not be involved in NAWAG’s campaigning activities.

The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) responded to NAWAG’s accusations that wind farms are detrimental to the look of the British countryside, can be damaging to tourism jobs and don’t reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels, saying,

“We are happy to engage in a debate on the merits of wind energy. We believe that it is good for the environment, jobs and prices. However, that debate must be based on facts, not myths, half truths and distortions. This is wind week and thousands of people will be visiting wind farms to educate themselves about the truth about wind energy. Perhaps when everyone involved knows the facts then we will be able to have a sensible discussion.”

Posted in Energy and ResourcesEnvironmental PoliticsGreen Planet
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  1. I agree that there should be a debate on this subject. But as someone who lives within sight of a number of wind farms and sees their effect on the landscape and the number of times when they are not operating, either at all or to their potential, I wonder who is spreading all the myths, half truths and distortions. I am afraid that in my opinion it is the BWEA

    Posted by richard cowen June 17, 2009 at 9:25 pm | Permalink
  2. This is the best news ever. Its about time we had an alliance to fight our corner. We all know the facts but the BWEA like to call them myths.. well, lets hope the truth will now come out.

    Good luck all and “way to go”

    Posted by Lynwen June 17, 2009 at 9:40 pm | Permalink
  3. This Alliance has been formed out of the absolute necessity, to publicise the real hardship and
    devastation this ill conceived dash for wind is causing..
    I would also point to the opposition which is growing throughout Europe and the world: see
    For far to long the powerful Wind Energy Industry have promoted the most ineffective technology to combat global warming, whilst lining their pockets with captive energy users, (all of us) hard earned cash

    Posted by Melvin Grosvenor June 17, 2009 at 11:27 pm | Permalink
  4. Personally, I believe that the BWEA lives in a fantasy world. How can wind energy be good for prices????? I’m also a little tired of hearing how wind energy creates jobs as it simply isn’t true.

    The comment about other countries success with wind is a bit moot following Aase Madsen, Chair of Energy Policy in the Danish Parliament, referred to their wind experiment as a “terrible expensive disaster”

    Posted by Tony Leatham June 18, 2009 at 7:44 am | Permalink
  5. Isn’t this just the BWEA pot calling the kettle black! Perhaps they could tell us a few “facts” about profits and subsidies going to landowners and property developers rather than investment in clean energy technology, and how is it wind turbines reduce CO2 emissions when the power stations have continue to generate power as backup even when the wind is blowing. Which is only for 25% of the time anyway.

    Posted by Anne Crowther June 18, 2009 at 9:42 am | Permalink
  6. At the end of the day wind energy is free, clean and renewable; it won’t run out unlike the dirty fossil fuels that people have sadly come to rely on, and although there may be other options that people would prefer to see governments and organisations invest in, we can’t ignore the valuable resource that, for the UK at least, is right on our doorstep for the taking.

    Every project, every development, whether environmentally negative or promoting sustainable development will always have its advocates and those who would prefer to see the proposals scrapped at the first stage. How about we all stop being energy hungry, wash our clothes in streams, live by the daylight and get rid of our plasma screens and computers? Hang on though, that won’t happen because we all rely on the way we live now and the way our economy has been built.

    At least wind farm developments are trying to do something to make a difference, even if it isn’t always for the right reasons, and if the wind only blows 25% of the time, that is still a reduction in the amount of energy needed to be provided from coal, oil or gas. If we don’t do something, and something big, fast, there will be a lot of people left in the dark when the resources run out.

    Posted by Wind Power Man June 18, 2009 at 5:02 pm | Permalink
  7. It has to be said that if the wind energy supporters truly want a debate based on facts and not myths and distortions, then they would lose without any question. Wind energy is the biggest myth of all – the energy output is abysmal as to be virtually meaningless to a society that requires a consistent and predictable electricity supply.

    Posted by Trevor Shurmer June 18, 2009 at 5:22 pm | Permalink
  8. As someone who is ‘green’ in her attitudes I naively believed the hype about industrial wind turbines saving the planet. I only found out how inefficient they really are when a development company started the process to build 7 125 m turbines on a site only 250 m from the edge of our ancient medieval village. This means they will be the height of a 40 storey building. They are totally alien to the landscape and will disrupt our lives for very little benefit to the country. We have to think about what we are destroying in the name of saving it. The Danes are starting to realise how disastrous their unthinking rush to wind power has been. I wish politicians like Ed Milliband would agree to talk to us. He is refusing to meet with me and I can only speculate why this is the case. Good for the Alliance and I hope everyone in a situation like mine will join it. Little Davids like us need a Goliath to stand up for us.

    Posted by Trish Pemberton June 19, 2009 at 4:20 am | Permalink
  9. Dear Wind Power Man,

    Wind power is not free – we are all paying for it in our electricity bills (whether we agree with the destruction of our countryside or not). The cost of wind power is far greater than that of fossil fuels, however, there are more predictable means of green energy generation available. Fuel poverty is also another consequence.

    Wind power is not clean – noise is a pollutant and there is no disputing the fact that there are serious noise issues or people would not be forced to leave their homes or suffer relentlessly. Ground water pollution during the construction phase is another issue.

    Wind power is renewable – but electricity from wind is only intermittently available and not when needed. It is not controllable and requires back-up most of the time – hence it does not replace fossil fuels.

    Facts would be more useful than fiction and the last local election results showed that the public do not agree with the current Government’s energy policy (as well as other serious shortcomings). The increase in wind power rather than base load generation will lead to power cuts and divert investment from more reliable means of electricity generation.

    Posted by Anna Grabis June 19, 2009 at 7:18 am | Permalink
  10. We need lots more public debates over this, especially over the next year or so.

    Posted by Carly Andersen June 19, 2009 at 11:05 am | Permalink
  11. I agree with Wind Power Man. True, there are a lot of developers who will jump on the green band wagon just to make money but not all wind farms are bad – they need to be sited in the right places with sufficient and just thought given to the landscape they’re installed in. We shouldn’t just blanketly say ‘no wind turbines’.

    I think the best way forward however would be micro generation. Smaller turbines mounted on houses with solar panels as back up, and a significant attempt by people to reduce their energy consumption would not only cut their bills but mean less chance of running out of fuel for the country. Self sufficiency in electricity for individual houses and businesses (and other resources ideally) would be a big achievement for the world.

    Posted by Jenny Marsh June 19, 2009 at 4:02 pm | Permalink
  12. I know I started this, but I think some comment is required to the suggestions of Wind power man and Jenny.

    Wind power man says that if the wind blows only 25% of the time that would lead to a reduction in our reliance on fossil fuels. I think that this is a simplistic approach – it is not just when the wind blows but the strength of the wind, as different wind speeds can generate significantly different amounts of electricity. But even when turbines are working to their full capacity, conventional power stations still have to shadow them (the so called “spinning reserve”). It is not a simple case of reducing the amount of conventional power by the amount of wind generated power on a “pound for pound” basis. E.ON have said that the “spinning reserve” requires 80 to 90% output from coal fired power stations – which means that, although there is some reduction in their emissions, it is nothing like so great as is frequently claimed.

    And, unless Wind power man is accepting that during the remainder of the time when turbines are not generating electricity, either at all or in sufficient quantity, we do without electricity, then it means that we must retain all our existing generating capacity. The suggestion of getting rid of plasma screen and computers (and I must assume he has a computer to be able to make this entry) is not one that is likely to win much support.

    Micro energy sounds fine. Unfortunately however many house, especially in town, are in a wind “shadow”. The output from such wind turbines will probably not boil a kettle. Again, I am afraid, this suggestion is not likely to have much effect on saving emissions.

    So my views are unaltered – wind is not the answer to solve any problems we may be facing. And meanwhile, wind turbines have a significant (and in my view detrimental) effect on our countryside and potentially on those who live near to them.

    Posted by richard cowen June 20, 2009 at 7:35 pm | Permalink
  13. Wind power man is really missing the point. Wind is only as free as coal,oil, gas, uranium and the rest are free. That is, it is lying around waiting for somebody to make use of it, at which point the expense comes in. In terms of expense, wind is far and away the most expensive form of energy used at present. The wind developers are paid more for their electricity than you pay for the energy you use in your home. If the subsidies paid to wind developers by us in the form of ROC’s were scrapped, the wind industry would vanish overnight.

    Posted by Richard Dewick July 1, 2009 at 10:00 am | Permalink
  14. All discussion seems to forget about the ‘cube law’- if the wind speed falls from 30 mph to 10 mph, the power output falls by seven eighths. Wind is not only intermittent but very variable -and how do the supporters of wind power propose to supply the deficiency – by coal generators on “spinning reserve” and still producing carbaon dioxide?

    Posted by Charles Hughes July 1, 2009 at 3:59 pm | Permalink
  15. Ok so most people leaving comments are kindly pointing out the reasons why wind power won’t work and isn’t the answer. How about some positivity and offering of alternative solutions? @Richard Cowen, when you mention windpower man having a computer to post, I don’t imagine he actually suggests this is the realistic solution to the problem, but it is a point that shouldn’t be ignored. Unless we (or gov or energy companies, whoever) come up with some alternative, we might have no choice but to do without… Would people prefer nuclear set ups near to where they live instead of wind? I know I wouldn’t…

    Posted by Dianne P July 4, 2009 at 7:59 pm | Permalink
  16. Most of the advocates of wind power have probably never lived close to a wind ‘farm’. Perhaps their views would change if that were the case.

    The wind energy ‘industry’ sees this fad, of wind power, as a money-spinner, receiving fat subsidies per turbine installed. Why not the same enthusiasm for hydro electric and tidal power?

    Perhaps the government should nationalise the wind power industry, which might result in fewer ‘no-brainer’ proposals within Green Belts and Nationall Parks. Although putting our ‘trust’ in politicians and their Civil Servants is probably an even bleaker prospect! The money saved by not subsidising developers could be ‘invested’ in to providing some basic training to Planning Inspectors, many of whom have have no clue when it comes to assessing potaltruistic organisations – they are simply in it for the money and for the benefit of their shareholders, not the community.

    Finally, one should dispel the myth that those who oppose wind turbines for sound lansdcape, community and amenity reasons are not averse to renewable energy and the installation of wind turbines – they simply would like a bit of thought applied to their siting. Some recent appeal decisions by the Secretary of State regrettably suggest that decisions are being taken on purely political grounds – to achieve European targets for renewablr energy at all costs!! How sad!


    Posted by Eils July 29, 2009 at 2:13 pm | Permalink
  17. seems as though the debate about wind power is finally getting loud enough to make a diffenence! i’m glad. i’ve, this past year, built a passive solar strawbale house with a living roof and an earth floor. the floor print is small, under 500 square feet. it’s sited on 2.63 acres of land (alot for one perhaps but not by current american standards). before building my home i prepared the soil for gardens enough to produce all of my vegetable needs and planted fruit and nut trees. this year three GE 1.5mw turbines were erected on the height of land 1/2 mile to the south of my home. the promoters of the project billed it as a “sustainable” way to produce our islands electricity. i’ve been planning on my project as being a model for how we could better use what land we have to meet our living needs. i do not plan to connect to the grid and expect to burn less than 1/2 cord of wood a year to supplement my heating needs. i have chosen to use less energy to meet my daily lifes needs. i plan on my electricity needs to be met by a 60 watt photovoltaic array. now my future is uncertain. the sounds from the turbines are powerfull and oppressive at my home site and i don’t believe that i will be able to live a healthy life being exposed to them. our islands wind project cost 15 million. the loss in property value alone is approximately 14 million. the loss in revenues from tourists and summer residents has yet to be measured. and for what? the only answer to humanities current energy dillema is conservation. there is no other answer. it is impossible to keep up with an energy demand that is the product of burning fossil fuels. impossible with renewables. impossible save for nuclear production. but, is that a “sustainable’ solution?

    Posted by primal E December 27, 2009 at 11:08 pm | Permalink
  18. I am part of an anti-windfarm group in Northern Ireland. We are having a real problem, as there are already two windfarms in the area, and we are now facing the possibility of three further developments. We have been campaigning against one for over six years, and now two further developers have put in applications. There is no cohesive planning guideline on distances, or noise. The existing farms already reach if not exceed the noise guidelines, so there is no way there could be more turbines, yet the planners don’t seem to be able to say NO!

    Posted by Henrietta Reade July 11, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Permalink
  19. Yes, wind is green, clean and renewable. Unfortunately it is also very variable, so it has the “pressing need for gas back-up” (quote from DECC Carbon Plan) for which CCGT power stations are already in planning, consented and in construction. So wind and gas contributions to the grid are increasing whilst nuclear is decreasing. This is essential as adding the supply side wind variability of wind to the National Grid’s balancing task, which used to be just following the demand side, requires less constant power “base load” supply (i.e. nuclear, 100%) and more “load following” supply (i.e. gas, typically controllable from 40% to 100%). All this is real science, I’m a well qualified and experienced physicist and electrical engineer.

    But replacing nuclear (near 0% CO2 emission) by wind + gas INCREASES CO2 emission, contrary to the lies peddled by the BWEA and the rest of the wind industry. They have been beaten down from 860g/kWh to 430g/kWh CO2 emission reduction. The 430g/kWh is not far off, but it’s an increase, not a decrease.

    But it’s not right to say that the BWEA live in a fantasy world. They have their feet planted firmly on the ground – and their snouts deep, very deep, in the trough.

    Posted by Dr John V Yelland April 19, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink
  20. Just imagine? Why aren’t they looking into using wave power, we have plenty of it?

    Posted by Robert April 27, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink
  21. Is there, anywhere, compilation for layouts and heights versus buffering distance/housing density. Completed dates and or/projected programmes may indicate the recognition and concern thst developers’ always take heed of ???????????

    Posted by Gaforge September 29, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

4 Trackbacks

  1. […] work nationally. The NOW charter has since been developed by people that include representatives of National Alliance of Wind Farm Action Groups [Nawag] and Country Guardian and is based on indisputable facts. Every effort has been made to ensure that […]

  2. […] work nationally. The NOW charter has since been developed by people that include representatives of National Alliance of Wind Farm Action Groups [Nawag] and Country Guardian and is based on indisputable facts. Every effort has been made to ensure that […]

  3. […] work nationally. The NOW charter has since been developed by people that include representatives of National Alliance of Wind Farm Action Groups [Nawag] and Country Guardian and is based on indisputable facts. Every effort has been made to ensure that […]

  4. […] work nationally. The NOW charter has since been developed by people that include representatives of National Alliance of Wind Farm Action Groups [Nawag] and Country Guardian and is based on indisputable facts. Every effort has been made to ensure that […]

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