Thursday, 28 October 2010

Disarray in the Renewables Industry

The windfarm industry seems to be in a little difficulty. Yesterday it was reported that Scotland's largest wind turbine manufacturer has filed for insolvency only 18 months after the Scottish government ploughed millions of pounds of grant funding into the project in a bid to rescue the factory, which employs about 120 people.  Such a shame of these people lose their jobs but hopefully their skills are transferable to other sectors of the engineering industry.

Today we're told more than 230 separate local campaign groups against windfarms are operating across the UK and these groups are scoring striking successes in defeating planned windfarms - even when faced with the weight of official recommendations.

In the last 12 months to September, there has been a 50% drop in planning approvals in England and approvals for windfarms in Scotland have also fallen.  The figures are revealed in a report, which will be published next week, on the state of the industry.

Windfarms are ugly and an eyesore.  Nobody could possibly think otherwise unless they're viewing them from a distance of over 20 miles and it's the eyesore and noise which are the main objections from campaigners.  They want all windfarms to be built off-shore but environmentalists and industry experts say this is unrealistic.  The time needed to build off-shore farms can be up to seven years, they are more expensive and the technology is still relatively immature.

Perhaps it's time for both the Scottish and Westminster governments to reassess their plans to have windfarms generate more than a quarter of Britain's electricity.  People are now realising, in order to reach that target, the whole country will have to be covered in these massive turbines.

A spokesman, from Friends of the Earth, said he could understand why people were opposed to windfarms in their local areas but a compromise needed to be found.

"The dilemma is that we believe people should be able to say what they want where they live but at the same time every part of the country has to do its bit if we are to get emissions down to a sustainable level."

Campaigners will be thrilled to know FotE are on their side - but only as long as they reduce their emissions.  How about local governments offices closing half a day a week?  That would reduce local emissions and possibly cause far less upset that the sight and sound of a windfarm in the locality.



Joe Public said...

Producing useful electricity only 30% of the time, but an eyesore 100% of the time. [Except at night.]

Producing noise 100% of the time it's producing useful electricity.

Statistics provided by the National NIMBY Association.

Quiet_Man said...

Be happier if the damned things worked when needed, they don't.
Eyesores, uneconomic, wasteful and environmentally unfriendly.

The list goes on, no wonder nobody wants them, a little bit of study soon tells you far too much about them.

Woodsy42 said...

But they are an eyesore at night. Try driving in Normandy to the Caen ferry at night and you are constantly assaulted and distracted by the bright flashing lights on the windmills.

Smoking Hot said...

Wonder if l'd get a grant for my 'tin hat with a windmill on top' ... worth a try. :)

Joe Public said...

Last month Denmark's giant state-owned power company, Dong Energy, announced that it would abandon future onshore wind farms in the country. "Every time we were building onshore, the public reacts in a negative way and we had a lot of criticism from neighbours," said a spokesman for the company. For some reason this seemed to escape the notice of both the BBC & the MSM.

Vestas, the Danish wind turbine manufacturer, will cut 3,000 jobs as a result of the closures. It would close five production plants across Scandinavia and cut 3,000 jobs.

Danish electricity bills have been almost as dramatically affected as the Danish landscape. Thanks in part to the windfarm subsidies, Danes pay some of Europe's highest energy tariffs – on average, more than twice those in Britain. Under public pressure, Denmark's ruling Left Party is curbing the handouts to the wind industry.

Oh dear.

subrosa said...

Thanks for the stats Joe. I was expecting an expert like yourself to give some. :)

subrosa said...

It seems as if down by you things are going to be more difficult with regard to planning for them QM. Will be interesting to watch.

subrosa said...

I can't say I've noticed lights on those around here but I'll look again now the evenings are drawing in.

subrosa said...

Go for it SH. :) Nothing ventured...

subrosa said...

It shows the Danish problems have come here Joe and causing problems there too.

I wonder if the ConDems will restrict these handouts we're giving.

banned said...

@Joe Public, which is why Vestas closed their factory on the Isle Of Wight last year - overcapacity. They saw the begining of the end in their own country, the windiest in Europe yet they still don't work, and remaining production capacity is devoted to what they can flog abroad to mugs like us.

Strathturret said...

If they dont why does Michelin in Dundee have two large wind turbines? GSK in Montrose is currently investigating building one at its site to provide power.

Have these companies done their sums wrong?

Last figures I saw was wind develops 30% of Danish energy.

Anybody want a nuclear powerplant in their back garden?

Budvar said...

I have to say I quite like them. If they don't work 70% of the time as some say, I'd have to conclude that's more of a siteing problem rather than a fault in the technology. The ones near me (Ovenden moor) are rarely idle (once or twice a year maybe)

Hydro doesn't produce much in the way of power during periods of prolonged drought, and I being old enough to remember what was it 73? when coal fired power stations didn't produce that much either when the miners stopped digging coal.

As for nuclear, I had a mate who ran Winfrith in Dorset, great lad to go boozing with on a friday, but I wouldn't trust him to look after the cat for the weekend let alone a nuclear reactor. Very clever guy academically, common sense of table top.

He once got pulled driving in reverse (auto box failed and only gear he could get was reverse) 4 miles to an off licence he knew he could buy beer with a credit card.

subrosa said...

From what I'm told Michelin have these turbines because they receive considerable subsidies from government Strathturret.

subrosa said...

Budvar, there's never a problem with hydro here. The dam at Pitlochry provides power 365 days a year. The local windfarm is there because of the government subsidies provided. They're an eyesore to many but they're not in my line of vision regularly.

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