Fact-finding trip gives thumbs up for wind…

Ray Harrington-Vail from the Island-based Footprint Trust and Dr Hugh Walding from IW Friends of Earth have recently visited Cornwall to see wind power for themselves. They visited a small wind farm similar in size to the one proposed adjacent to the working quarry at Cheverton. The small two-turbine wind cluster at Roskrow Barton, near Penryn in Cornwall has been operational for one year and faced opposition from locals concerned about noise, efficiency and other issues.

It has two Vestas V52 turbines at Roskrow Barton, each with a rated capacity of 850 Kilowatts, giving a total capacity of 1.7 Megawatts. The power output is monitored by Exeter University – who have a campus nearby.

Ray and Hugh also visited the Campus and spoke with Dr Dean Millar the Senior Lecturer in renewable energy of the School of with Geography, Archaeology and Earth Resources. He reported that the university monitors the output of the turbines which were in line with the predictions of Cornwall Light & Power. As with the Isle of Wight wind farm predictions, it has repaid its carbon footprint in six months.

Dr Millar stated that wind technology was now of age thanks to years of development and research – it is efficient and available – whilst other technologies, such tidal turbines could be 20 years away.

Cornwall Light & Power owns and operates the site along with the established wind farm at Goonhilly Downs on the Lizard peninsula as well as other small projects in England and Wales.

“It seems that concerns about noise are completely unfounded. We struggled to hear any noise. The wind blowing through the nearby hedgerow was louder. We found it easy to hold a conversation – it was not intrusive.”
Said Ray of the Footprint Trust, a former University of Exeter student.

“I was impressed with how quiet the turbines are, even standing right underneath them. It was also clear how tiny their footprint is, and how easy
it would be to restore the site when their useful life is over, unlike a conventional power station, nuclear or otherwise….”
Said Dr Hugh Walding of Isle of Wight Friends of the Earth.

“…whilst these structures are slightly smaller that those proposed a mile away from Shorwell, they are on one of the highest hills in Cornwall, they can be seen clearly from the University building but most people cannot see them from their homes …they have a very small impact on the landscape”
Added Ray

“All forms of energy have an environmental impact – we have to choose the ones that do the least amount of damage…wind clearly wins over coal, nuclear and gas. But to compete with these dirty fuels it has to be economic. Large wind turbines produce dramatically far more energy compared to small ones. A good example of this is the Cheverton case. The current proposed turbines are about 3 times the size of the original ones – but they produce around 10 times as much energy”

“The Footprint Trust would urge all members of the Planning Committee to back the proposed small wind farm at Cheverton Down”