Trust backs ‘graceful’ wind farm

The Footprint Trust is urging individuals, businesses, councillors and community groups to back the proposed wind farm at Cheverton Down. At the charity’s AGM its advisory group and board further committed the organisation to support wind and other renewables. The educational organisation will seek to counteract inaccurate and misleading information being circulated against wind technology.

Ray Harrington-Vail, the organisation’s general manager said, ‘We do not have the luxury of time being on our side to wait for other forms of renewable energy such as tidal current turbines…we need to use wind power now…and other renewables as the technology becomes available..”

“Soaring oil prices and thus fuel prices will continue to be the norm. The days of cheap energy, something we have enjoyed for the past 50 years, is now history. 50% of all the world’s oil has now been used up – the remaining 50% will be far more difficult and costly to extract, and will be used up so much quicker. As oil becomes a scarce commodity its price will climb…no amount of fuel protests will change that fact…”

“The Isle of Wight is almost completely dependent on imported fuel from further-a-field. Even with the new gasification plant, we will only make a small contribution to the National Grid.”

“Power Stations are often sited a fair distance from where the energy is needed. This means that a percentage of electricity is ‘lost’ in transmission and nearly all the thermal energy is lost (in the region of 60-70% of the energy in the fuel). Producing electricity nearer to home is the ideal if we are to reduce waste of energy and use the waste thermal energy heating commercial or domestic premises.”

“The biggest threat to the Isle of Wight is not a few wind turbines but climate change – which could see parts the Island’s unique landscape being lost to rising sea levels within the next 75 years.”

“The Isle of Wight is an ideal site for a nuclear power station and people need to bare that in mind when opposing renewable energy options for the Island…”

“These graceful wind turbines are a welcome sight in the ever-changing landscape of the countryside. They offer a vision of the future – one in which we harness natures energy. They are an opportunity for investment, diversity and enterprise for rural landowners, whilst only taking up a small amount of land. “
The Footprint Trust was set up to look for ways of reducing the Isle of Wight’s ecological footprint, and supports energy conservation, reducing dependency on fossil fuels and increased use of renewable energy.


Notes for editors

Tel Footprint Trust on 01983 822282

The Big Issues

Turbines kill lots of birds
They don’t. Despite lots of emotional claims research shows that the average UK wind turbine kills less than 2 birds a year. That’s insignificant when compared to birds killed by cars, buildings or domestic cats. If we were to oppose turbines on this criteria we would also have to oppose putting windows in buildings – as they too kill birds. For every bird killed by a turbine 10,000 are killed by other human activities, including 10 million by cars in the UK alone. The biggest threat to our birdlife is loss of habitat. On one site ground nesting bird numbers increased after a turbine was installed. The Falkland Islands, an internationally important site for seabirds, has experienced no harm to these creatures since 3 wind turbines were installed.

Turbines are inefficient
Turbines obviously only work when it’s windy. That’s why they are generally sited on islands or near the sea. In the UK they work between 70% to 85% of the time. All forms of energy production have inefficiencies and are unreliable at times– it is very difficult to instantly turn on and off a conventional modern power station and loads of power is lost up the chimneys and in transmission. Turbines are about 60% efficient in extracting the free energy from the wind. By comparison, traditional coal/gas combustion plants are only 30 to 40% efficient in extracting energy from finite fossil fuels which have to be purchased.
Whenever the blades are turning power is being put into the grid and less fossil fuels are being used up. Oil and coal fired power stations will not work when these resources run out or become prohibitively expensive.

Turbines harm tourism
It is claimed that tourism will be harmed and that visitor numbers will be reduced. In reality this has not occurred. In fact tourism has been increased in some areas because the turbines have become a popular attraction such as at Swafham in Norfolk. Cornwall and Scotland’s tourist industry have not been damaged by wind power.

Turbines are very noisy
Modern wind turbines are very quiet and other everyday background noises are much louder. They are much less noisy that a car driving at 40mph a hundred meters away.

Cheaper forms of energy should be used
At the moment oil and coal are slightly cheaper. But that isn’t the whole picture. Prices for fossil fuels are rising and becoming scarce and thus we should be investing in new technologies now rather than waiting till the last moment. The cheapest is not necessarily the best, particularly when it comes to air-born pollution and climate change.
A wind turbine ‘pays back’ the energy used to make it within eight months.

We should have wave and solar power instead
It is not a case of choosing one type of alternative energy production over another. All technologies should be further developed and used. We need to invest in a wide range of new technologies. All new types of energy production have some kind of environmental impact or challenges. Wave power can effect coastal erosion and could interfere with shipping and tourism. Tidal barrages can destroy valuable wetland sites for rare birds and other species. Solar only works during the day.
We need to act now and wind power is available now, whereas other technologies are still being refined. Wind could produce 10% of our electricity needs.

Wind farms affect house prices
According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, there are no firm evidence that suggest an effect either way, but at Nympsfield in Gloucestershire, house prices continued to gain after plans for the turbine were announced in 1992 and have continued to remain competitive since the turbine began operating in 1997. This pattern is repeated at the 70 plus operating wind farms in England, Wales and Scotland, where any evidence available demonstrates that wind farms have no material effect on house prices in the long term; surveys in areas near to a wind project show 78% of respondents reporting no difference in house prices.

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