Lincolnshire Wind Policy determined by taxi driver.

Here in Lincolnshire we've been talking about wind all week, not just because of the weather but also because of a misguided policy statement from the County Council, that has featured heavily in local and national news.

This week the Executive of Lincolnshire County Council adopted a revised position Statement re Wind Turbine development in Lincolnshire. I read the press release from the County Council and was curious as to how they had reached their conclusions.

Here are my questions and the responses I received from Coun Colin Barrie who Chairs the Council's Environmental scrutiny group:

Good Afternoon Councillor Davie,

I have just read the press release from the Environmental Scrutiny Committee of Lincolnshire County Council and would like some clarification:

1)      AB: What evidence do you have that Wind turbines have any effect on the tourist economy whatsoever? In Scotlandthey appear to have had a positive effect on tourism.

CB: Surveys conducted with loaded questions so that pre determined conclusions are reached are never acceptable. I would not trust anything that comes out of the Scottish Government on this subject. Locally, as I walk along the Lincolnshire coast visitors say to me that they feel the whole open expanse of the coast has been spoiled by wind turbines and taxi drivers have told me that they have taken visitors back to the railway station just after arriving because they cannot bear the industrial scale of developments that tower over the coast. Tourism is worth £1 Billion annually to the Lincolnshire economy and supports thousands of jobs. We will not allow anything to jeopardise that.

2)      AB: Can you please explain how your committee came to the conclusion that onshore wind is ‚¬~one of the least efficient ways of producing electricity‚¬"¢? Surely, converting freely available wind into usable energy must be more ‚¬~efficient‚¬"¢ than extracting gas from underground, transporting it a thousand miles and then burning it in a power station?

CB: You believe too much publicity coming from the green movement. Last year Onshore turbines in Lincolnshire received £12 Million in taxpayers cash through the Rocs(the same will be paid annually for 25 years). The turbines offshore of Skegness received £48 Million, and again this is an annual payment. Fuel poverty now affects 25% of Lincolnshire‚¬"¢s residents. In East Lindsey it‚¬"¢s at around 34%. This will rise across the county, in my view to over 50% by 2016. The delivery load (load factor) is around 25% from onshore turbines in Lincolnshire. They are intermittent generators of power and unpredictable at that. As a consequence spinning reserve has to be in place from conventional power stations such as gas and coal which the government does not count in the MW of of power cost. When it is counted it makes onshore wind expensive, inefficient and an intermittent generator of power. It can therefore not address base load of power requirements for our country and in my view is a marginal contributor to future energy security. Government made the wrong choices years ago and instead of investing in R & D to bring proper renewables that can address base load requirement on stream they went for a quick fix and visual symbol of their greenness without understanding the implications of its decisions. We now have a massive security of energy supply problem which will affect the country‚¬"¢s economic future because politicians did not take the long term view. What the Executive did today was take a long term view that is right for this county and you should applaud that.

3)      AB: Can you please give me damage caused to the road network of Lincolnshire (or anywhere else in the UK) during the commissioning or decommissioning of wind turbines?

CB: As an example the Bicker Fen development paid £250,000 to the Highways authority to repair and improve the Highways network so the turbines could safely be delivered to the site.

4)      AB: Does the County Council support the idea of a windfall tax on energy companies who make excessive profits as a result of household energy bills and contribute to fuel poverty?

CB:I believe we need an Energy Policy in this country that delivers a Secure Energy supply, made up of a mixed basket of technology and sources. This will include Clean Coal/Carbon Capture, Nuclear, Gas and Renewables. The Supply must be affordable and sustainable and whilst investment to bring to market new technologies I would support, any project that requires tax payer funding for each year of its life is not sustainable, contrary to the Brundtland declaration on Sustainability and in these cases the projects should be ended. Above all we need a massive investment in Energy efficiency measures that will support the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.

AB: Thanks in advance for your explanations,

CB: In concluding, Lincolnshire is a green county, Energy from Waste, Solar, biomass, micro generation and anaerobic digestion is already proceeding in Lincolnshire. We encourage and support all of these but Industrial scale structures that alter the total character ofLincolnshireare simply not the way forward for our county or our country. We are not going to sit back and be criticised by future generations for stupidly and blindly following a dogma promoted by an industry of subsidy junkies who get fatter every day on the back of hard pressed taxpayers in this county.

Ashley Baxter

Topics: Energy efficiency & low-carbon
Tags: anaerobic digestion | biomass | carbon capture | coal | energy bills | Energy Efficiency | energy from waste | Fuel poverty | gas | nuclear | offshore | onshore wind | renewables | Scotland | solar | technology | weather | wind turbines
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