LETTER: Wind turbines are a colossal luxury

FRIENDS of the Earth, whose aim is to champion policies which protect the environment, is worthy of applause.

Clearly, your correspondent Brenda Pollack, (Observer, August 21), has been persuaded that the construction of wind turbines makes an important contribution to that objective.

Sadly, Brenda Pollack has been misled, and I stand by every line in my letter you published on August 7, in support of which the following additional information is now submitted.

In March 2002, Gordon Hughes, professor of Economics at Edinburgh University, produced a report entitled ‘Why is wind power so expensive?’ Included in the report were the following two paragraphs:

1 Meeting the UK government’s target for renewable generation in 2020 will require total wind capacity of 36GW backed up by 13GW of open cycle gas plants plus large complementary investments in transmission capacity – the wind scenario. The same electricity demand could be met from 21.5GW of combined cycle gas plants with a capital cost of £13bn – the gas scenario. Allowing for the shorter life of wind turbines, the comparative investment outlays would be about £120bn for wind scenario and a mere £13bn for the gas scenario.

2 Wind farms have relatively high operating and maintenance costs but they require no fuel. Overall, the net saving in fuel, operating and maintenance costs for the wind scenario relative to the gas scenario is less than £500m per year, a very poor return on an additional investment of over £105bn.

Professor Hughes also states there is a significant risk that CO2 emissions will be greater under the wind scenario.

This week, it came to my knowledge that Professor David MacKay has carried out a study of the merits of alternative methods of generating electricity. Using six criteria, he has concluded that wind turbines are the least desirable.

Professor MacKay has also concluded that wind turbines do more environmental damage than fracking!

Robin Milner-Gulland, emeritus professor at the University of Sussex, has described the Rampion wind farm as ‘a colossal, inefficient luxury’.

Off the coast of Hawaii, and on hills in the USA, there are large numbers of broken-down wind turbines now viewed as huge industrial waste-lands, and it is only a question of time before wind farms, both on and off-shore, will suffer the same fate.

It is well documented that many condemn wind turbines purely on the grounds of the damage they do to wildlife both on land and sea. The leader of the Labour Party, Ed Milliband, says he will punish the energy companies for the high cost of electricity, which is a clear case of ‘the pot calling the kettle black’.

The European Union demanded a target reduction in CO2 emissions of 40 per cent, of what they were in 1990, over the next 42 years.

It was Ed Milliband, when climate change secretary in 2008, who set the target for the reduction to 20 per cent in the same timescale.

Thus, it is this commitment, generated by the myth of man-made climate change, which is the major contributory factor in our high energy costs. (Source: The Real Global Warming Disaster, by Christopher Booker).

One of the many bad consequences of Milliband’s legislation was the closing of a Welsh iron foundry, and the loss of 1,500 jobs.

The company concerned moved the production of iron abroad, where electricity is cheaper because the myth of man-made climate change is ignored

Clearly, those people who are in favour of the construction of wind turbines are NOT Friends of the Earth.

Derek Hunnikin

St Leodegar’s Way