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Thanks to David, Steve and Mark who all sent us this story.  

Credit:     BBC News     Scotland     (1/5/11)

 

Six Scottish windfarms were paid up to £300,000 to stop producing energy, it has emerged.

The turbines, at a range of sites across Scotland, were stopped because the grid network could not absorb all the energy they generated.

Details of the payments emerged following research by the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF).

The REF said energy companies were paid £900,000 to halt the turbines for several hours between 5 and 6 April.

According to the REF research, the payments made cost up to 20 times the value of the electricity that would have been generated if the turbines had kept running.

The largest payment was given to Whitelee windfarm in East Renfrewshire, owned by Scottish Power, which was paid £308,000 in April.

The RWE nPower-owned Farr windfarm, south of Inverness, received £265,000 in the same month.

'Very wasteful'

Hadyardhill in South Ayrshire, which is owned by SSE Renewables, was given £140,000 to stop producing energy, while Blacklaw windfarm in Lanarkshire – also owned by Scottish Power – was given £130,000.

The Millennium windfarm in the Highlands and Beinn Tharsuin, just north of Alness, each received £33,000 and £11,500 respectively.

Dr Lee Moroney, planning director for the REF, which has criticised subsidies to the renewable sector in the past, said: "The variability of wind power poses grid management problems for which there are no cheap solutions.

"However, throwing the energy away, and paying wind farms handsomely for doing so, is not only costly but obviously very wasteful.

"Government must rethink the scale and pace of wind power development before the costs of managing it become intolerable and the scale of the waste scandalous."

The National Grid said the network had overloaded because high winds and heavy rain in Scotland overnight on 5 and 6 April produced more wind energy than it could use.

Spokesman Stewart Larque said: "One of our key roles is to balance supply and demand for energy."

He added: "On the evening of the 5th into the 6th of April, the wind in Scotland was high, it was raining heavily, which also created more hydro energy than normal."

Mr Larque said a transmission fault in the system meant the surplus energy could not be transferred to England and so generation had to be cut.

He also confirmed that the National Grid spent £280m balancing supply and demand.

A spokesman for the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), described the incident as "unusual" and said more electrical storage was needed.

He added: "In future we need greater electrical energy storage facilities and greater interconnection with our EU neighbours so that excess energy supplies can be sold or bought where required."

A Scottish government spokesman said electricity generated by renewables accounted for 27.4% of Scotland's electricity use.

He added: "National Grid is responsible for balancing the supply of electricity from all sources across the grid to match demand and generators will sometimes be required to reduce output as part of that process.

"At the same time, the Scottish and UK governments have been working with the National Grid and others in the industry to strengthen grid capacity and address access constraints."

If you live close to a proposed wind turbine development and you're not sure how it might affect you – please listen to Jenny's story. Jenny lives within 1 mile of the Dalswinton wind farm – 9 miles from Dumfries & 12 miles from Lockerbie – yet clearly visible from the A75. We could be accused of being alarmist – the problem is, once the turbines are up – it's too late. Action is needed now, so it's important to hear about the experience of those who already have to live with it.

Click on the link below to hear Jenny's story.

Jenny's Story

TW312 were sent this article from the Stranraer Free Press letters page. Comments are welcome.

 

On the story in the Free Press March 31- "Wind farms provoke 'mixed feelings' in tourism industry".

Now VisitScotland are in my opinion a "national disgrace and a very expensive waste of tax payers money.  They have not objected to a single wind farm application anywhere in Scotland even though wind farms are desecrating the Scottish countryside.

VisitScotland are ridiculed throughout the world as the "lap-dogs" of Scottish Ministers by other national tourism organisations.
Tourists are staying away from Scotland in droves due to the blight of turbines and the stupidity of all the tourism organisations that profess to represent Scotland's once beautiful scenery.

The Scottish tourism industry and VisitScotland in particular, should hang their heads in shame as they failed to defend a once proud and beautiful country.  What the idiotic tourist industry fail to comprehend is that without a product to sell, they will all be out of a job.
The time will come when the people of Scotland will say "enough is enough" and rebel against the idiots and greedy Politicians who look to protect their friends in the Energy sector and perhaps secure a job in the future.

The Board of VisitScotland should be telling the Scottish Government that they require a "statutory consultee" status in all planning applications where the visual aspects, building on open countryside and any development that threatens the Scottish Tourist Industry.
The Scottish Government are unable to tell me why VisitScotland does not have "statutory consultee" status in planning matters and the Planning Directorate say that perhaps this has been an oversight.

I am of the opinion that the entire Board of VisitScotland should resign with immediate effect as they have done nothing to protect a vital industry to Scotland.  In addition, the fact that VisitScotland is a "commercial undertaking" is a serious problem for the Scottish government.

I would like to know what "Destinations Dumfries and Galloway" have done to protect the region from 'predatory' Energy companies and how many wind farm applications have they objected to?  It wouldn't surprise me to know it is of a similar amount as VisitScotland, zero.

If Mrs Findlay were to read the available letters from visitors to the area and Scotland as a whole, she will see that very few, if any, tourists will return to an area where wind turbines have been sited.  Neither VisitScotland nor Destination Dumfries and Galloway will make any objections to wind farm applications even after reading any report from Dumfries and Galloway Council.
I think the correct name for this is "ostrich syndrome" – stick your head in the sand and hope the problem goes away.  Dumfries and Galloway will be similar to a "barren wilderness" in respect of lack of tourists as the wind turbine applications for the region keep coming thick and fast.  Tourist organisations will be a thing of the past in Dumfries and Galloway and people will look to blame Dumfries and Galloway Council, local Councillors etc.

However, the blame lies at Holyrood and the morally corrupt Members of the Scottish Parliamnent (MSP's).

The local planning department may reject a wind farm application only for the idiotic Planning Directorate (Scottish Ministers) to give planning consent.  This brings the planning process into disrepute and removes local responsibility from local Council's.

I spoke with many MSPs during the last Parliament and support for wind farms was declining rapidly and if given a "free vote" on the Renewable Energy policy, it would have been heavily defeated.

If the tourist organisations were to join with Residents Against Turbines (Scotland) the currently biased Renewable Energy policy could be defeated and overturned.

If the current trend continues, Scotland's tourist industry will drastically disappear over the following 30 years and will probably never recover.  When the subsidies for wind farms disappear, the chaos that ensues will make the banking crisis look like a children's party.

George Watson
Residents Against Turbines (Scotland)

 

On 27th April Windy Miller commented:-

Visit Scotland & Destination Dumfries & Galloway are both funded by the Govt and both are terrified of saying something that upsets their paymasters. At least Visit Scotland have a policy that can be referred to, Destination Dumfries & Galloway have no policy and more worrying turned down an offer (by the council) to be a statutory consultee in the planning process relating to windfarm applications.

By Kevin O'Sullivan,   The Scotsman,   (16/04/11)

PLANS for a wind farm in rural Perthshire have been blocked after the hosts of the 2014 Ryder Cup warned it could damage the event's success.  Gleneagles, near Auchterarder, will host the 40th Ryder Cup in 2014

Proposals for eight turbines, each scaling more than 300 feet, were rejected by Perth and Kinross Council amid concerns the project would have a negative visual impact on the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in 2014.

Members of the council's development control committee overwhelmingly rejected West Coast Energy's plans at a meeting earlier this week.

It emerged last night that Gleneagles sent a letter of objection to the plans. The hotel and golf venue was represented by specialists from the Edinburgh offices of global real estate firm Colliers International.

Associate director Neil Gray stated: "The proposed development risks impacting on the landscape and visual resources of Strathearn, including its effect on the Gleneagles Hotel Historic Garden and Designed Landscape.

"It also carries a significant risk of affecting the economic development and growth of the council's tourism and leisure sector because of its proximity to Gleneagles, the host of the 2014 Ryder Cup international golf event."

The committee heard the windmills would have a detriment for viewers watching "television broadcasts" of the Europe versus America golfing spectacle to be held in three years time.

Bill Thomson, 60, chairman of a local campaign group set up to oppose the site, said: "We are very pleased with the outcome of the planning process. Not only did it make no economic sense, but these unsightly turbines would have had a terrible impact on the Ryder Cup when it comes to Scotland.

"The windmills would be situated very close to the course and any the backdrop of the television broadcasts would have meant they were clearly visible.

"When you watch golf on television the cameras quite often pan round the area and you see the views of the area.

"With many golfing tournaments the views often look as though you can be a million miles from anywhere, but these structures would have ruined that backdrop and setting."

A report by Matthew Hayes, of Welsh-based West Coast Energy, said the wind farm would have helped towards the Scottish Government's latest targets for renewable energy: "The wind farm will lead to some visual impact. The benefits outweigh the local effects."

But councillors questioned his claims that the turbines would produce 20 megawatts of electricity – enough power for 11,000 homes.

Councillor Ian Campbell said: "In actual fact, the efficiency of these things is about 20 per cent, so it would only churn out about 4MW."

In total, 208 letters were received in support of the wind farm, with 291 against, while supporters argued a community trust fund would bring economic benefits.

Councillors rejected the proposal after finding it would "negatively impact landscape character and visual amenity", as well as views from strategic transport routes. .                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

The Galloway News has gone global.

A report by Stuart Gillespie on the inaccuracies in Community Windpower's Environmental Statement for the proposed Mayfield wind farm will be seen all over the world after being picked up by National Wind Watch.

The newspaper report details some of the mistakes made by the wind farm developers and believe me there are plenty more discrepancies throughout their statement.

For those of you who haven't had the chance to read the article just click here

It is difficult to predict the ultimate height to which wind turbines will evolve but thanks to the laws of physics one thing is guaranteed – the current design will only get bigger. 

General Electrics are introducing new turbines which will have a hub (tower) height of 130m.  That's equivalent to the overall tip height of the proposed Mayfield turbines.  Add another 80-100m on for the blades and the total height would be approximately 220m (nearly 700ft) .

Increasing the size enables sites previously considered to have too low a wind speed to be utilized and allows for higher energy production.   (Maybe the actual output will finally reach the 30% capacity frequently quoted by wind farm developers!)

Initially, the unlucky residents of Scandanavia, Germany, Poland, Romania and Canada will have the 'honour' of living next to these monsters.

Click here to read more

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TW 312 recently met with some of the MSP candiadates (Alex Ferguson, Aileen McLeod and William Scobie) standing for the Scottish Government elections in May.  We meet with Jim Hume next week.

Our purpose was to highlight the proliferation of wind turbine applications around the Kirkcudbright, Castle Douglas and Gatehouse area.  Below is a sample letter we have given to them.

Please ask your candidates where they stand on this issue of wind farms and voice your concerns to them.

 

Letter to MSPs

Scottish Government policies relating to wind power could offer protection to rural communities, rural landscape, rural wildlife and rural businesses.  At present, because of the presumption in favour of wind farms, planning policies are biased in favour of developers at the expense of local people.

We have set out below a number of suggestions that we believe could improve the situation.

1. There is a need for a greater number of designated zones/areas to be kept free from turbines and protection of Nationally and Regionally designated areas should be absolute.

2. There is a need for a minimum setback distance of 2 km from properties to protect residential amenity.

3. There is a need for comprehensive and up-to-date standards in relation to noise measurement/ monitoring.  The ETSU-R-97 standard is grossly out of date.

4. There is a need for comprehensive and forceful guidance on cumulative impact.

5. Local businesses are suffering from the adverse impact of wind farms.  Tourism and tourism-related businesses, e.g. B&Bs, guest houses, hotels, restaurants, cafes, recreation providers (golf, riding, cycling, fishing) are all losing out.  Estate agents, solicitors, and those working to improve properties (plumbers, electricians, etc) are significantly affected as property sales stall as a result of wind farm applications, construction and operation. 

6. The high cost of wind farm electricity being passed on to consumers through the ROCs and Feed-in Tariff systems is pushing more and more people into fuel poverty.  The system needs a complete overhaul as it is grossly unfair to the general public who are, in the main, unaware of the method by which renewable energy costs are being recovered by developers and suppliers of electricity.

7 There is a need to give local communities greater say in planning decisions.  There is a very real feeling within communities that their views don’t count, they are in effect disenfranchised.
 
8 There is a need to stop the inclusion in planning applications of documents relating to Community Benefit that seek to bribe communities.  If Community Benefit is discretionary it should not be taken account of by planning officers or committees and, therefore, should not be included in the planning application submission.

9 It is difficult to see how any member of a planning committee does not have a conflict of interest when a portion of Community Benefit is to be used by the local council for region wide projects.  Such procedures militate against objectivity in the public eyes, which in turn undermines faith in democracy and alienates local communities.

10 There are significant vested interests earning huge sums of money at the expense of the quality of life of local people.  These are powerful interests often hidden from view that have little regard for the local community.  There is a need to redress the balance in favour of the local voice.

Scotland, with just a 0.2% portion of global CO² emissions, can be rightly proud of its sustainable environmental credentials. Scotland’s world-renowned landscapes attract people from all over the world, it remains forever in the hearts of Scots abroad, it is a phenomenal asset that, together with its special wildlife, should be safeguarded by all against commercial exploitation.  Dumfries and Galloway has an important and distinctive landscape and its assets should be safeguarded for all but first and foremost for local people.

Anything you can do at Government or Council level to prompt greater awareness of these complex issues and which will lead to more robust National and Local policies will be greatly appreciated.

Yours sincerely

On behalf of TW312

Sadly this week, the Blackcraig development that Alison Chapman and GLARE have worked so hard to prevent, was approved by the Scottish Government.  This on the day the Parliament closed for the May elections.

The Robin Rigg extension and Wigtown Bay 'offshore' proposals were dropped from the Marine Plan, which is great news for Dumfries and Galloway.  However, we have concerns that this will put undue pressure on 'onshore' wind farm applications to be approved.

TW 312 have concentrated on the Mayfield application for the past month,  In the meantime other proposals have appeared in the planning system:-

18/03/2011 West Barmoffity Kirkpatrick Durham CD   11/E/2/0021     2 X 21m          Awaiting Submission
11/03/2011 Muirhead Farm Twyholm   11/E/2/0020     1 X 27m   Awaiting Submission
11/03/2011 Balmangan Farm Dundrennan   11/E/2/0019     3 X 39.6m   Awaiting Submission
04/03/2011 Furmiston Criag Carsphairn   11/P/2/0088     80m mast   Not Decided
04/03/2011 Quantans Hill Carsphairn   11/P/2/0087     80m mast   Not Decided
04/03/2011 Kirkmabreck Carsluith Creetown NGR 248820 556130 11/P/2/0084     1 X 45.9m   Not Decided
03/03/2011 Blaiket Mains Haugh of Urr   11/P/2/0083     2 X 39m   Not Decided
21/02/2011 Ernespie Dairy Castle Douglas   11/E/2/0018     1 X 39.6m   Awaiting Submission
21/02/2011 Blairshinnock Farm Kirkgunzeon   11/E/2/0017     1 X 27m   Awaiting Submission
22/02/2011 Cambret Hill Creetown   11/E/2/0016     1 X 45m   Awaiting Submission
21/02/2011 Trostrie Farm Twynholm   11/E/2/0015     1 X 66.6m   Awaiting Submission
17/01/2011  Culnaightrie Farm Auchencairn   11/E/2/0005      1 x 70m   Awaiting submission
 

The planning application number provides information about the stage the porposal is at.  For example 11/P/2/0001

'11' means the application was registered in 2011.

'P' indicates an application for full planning permission

'2' indicates the proposal is for the Stewartry area  (1 = Wigtownshire,   3 = Nithsdale,   4= Annandale and Eskdale)

'0001' is the number allocated to identify each application

 Any application with an 'E' instead of a 'P' means the applicant has applied to the planning dept for a scoping opinion and it is not yet a full planning application.   A scoping opinion identifies any issues that will need to be taken into consideration when applying for planning permission.

 

The closing date for comments on Mayfield Wind farm has now passed.

Thank you to everyone who objected. There are over 150 objections lodged though we cannot be sure of the exact number yet.

 

Today is the last chance to submit an objection to the proposed Mayfield Wind farm.  You have until 4.30 pm, so if you haven't sent yours in yet, please do so now.

TW312 has been working hard over the past couple of months.   To raise awareness of turbine proliferation around Kirkcudbright, Castle Douglas and Gatehouse areas, we have printed and delivered over 1,500 leaflets.  Thank you to everyone who helped with  distribution.

We will update the blog more regularly now so please check back soon to see what's happening.

The Mayfield Community Wind Farm application is now live. 

You have until the 24th March to submit your objections.

Why should you object?

The development is located in a tranquil area just over 3 km from Rhonehouse, in landscape types which have been identified as only being suitable for 'small scale' wind developments.  This, when turines were only half the proposed height. 

Local residents are going to suffer increased noise and at certain times of the year, shadow flicker.

TW 312 has concerns that the number of proposed developments around the area are going to negatively impact on tourism and businesses in Kirkcudbright, Castle Douglas and Gatehouse.

We need your help to stop the inappropriate siting of wind farms around our main tourist towns. 

If you would like help on submitting an objection, including valid grounds for objecting and where to send it,  just click here

How else can you help?

We also ask that you contact your community council and request them to lodge an objection on behalf of your community.  This is very important.

Make sure your friends and neighbours know about the application, ask if they will send an objection to the planning department and contact the community council to make their views known

Thank you from TW 312

TW312 received a comment from Pete and Jen Sandle who live in Denbighshire.  We thought it deserved a post of it's own:-

What are you thinking of up there in desecrating a beautiful lanscape with the obscenity that calls itself wind energy?
We live with turbines that have despoiled our beautiful part of Denbighshire. Local communities mistakenly thought that these installations would bring money into the are. How wrong can you be?

The only people who make money out of these are the developers who often even sell on their permissions. New owners claim enormous government subsidies for an inefficient energy system – all so that an eco box can be ticked by council and government.

Wake up! These turbines lie idle much of the time. They do not generate the electricity promised (they are always maximum output figures). The are unsightly, and guess what? THEY ARE NOISY. We suffer from a constant low level hum and we are four miles away. When the wind is in certain a direction the noise is disturbing, sounding like a large harvester working just a few fields away.

We have found that one installation is never enough. As soon as the turbines go up the developers seek permission for more – and bigger- monsters.

Keep fightinmg and say no while you still have the chance. Be warned by our experience. Turbines are not neighbour friendly.

Keep your lanscape or lose your visitors (and annoy residents in the process!)

 

Recently, large numbers of applications have been received or are awaiting submission around Kirkcudbright, Castle Douglas and Gatehouse of Fleet, which if approved would result in 50 turbines ranging in height from 40m – 130m,  that's approximately 135ft – 430ft!

 

Most of these developments are within a 6 mile radius of Kirkcudbright – just imagine 30 x 100m+ industrial turbines spread over 6 sites surrounding the 'Artist's Town' – is that really the vision we want to promote for our area? 

 

A report by Glasgow University, commisioned by the Scottish Government in 2007, looked at the economic impact of wind farms included Dumfries and Galloway.  Here are some of their findings:-

 A predicted loss of £4.08 million and 277 jobs – this is the equivalent to 6%.  We maintain this is a gross under-estimate as the number of turbines are set to increase significantly.  The report was written when operational wind farms were up in the Galloway hills and Dalswinton was still being constructed.  At that time there were no plans for any developments to be located so close to the main Stewartry tourist centres.

 

"Most aggrieved tourists simply relocate elsewhere in Scotland (without wind farms)"

"It is important to maintain wind farm free areas and publicise the fact"

"A large number of small developments are not popular"

"The value of the scenery to tourists declines with the construction of a wind farm"

 

All these comments are warning against what is about to happen in our highly prized tourist area!

 

There are currently seven onshore wind farms operational in D &G, with a total of 115 turbines.  An additional 60 offshore at Robin Rigg contribute to a total of 175 turbines capable of producing 338MW (that's if they could operate at full capacity all the time!)

 

A further 122 turbines at five locations have been consented but not yet constructed.  These could theoretically generate 342MW which is already a doubling in capacity.

 

With 1500MW at various stages in the planning system we could see another 350 turbines on land and 190 off shore at Wigtown Bay and the Robin Rigg extension. 

 

20 applications for meterological masts have been received which indicate more turbines of an unknown number.  Add to this the 70  suggested by scoping opinions and the overall total could increase anywhere from 100-200.

 

This means if all applications were approved D & G could see over 700 large turbines across it's beautiful landscape and lets not forget the 250 off shore. 

 

The vast majority of these turbines will range from 100m – 130m in height. 

 

 To get an idea of their size just look at our scale montage comparing them to Kirkcudbright Parish Church and McClellan's Castle      click here  then click on the picture for a larger version.

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