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Wind generates more subsidies than power

I can appreciate Simon Maden’s concern at any downturn in demand for the wind turbines he markets and installs (Wind turbine company hits out at ‘negative spin’, October 18).

They are obviously not proving the gold mine he had hoped.

However, in seeking to blame Andrew Joicey for his local planning difficulties, he is wide of the mark. The planners in Morpeth were given plenty of warning that their treatment of turbine applications was inconsistent and potentially flawed, yet chose to press on regardless of any advice they received.

The fact that they decided not to contest Mr Joicey’s application for Judicial Review would suggest they were not confident of their position.

When it comes to wind turbine applications it seems that the planners are prepared to accept, uncritically, developers’ claims, and allow a degree of latitude denied other types of application.

Thus, whilst a centimetre can be significant when it comes to the size of roadside signage, metres may be of little consequence when considering the height of a wind turbine.

Unlike those in neighbouring authorities, our planners appear to have failed to get to grips with the impact of wind turbines on our landscape.

So-called “farm” turbines are increasingly industrial scale installations, remote from existing steadings and standing out like sore thumbs in the countryside.

It is unfortunate that Mr Maden seems to believe the hype punted by the wind industry which has steadily had to scale back its claims on CO2 reduction and turbine efficiency. This is hardly a sound basis on which to make investment decisions.

The reality is that wind is intermittent and unreliable. It may generate 10 per cent of electricity demand one moment, but nothing the next; hence the need for expensive and inefficient back-up generation capacity.

The National Grid has actually been paying wind farm operators not to generate electricity because it cannot match unpredictable output with actual demand.

The wind industry generates more subsidies than power. Consumers are all paying a tax on their energy bills to fund the developers and installers.

The Berwick area has one of the highest levels of fuel poverty in the country. The cost of subsidies paid to producers must be one reason for this.


Berrington Lough


Benefits of wind turbines ‘spun’ out of proportion

Your article about “negative spin” in relation to wind turbines (Wind turbine company hits out at ‘negative spin’, October 18) raises some issues to which, as the apparent accused party, I feel I must respond.

First of all I am saddened to hear that Simon Maden’s business has had to shed some employees. I have always wished Simon well with his business venture, and I admire all those who are bold enough to set up viable and much-needed business enterprises in the Berwick area.

Renewable energy is certainly hailed by many as a growth area. However, I have equally expressed great caution about investing in wind energy development for two main reasons.

One is that its impacts are clearly controversial in planning terms and, depending on scale and location, can be highly unpopular with the local population and detrimental to many other local interests.

The second is simply that the benefits of wind turbines have been “spun” out of proportion by the wind industry, while the costs in terms of resulting increased electricity bills, have been disguised.

These factors together should ring warning bells for anybody who risks jumping onto the heavily subsidised wind section of the renewable energy bandwagon.

Finally, to put the record straight, I did not make any objection to the planning application for the turbine at New Haggerston.

What I did do was to point out that Northumberland County Council’s planning department failed to carry out proper procedure when bringing this and other applications to the planning committee for consideration.

These failures were conceded by council officers with no argument. This is hardly “argumentative and disruptive”.

Like a great many other people however, now that this particular turbine has been erected, I have to say that I find its visual impact far wider reaching than we were led to believe would be the case by both the applicant and the planning officers.


New Etal, Cornhill

Turbine subsidies cause inflated energy bills

I take issue with Simon Maden’s comments as reported in the Advertiser two weeks ago (Wind turbine company hits out at ‘negative spin’, October 18).

Mr Maden complains of his wind turbine business tailing off and blames the “argumentative and disruptive” behaviour of Andrew Joicey.

On the contrary, Andrew Joicey deserves a medal for his superhuman efforts in protecting the people and landscape of this area. Has Mr Maden ever considered the possibility that his business isn’t healthy because the majority of people have seen through the giant fraud that is wind energy and want nothing to do with it?

Mr Maden’s latest idea is a proposal to erect two of his own 45-metre wind turbines on the higher land to the south west of East Ord village and claim the payments himself.

We have a duty to protect and enhance our landscape, not desecrate it with useless wind turbines as has happened in so many other areas of the country and any plans will be resisted.

He makes fatuous claims in his pre-planning literature about supplying local electricity to local homes, knowing full well that he would be supplying the National Grid with pitiful amount of electricity but be paid huge amounts of money to do so. One might ask where his income will be coming from and the answer is the pockets of electricity users.

If he were to be giving us all free or discounted electricity then he might be getting somewhere.

However, he will be earning as much as £225,000 per annum (his figures) for this development, all paid for by us, so that we can be cheated on our inflated energy bills and have our rural landscape disfigured at the same time by industrial structures which, in this case, would be the same height as the Guildhall in Marygate.

Please think again, Mr Maden.


Ord Mains, Berwick

Planning permission ought to be vigorous

I WAS astonished to read in the Berwick Advertiser that a 62-foot wind turbine has been put up at New Haggerston without planning permission.

Many people have to go through innumerable hoops just to knock down an internal wall that doesn’t affect anyone else. And I am equally astonished that the company concerned, Maden Eco, has been willing to jeopardise its reputation – and investment – through several misleading statements.

The New Haggerston turbine is a 50KW turbine, so its owners’ prediction that it will yield 150,000 – 200,000KWh is extremely optimistic.

The yield would appear to be based on an efficiency level (load factor) of around 45 per cent. This is highly unlikely as even the most frequently quoted industry figure of 30 per cent is considerably higher than many wind turbines actually achieve. Mr Maden might aspire to supplying its neighbours with electricity, but, based on the company’s own theory of exporting electricity to the grid, when the new turbine stops working, all the neighbours lights should go out!

And, of course, what Mr Maden did not say is that it would receive around £40,000 annually from feed-in tariffs – plus export tariffs of another £6,000 – all subsidised by every electricity consumer in the country for the next 20 years.


Cairnbank, Duns