Mr Cooper representing the Sykamore Small Wind Company argues that most of the power generated by the Wiles Farm development at Dawsmere will be used on the farm and that little power would be sold through the national grid (Spalding Guardian January 2).
On how many days will the 12 small turbines generate electricity? At the times when there is insufficient or too much wind to generate electricity the Wiles farm will need to draw electricity from the national grid.
To guarantee an equal output of electricity from wind would require twice the capacity of the proposed development on at least two other development sites, on one of which, hopefully the wind would be blowing. The fall back position would be using carbon generated electricity.
Wind is a free energy source. On shore wind energy costs twice the current price of conventional electricity. Customers subsidise wind generated electricity.
Erratic power from wind arrays disrupts the stability of the national grid which could sometimes result in Sykamore Small Wind being paid to close down its turbines when national demand for power is low or to maintain the stability of the grid.
Customers are already paying through their bills increased charges set by the national grid for realigning the grid’s transmission network to link onshore and offshore wind arrays to the existing transmission grid.
The Wiles Farm’s smaller turbines may be judged less visually intrusive; may not constitute a significant threat to the wildlife nor significantly diminish the public’s right of access but must inevitably diminish public amenity. This application raises issues of contradictory factual evidence and aesthetic judgements. There is a growing rash of small individual commercial turbines or small wind arrays whose accumulative impact is eroding the Fenland landscape.
Shrinking the size of each turbine while multiplying their number could be seen as a subterfuge to ally opposition.
I strongly believe that small scale rural energy cooperatives utilising a range of alternative energy options can meet the energy needs of rural communities while minimising any negative impact on rural amenity and reducing the energy costs for local residents.
Local community ownership with minimum erosion of local amenity would be more acceptable to local communities.
Sykamore Wind will be paid a higher price for any energy it sells to the national grid because it’s “clean green energy” and on occasions be paid not to produce energy.
Local residents face environmental degradation for no compensatory financial gain. That gain accrues to a private company.
MP John Hayes argues that this application is contrary to the commitment to give local communities a greater say over whether or not wind array applications are acceptable in their communities.
If this development is approved planning consent conditions must ensure that any financial gain is shared with those directly affected by the erosion of their amenity.