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Shetland windfarm - Viking Energy


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I'm not saying that tidal energy production is not an option, just that it is not the cheapest option. It would be interesting to know the production costs of the Strandford lough system compared to the cost of a 3MW wind turbine (assuming a load factor of 50% for a Shetland based turbine).


And before you jump on me for comparing the cost of a prototype with the cost of a commercially available wind turbine, I mean the production costs of a mass produced system.


Anyway, the option we are being offered is a wind farm. When a proposal is made for a tidal system I will support it just as strongly. :wink: I think we should do both.

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Promoters overstated the environmental benefit of wind farms


The wind farm industry has been forced to admit that the environmental benefit of wind power in reducing carbon emissions is only half as big as it had previously claimed.


By Patrick Sawer

Last Updated: 8:14AM GMT 21 Dec 2008



The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) has agreed to scale down its calculation for the amount of harmful carbon dioxide emission that can be eliminated by using wind turbines to generate electricity instead of burning fossil fuels such as coal or gas.


The move is a serious setback for the advocates of wind power, as it will be regarded as a concession that twice as many wind turbines as previously calculated will be needed to provide the same degree of reduction in Britain's carbon emissions.


A wind farm industry source admitted: "It's not ideal for us. It's the result of pressure by the anti-wind farm lobby."


For several years the BWEA – which lobbies on behalf of wind power firms – claimed that electricity from wind turbines 'displaces' 860 grams of carbon dioxide emission for every kilowatt hour of electricity generated.


However it has now halved that figure to 430 grams, following discussions with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).


Hundreds of wind farms are being planned across the country, adding to the 198 onshore and offshore farms - a total of 2,389 turbines - already in operation. Another 40 farms are currently under construction.


Experts have previously calculated that to help achieve the Government's aim of saving around 200 million tons of CO2 emissions by 2020 - through generating 15 per cent of the country's electricity from wind power - would require 50,000 wind turbines.


But the new figure for carbon displacement means that twice as many turbines would now be needed to save the same amount of CO2 emissions.


While their advocates regard wind farms as a key part of Britain's fight against climate change, opponents argue they blight the landscape at great financial cost while bringing little environmental benefit.


Dr Mike Hall, an anti-wind farm campaigner from the Friends of Eden, Lakeland and Lunesdale Scenery group in the Lake District, said: "Every wind farm application says it will lead to a big saving in the amount of carbon dioxide produced. This has been greatly exaggerated and the reduction in the carbon displacement figure is a significant admission of this.


"As we get cleaner power stations on line, the figure will get even lower. It further backs the argument that wind farms are one of the most inefficient and expensive ways of lowering carbon emissions."


Because wind farms burn no fuel, they emit no carbon dioxide during regular running. The revised calculation for the amount of carbon emission they save has come about because the BWEA's earlier figure did not take account of recent improvements to the technology used in conventional, fossil-fuel-burning power stations.


The figure of 860 grams dates back to the days of old-style coal-fired power stations. However, since the early 1990s, many of the dirty coal-fired stations have been replaced by cleaner-burning stations, with a consequent reduction in what the industry calls the "grid average mix" figure for carbon dioxide displacement.


As a result, a modern 100MW coal or gas power station is now calculated to produce half as many tonnes of carbon dioxide as its predecessor would have done.


The BWEA's move follows a number of rulings by the ASA against claims made by individual wind farm promoters about the benefits their schemes would have in reducing carbon emissions.


In one key adjudication, the ASA ruled that a claim by Npower Renewables that a wind farm planned for the southern edge of Exmoor National Park, in Devon, would help prevent the release of 33,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere was "inaccurate and likely to mislead". This claim was based on the 860-gram figure.


The watchdog concluded: "We told Npower to ensure that future carbon savings claims were based on a more representative and rigorous carbon emissions factor."


The ASA has now recommended that the BWEA and generating companies use the far lower figure of 430 grams.


In a letter to its members, the BWEA's head of onshore, Jan Matthiesen, said: "It was agreed to recommend to all BWEA members to use the single static figure of 430 g CO2/kWh for the time being. The advantage is that it is well accepted and presents little risk as it understates the true figure."


This is now the figure given on the BWEA's website. The organisation will also be forced to lower its claim for the total amount of carbon dioxide emission saved by the 2,389 wind turbines currently operating around Britain.


But the association denied the change weakened the case for wind farms.


Nick Medic, spokesman for the BWEA, said: "Wind farms are still eliminating emissions. The fact is that fossil fuel burning power stations belch out CO2 and wind farms don't. That has not changed.


"The fact is we need to reduce carbon emissions, however you account for them. But there are people who just don't like wind farms and will use any argument against them."



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Promoters overstated the environmental benefit of wind farms


It is astounding that Government policy and huge investment decisions have been made on the basis of such out-dated assumptions. Surely this must raise the concern that the comparative benefit of windmills could be further eroded over the next 5 to 15 years as conventional power stations become "cleaner" and as other forms of renewables become more efficient and cheaper than at present. Not to mention the carbon footprint of the manufacture and erection of the windmills, especially the removal of peat.


Windmill power is neither cheap nor efficient compared to other methods, and will only be viable so long as it is subsidised. Is there not a danger that at some point in the future the subsidies may be withdrawn if windmill generation loses its comparative benefit, at which point the capital invested in such projects will be lost?

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Guest Anonymous

Best case scenario will be that Shetland becomes a big dynamo for the central belt , niether will we make any money out of it or be provided with cheaper electricity , and as far as the global release of co2 is concerned it will be like farting against very heavy thunder.

I have signed sustainable shetlands petition now and hope there campaign is sucessful .

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I don't know alot about the VE project. I suppose I am like alot of Shetlanders in that I am not against wind-power in principle but I am against this project because of the scale of it.


I'm not sure people should be comparing it to the Burradale wind-turbines because the VE ones are twice the size?

Surely you would need cranes for maintainence.


Also what are the going to do with the peat during construction?


My dad worked on the building of the Lang Kames road and said they had a problem getting rid of the peat. They filled in lochs to try and get rid of it.

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While everyone is concerned, quite rightly, about the aesthetic impact of the windmills and the massive disturbance of peat, we shouldn't lose sight of the enormous commercial and financial risks involved with this project. If it goes ahead, and subsequently goes wrong for whatever reason, it seems that it has the potential to lose a very large part of the Charitable Trust's total fund. This is because the amount at risk is not only the amount invested directly but also any amount that the SIC may put forward as guarantee to the Banks, and although this hasn't been decided yet as far as I know, it wouldn't surprise me if they are prepared to put up huge guarantees if that's what it takes to get the project going. This needs to be watched closely, but the problem is, will the public know anything about it before the deal is done?

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Guest Anonymous

^^ Perhaps, my dear Scunnered, you've missed the point somewhere along the line.

I, and many others, are certain that the SIC intend to piss away every penny at their disposal.

Within 2 - 3 years the SIC will be penniless. Lord knows, they're trying hard enough to reach that goal. :lol:

Just let them get on with it, they're having fun being idiots. :roll:

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When a proposal is made for a tidal system I will support it just as strongly.

Although I am generally of the "energy from the oceans" persuasion, I find that comment a bit revealing. Surely you mean you will support it, "when a proposal is made, and it is a good proposal"? What you've written sounds like you have decided on principle to support all "alternative" energy schemes before they have even been designed.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Most local shops have (or had) a petition for people to sign.


Oh tell me about it! I refused to sign the one in the charity shop, and the woman looked at me as if I had just told her that I ate children!


I've had more or less exactly the same reaction! There are people going around with these petitions who seem most shocked and appalled that people may have a differing opinion to them and don't want to sign. I also think that there are quite a number of people that are signing these petitions without fully knowing or understanding the facts behind the project. That said, I wouldn't say that I fully back it, I am still undecided.

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  • admin changed the title to Shetland windfarm - Viking Energy

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