Letter: Wind is blowing towards turbines

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The Independent Online
Sir: In his letter of 4 December, vice-chairman Robert Woodward of Country Guardian is at least consistent. He dislikes the look of wind turbines and the impact they have on the landscape. Fair enough; the question of what is beautiful and what is ugly is essentially a subjective matter and it is inevitable that there will be varying opinions.

However, there are many aspects of wind power generation that are not open to subjective assessment. In consistently ignoring the huge technical progress of the last 10 years (to suggest that today's machines have the same power output relative to their size as they did 100 years ago is nonsense), which has helped reduce the price of wind-generated electricity from over 11p per kilowatt hour to under 5p in the most recent non-fossil fuel bid round, he underlines the paucity of his case.

Mr Woodward also stresses his view that wind turbines can never make a significant contribution to our energy requirements. The new generation of turbines will enable around 12 per cent to be produced without the need for wind turbines "on every hill". And without the need for a "heavily subsidised price". Of the levy we all pay on our electricity bills, 95 per cent goes to the nuclear industry, only 5 per cent to renewables.

Perhaps in choosing to make a (misleading) comparison between output from wind power and that from the coal-powered Drax power station, Mr Woodward was administering the coup de grace to his own foot. A recent report has identified Drax as the dirtiest power station in Great Britain, responsible for considerable damage to several Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Ironically, the Department of the Environment spends significant sums to protect SSSIs. When it comes to truly clean power, wind and water are impossible to beat, a fact which happily is being recognised by an ever-increasing number of people.

Yours sincerely,

Simon Gourlay

Knighton, Powys

4 December