Sir: C. B. Moynihan (ex-Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy) writes that "The power output of the average wind turbine is set to double in the next few years", but he does not say why. The reason is that the latest turbine proposals are for much larger turbines - there is no magic technological improvement, nor can there be, because the output of wind turbines is directly determined by the swept area of the rotor.
The wind power industry, having gained a few outrageous consents for 300-350 kW turbines over the hills of Wales, Cornwall, the Yorkshire Moors, the Lake District and other beautiful places, is now trying to exploit that precedent by massively increasing the size of turbines.
Here in Gwent, on a beautiful hill above Caerphilly, Mynyddislwyn, there is a planning application by Sir Alfred McAlpine for a "demonstration" 1000 kW turbine that is as high as a 27-storey building and has a rotor with a diameter the size of a 20-storey building. Even if all further wind power stations were allowed to use such monstrous machines, more than 12,000 would still be needed to produce just one-tenth of our annual electricity consumption.
I do not believe the public will ever accept these thousands of turbines, visible on every hill from every hill. In principle, wind power is a good thing and we support it; but the only place where it might be practical in useful amounts is off-shore, well away from low-lying coasts, in shallow waters.
There are plenty such sites where large groups of turbines could be deployed, and this is where the Government ought to be diverting its huge subsidies.
John S. L. Edwards
Vice Chair, Gwent Branch
Campaign for the Protection of