THANKS for the publication of Mr Farnsworth’s letter in last week’s Gazette raising the point that the wind turbines now set to go ahead at Wandylaw and the rash of others planned for the county are only economically viable thanks to massive subsidies that each and every one of us are paying through ever increasing energy bills.
However, the figure quoted of £50,000 per year per turbine is a little wide of the mark. The actual figure is more to the tune of £300,000 per turbine per year and this is in subsidy alone.
Imagine that, an income of almost £1,000 for each turbine per day – guaranteed for 25 years.
In an age where we are seeing care homes for the elderly shut down, jobs being shed (one of the primary reasons for the closure of the Alcan plant was rising energy costs), schools unable to meet maintenance bills and the NHS being asked to slash its care budgets, we are attempting to fulfil a totally unachievable renewable energy commitment destined to cost at least £100billion pounds by 2030 (source: The Renewable Energy Foundation).
The now useless turbines at Defra in Alnwick are a small version of what we may well be letting ourselves in for if the current race for the renewable wind subsidy is not halted in its tracks. Vestas, a Danish company that is one of the largest manufacturers of these turbines has recently issued a profit warning for the year, questioning the long-term viability of the firm. 125-metre-high washing lines anyone?
The problem is compounded when our own planning authority seems hell-bent on making Northumberland the dumping ground for these inefficient and costly eyesores, despite total overwhelming objection to the proposals by the residents who actually live here.
In the latest issue of Northumberland News, the county news magazine (itself a bone of contention after managing to cost around £250,000 in its first 10 months of production), we see a rosy picture of our policy makers’ vision for the county sporting three wind turbines sitting alongside castles and homes.
However, the scale is somewhat inaccurate and I have taken the liberty of correcting this based upon the 125-metre structures which make up the majority of the current swathe of planning applications being made.
It could be said that our regional planners have no choice in this matter, that they are only following the directive from central government, no matter how grossly misguided, unachievable and damaging to the unique landscape of our region it is.
However, I’d like to think that we and those who are paid to represent us, are better than that and we all have the courage to stand up to this madness which in a few short years, will surely be seen as the folly it truly is.
Caring for our county – you bet your life we will.