Just not enough wind here

I REFER to the article ‘Where seeing isn’t believing’ in last week’s Gazette.

In the article, Richard Garland from George F White states that: “The application as submitted is accompanied by a huge amount of high-quality studies and supporting information...”

Unfortunately, as far as I have been able to make out, this did not extend to data on the most fundamental requirement of a wind turbine namely wind.

Having lived in Old Bewick for the past 19 years, I know that the winds in this area are, in general, relatively moderate.

I have, therefore, several times a day since August 1, been measuring and noting wind speeds here which is a mere 1,200 metres downwind of the proposed site.

I have kept the NCC planning officers informed of the results.

To date out of 2,640 hours (30 per cent of a year), there have been 245 hours when the wind has exceeded 3.5metres/sec, that is about nine per cent of the total time.

I do not know the characteristics of the proposed turbine but it is highly likely that, to achieve rated output, wind speeds higher than 3.5 m/s will be required.

So the turbine, even allowing for winter and spring storms, is very unlikely enough to run at even 10 per cent capacity, probably enough to run about 17 electric fires of 3kw and nothing else.

At this level, the revenue, even at 22.7p/unit feed-in tariff, is very unlikely to be sufficient to pay the interest on the loan needed to finance the scheme with no hope of ever paying off the capital.

So we have a somewhat unique position here that if the scheme goes ahead, there are virtually no benefits and everybody loses, including the developer.

If only George F White had put some effort into the most basic measurement of wind speed, it would have become obvious that the proposal is not commercially viable and could have saved a great deal of time, effort and expense by the Harehope Estates, the scores of objectors, the parish councils and National Park committee and the NCC planning department.

I Sturrock,

Old Bewick,