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Green power and green places

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: February 20, 2013

  • The Last Original Wind Turbine at Delabole

  • Carland Cross Wind Farm Cornwall

  • Picture by Jonathan Jacobs. 10/03/2008. The Carland Cross wind farm.


  • Picture by Jonathan Jacobs. 10/03/2008. The Carland Cross wind farm.

  • 1. One of the original wind turbines at

  • The first of the new turbines gets into action under a black sky at Delabole

  • A Vestas 52 wind turbine, the same as the two to be installed near Penryn

Comments (6)

WHEN it comes to producing renewable energy Cornwall is one the leading counties in the UK, and with nine wind farms and hundreds of individual turbines dotted across the county, wind power is playing an increasingly prominent role in our quest to be green.

"Cornwall is nature's playground when it comes to renewable resources," says Ed Gill from Good Energy, which operates Delabole wind farm in North Cornwall. "We have a huge amount of wind resource."

As a result of our plentiful and consistent wind supply the county has become a hotspot for wind turbines in recent years and the number of applications for wind farms and individual turbines is continuing to rise.

Over the past five years Cornwall Council has received more than 500 planning applications for wind turbines across the county, of which 314 were approved. Throughout this time the number of applications steadily rose each year, from 67 in 2008 up to 219 in 2012.

However, as the number of applications has increased so have calls for greater protection of Cornwall's landscape.

Environmental groups Cornwall Protect and the CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) are campaigning for more account to be taken of the impact wind turbines have on the countryside.

A spokesman for both organisations said: "Many country-dwellers resent the deep beauty, which is composed of natural features of their rural locations, being stolen from them in favour of turbines which disrupt landscapes through their huge stature, constant motion and metallic structure."

The two groups argue for a greater balance between the need to protect the landscape and the need to invest in renewable energy programmes.

"What we can do is to achieve a balance between our renewable energy needs and landscape harm. The balance we must strike is between our rights and obligations.

"Both sides now recognise concern for the planet must be translated into local action in the place where they live."

Cornwall's councillors are in the process of finalising the Core Strategy, also known as the Local Plan, a framework for how future decisions will be made regarding wind turbines, as well as all other planning policies.

The council is considering proposals to introduce buffer zones, which would mean no wind farms could be built within 800 metres of residential properties or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

One more extreme option under consideration proposes an almost total block on any new planning permissions for large-scale wind farms in Cornwall.

Cornwall Council said in a statement that it aimed to find a balance between protecting the environment and developing renewable energy generation in the county.

"The role of the local planning authority is to balance the desire to protect the local environment, in particular the outstanding features of the Cornish landscape and its value to the economy and tourism, with the need to encourage deployment of renewable energy generation," it said. "This is a challenge which the council takes seriously."

Although all turbines must meet set criteria before permission is granted, each application was decided individually.

"In its role as the local planning authority, the council is required by law to judge all applications on their merits on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the environmental, economic and social costs and benefits," the council said.

Environmental groups are calling for communities to have greater involvement in planning renewable energy projects to minimise the effects on local residents.

The CPRE and Cornwall Protect spokesman said: "Each community in Cornwall and Devon should be tasked with drawing up a plan to initiate sustainable energy projects and the parish members should have control over how conspicuous these projects will be."

Those living near wind turbines should also receive a share of the financial gains: "There should be a right to buy into the profits of any turbine which the parish has permitted. Wind turbines in Germany and Denmark are often entirely owned by local co-operatives or local authorities who pay a ground rent to the landowner."

Projects such as local tariffs for residents are becoming increasingly popular in the UK and Good Energy, which operates the Delabole wind farm, is one such company which is offering local people discounts on their energy bills.

Residents in Delabole have also benefited from a community fund which has been put towards Christmas lights and installing hand-dryers at the local school.

Ed Gill from Good Energy said: "The tariff and the Delabole community fund are part of a wider approach we take to ensuring that our renewable energy projects benefit those living closest to them.

"The fund, which is independently run by members of the local community, has played an important role in developing that approach."

With lower energy bills for residents living near wind farms and local community funds benefiting the local organisation, the negative effects of living next to the machines may be somewhat dampened, but for some these perks will do little to alleviate their fears about the future outlook of Cornwall's landscape.

As the Government attempts to reach its target of 15 per cent renewable energy generation by 2020, wind power looks set to become an increasingly important component of energy production in the UK.

The decisions now being made regarding a policy framework for wind turbines in Cornwall will play a key role in determining the county's contribution towards creating a greener future and what effect this will have on the county's iconic landscape.

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  • moliner  |  March 05 2013, 11:19AM

    IvorWard Some of your facts are straight and some warped. You say wind turbines do nothing "to save the planet" (presumably you're talking CO2 and climate change). In Spain, wind power (22GW) has been the top electricity producer November 2012-Feb 2013 inclusive, beating gas, coal (and nuclear). It covered 18% of total power consumed last year, 20% estimated this, 28% planned 2020. You think that does not offset CO2? On the contrary, gas and coal plants have been taken off-line. Those dirty power operators are joining you in moaning about wind because they are losing their dirty profits? They would LOVE to read and repeat your ill-founded arguments (that is, if you are not one the them). According to Deloitte, Spanish wind also pumped more back into the economy by way of taxes, jobs and trade balance than it took out in the way of "subsidies". You call those subsidies a "gift"; Spanish legislation calls them compensation for avoiding the damage that coal and gas produce (and who pays for that damage? Yes, muggins). You say wind turbines have been round as long as cars. That is totally misleading. Car manufacturing has been subsidised to the hilt, as has oil and gas production and exploitation. Because fossil fuels were cheap, wind power was not helped along. But now, the only thing stopping it working is the dirty power lobby and nimbies. In Brazil, wind is now cheaper than gas fired power and the wind market is booming without subsidies. So, I throw it back to you. Get your facts straight. Or rather, don't use irrelevant facts (unless you have a dirty power agenda to support). Ta

    Rate   9
  • max5500  |  March 02 2013, 8:51PM

    yep but I dont think windturbines got the same investment as cars did back then did they? because there wasn't the demand for them and there for no stimulus for their advancement. It's only recently that their demand has increased due to climate change and constricted fossil fuel demand. And wind turbines are becoming more advanced, as are all other renewable technologies. There is still a lot of work to be done, but I think large wind turbines in the right locations such as the carland cross repowering are part of the solution. There will always be loads of people who say no to any change and why. But as far as any constructive ideas to get over the problems the country faces; nothing.

    Rate   2
  • IvorWard  |  February 23 2013, 8:13PM

    by max5500 Thursday, February 21 2013, 1:12PM "yeah, since they don't work perfectly efficiently straight away let's not use or develop them at all." Get your facts right first, Max: Wind turbines have existed for 126 years. In July 1887, a Scottish academic, Professor James Blyth, built a cloth-sailed wind turbine in the garden of his holiday cottage in Marykirk and used the electricity it produced to charge ac***ulators which he used to power the lights in his cottage.[28] His experiments culminated in a UK patent in 1891.[29] In the winter of 1887/8 US inventor Charles F. Brush produced electricity using a wind powered generator which powered his home and laboratory until about 1900. http://tinyurl.com/97ahk Petrol cars are 127 years old and we have got to formula 1 and the MacLaren F1. What have wind turbines developed into? 3 useless blades on a stick. On January 29, 1886, Benz applied for a patent for his "vehicle powered by a gas engine." The patent – number 37435 – may be regarded as the birth certificate of the automobile. In July 1886 the newspapers reported on the first public outing of the three-wheeled Benz Patent Motor Car, model no. 1. http://tinyurl.com/as8aneu So the first automobile came along 18 months before the first wind turbine.

    Rate   1
  • max5500  |  February 21 2013, 1:12PM

    yeah, since they don't work perfectly efficiently straight away let's not use or develop them at all. After all the first car ever made did 60MPG. Let's continue with coal fired power stations (oh, as long as they are hundreds of miles away from MY beautiful backyard)...

    Rate   1
  • Pentewan Sands  |  February 21 2013, 1:37AM

    The total wind energy contributions to actual grid usage(this is from DECC) amounts to 0.186% of our energy needs. How much more landscape do we have to destroy before demonstrating the total inefficiency of this method? And how much more damage will our economy have to suffer - in household energy subsidies on our bills, in damage to rural B&Bs, in surcharges on all energy -reliant businesses in Cornwall? ENOUGH already: what on earth do our stupid planners / Councillors think they are doing?

    Rate   4
  • IvorWard  |  February 20 2013, 9:59PM

    If I was making £225,000 per annum, inflation proofed for each wind turbine I managed to foist on the Cornish Countryside I am pretty sure I could stretch to a couple of hand dryers for the local school and a few Christmas lights. We are all contributing to the destruction of the Natural beauty of the Cornish Countryside whether we like it or not because for every megawatt that these things drag out of the air Mr Edwards and his ilk gets a freeby present of £42 from the electricity bills that we all pay. This is in addition to being paid for the actual electricity. Do these things make the slightest difference towards "saving" the planet. Not a bit. Our electricity supply accounts for only 20% of our power consumption. The 4300 turbines already in existence can only manage about 3% of that 20%, so far 0.6% of the total. The total anthropogenic contribution of CO2 is only 3%, the other 97% occurs naturally. The UK component is only 2% of the 3% total. At this point my calculator runs out of decimal places because when you start working out 2% of 3% and 3% of 20% that the 4000 turbines are managing to mitigate then the number is so small as to be irrelevant. You could save more CO2 by letting the trees grow in the hedgerows instead of massacring them with chain cutters every year. So that is just what wind turbines are: Irrelevant, over subsidised industrial blots on the landscape. As Professor Lovelock, the originator of the Gaia theory recently wrote: "We need take care that the spinning windmills do not become like the statues on Easter Island, monuments of a failed civilisation."

    Rate   5