Siân Lloyd is a weather presenter and campaigner against the plan to erect wind farms in Mid Wales. She joined more than 1,000 others on the Senedd steps to protest on Tuesday. Now, she writes an exclusive guest blog arguing why wind power isn’t right for a green Wales.
By Siân Lloyd
I’ve been banging on about the dangers of global warming for a fair few years now. Way before it became fashionable to do so. In fact, when I first started working for the Met Office nearly 20 years ago, I had to be careful about what I said. In those days, global warming was seen as more of a belief system than a hardcore fact. Nowadays we all — give or take a few fringe loonies –realise we have to do something about it.
Until a few years ago, like a lot of other gullible people, I bought into the whole wind farm thing. As a weather forecaster dealing with wind on a daily basis, I have to admit that even then I had nagging doubts about the reliability of wind. After all, it’s erratic by its very nature. But, we had to diversify the sources of our energy and reduce fossil fuel, etc., etc., and wind farms seemed to be the way ahead.
Now this, in my opinion, is part of the problem. Wind farms were probably the first source of alternative energy that most of us came across, and a highly visible one at that. But because these turbines already exist, it doesn’t mean they are THE solution. Simple research shows they are not.
The most superficial of probing reveals that wind power has serious environmental effects, insufficient production and costs obscene amounts of money. At times when customers have the greatest needs, it’s typically not available. Ironically, in strong winds the turbines are often switched off because they get damaged so easily. And when we have a blocking high pressure giving us freezing cold temperatures — exactly what we experienced last winter — there’s no wind at all. So when we need the electricity the most, these turbines are at their least effective. And what takes up the slack? Yes, you’ve guessed it, the filthy dirty coal-powered stations. That’s a very black shade of green.
In the meantime, stunning natural countryside like that in Montgomeryshire is sacrificed. Rural communities become one gigantic power plant and our electricity bills rocket in order to support this colossal sham. No extra jobs are created and research shows that tourists stay away. Mid Wales can wave goodbye to a big chunk of the £400 million a year that tourism brings to the area if these wind monstrosities are forced upon us. It’s economic nonsense.
The wind industry and politicians are being allowed to pull the wool over our eyes. False performance predictions are fabricated — the turbines will never operate anywhere near their claimed levels — and the powers that be have signed away MILLIONS of our money. We, the tax payers, are subsidising these white elephants that currently produce less than 3% of our electricity.
But WAG is infatuated with wind power and seems determined to go down this lemming route, whatever the cost. And then there’s TAN 8, an undemocratic catastrophic policy dumped on the non Labour voting chunk of Wales. This should be stopped and no planning permission granted till information on the cost of this madness to the economy of Wales is published.
But it’s not just the lunacy of wind farms; it’s also the lunacy of the ugly landscape destroying infra-structure — the sub-stations, the many miles of power cables and the support pylons needed for the connection to the National Grid. The scale of these proposals is landscape vandalism on an epic scale. And for what?
In order to support the bubble of illusion surrounding wind power. There are other renewables out there. And the cost of SAVING energy is half the cost of PRODUCING it. For the price of subsidising one turbine you could insulate 500 houses, and in just a couple of years save the amount of energy one turbine produces in its whole lifespan.
I have never seen the people of Montgomeryshire so angry, passionate and worked up, as witnessed in the protest outside the Senedd in Cardiff earlier this week. If Carwyn Jones didn’t get the message on Tuesday, then he’ll get it loud and clear when the normally placid folk of Middle Wales start taking direct action. Make no mistake about it, if this abomination is allowed to go ahead, the National Assembly will never be forgiven.
Follow Siân on Twitter @weathergodess.