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Discussion > Govt. response to e-petition against onshore wind

I have just received this email:

Dear Mike Post,

The e-petition 'We do not want any more onshore wind turbines/farms in Norfolk or elsewhere in the UK.' signed by you recently reached 13,007 signatures and a response has been made to it.

As this e-petition has received more than 10 000 signatures, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change has provided the following response: We are grateful for petitioners taking time to sign the e-petition online and for expressing concerns on onshore wind farms. The government believes that onshore wind should be part of our diverse energy mix, which will also include conventional gas and other forms of low-carbon generation. Onshore wind is by far the cheapest large-scale renewable energy source. Reports by ARUP and Parsons Brinckerhoff commissioned by DECC in 2011, found that the cheapest onshore wind has a cost of £75/MWh, which is around the cost of nuclear at £74/MWh. Wind energy is variable but that does not mean it is an inefficient source of energy. Wind turbines tend to generate electricity for around 80-85% of the time and are able to harnesses the maximum potential from the wind resource. Wind power provides a home-grown source of electricity that does not produce carbon dioxide. The electricity system always has more generating capacity available than the expected demand, so by having a diverse energy mix, we can manage the fact that some technologies are variable. Having a mix means that if there is a problem in one part, we have a better chance of keeping the lights on, and doing so affordably. We understand concerns about the visual impacts of wind farms. It is important that they are sited correctly and developers are required to minimise any adverse effects through siting, layout, landscaping and design. Wind farm developers are required to carry out a rigorous analysis of the impacts that their projects are likely to have on the local environment through an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Planning applications for onshore wind farms can be, and are turned down due to landscape and visual amenity concerns. Wind farms have to be located to make best use of the available resources and every planning application is considered on its merits, taking into account advice from statutory advisers on issues like environmental impact. A considerable amount of research has been undertaken, both in the UK and elsewhere, to determine the significance of any impacts of wind farms on wildlife. Data collected from a number of wind farms have indicated that for the majority of wind farm locations there is little or no evidence of a significant impact on birds. However, careful site selection is still extremely important to avoid potentially significant impacts. The RSPB has noted in its own reports that ‘the majority of studies indicate that bird collision mortality rates per turbine in the UK are low’. By way of context, the number of birds killed by domestic cats is around 55 million a year. The Government’s view is that wind farms do not have a direct effect on the public health. A number of independent peer reviewed research studies commissioned by DECC’s predecessors at DTI and BERR, and by Defra have looked at the impacts of noise from wind farms and concluded that there is no evidence of health effects arising from infrasound or low frequency noise generated by wind turbines. However, we are keen to keep this issue under review. With regards to concerns about tourism: by way of example, the UK's first commercial wind farm at Delabole in Cornwall received 350,000 visitors in its first ten years of operation, and the visitor centre at Whitelee wind farm near Glasgow attracts 100,000 visitors per year. A recent study carried out by DECC has shown that onshore wind farms have brought economic benefits at both national and local level, supporting around 8,600 jobs and worth £548m to the UK economy. Of this, around 1,100 jobs and £84m investment occur at the Local Authority level. As part of EU-wide action to increase the use of renewable energy, the UK has committed to generating 15% of our energy from renewable sources by 2020. Generating electricity from renewable technologies is more costly than from long-established fossil fuelled technologies. If we are to meet our challenging 15% target therefore, support needs to be provided to these technologies to ensure that they are viable. The Renewables Obligation (RO) is currently the Government’s main financial incentive for large scale renewable electricity, including wind power. This requires supply companies to source a specified and annually increasing proportion of their electricity sales from eligible sources of renewable energy or pay a penalty. The RO is a generation based subsidy, meaning support is granted for each MWh of electricity actually generated. A wind farm will, therefore, only receive support when it generates. Lower capacity windfarms will generate less renewable electricity and therefore receive a lower RO subsidy. Every unit of wind energy that replaces a unit of high carbon energy is a unit that reduces our emissions and our dependence on imported fossil fuels, lessens our exposure to volatile oil prices, and improves our security of supply. There is a cost to energy security, but it is nothing like the cost of energy insecurity. This e-petition remains open to signatures and will be considered for debate by the Backbench Business Committee should it pass the 100 000 signature threshold.

Oct 26, 2012 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Post

The banging sound you can hear is my head against my desk. When the people in charge are as blinkered as this- "Wind energy is variable but that does not mean it is an inefficient source of energy"- not to mention the rest of that communication from the Sec of State for Energy (him again) - what can we do to be saved? .

Oct 26, 2012 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Yep, complete garbage. Sack Davey for telling lies.No sack him for the ultimate crime, stupidity.

Oct 26, 2012 at 12:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

The RSPB has noted in its own reports that ‘the majority of studies indicate that bird collision mortality rates per turbine in the UK are low’. By way of context, the number of birds killed by domestic cats is around 55 million a year.

This is typical Big Wind spin. Domestic cats mainly kill your common-or-garden birds (literally), whereas turbines are likely to have a predilection for rarer species like raptors. Notice that no number is given for wind turbine kills, so as not to alarm the gullible. Are 1000 sparrows as valuable as one endangered eagle? I don't think so. And the silence of the greenies on this issue is deafening. So much for their sincerity.

Oct 26, 2012 at 1:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

Chris, since when was the RSPB part of "Big Wind"?

Oct 26, 2012 at 4:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

this is identical to a letter I got from my MP when I asked a question about the Govt insistenece on renewables. Representative democracy is all but dead in the UK because of the patronage system of the Executive. If you want a ministerial position, you have to spout the party line.

and notes the "expertise" of bitty's latest attempted smear to disrupt the thread. Bitty, Chris did not say that the RSPB was part of "Big Wind". You nneed to read the play-book more attentively.

Oct 26, 2012 at 7:39 PM | Registered Commenterdiogenes

The RSPB is a hugely rich charity with an income well over £100m/year, Big Bird if you like. It is part of the bien pensant establishment and won't rock the (very comfy) boat. And it does have connections with Big Wind.

The RSPB is not funding the construction of the turbine; our partner, Ecotricity, will cover all costs of planning and construction. No money raised from members, legacies or grants issued to the RSPB will be used in this project.

The RSPB is well and truly part of the alarmist big-end-of-town groupthink.

RSPB Chief Executive Mike Clarke said: 'Wildlife is on the frontline when it comes to climate change. For many species this means that unless we get a handle on our carbon emissions now, extinction is on the horizon. That's why the RSPB is here today – by backing green business we can stop this from happening and give our economy a boost at the same time.

The original aim of the society now seems to be almost an afterthought.

Oct 27, 2012 at 1:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

Indeed the whole website is a climate alarmist's wet dream.

Why a wind turbine?
Why does the RSPB support renewable energy?

We support the use of renewable energy as an essential part of the fight to tackle climate change, which is considered the biggest threat to global biodiversity. Science suggests that one third of land based species could, by 2050, be committed to eventual extinction without extensive action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

We fully support the Government’s target to source 15 per cent of energy from renewables by 2020 and the Scottish Government’s target to obtain 100 per cent of electricity from renewables by 2020.

As one of the UK's leading environmental organisations, it is important that we play a pro-active role in leading action towards meeting national carbon reduction targets – particularly given our concern about the threat of climate change to birds and wildlife.

We favour a broad mix of renewables, including solar, wind, and marine power, as long as they are sensitively sited to avoid impacts on wildlife and the wider environment.

Oct 27, 2012 at 2:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

Attempts to download this 2004 report resulted in the message 'Bad Request'.

The question is, has this report been suppressed, at least for public viewing?

Oct 27, 2012 at 2:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

Chris, from the RSPB website:

The RSPB is exploring the possibility of locating a single wind turbine on a field adjacent to our headquarters at The Lodge near Sandy, Bedfordshire.

So if they can be part of Big Wind with one turbine, my collection of waste oil in a pot under the sink must make me part of Big Oil! Hey now I'm an oil baron! Nice one!

One would think the RSPB, who know something about birds, would go into the matter of fatalities fairly carefully. They seem to think it is safe to plant a turbine, but you know for sure that turbines are raptor shredders. It sounds as if they need your expertise (you do have some, don't you?).

Oct 27, 2012 at 3:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

The Scottish wind farm sensitivity map has also gone missing. WTF is going on?

Oct 27, 2012 at 3:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

Don't be silly BB. Go to their site with your eyes open. You will find the answers there.

Oct 27, 2012 at 3:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

It's here:

Oct 27, 2012 at 5:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

or perhaps here...

Oct 27, 2012 at 5:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket


"They seem to think it is safe to plant a turbine, but you know for sure that turbines are raptor shredders."

Well here is some evidence for you. I admit it's probably a set-up by those same people who faked the moon landings.

Oct 27, 2012 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Post

".....onshore wind has a cost of £75/MWh, which is around the cost of nuclear at £74/MWh"

But the Royal Academy of Engineering seems to think that wind is more than twice as expensive:

Oct 27, 2012 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

Conservation of species is about as brain dead an idea as it is possible for even a congenital idiot to come up with.
There are reasons why 99% of all the species that have ever lived are no longer with us and there are good solid conclusions one can draw from that.


Constantly changing atmospheric composition over the 4.5 billion year life of Earth (eg moving from 800,000 ppm CO2 to 400 ppm).
Constantly changing climate from hothouse to ice box and back again.
Super Volcano eruptions.
Asteroid impacts.


It is normal for almost all species to become extinct, the few survivors are those best able to adapt to change.
Until and unless man learns how to control Super Volcanoes and Large Asteroids then any money spent tinkering around with conservation is money totally wasted.

Oct 27, 2012 at 1:45 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Dung, I didn't realise you were a reaper as well as a space cadet. Strange that you want to conserve the human race by inventing intergalactic travel ("Life on other planets" thread) but are so relaxed about the species we depend upon. But what does it have to do with onshore wind?

Oct 27, 2012 at 5:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket


Oct 27, 2012 at 7:06 PM | Registered CommenterDung

What are these species that we "depend on", please?
Before replying you might like to read this.

Oct 27, 2012 at 7:15 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson


That was a very interesting link and a good basis for a discussion but I would feel guilty starting it on this thread ^.^

Back on topic: The Telegraph has Osborne doing a deal with Davey which seems to make no sense at all? Apparently Davey has agreed to cut back on the construction of onshore wind farms, so far so good. However Osborne has therefore agreed to increase the governments overall investment in renewables!

Oct 27, 2012 at 10:41 PM | Registered CommenterDung

No Mike, of course not. I'm sure you, Space Cadet and Mr Pile can dose yourselves with antibiotics to purge your micro-biomes (better to be 'pure' humans), feed yourselves on vitamin pills, protein pills and sugar lumps and board the Cadet's spaceship to Alpha Centauri. Bon voyage!

Oct 28, 2012 at 12:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

There's a fatuous bloody comment, if ever I saw one.
Doesn't answer the question. But then of course why would I ever have expected you to?

Oct 28, 2012 at 8:47 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Fatuous? If you think that 8 billion people can survive on earth independent of nature then you should be the ones to try living without nature's support. A life on a spaceship knocking back pills seems suitably removed from nature's influence.

Hopefully 'reapers' such as you (those who consider nature to be there for humans to reap as they will) are a small minority among those who call themselves climate sceptics. I doubt you will get much support for your ideas of human exceptionalism. Certainly no biologists reading will support your position.

Oct 28, 2012 at 2:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket