No more suitable wind farm sites

MARK Richardson, Senior Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables (Letters, January 23) tells us that a recent review by the University of Edinburgh conclusively showed that wind farms pay back the carbon produced during their construction within two years. He didn’t mention the highly-polluting and toxic mining process, manufacture, transportation, operation or decommissioning process which accompanies wind farm construction but perhaps that was an oversight. From a Google search, I located what appeared to be the mentioned document dated 2015.

It showed that for onshore farms built on peatlands where no effort has been made to mitigate the effects of wind farm construction, payback time would be significantly extended and those constructed on forested peat lands would not achieve carbon payback at all if they were constructed after the mid-2020s.

A locational analysis of Scottish wind farms estimated that 74% of greater than or equal to 50 MW wind farms were built on peat. Amazingly all wind farm applications tell us that the peat is degraded to some extent and should consent be granted for the wind farm, operations will be undertaken to restore “some” of it at some point in time which probably never arrives.

If Mr Richardson believes, as he says, that further development must be sited in the right place then thankfully there shouldn’t be any more wind farms as all suitable sites have long since been taken.
Aileen Jackson, Uplawmoor

• I THANK Mark Richardson for his response (Letters, January 23) to my letter of January 20) on the future of Britain powered by wind.

If he is so sure of this, could he please explain why I have a four-page letter received on January 5 from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, entitled “Helping You Prepare This Winter” and telling me that I am in Rota Block E for rolling power outages planned by the National Grid in the event of a prolonged cold spell.

Surely, in his own mind Mr Richardson must know that we cannot rely on variable wind for our electricity, simply because when there isn’t enough wind there isn’t enough electricity, no matter how many windmills there are.
Malcolm Parkin, Kinross

• THE TV news recently mentioned how some householders will be paid to use less electricity at certain times due to people using more energy in colder weather (“Grid may pay today”, The Herald, January 24). This is only a half-truth. Some areas like Scotland, the West Country and western Wales are probably using less energy as temperatures are unseasonably mild in these areas. But my main point, and they didn’t mention this, is that UK wind speeds have collapsed, resulting in electricity from wind falling from around 14,000 MW (megawatts) six days ago to around 4,000 MW for the last 48 hours and counting.
Geoff Moore, Alness

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