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24 Oct 2012, 17:00 Ros Donald Photo: Martin Pettitt Are people getting sick because they live near wind turbines? Opponents to windfarms have been collecting testimonies alleging that communities near wind developments have been suffering a clutch of symptoms they're calling 'wind turbine syndrome'.
Does it matter that the power Britain relies on to make the country glow and hum no longer belongs to Britain? After all, the lights still shine. The phones still charge. Does it matter that the old electricity suppliers of eastern and north-west England and the English Midlands, the coal-fired power stations of Kingsnorth, Ironbridge and Ratcliffe-on-Soar, the turbine shops at Hams Hall, the oil and gas stations on the Isle of Grain, Killingholme, Enfield and Cottam are the property of E.ON of Düsseldorf? Is it of significance only to sentimental Little Englanders that the former electricity boards of Tyneside and Yorkshire, the power stations at Didcot in Oxfordshire, Fawley in Hampshire, Tilbury in Essex, Littlebrook in Kent, Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, Little Barford in Bedfordshire and Staythorpe in Nottinghamshire belong to RWE of Essen (the last being the only one the German company built itself)?
Hilltop turbines are being blamed for myriad maladies. What is the truth behind these outlandish claims? NEW technology has long attracted " modern health worries ". Microwave ovens, television and computer screens and even early telephony all caused anxiety in their time.
Wind energy is developing very rapidly and over 30 GW of capacity was installed worldwide in 2009. It is also continuing to mature, with rotor diameters and ratings steadily increasing. Now there are several commercial designs available with rotor diameters exceeding 100 m and ratings exceeding 5 MW. Although the majority of developments are installed onshore, offshore wind is slowly taking off and there are plans for around 40 GW in Great Britain alone. The rapid growth has been accompanied by better understanding of the design issues, so that blades, towers, and other components are now lighter than they were 30 years ago and can be produced more efficiently. The most significant trend in recent years has been the move towards direct-drive generators, eliminating gearboxes that have, at times, been troublesome.
Plans for dramatic cuts in government subsidies for onshore windfarms are being drawn up by the Treasury in a move that seriously undermines David Cameron 's claim to be running "the greenest government ever". The Observer has learned that George Osborne is demanding cuts of 25% in subsidies, a reduction the industry says would "kill dead" the development of wind power sites. The Treasury's stance has put the chancellor at loggerheads with the Liberal Democrat energy secretary Ed Davey, whose party strongly supports more renewable energy . Osborne, whose reputation has taken a dive following his widely criticised budget and a subsequent string of U-turns, has been under heavy pressure from Tory MPs to reduce the billions spent on green commitments. In February more than 100 Conservative backbenchers wrote to the prime minister demanding cuts to the £400m a year public subsidies for windfarms which they see as evidence of too much Lib Dem influence over coalition policy.
An aerial protest against wind turbines: a quarter of the people in the UK oppose them, while 60% support them. Photograph: Tim Tucker /Alamy Politicians are slaves to opinion polls, goes the conventional wisdom: not in the case of wind farms. Two-thirds of us think more wind turbines are a good idea, even when sited close to our homes and even if we live in the countryside. Yet, as I revealed on Sunday, George Osborne's Treasury is fighting hard to slash the subsidies to onshore wind farms , while Lincolnshire county council wants to all but ban them.
A protester demonstrates against the use of fossil fuels and the policies of energy firms attending the The UK Energy Summit conference. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images A senior Conservative has warned that dithering ministers and weak civil servants were risking the lights going out in Britain.
Wind farms link to rising temperatures could have detrimental impact on wildlife and weather, say scientistsAir temperatures around four of the world's largest wind farms have increased by 0.72C in a decade Earth's average temperature has risen by 0.8C since 1900 By Rosie Taylor PUBLISHED: 01:51 GMT, 30 April 2012 | UPDATED: 10:17 GMT, 27 June 2012 Wind turbines could warm local climates up to ten times faster than the natural rate, a study has shown. Air temperatures around four of the world’s largest wind farms have increased by up to 0.72C in a decade, researchers have found. In contrast, Earth’s average temperature has warmed by only 0.8C since 1900.
23 April 2012 Last updated at 04:32 ET By Richard Black Environment correspondent, BBC News Renewables are greatly favoured over fossil fuels for electricity generation, polls suggest More Britons than not regard subsidies for wind power development as a good deal, an opinion poll suggests. Commissioned by trade body RenewableUK, the Ipsos-Mori poll found that 43% see the UK subsidy as good value for money against 18% who do not.
The figures show a slightly higher enthusiasm for wind power than a Guardian poll in March. Photograph: Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images Two-thirds of the UK public are in favour of wind power according to a new poll, published on the same day as a national anti-wind campaign launches in parliament .
The ICM/Guardian poll shows that 60% of Britons would now support the building of a windfarm within five miles of their home Local opposition to onshore windfarms has tripled since 2010, a new Guardian poll reveals, following a series of political and media attacks on the renewable technology. However, a large majority of the British public (60%) remains firmly in favour of wind power , while also opposing the building of new nuclear or coal power plants in their local area.
Renewable energy generation expanded significantly and carbon emissions fell by 7% in 2011. Renewable energy generation was responsible for 9.5% of all electricity supplied in the UK in 2011, failing to hit the magic 10% mark that had been predicted, according to the latest energy statistics from DECC . But this is an increase of 35.1% on the previous year, when renewables accounted for 6.8% of all electricity. The lion's share of this was from thermal renewables, i.e. biomass, landfill gas and waste-to-energy, which accounted for 13.27TWh, and onshore wind which accounted for 10.42TWh. Renewable electricity capacity also rose, by 32.1% on the previous year to 12.2 GW at the end of 2011.
8 April 2012 Last updated at 17:45 ET By Paul Moss The World Tonight Huge investment will be needed if the Danish government's goals are to be met The politician wanted to make one thing absolutely clear. "We are not," she said, "just hippies." Perhaps it sounded a little over-defensive, but then what Lykke Friis was defending was a remarkably bold initiative. Denmark has announced that by the end of this decade, it will produce a third of its energy from renewable sources - wind power, in particular, but also solar power and the burning of "biomass."
Iceland could soon be pumping low-carbon electricity into the UK under government-backed plans for thousands of miles of high-voltage cables across the ocean floor. Photograph: Alamy The volcanoes of Iceland could soon be pumping low-carbon electricity into the UK under government-backed plans for thousands of miles of high-voltage cables across the ocean floor. The energy minister, Charles Hendry, is to visit Iceland in May to discuss connecting the UK to its abundant geothermal energy .
The UK must cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images The battle over how the UK should meet its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 is at its most feverish in the energy sector.