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Thread: The road to Knoydart

  1. #41
    Goon JH's Avatar
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    Ahhh, Mr Blobby himself. A quick Google reveals it so Andy. This explains a lot. In particular my "I think REF are exagerating the anti wind case. For what reasons I don't know."

    By the way, in my previous post when I said "REF seem to have a problem with the low capacity factor of windpower, or at least, let journalists believe....." I didn't mean Cameron in particular. In fact I had seen an article with much of what Cameron said, and that info seemed to come from this press release:

    http://www.ref.org.uk/pressrelease.php?id=38

    where they make much of capacity factors without explaining the significance.

    John


  2. #42
    Goon
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    OK guys, let's agree to disagree. You might not want to believe the research from REF. I don't believe what comes out of the UK Energy Research Centre, the DTI, the power companies or indeed, anything that comes out of the mouth of a Mr Tony Blair.
    However, we do obviously have one thing is common - the need to protect the wild land that, we say, we love. What can we do about it? Is anyone else prepared to lobby politicians in the run-up to the May elections? Is anyone else prepared to join the MCof S, the BMC, the Ramblers etc and join them in fighting the cause. If you love wild land then surely, to remain silent is no longer an option?

  3. #43
    Goon JH's Avatar
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    "Is anyone else prepared to lobby politicians in the run-up to the May elections?"

    I see Alex Salmond said: "There is a real difficulty with public acceptance of onshore wind. There should be a cap on future developments. We should concentrate the development of onshore wind into suitable areas."

    http://www.sundayherald.com/business..._snp_plans.php

    But should we believe the Sunday Herald, Alex Salmond or any other MP :-)

    I'll certainly be looking at joining an organisation if it's objectives look similar to mine. I'm not interested in a blanket anti wind policy. A few months ago I was looking at the John Muir Trust but it wasn't clear what their windfarm policy was exactly, and I was to lazy to find out. But I like the idea of them actually owning land rather than telling other people what they should do with theirs.

    Maybe TGO could spell out what the various organisations policies are. An "On Test" sort of article like you do for insulated jackets.

  4. #44
    ‹bermensch Chris Townsend's Avatar
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    JH, you can find the MCoS policy on developments in mountain areas here:

    MCoS Development in Mountains Policy

    The MCoS doesn't have a blanket anti wind farm policy as you can see. I do declare an interest though as I am on the MCoS Access & Conservation Committee. We always need more support!

  5. #45
    Goon JH's Avatar
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    Thanks Chris.

    And here's the John Muir Trust policy:

    http://www.jmt.org/responses-to-issues.asp

    Clearer than when I looked a few months ago.

    John

  6. #46
    ‹bermensch Jim Chalmers's Avatar
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    Both the MCof S and John Muir Trust policies seem to be similar to what you were suggesting, Cameron.

    What about a TGO feature on the policies of the various Scottish political parties wrt wind power stations on wild land during the run-up to the May election?

  7. #47
    ‹bermensch Andy Howell's Avatar
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    JH,

    I remember Mr Blobby in the Foot and Mouth crisis, speaking at a Farming Today public event in the South West. He spouted the most amazingly barmy conspiracy theories.

    There are some odd things I think on that REF site. The CEO - talking about the European crisis last year - seems to think windpower is to blame if you read between the lines of official reports. I can't see anything that would suggest this but if he does have a point he hasn't documented it well.

    Most people accept that there is an issue of constant supply from wind turbines but most experts seem to think that these are being exaggerated dramatically.

    Other fuels have problems with production and supply. The Dinowic reservoir complex near Llanberis, in Snowdonia, was designed - I understand - to deal with the excess capacity of the nuclear plants in the North West. Excess nuclear capacity was used to pump water up through the mountain to the top lake where the energy was officially 'stored'. When demand was high the water would drop through the mountain and turn the turbines. But there were apparently times when the water was released downwards with the turbine not engaged.

    I don't know how often Dinowic is used these days. I guess a similar tactic could help wind generated supplies - but then we'd need similar reservoir systems which would no doubt create more problems with the flooding of more valleys. Maybe somebody who is more technically minded could shed some more light on this.

    One of the key components of energy strategy must be energy reduction, something that I think is not being taken seriously enough. Government should be doing much more to raise building standards and to support the upgrading of existing public housing. But individually we have a lot to do as well. Personally, I try and only walk in areas that I can get to - and around - by public transport. This is not always possible but for 90% of the time I have no problems with this.

    On the last note, I thought Ronald Turnball's piece in a recent TGO where he tackled the three peaks by public transport was a good piece - shows us all the way forward.

  8. #48
    ‹bermensch Jim Chalmers's Avatar
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    Vanadium flow batteries may be a promising technology for storing wind energy through the flucutations.

    There was a article about them in the January 13 New Scientist, but you need to be a subscriber to read it on-line.

    The hydro-electric power station at Cruachan is also a pumped-storage scheme.

  9. #49
    ‹bermensch Andy Howell's Avatar
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    The Vanadium looks interesting. These days I'm more sceptical about the notion that science will solve problems in sensible time scale, but battery technology is one area that seems to be developing quite quickly.

  10. #50
    ‹bermensch Chris Townsend's Avatar
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    Storage of wind power in batteries does seem to be developing. As I said above I don't think arguing that wind power is inefficient is the way to defend wild land. Technical problems can be overcome.

    Another interesting piece appeared in The Guardian recently showing that solar power using mirrors could solve energy needs, though long power lines for transmission would still be needed:

    Mirror Power

  11. #51
    Goon JH's Avatar
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    My understanding of the Dinorwig & Cruachan Pumped Storage Schemes is that thay are there to provide power very quickly when reqd - ie when everybody turns the kettle on at half time. A reserve of steam is kept at some power stations for the same reason. This is not quite the same as smoothing out the longer term ups and downs of windpower, these reserves can only operate for short periods of time. The electricity generated is worth considerably more than that generated by other means.

    How about smart metering or dynamic demand or whatever it's called? The varying cost of generating electricity is passed on to the consumer. Appliances and machinery are "aware" of this cost and react accordingly. The fridge or immersion heater knows not to turn on when everybody turns the kettle on at half time - (because at half time Dinorwic aand Cruachan turn on and the price of electricity increases). This seems a very achievable technology compared with batteries (what would the cost of batteries be to keep just your house going for a few days?)

    But as Andy says, conservation is the easiest technology. Andy, you forgot to mention "Munros without a car" - Ian Mitchell - in this months TGO. Great stuff.

    This brings me back to my ongoing gripe with TGO - the promotion of air travel. This is okay if TGO just wants to be a travel magazine, but TGO wants to be the voice of saving the wild places as well, and in the CO2 debate the two are just not compatible. I'm not trying to deny anybody the occasional trip abroad; I'm not even trying to persuade magazines from having foriegn travel supplements; I'm just trying to persuade one magazine that it's very influencial voice is sounding a bit hollow.

    I know the editors have deep and genuine concerns about the fate of our wild places, and I know that my occasional critiscism must be a ****** pain in the neck. I know they're stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to juggling the finances of the magazine, and obviously the foriegn travel supplement brings in advertisers. But in answer to Cameron's question "What can we do about it?" - ditch the foriegn travel supplements, talk up our home hills even more to increase their percieved worth, and as a result have a voice which is focused on this problem.

    I know this isn't likely to happen (very quickly), but as long as TGO compomises it's own voice, it can hardly be suprised if politicians compromise our countryside.


  12. #52
    Goon
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    Yes, TGO is between a rock and a hard place. We can dump our trek and travel advertisers and go bust - that is one option. All that will happen is those advertisers will spend more money with our competitors, none of whom ever raise a voice against those who would destroy our wild land, with the possible exception of Climber magazine.
    Our reader surveys tell us that the majority of our readers travel overseas to trek at least once a year - so should we dump them too?
    And what will happen to a country like Nepal if everyone decides not to travel there? The repercussions of that could do more harm than climate change.
    It's easy to suggest the simplistic argument that people shouldn't fly, or that we should travel by public transport when we go walking. I wish I could - where I live public transport is very few and far between.
    I don't believe TGO is compromising its own voice. We will campaign against those who seek to destroy wild land, and that includes those want to build large scale wind factories on it, just as we've campaigned for better access to the hills and mountains. And, incidentally, I'll probably fly abroad to hike this year, if only to walk in an area that is not littered with wind turbines.

  13. #53
    ‹bermensch Chris Townsend's Avatar
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    I think one point worth making is that walkers/skiers/mountaineers who fly abroad then tend to have minimal carbon emissions while away other than the flight. Flying somewhere and then walking for 2-3 weeks or more is much more environmentally friendly than flying somewhere, hiring a car and driving round for 2-3 weeks.

    Also it depends if flying is necessary. I go to the Alps and Pyrenees by train, which I prefer to flying (who likes airports?) but I fly to the USA and Nepal.

    And again, although the effect of air transport is growing it's still tiny compared with domestic/industrial output and ground vehicle usage. Reducing impacts all round is important.


  14. #54
    Mini Goon
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    Oy Townsend, have you forgotten?

    10,000 words on inflatable kitchen sinks by 4.30pm or you don't get to go on the works outing.

    Seriously, that's a reasonable point by CT. While I was hiking the PCT in 04 I reckon I must in some ways have saved a few lumps of electric ore, despite the flights there and back. Can't substantiate that of course.

    Can't claim the same for my New Zealand trip though, as in addition to the hiking Steph and I had to drive a long way between trails.

    Apologies if the ? hands-up, it was a self-indulgence ? trip upset one or two folks but I hope the article at least entertained. Still, I'd rather go and write about it than go and not write about it.

    Thought of the emissions that trip cost was one of the reasons we didn't in the end fly to Morocco for a few weeks at the end of last year. Spent a few days in the Lakes instead.

    Anyone else blown out an overseas trip cos they were concerned about the impact? If enough people did it - and if Blair took a better lead on such matters - there must for sure be some impact, however slight.

  15. #55
    ‹bermensch Jim Chalmers's Avatar
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    While waiting at Teneriffe South airport last week ( after a holiday on La Palma walking and using local buses) we counted 32 flights scheduled for the UK during a 3 hour period. And this was low season away from school holidays.

    How many of the folk on them were counting their environmental impact, so you think, or travelled around on the local buses instead of hiring a car?

  16. #56
    Goon JH's Avatar
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    "Flying somewhere and then walking for 2-3 weeks or more is much more environmentally friendly than flying somewhere, hiring a car and driving round for 2-3 weeks.".......Chris

    Whoa Chris, that sounds like a line of argument best avoided and unlikely to win friends. Also, a quick look at online calculators suggests 1800kg of CO2 per person on a return flight to LA, and 180kg of CO2 per person (assuming two people) for a car driving 1000miles. So 10% more per person overall.

    You could add that the car people are more likely to use other energy too - air conditioning, showers etc, but I'm not sure I like this "holier than though" argument.

    In any case, as I said, it's not personal flights I'm objecting to here, it's TGO's need to promote them at the same time as trying to defend our wild land. In much the same way as public opinion wasn't very impressed with Mr Blobby flying around in a helicopter AND telling us we shouldn't have windturbines. But unlike Mr Blobby who coulod have cycled (Ha), it looks like TGO is stuck with foriegn travel supplements.

    "And what will happen to a country like Nepal if everyone decides not to travel there? The repercussions of that could do more harm than climate change."

    I'm not sure what you mean by this Cameron.

    John

  17. #57
    ‹bermensch Chris Townsend's Avatar
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    JH, I don't think this is a holier than thou attitude and I think it is a line worth pursuing. It's part of trying to reduce impact. If everyone reduces their impact it can have an effect. A few people being really holier than thou - not flying, not driving, etc - won't have the same effect though the same individuals might feel self-righteous.

    As to TGO, well that's the reality of magazine publishing. Groups like the RSPB in favour of green energy and worried about climate change sell foreign holidays and run advertisements for them too. I don't think there's any contradiction between defending wild land and promoting adventure holidays abroad anyway. The answer to rapidly expanding air travel doesn't lie in not promoting adventure travel but in fair fuel taxes and costs. I think it's absolutely crazy that it's much cheaper to fly to many European and UK destinations than to go by train.

    With Nepal tourism is the country's biggest industry and the main earner of foreign exchange. Without tourism Nepal would have a very bleak future.

  18. #58
    ‹bermensch jonno's Avatar
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    Bit of a problem this, clearly traveling by aircraft is one of the worst ways (if not the worst way) to travel as far as the enviroment goes .
    Walking once there will not reduce the impact one dot. Anyway , when was the last time anyone put their rucksack on and set stride from the terminal building? (I know, one of you will have!)

    Lets face it if we want to help ,stopping flying is one of the most effective ways.
    I almost certainly will continue to fly on aeroplanes just like most others. Flying is a "pleasure" most of us will not relinquish.
    The answer ,Tax ? Maybe not, it could be heavily taxed but would it stop people?
    The airlines would need to fill thier flights to survive so would come up with schemes to offset the tax levy.

    Even if this offsetting failed and the cost of flights increased people would just cut thier cloth accordingly and downscale the holiday *** instead of ****, 10 days not 14.
    They would do this before missing it altogether. It would not reduce the number of flights by much.

    If taxed too high , then "average" family cannot afford foreign holidays, the airlines go bust and flying reverts to being a rich mans holiday choice. I suspect that any government who attempted that route would find that Mr+Mrs Average would be quickly down the polling station at the first opportunity to see em on thier way.

    Its idealistic to imagine that mags like TGO could survive without advertising revenue, and difficult to see how to fill the gaps by not using travel adverts. Travel is afterall a strong part of The TGO buzz and the adverts complement this.
    Few of us can say that we are as PC as we should be as far as the enviroment goes.

    Our lifestyles need to change but this change will take time and education to sort, like an alcoholic who wants to stop drinking ,success will onl;y come when we REALLY want to stop.
    We are not yet there.

  19. #59
    ‹bermensch Andy Howell's Avatar
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    Dinowic can, of course, provide power very quickly. But the reason it was needed was to take-up excess power! I used to often stay in a cottage opposite and it watching the use of the station was very interesting.

    Cameron - we love you really :-)

  20. #60
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    Not all mega-rich landowners want wind-farms. Donald Trump got one stopped. And Sigrid Rausing is trying to. Rausing, who owns 40,000 acres of the Monadhliath not only opposes windfarms, but ordered a major deer cull a few years ago, and is said to be reforesting her estate. (And another Rausing seems to own the Corrour estate, which is very hilluser friendly.) Would it be more constructive to argue for reforestation as an alternative to windfarms? How many trees do you need to plant to have the same benefits in terms of global warming as a wind turbine?


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