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Thread: The road to Knoydart

  1. #61
    Goon Reiver's Avatar
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    reforestation as an alternative to windfarms
    What a superb idea, the reinstatement of the Caledonian Forrest. I wonder how many trees could be planted with the subsidies currently lavished upon the wind farm companies. AFAIK Take away the subsidies and not one wind farm would be developed

    It is a bit like one of the arguments put against developing another nuclear power station. If the Scottish Executive spent a fraction of the many billions it would cost to develop a new nuclear power station, and spent that money providing everyone in Scotland with free low energy light bulbs, then we wouldn't need a new nuclear power station! A bit too logical for a politician I guess!



  2. #62
    ‹bermensch Jim Chalmers's Avatar
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    reforestation as an alternative to windfarms

    I think we need to get our thinking straight here. I would be very much in favour of reforestation as well as windfarms.

    What I object to is industrial-scale wind power stations on wildland. I have no ebjection whatsoever to wind power stations on brown-field sites and farm land - as is done in Denmark and Germany.

    IMHO that is the message we outdoor folk need to push. Not blanket objection to wind, but responsible wind power development in appropriate places.

    But leave the wild land alone

  3. #63
    Ultra King Dave Mycroft's Avatar
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    I totally agree Jim. At the same time we need to stop pushing the argument that just reducing consumption will solve all the problems - sure it's a good start but it still only delay the inevitable. We're using finite resources, which by definition WILL run out at some point.

  4. #64
    Mini Goon
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    Re-afforestation as a means of reducing carbon emissions seems a bit like having a medic run around a battlefield trying to bandage wounds; surely it'd be better if the wounds weren't inflicted in the first place?

    Re-afforestation should happen anyway. The levelling of the forests was a mistake we made centuries ago; re-instating them is simply righting an old wrong, not an excuse for our current crimes against the environment. In many places there are cities, housing estates, industrial estates and motorways where there were once trees so we could never plant enough to restore the old order.

  5. #65
    Goon JH's Avatar
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    "Our lifestyles need to change but this change will take time and education to sort.......Jonno

    Yes! TGO!

    "How many trees do you need to plant to have the same benefits in terms of global warming as a wind turbine?".......ALS

    That's an interesting question. I find this on Google:

    http://www.forestcity.k12.ia.us/wind...nvironment.php

    A school with a relatively small windturbine. They say that over seven years they would have had to plant 1600acres of wood = about 230 acres/year.

    This seems to be a 600kw turbine. The proposed scheme at Loch Arkaig is 118Mw - about 200 times as big, so 46,000 acres/year. 186 sq km per year. Wow, that seems a lot. Anybody like to check that? 72 sq miles/year.

    There is also some doubt as to the effectiveness of this s ort of offsetting.

    "AFAIK Take away the subsidies and not one wind farm would be developed.......Reiver

    This could well be true, but it's not being done for economic reasons, it's being done to reduce CO2 emissions.

    "Without tourism Nepal would have a very bleak future"........Chris

    I don't think we should underestimate the potential bleakness climate change could cause, particularly in third world countries.

    EDIT - This might be of interest to some people:

    http://www.reforestingscotland.org/index.php




  6. #66
    ‹bermensch Andy Howell's Avatar
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    Dave,

    It is clear that reducing consumption is not the whole solution, but it is clearly an important part of a rather complex solution.

    Renewable energy will clearly be important whether it be solar, wind or wave power.

    It is highly unlikely that no source of energy will be without its downsides but there is a big issue of weighing up the appropriate balance. Starting by trying to reduce carbon production is a sensible thing.

    it is because of this consumption is critical. There is no good reason why building standards have not risen. New build standards in many parts of Europe are higher and that means lower energy consumption.

    There is a major problem in the UK, namely the state of a lot of old property in the big cities. We are getting close to need a massive clearance operation on the scale of the 60's but everyone would like to avoid this if they can. But this problem of housing, and energy, is faced by many thousands of people in our cities - and in the main, these are the very people in our communities who have the lowest incomes.


  7. #67
    Goon
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    One of the hats I wear is President of the Ramblers' Association in Scotland, so here's the RA Scotland take on renewable energy.
    There has been some concern that the RA in Scotland wants to see a blanket ban on windfarm development. That isn?t the case.
    There?s no doubt that many of our members are concerned at the potential landscape impacts of renewable energy schemes. The sheer scale of future proposed developments, especially the increasing height of wind turbines, is alarming.
    We believe that turbines greater in height than 50 metres, to the vertical blade tip, are generally not appropriate in land based locations because of their visual intrusion. We would also suggest that there should be no turbine development in areas of wildland quality. The preferred location for large turbines is offshore. On land we would like to see much more effort going into the promotion of small scale developments close to local communities, farm and croft areas. We see no particular difficult in the extensive provision of turbines close to farm buildings, within enclosed agricultural land and within areas already subject to significant modification through intensive forestry, but such developments should only take place on mineral soils in order to avoid carbon loss through peat disturbance.
    The RA is supportive of the overall government intention to substantially increase Scotland?s capacity for renewable energy development, but there must also be efforts to reduce energy consumption and substantially increase energy conservation. There is also a wide range of renewable energy technologies involving wind, water, tide, sun and biomass, which are at various stages of development.
    RA Scotland would much rather see a local community-based policy that concentrates on making local communities as self sufficient as possible in energy use through energy efficiency schemes combined with local renewable energy generation. Such a policy would lead to the construction of significant numbers of wind turbines in most of the inhabited parts of Scotland, including the urban areas and surrounding agricultural and forest land. We see no difficulty with this providing the turbines are less than 50 metres in height and in quantities appropriate to each location.
    Finally, RA Scotland?s objective is not to oppose every windfarm development, but to try and influence the Scottish Executive in a way that could make Scotland world leaders in energy conservation and environmentally acceptable renewable energy generation, while at the same time maintaining Scotland?s reputation as having some of the most outstanding wild land in Europe.

  8. #68
    ‹bermensch Chris Townsend's Avatar
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    Andy, you make some very good points there. "The appropriate balance" is a key phrase. Reducing energy use is also important. Also, making renewable energy for individual properties or small communities affordable. I'd like solar panels and a wind turbine but I can't afford them. How come there's huge grants for big wind power stations but little money for microgeneration? The latter is more efficient too, as there's little energy loss during transmission.

    Reforesting Scotland is a good organisation. So is Trees for Life. I'm all in favour of regenerating natural forest, whether it has any effect on climate change or not.

  9. #69
    Mini Goon
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    Something CT just said got me thinking - if you lived in a Grade One Listed building, Chris, you wouldn't be able to put solar panels on your roof, despite the environmental benefits.

    Do we really have an equivalent of a Grade One Listed landscape that no-one can build an unacceptable power generator on? When I was younger I used to suppose that that meant National Parks but these days I realise they're more economic recreational zones.

    So far they're wind power station-free but some are going to be hemmed in - we need to be able to designate and protect Grade One Listed views too.

  10. #70
    ‹bermensch Jim Chalmers's Avatar
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    Grade One listed landscapes do exist. In Scotland they're called National Scenic Areas and as far as I understand, there is an presumption that wind power stations will not be allowed in them.

    On the other hand, development close to their border doesn't seem to be precluded and a few years ago an application for a hydro-power station in the Wester Ross NSA had to be fought tooth and nail by the outdoor organisations.

  11. #71
    ‹bermensch Jim Chalmers's Avatar
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    Cameron

    The Ramblers Scotland policy seems to be very close to the SNP environment and energy policy

    Any Scottish residents might bear this in mind when it comes to their vote next May.

  12. #72
    Goon
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    Thanks for that Jim. Interestingly a New Labour MP, Calum MacDonald, lost his seat in the Western Isles at the last election because of his stance over the proposed Lewis windfarm. I suspect the windfarm issue will play a role in the May elections, and I suspect New Labour and the Lib/Dems will lose a lot of seats because of their "cosy up with the emergy companies" stance. New Labour could learn a lot from the SNP's policy but are those London-centric ministers really interested in anything above the Watford Gap? Are they really interested in protecting wild land? Course they're not...

  13. #73
    Goon JH's Avatar
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    Andy, I agree with you except for "There is no good reason why building standards have not risen." If you mean new build building regulations, they are much more intent on energy saving than they were even ten years ago, and likely to become more so.

    Cameron, thanks for the RA in Scotland viewpoint. I like the last paragraph, but personally I would accept turbines higher than 50m in certain areas (outside cities for instance).

    "We see no particular difficult[y] in the extensive provision of turbines close to farm buildings"

    &

    "policy that concentrates on making local communities as self sufficient as possible in energy"

    are all very well, and a very sensible idea, but are not a replacement for the large generators we need (of whatever type) to supply the enormous amounts of energy the country need as a whole.

    "I'd like solar panels and a wind turbine but I can't afford them."......Chris

    This is a scandle........

    "How come there's huge grants for big wind power stations but little money for microgeneration?"

    I don't think there are any grants for large scale windfarms. But they do (in effect) get a subsidy when they start generating, directly proportional to the amount they generate. If they're a flop they get nothing. If they actually do produce a useful amount of electricity they benefit in proportion. (Anybody know if there are grants for constructing a windfarm?)

    But there is money available for small scale schemes such as you want:

    http://www.lowcarbonbuildings.org.uk/about/hfaqs/

    And once again, the small scale scheme can cash in once they start generating - the same scheme as the windfarms - ROC's.

    "The latter [microgeneration] is more efficient too, as there's little energy loss during transmission."

    I don't think so. The very reason we are seeing larger and larger winturbines is because of the efficencies of scale. Apart from anything else, the wind is much faster and consistent the higher you go. These increases in efficiencies outweight the inefficiency of transmission.

    Having said that I'm all for small scale if it works. I think the Windsave B&Q are selling is likely to be a disaster for most people. On the other hand I've been involved in the development of a very small scale hydro device which could work in thousands of locations across the UK.

    John




  14. #74
    Goon Reiver's Avatar
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    In Scotland they're called National Scenic Areas and as far as I understand, there is an presumption that wind power stations will not be allowed in them.

    National Parks are far from safe.

    There is a propsal to run Giant Pylons (about3x the size of yout average pylon) through the Cairngorms National Park, these pylons are to carry the electrity from the proposed western Isles wind farms.link

    There is to be a public enquiry in early 2007 but I have little hope, the Scot exec will have their way.

  15. #75
    Goon JH's Avatar
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    Sorry Chris, it's a different grant system in Scotland:

    http://www.est.org.uk/schri/household/

  16. #76
    ‹bermensch Jim Chalmers's Avatar
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    Reiver

    National Scenic Areas are not National Parks. National Scenic Areas are much smaller - anything from a few thousand acres up to about 20 000 and planning controls in them are meant to be much stricter than those in National Parks.

    There is a belief in the UK that National Park designation is the highest degree of environmental protection. That is true in most other countries but not in the UK. In many countries, no business activity, farming or even residence is permitted in a National Park - that is far from the situation in the UK. Our so-called national parks are not National Parks by anyone else's standards.

  17. #77
    Goon
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    Reiver, I concur with your sentiments but the planning application is to replace an existing pylon line. (at least it is through the CNP area). That's quite different from creating a new one. Like you I'm pretty convinced it's a done deal.

  18. #78
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    Re-forest the hills densely enough, and you won't be able to see the next hill. So plant as many windfarms as you like, it won't spoil the view...

  19. #79
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    > We believe that turbines greater in height than 50 metres, to the vertical blade tip

    The 70m diameter, 112.5m high turbine in Reading doesn't cause much visual intrusion...

  20. #80
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    > The latter is more efficient too, as there's little energy loss during transmission

    It's true that the distribution losses are smaller, but the efficiency of small turbines is much poorer, for many reasons; turbine design, mechanical design, generator design, wind load and variability at low heights, etc.

    Likewise, what's the net carbon footprint of silicon cell arrays? It takes a fair bit of energy to make process and refine silicon.

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