The idea of getting free, clean energy from the wind is a compelling one. But is it too good to be true?
The Navitus Bay project is the biggest infrastructural project ever to hit this part of Dorset. Here we detail our reasons for being against this proposal, which centre on the economic and environmental issues.
By Roger Helmer MEP & Martin Houlden UKIP PPC for Bournemouth West
1. When the wind doesn't blow, you don't get any power generation
What most people don‘t know however, is that when they are not generating power, the taxpayer has to pay a huge subsidy to the wind farm developer for loss of income.
This subsidy is usually about four times what they receive from the National Grid when the turbines are operating.
2. When the wind blows too hard, you don't get any power generation
For example on 21 December 2010, the contribution of wind to the UK’s energy consumption, was 0.04%, and even on an average summer night, the industry is only running at 13% capacity.
3. Windfarms need a backup Gas or Coal Power station 100% of the time
Essentially we’re paying twice for the same capacity – once for the wind turbines, and then again for the back-up
4. The manufacture of the turbines is a highly toxic industrial process
The process is so toxic that the areas which process these minerals suffer from devastating pollution in their soil and groundwater. The Guardian reports there are regions which are now heavily contaminated with deadly chemicals that farmers have seen all of their grazing animals killed off by the toxins.
So they're not 'green' and they don't actually address the problem they're designed to solve.
– Are there any other negatives?
How does the electricity get into the grid?
The array needs to get it's power into the National Grid, it does via some very large cables. The Navitus Bay project is due to hit land at Taddiford Gap (between Barton-on-Sea and New Milton), and run 22 miles through the New Forest to a new sub-station at Mannington near Wimborne.
The civil engineering required to embed the cables is equivalent to a land cutting the same width as a 8-lane motorway, carved through Hampshire and Dorset, and is projected to take four years to construct.
The proposed route
So what's the difference between you and the conservatives?
They want to increase the number of offshore wind turbines.
UKIP do not believe that name-calling is a particularly helpful way to discuss this issue, and would rather focus on the pros & cons of the technology.
Whilst there may be some merit in those arguments, UKIP's objections are based on the core facts related to Wind Power as presented above, rather than the relative merits of any particular site.
So who makes the decision?
We believe that they intend to approve the scheme, but are waiting until after the election to avoid a humiliating defeat at the ballot box in this area.
We want to know why they can't make a decision now? What is it they trying to hide from the electorate?
But we have to do something. If wind isn't he answer, what are the alternatives?
Coal & Gas
The UK still has substantial coal reserves — enough for 200 years, on some estimates. UKIP strongly supports a clean environment and clean air. Coal-fired power stations must use clean technology to remove sulphur and nitrogen oxides, particulates and other pollutants.
We are please that the Government has recently changed it's stance to reflect UKIP Policy, and is now advocating the exploration of shale gas.
In 2010, the UK’s 17 commercially operational reactors produced 62 terawatt hours (16 percent) of the UK’s electricity supply. Most of the UK’s reactors will be closed by 2023, except Sizewell B. The Goverment has recently announced approval for a new power station at Hinckly Point C in Somerset to be built jointly by the French and Chinese. Report BBC News
Research and development of thorium-based nuclear reactors is currently being done in done in India, China, Norway, the U.S., Israel and Russia. In February 2014, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), in Mumbai, India, presented their latest design for a "next-generation nuclear reactor" that burns thorium as its fuel. India's government is also developing up to 62, mostly thorium reactors, which it expects to be operational by 2025. Even Friends of the Earth UK considers research into it as "useful" as a fallback option.