/ Bowden Doors Wind Farm?
How would you fancy nine 100m high wind turbines right next to one of Northumberland's finest crags? This map shows the planned location of the 9 tubines and is included in the scoping report recently submitted to Northumberland County Council by Energiekontour UK. The scoping report made no mention of the importance of the nearby crags at Bowden Doors, Back Bowden and Colour Heugh to the climbing community. We need to act quickly to make our opinions heard as the first planning application, for a 60m anemometer mast, is already in (Planning Application 12/01045/RENE).
To comment please write to Mrs Sue Birnie, Senior Planning Officer, County Hall, Morpeth, NE61 2EF, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about this proposal and for the other proposal by Air Farmers Ltd to build sixteen 125m turbines just to the north (between Back Bowden and Kyloe)see www.middletonburnactiongroup.co.uk
This post has no connection with the BMC but if you're a BMC member then maybe you could raise the issue at the BMC's North East Area Meeting at the Newcastle Climbing Centre on Wednesday 30th May at 7.30pm, or email the NE area rep Tom Parkin on email@example.com
Bring them on.
If they won't have any impact on access then I don't see a problem. As folk have said, better than a power station. If they will mean we can't climb there any more then that's a different issue... can anyone clarify?
So is access a problem? There are several windfarms proposed in my area and from what I've seen there, access during construction may well be a problem - the road from Belford would certainly be affected. One scheme near me proposes that the local common riding , which has followed the same route for 100 years, be diverted. There are also other factors to be aware of, excavation & noise issues.
Whether you are pro-wind factory or not, putting in a bad scheme should not be acceptable, access issues shouLD be avoided etc. and the local BMC should certainly be as a minimum looking to get re-assurances on access etc.
Build this rather than a power stataion...mmm... Bowden doors 9 turbines will have max capacity of 22.5MW but most farms run at an average of about a quarter their max i.e. 5-6MW. The average power station puts out 2000MW (Ferrybridge).
The NIMBY point is interesting I guess none of us know how we would react until we face it personally - like good health, I guess, we don't really consider it until it is threatened.
The application concerns me,as you can tell!
In the grand scheme of things it seems to me a pretty sensible place for wind turbines, and the turbines are still hundreds of metres away from the actual crag.
Quite frankly as far as my participation in rock climbing goes, they can build them on the top of pretty much any outcrop and I wouldn't be overly bothered. I go cragging and/or bouldering to climb good rock with great moves. I don't do it to have piece and quiet, and I don't do it to enjoy great vistas. That is a bonus at many crags but it doesn't influence one iota whether a f7b or V6 has superb climbing on it or whether a VS or E4 is worth 3 stars.
I feel that bringing 'climbing' into this discussion is actually rather irrelevant. After all, the rock at Bowden will remain exactly the same and the ethos of the routes is unaffected. The fact it might not be such a quiet and picturesque spot for picknicking or spending time chilling out, that is an entirely valid issue, but hardly one that gives 'climbers' any particular right of veto over development near crags.
Let us keep, where possible, development of wind farms sufficiently far away from our most popular beauty spots that are enjoyed by a wide range of people, locals and visitors, for a variety of activities. However, that is a completely different premise from the very narrow one the OP and others seem to be promoting which is that we have a 'climbing venue' that is somehow going to be ruined (which it blatantly is not).
> Build this rather than a power stataion...mmm... Bowden doors 9 turbines will have max capacity of 22.5MW but most farms run at an average of about a quarter their max i.e. 5-6MW. The average power station puts out 2000MW (Ferrybridge).
If they build a Ferrybridge at Belford then you will have cause to complain!
I find it acceptable. Better turbines than a power station any day.
Of course they do.....
Markets will find the cheapest way of doing things. The cheapest way of generating electricity at the minute is burning fossil fuels however this is becoming less acceptable for a number of reasons.
Governments can either subsidise clean means of generation or ban polluting means. Either way moaning about subsidies is pointless because you'll still have to pay through your taxes or through your energy bils (or both).
On the Bowden issue....climbing doesn't come into it it's strictly about whether the plan is a good one or not, and I can't see any reason not to site turbines there. Anyway, we can take them down and there'll be very little trace in 50 years time. The same can't be said of coal/gas/nuclear plants.
I agree the key question is whether this is an appropriate spot for a wind farm, not the merits of wind energy versus fossil/nuclear. I'm actually quite pro wind farms, when well placed. I'm just not sure this is a good spot from a landscape point of view; although I take the point that it is temporary blot on the landscape (25 years), and maybe we should just take one for the team.
It was interesting how little the surrounding landscape counts to some of the posters, I guess there is a range of value people put on these things, and fair enough. Out of interst the land is offically an "Area of high landscape value" because of it's position overlooking the Till Valley on one side and the AONB coastline on the other. No doubt the Planning Dept will include this in their decision making, and time will tell, no doubt.
I'm off to think what I should have spent the £25 on!
I must be missing your point, is it not obvious that pylons are used to transport electricity, rather than to generate it.
You still need pylons irrespective of the type of generation unless you go underground. Much of the fuss around wind farms involves construction of huge new pylons as well as the wind turbines.
What's the problem? Wind turbines look graceful, they are fulfilling a useful function and there is no access problem to the crag.
Stop being a NIMBY
And for the record I can see the Romney Marsh wind farm of 24 turbines from my home town - they look much nicer than Dungeness nuclear power station which is also visible, and also serves an important function.
I guess the problem is that I don't agree they look graceful and personally find them industrial in an otherwise rural landscape. I accept this is a personal view though, and that others will differ.
The OP wasn't about comparing wind power with nuclear but as you mention it....I'm not sure it is fair to compare the landscape impact of 24 turbines with Dungeness, without acknowledging they are in different leagues in terms of production. Romney Marsh produces up to 60MW which is only 5% of Dungeness. Would 480 turbines still "look much nicer"? I prefer cycling but if I needed to get to London in 3 hours, I'd take the train. :-)
To the OP: I agree, it's daft to muck up a really nice corner of Northumberland for the measly output this scheme would offer. Given how much better the big offshore windfarms are in comparison to these piddly onshore projects, I can't see much justification for our support of onshore wind any longer - especially those sited in particularly 'unspoilt' areas.
But this is not currently the point. The Northumbria moors are a priceless and irreplaceable natural asset, and siting a wind farm there that will produce, in relative terms, a piddling quantity of power is an outrage. It's not that important that climbers happen to use Bowden Doors. The issue is protecting the landscape in general. Onshore wind power is hard to defend anywhere. Here it would be a crime.
I spent last thursday evening in the sunshine at Bowden, it was beautiful and peaceful. I was there to climb, but there are lots of people that go there to walk, picnic, holiday etc. There is no doubt in my mind that a windfarm in this location would negatively impact the area. This is such a small farm, which will have a big visual impact, is it really necessary?
This has got nothing to do with the BMC, IMHO. Access to climbing will not be affected. There is a similar farm to this under development at Great Wanney (the nearest turbine is less than 500 metres from the end of the crag) and access isn't affected.
The BMC is not the CPRE. As can be seen to the responses to this post, it's highly likely that many BMC members would be in favour of this development.
I like wind turbines. I've tried to hate them but failed. There are certainly some places I wouldn't like to see them, but I have not yet seen one which bothers me. As man made structures they are hard to beat for functional beauty. And they make carbon neutral electricity.
Sorry, the proposal doesn't really bother me that much and I quite like the aesthetics of turbines. Not your point I'm sure, but you won't see them at all when climbing or walking along the base of the crag, only (in part)when topping out.
The main way in which turbines could be useful on a large scale would be when combined with many pumped storage schemes such as dinorwig (electric mountain) at Llanberis. Provided we had enough of these we could use as many turbines as we wished without wasting energy or needing backup.
The problem with this is obviously the creation and flooding of large areas of upland and valley areas (the bigger the height difference between reservoirs the better), and a lack of suitable sites.
As a result I think wind power can only make a measured contribution to our energy generation - maybe 20-40%, with the remainder to be produced by Nuclear, Carbon Capture & Storage and Biomass burning. (Plus a Severn barrage!)
All those folk in this thread who seem to think that wind turbines could replace power stations (not that turbine arrays aren't actually power stations - just extemely intrusive ones with inordinately large footprints), should take 6 mins to watch this highly illuminating segment from a recent BBC Horizon programme.
It certainly puts the current renewables mania into proper perspective. The summary: even wind power industry advocates accept that even if consensus was reached on limiting future energy usage it would still require a full-sized 3MW turbine to be built every three minutes starting right now for 25 years. About 2% of the entire land surface of the world would end up being covered with wind turbines. And yet this would still provide barely a sixth of energy requirements - intermittently...
Any rational person has to conclude that turbines are a dead end as far as a realistic low-carbon source.
The well-intentioned but misguided EU Renewables Obligation has merely promoted a rush to build these things by big business who are taking advantage of an environmental excuse to undertake some very lucrative vandalism.
All I would add is that it isn't just big business. If landowners didn't offer their land, in return for large rental agreements of course, then there wouldn't be any onshore windfarms. They aren't sufficiently important to warrant compulsory purchase schemes.
David - you need to do some research yorself, and stop quote generic NIMBY type argumeents.
Fact 1: Not all turbines use huge amounts of rare earth metals. Those that do tend to be the 'direct drive' type turbines. So you know, the rare earth materials are used int he genarators, and regular power plant generators often use the same technology.
Fact 2: Turbines are very suitable for immediate power needs, ie you say you need gas turbines to back up the wind, well actually it is more the other way around. Wind can be started remotely (assumign there is wind!), and making full power within less than 1 minutes - not something that can be said for most other power plant types.
Fact 3: Oil and gas are more subsidised by the UK government than wind power.... furthermore, most sources agree that onshore wind is actually cheaper (£/MWh) than oil/gas.. Offshore is much more expensive, due to the challenging environemntal issues.
How is onshore wind hard to defend anywhere? It is hard to defend as the UK is full of NIMBY numpties pedalling arguments that have had little relavance int he last 20 years. Stop pedalling the same tired arguments - they are widely untrue!
Some intersting reading for you:
No how sad that a minority on this forum want to move back to living in the 19th century... Take some responsibilty for the energy you use, or stop using it!
If you want to use energy, and all of the wonnderful things that brings us, then stop clinging onto some ideal about what you think the UK landscape should look like.... I would prefer our rural areas to be covered in wind turbines, than nuclear plants, or nuclear waste storage facilties.
Not much chance of building a turbine every 3 minutes for the next 25 years, as we have too many obstacles like yourself to negotiate, particularly in the UK.
The problem with the very simple 'Brian agenda' is that it assumes all technology remains the same for the next 25 years as it is today. Yes, they considered nuclear fusion, but all other technology was as it is today. If you look back 25 years ago at the solar, wind, nuclear etc, they were so different and less efficient back then. Taking wind as an example, over the last 25 years, the turbines have grown from 15m diamter, to more than 160m diameter today, with an equivalent scaling of the power output, and a major reduction in start up wind speed (ie greater wind range) - the efficiency and effectiveness is just completey different to what they once were...
So if the rationale person would 'conclude that turbines are dead...', what would a non-rationale person such as yoursefl concude? How would you deal with the increasing gap between supply and demand?
Point is that you will need 3000-4000 100m wind turbines at Bowden Doors to replace one Ferrybridge (you don't need to cover the countryside with nuclear stations either; I'd guess that just one will replace all the wind turbines in the country). So to compare like with like, these are the numbers to use. That's ignoring the variable nature of wind power, and assuming that some sort of cleanish power storage is in use (such as new dams and reservoirs for pumping water into, converting the wind power into hydro).
Would you honestly be happy with 3000+ 100m whirling towers at Bowden Doors? What's the cost of materials and fuel when manufacturing and installing such a huge structure? If you can build a vast industrial complex like that in the countryside, then surely there's room for lots of other industrial units as well?
OK, they aren't proposing 3000+ (yet), but when comparing this impact with the impact of a coal-fired station then it would be unfair to compare something that produces a tiny trickle of energy with something that provides serious amounts.
I always think of it as exactly the opposite: that it's absurd that lovers of the outdoors could not want to help minimise the damage/changes that global warming is likely to cause
In reply to Andy Stephenson:
What would you rather? We bury our heads in the sand with regards to future energy costs and security, not to mention global warming?
In reply to Colin Wells:
Realistically, fusion, solar or possibly thorium based fission are the only likely long term solutions which might generate anywhere near enough energy from one single source. Unless you're optimistic or very rich I'd say it's worth getting started with cheaper, currently available, options even if they wont be dominant in the world's energy mix in 50 years time.
> What would you rather? We bury our heads in the sand with regards to future energy costs and security, not to mention global warming?
Remember that at present we have under 1400 land-based turbines in the whole of the UK (including under construction), effectively generating in total about half what the rather ancient Ferrybridge C power station produces.
Or more realistically, about the same as the very old Hartlepool power station; or about a quarter of the capacity of the proposed new Hartlepool station. The latter is to provide renewable energy for its designed lifespan of 60 years, whereas the equivalent wind station of 12000 turbines has to be rebuilt every 25 years. And that's only the equivalent of one small nuclear facility.
I'd support a small wind farm of (say) 10000 turbines in the North Sea; even though I don't think that it makes sense economically I think we can afford it as a luxury form of power. To encourage other rich countries to do the same.
But when you spoil a significant amount of landscape for a measly 9 turbines, producing negligible power, in my view the overall environmental impact is too high. Note that a typical small old-fashioned nuclear facility will supply electricity to power 1.5 million homes, whereas with a wind farm with similar footprint (like the one in question) will be supplying 1000 homes per turbine at best.
"Note that a typical small old-fashioned nuclear facility will supply electricity to power 1.5 million homes, whereas with a wind farm with similar footprint (like the one in question) will be supplying 1000 homes per turbine at best"
Also, that power can be relied upon, and even boosted up at peak times, while that turbines output is entirely unpredicatable, and is capabal of dropping from maximum output to zero in a matter of minutes.
The proposal is for a 22.5MW wind farm. At roughly 2kW per household, that would equate to 11250 homes. Ok, this is optimistic, so let use the pessimistic numbers quoted earlier in this thread, of a 5-6MW output. That would still equate to 2500-3000 homes...
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