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We have all received a brochure from Good Energy describing their plans for the Week St Mary Renewable Energy Park. It is full of information, quite a few pictures and lots of quotes. But how good is the plan for us, local residents.

The company itself, Good Energy Group PLC, has seen an impressive growth since its inception as a small UK unit of a pan-European group, just 15 years ago. It has grown to become the only 100% renewable electricity supplier in the UK, which implies that it is our only sustainable energy company.

 The proposed Renewable Energy Park has some interesting features:

  1. It is a dual technology park, employing both wind and sun technologies to generate energy, which is an essential requirement to overcome the intermittency of both. I can tell you from personal experience that such a combination produces energy every single day of the year.
  2.  Unlike most others, Good Energy are offering substantial discount on electricity rates to the residents of all four parishes affected. So we can all benefit.
  3.  They are proposing a Community Fund to be shared by the four Parishes of about £79,000 per year. That sounds impressive, but given that they will be earning some £5 million/year, there is scope for negotiation. I’d hope that our four Parish Councils will secure some improvement to this figure. Just imagine what we could do that each and every year for 25+ years.
  4.  Good Energy ‘hope to be able to offer’ us an investment opportunity in the wind farm element of the park. Given the current near zero return on savings, that is a welcome proposal, although again, our Parish Councils will need to tie this down to specifics.
  5.  Employment and business opportunities will benefit mainly our contractors, but also others and should in the short term provide a noticeable support for the local economy.
  6.  Lastly, and most important of all, the proposed development will make a contribution to the planet-wide danger of catastrophic climate chaos which threatens our children’s and grandchildren’s future by leading to the destruction of our environment and widespread flooding due to sea level rise of anything between 6 and 18 metres. Every little helps!

Of course wind farms tend to attract great deal of criticism, mainly based on the perceived destruction of ‘visual amenity’ (that is ‘views’), plus numerous ill-informed misconceptions. Whilst beauty (and visual amenity) is in the eye of the beholder and can only be assessed on an individual level, the other often-quoted misconceptions have been well researched and dismissed.

Let me just mention

  • Wind turbines repay their investment in CO2 in between three and nine months
  •  Wind turbines are virtually inaudible. Regulations ensure that neighbours will hear not more than 37 decibels, which is half the noise your fridge produces right in your kitchen!
  •  Wind turbines kill less than 0.001 per cent of all the birds and bats killed by man-made structures. Their effect on the bird and bat population is imperceptible and about 10,000 times less than cars, windows in buildings, fertilisers and agri chemicals.
  •  Research shows that tourist are largely happy to visit areas with wind turbines
  •  Combination of wind turbines and PV panels produces energy on just about every single day of the year. Adding AD plants and energy storage to the system solves the intermittency issue of renewable energy.

These are not just my opinions, but results of scientific studies, such as the ‘Common Concerns about Wind Power’, a summary of over 130 scientific peer-reviewed papers. To read it, just Google the title or look it up on www.TransitionNC.org.

New discussion forum has been set up where you can express your own opinions, for or against, at www.TransitionNC.org (bottom of page). Have your say, add your ideas, discuss the proposals – its your future.

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