Around four months ago a wind turbine collapsed at Loughderry windfarm in Donegal, Ireland. The owners and the designers, Vestas have been silent about the cause, despite repeated calls from the local community for re-assurances and explanation. The local council told the owners their planning permission did not entitle them to erect a new turbine. Then someone decided that they should ignore the law and erect a replacement turbine anyway. The general competence of the outfit was underlined when a wagon carrying part of the new support tower got itself stuck in a ditch near the site. The upshot of that is that the council has served an enforcement notice, prohibiting further work and demanding the removal of the partially built replacement turbine. The windfarm’s owners claim it’s a repair not a rebuild. The photo on the right says otherwise. There’s more bad news for windfarms everywhere too. a new study has revealed that the numbers of birds and bats killed by these useless eyesores has been deliberately undercounted by a large factor. Are you paying attention RSPB ? Read on for more.
Highland Radio report the latest:
Donegal County Council has served an enforcement order on the directors of Loughderryduff windfarm. The order was attached to the entrance gate of the windfarm between Ardara and Glenties yesterday. The enforcement order relates to the alleged erection of a wind turbine without planning permission, apparently to replace a turbine which collapsed at the site in April.
The issue came to public prominence when a lorry containing part of the turbine tower slid into the verge of the road and became trapped for a time on Tuesday. Ernan O’Donnell is Chair of the Glenties Windfarm Information Group – He says a major issue of contention in the area is that the reason for the April turbine fall has never been revealed.
The Donegal Daily adds some more detail:
A Donegal Co Council Enforcement order has been served on the directors of Loughderryduff windfarm, Conal Shovlin, John Gillespie, Inge Buckley and Peter Mc Ardle.
The work on this development commenced on Monday but immediately ran into difficulties when the lorry containing part of the turbine tower slid into the verge on the narrow country road at The Tullies”.
It is understood that another lorry containing another part of the turbine was involved in a road traffic accident in France en route to Donegal. The turbine is currently partially erected.
The enforcement notice at the site orders the “said development to cease immediately” and “remove the unauthorised wind turbine in its entirety including all constituent parts from the subject site”.
However North West Wind Ltd has told its investors in a memo that the work at the site is “repair work” and legal advice given to it was that planning permission was NOT required.
Sources say the issue could now become embroiled in the courts.
Glenties WiG has some serious questions for Donegal Council too:
our county councillors and planners need to answer
The elected representatives of Donegal County Council, in June 2012, voted to remove all set back distances of wind turbines from lakes, streams, roads, houses etc. In light of the fallen turbine in Loughderryduff, will the Council now insist on a set back distance of at least 2 km? The blades from this turbine blew quite a distance, disintegrated and scattered over a large area of land. In the interests of public safety will the Council instate a 2 km set back distance?
A good question, particularly when we’ve just had this incident:
A wind turbine was destroyed by 40mph gusts, prompting calls for them to be removed from school playgrounds.
Two blades were ripped from the 18m high turbine in the Scottish Highlands and thrown up to 60 yards away after it was hit by 40mph gales. A third was left badly buckled.
The incident has led to calls for all wind turbines to be removed from school playgrounds in the Highlands as the council’s safety trigger for turbines to be shut down currently stands at 80mph winds. According to the Met Office using the Beaufort scale, wind speed over 74mph is classed as a hurricane.
No one was hurt when the turbine at Dunhobby, on Scrabster Hill, near Thurso, in the Highlands was destroyed, but there are fears turbines in playgrounds could put children at risk.
The Daily Express adds:
Councils built dozens of turbines at schools across the country at huge cost to the public purse, only to decommission many of them a few years later.
Figures released yesterday revealed that 68 turbines had been built on school grounds over the past few years, with some local authorities involving as many as 16 schools in renewable energy projects.
And, while the taxpayer has been forced to bankroll the turbines to the tune of £1.5million, the private sector has invested only £267,488 in turbines sited at schools.
It also emerged that since being erected, more than one in five of the turbines have been decommissioned.
In other wind turbine related news we get this from the Master Resource:
Hiding “Avian Mortality”: Where ‘Green’ is Red (Part I: Altamont Pass)
by Jim Wiegand
September 4, 2013
Probably more studies have been conducted in Altamont Pass than at any other wind farm in the world. Unfortunately, however, the wind industry has used that information and lessons from the public relations firestorms those studies ignited to develop clever methods for hiding bird and bat mortality impacts.
One of the most effective methods is limiting searches for dead and injured wildlife to progressively smaller areas around increasingly larger turbines – thereby omitting increasing numbers of fatalities as larger turbines catapult birds and bats further, often into grass, brush and wooded areas that hide bodies.
For the relatively small 50-100 kW turbines at Altamont, roughly 85% of fatalities can be found within a 50-meter search radius, which suggests that this radius is appropriate, if the missing 15% are accounted for. But even with these turbines, industry-paid researchers are able to hide Altamont’s true mortality figures by employing improper study methodologies, raw data manipulation and inaccurate methods for estimating annual death tolls.
All wind turbine mortality studies find bodies. Indeed, some researchers say wind turbines provide a fatal attraction for birds and bats. It is how carcass counts are conducted and interpreted that renders the process faulty or fraudulent – while also enabling the wind energy industry to claim it has satisfied commitments to reduce bird and bat mortality, and thereby justify installing much larger (and potentially deadlier) wind turbines. Comparing earlier and more recent studies illustrates how this is done.
In a 1998–2003 study, raptor carcasses were found in searches conducted about six weeks apart. Analysts then developed and applied numerical factors designed to account for the facts that: on-the-ground teams were likely to find only a certain percentage of all dead and injured birds and bats; some wounded individuals would crawl off and die elsewhere; and coyotes, ravens and other scavengers would remove and eat many turbine victims.
Applying those factors to actual carcass counts, researchers calculated that Altamont turbines were killing 116 golden eagles per year (an average of 10.8 times the actual carcass count per year) Wind turbine mortality for red-tail hawks, burrowing owls and American kestrels were likewise estimated by using factors of 7 to 28 times actual body counts.
How much more could the taxpayer save by ceasing to subsidise wind the 5000 wind turbines which collectively produce 1% of Britains energy needs?
You wouldn’t need a very big gas tank to offset that paltry contribution.