The Wheels are falling off the Windfarming Bandwagon

Posted: September 5, 2013 by Rog Tallbloke in Accountability, FOI, Incompetence, Legal, Robber Barons, wind
Collapsed wind turbine at Loughderry windfarm

Collapsed wind turbine at Loughderry windfarm

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.

Enforcement notice served on Loughderry windfarm by the local council

Enforcement notice served on Loughderry windfarm by the local council

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:

Serious questions
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

- See more at: http://www.masterresource.org/2013/09/hiding-avian-mortality-altamont-pass/

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.

- See more here 

________________________________________________________

Meanwhile, the govt decides to ‘save’ the taxpayer 750m over ten years by not helping develop gas infrastructure. (H/T to @PatrickHeren for the link)

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.

Comments
  1. Glenties WindFarm Information Group says:

    This article from an Irish National paper http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/collapsed-wind-turbine-sent-to-the-scrapheap-29298359.html highlights that fallen turbine was cut into pieces and scrapped in May 2013

  2. tallbloke says:

    Welcome, and thanks for helping with the resources for this article.

  3. Doug Proctor says:

    A huge undiscussed problem with windfarms is their fundamental inability to produce enough profit to pay back investment plus profit AND pay into a replacement (not just repair) fund to be used when the turbine reaches the end of its life. It is not enough to simply send out dividends to shareholders; there has to be enough financial juice to keep the operation going.

    Look to the economic analyses you are told about. Of course the lifespan, which was supposed to be >25 years, now looks to be 12-15 years, but forgetting that, the “payout” is supposed to be in the 20 year timeframe. That does not mean that after 20 years there is a bucket with the amount of money needed to replace the turbine. It means that the investors got – and spent elsewhere – their investment back and a “fee” for the use of their money. To go forward, one would need new money from new investors. The windfarms are not self-sustaining.

    All businesses need to be self-sustaining. Any business that provides enough to get from today to tomorrow will, through chaotic instances of attrition or accident or outside influences, have a day that does not get it through to tomorrow. Then the business – or individual or metropolis or nation, collapses. You can “spend your capital” on maintenance as the Roman Empire did for a long time, but the day of collapse will come. With the windfarms, it will come when significant numbers of turbines require replacing.

    A “business” that require gross government subsidies does not have inherent to its activities enough benefit, i.e. profit, to be self-sustainable. Subsidies are a method of taking the extra generated by business A and giving it to business B. The net is then zero: the group is not going forward but getting from one day to another.

    Let’s say, then, we view electricity as a governmental service. If the nation chooses – as Britain has recently with the purchase of some windfarm – to turn wind energy into a domestic service, the problem still exists, though now hidden. No society can expend more social energy, let alone physical energy, to keep it going than it generates.

    Getting electricity to users is a service, but if the cost of providing the service is not countered by economic benefit from receiving the service, the service becomes a drain, a hemorrhage of activity. Windfarms, by not being self-sustaining even with current subsidies, are drains on the public.

    A society can tolerate drains if the loss is small. That is why we can have art galleries and statues in our parks – and armies. But as we now see with the global economies, the TOTAL drains within our world is no longer small. The drain is overwhelming. Spain and Portugal have been forced to admit the problem wrt windfarms and solar because the rest of their economy – i.e. their social activity – is falling down. European or British windfarms are still politically acceptable, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are fundamentally self-sustaining. It just means that the whole house of cards hasn’t reached the point in Europe/Britain where the weight of the eco-green fantasy hasn’t brought the whole edifice to the floor.

  4. Another turbine in Scotland lost its blades in a 40mph wind this week, apparently in a school playground.

    http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/wind-turbine-destroyed-in-40mph-wind/

  5. tallbloke says:

    Paul: I don’t thinks so. See the news links in my post for details.

  6. hunter says:

    Doug,
    You have nailed it rather well. Windmills are a scam.

  7. tchannon says:

    Today I visited an area fighting a major wind farm development.


    (folks on the right are strangers)

    Panorama taken 5th Sept 2013, Swanage, Dorset, click for larger (4566pix wide)

    http://www.challengenavitus.org.uk/location.html

    A lot of the area is prime summer seaside holiday where the scenery matters.

  8. Brian H says:

    Doug;
    ” European or British windfarms are still politically acceptable, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are fundamentally ↓ self-sustaining.”
    I think you omitted “not” where I’ve put the arrow.

  9. Stu Vennard says:

    Doug has put my thought’s into words very succinctly. Not only are these wind driven generators a ‘Blight on the landscape’ the’re a drain on the economy. Stu V

  10. PeterMG says:

    Doug what you say is true but I would say it has all been known for 10 years or more. None of what you say about the economics should be surprising or a revelation to anyone these days unless they live in a parallel universe. Where the people who profess to say that wind turbines will eventually become economic make their mistake is they think they can apply the “new technology formula” to the cost of erection and operation of these turbines and that they will over time become economic. Think LCD TV’s and monitors replacing CRT’s or mobile phones replacing the traditional landline etc. The mistake is wind turbines are old tech and there are no fundamental gains to be made, no matter how clever we become at manufacturing them. The basic mathematics of E=MV2 defeats them every time. And when you apply aerodynamics there are laws involving V cubed which just makes their case worse.

    But you hint at something which is the fundamental issue to understanding economics, and that is a modern Western style economy (or any other version for that matter) runs on energy and not money. If money was the oil of the economy then we would all be millionaires such has been the scale of money printing that has occurred in recent times. But as every ordinary person in the UK could tell you, and every expert consistently gets wrong, money is not the issue, its energy. When you push the cost of energy beyond a certain point your economy becomes unsustainable. Every Western economy has reached this point. Forget every other political or economic issue. For and until energy costs are reduced, in many instances they need to halve, then every other measure taken to rectify the economy will fail.

    Now I was told by a Siemens engineer that many of the gears for these turbines are now being made in China and they were sub-standard (we discussed at length why but I won’t go into that now) and would not make 10 years let alone 20 or 25. Furthermore the cost of repair is so great that after about 5 years or so it’s easier to erect a new turbine. The reason some of these turbines are unexpectedly falling over is I speculate is they are having some sort of internal gear or bearing failure and the energy transfer from the moving blades to the tower is too great and it topples over. Remember in the past the blade would come off and scatter everywhere. Perhaps this area has been strengthened transferring the failure mode to an even more dangerous one. Strengthen the base and the blade will shatter showering the area with wreckage.

    This is an issue that gas turbines have to deal with and every aero engine has to contain catastrophic failure of a blade, and if there is a sudden shaft seizure the bolts mounting the engine to the aircraft are designed to shear off so as to avoid wrecking the aircraft.

  11. tgmccoy says:

    Hi here in NE Oregon we have the pestilential wind farms too.We have a lot of folks who are of
    highlander stock (including your truly) who are fighting these monsters.
    the phone book has 2 1/2 pages of “Mc’s and Mac’s out of population of 18,000 for the whole
    county.. Behold the resistance: http://friendsofgranderondevalley.com/

  12. dp says:

    Here is a photo of Altamont Pass before wind power was used to kill birds:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:WP_805A_with_Zeph_on_Altamont_3-70….._-_Flickr_-_drewj1946.jpg

    Today it looks like this: http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Altamont-Pass-turbines-kill-fewer-birds-4230640.php

    Ignore the mandated “killing fewer birds” crap. They’re still killing birds as fast as they can and always will, but with populations in decline there is probably less opportunity.

    Visually, what a difference 20 years makes.

  13. dp says:

    Looks like the blog software botched the URL for the “before” picture above. Here’s another page with two image from before the wind powered war on birds era.

    http://transpressnz.blogspot.com/2011/04/western-pacific-on-altamont-pass.html

  14. Berényi Péter says:

    IMHO the most serious issue with wind turbines is their noise spectrum. They may not produce much directly audible noise, but their noise level keeps increasing in the infasound range at an incredible rate (something like red noise). And there is no trace of a cutoff even at 1 Hz, which means microphones are inadequate to measure their full low frequency output, one would need microbarometers to do that. Typical rates of rotation are in the range of 5-20 RPM, which means the cutoff can’t be much above 0.1 Hz, possibly below it, where noise level can go as high as 130-140 dB (comparable to the noise in close proximity of jet engines, which is capable to utterly destroy the inner ear).

    This low frequency noise is well below the threshold of hearing, therefore there are neither regulations in place to set a reasonable limit on them nor adequate instrumentation is available for authorities to measure output. Not that it is impossible to do so, but it requires entirely different instruments than the ones regularly used in noise control.

    Although this noise is “inaudible” in the strict sense of the word, nevertheless it seriously interferes with the inner workings of the human auditory system while also gravely influencing the vestibular system (causing permanent nausea, headaches and sleeplessness). In fact it keeps all cavities in the human body under constant stress.

    These low frequencies are barely attenuated in the atmosphere, can travel large distances and all built up structures, including houses are “transparent” to them, so passive noise control can never work.

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