Most UK Windfarms Release More CO2 Than They Save

Posted: February 24, 2013 by tallbloke in Carbon cycle, climate, flames, government, Incompetence, Legal, Politics, Robber Barons, wind
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From the Sunday Telegraph, an article by Tony Blairs bette noir, Andrew Gilligan:

NowindWriting in the scientific journal Nature, the scientists, Dr Jo Smith, Dr Dali Nayak and Prof Pete Smith, of Aberdeen University, say:

“We contend that wind farms on peatlands will probably not reduce emissions …we suggest that the construction of wind farms on non-degraded peats should always be avoided.”

Dr Nayak told The Telegraph: “Our full paper is not yet published, but we should definitely be worried about this. If the peatland is already degraded, there is no problem. But if it is in good condition, we should avoid it.”

Another peat scientist, Richard Lindsay of the University of East London, said: “If we are concerned about CO2, we shouldn’t be worrying first about the rainforests, we should be worrying about peatlands.

“The world’s peatlands have four times the amount of carbon than all the world’s rainforests. But they are a Cinderella habitat, completely invisible to decision- makers.”

One typical large peat site just approved in southern Scotland, the Kilgallioch wind farm, includes 43 miles of roads and tracks. Peat only retains its carbon if it is moist, but the roads and tracks block the passage of the water.

The wind industry insists that it increasingly builds “floating roads,” where rock is piled on a textile surface without disturbing the peat underneath.

But Mr Lindsay said: “Peat has less solids in it than milk. The roads inevitably sink, that then causes huge areas of peatland to dry out and the carbon is released.”

Mr Lindsay said that more than half of all British onshore wind development, current and planned, is on peat soils.

In 2011 the Scottish government’s nature protection body, Scottish Natural Heritage, said 67 per cent of planned onshore wind development in Scotland would be on peatland.

Struan Stevenson, the Tory MEP for Scotland who has campaigned on the issue, said: “This is a devastating blow for the wind factory industry from which I hope it will not recover.

“The Scottish government cannot realise their plans for wind farms without allowing the ruination of peat bogs, so they are trying to brush this problem under the carpet.

“This is just another way in which wind power is a scam. It couldn’t exist without subsidy. It is driving industry out of Britain and driving people into fuel poverty.”

Read the rest here.

  1. Phillip Bratby says:

    No surprise here. Governments will just ignore the research findings as wind farms are all about politics, not saving the planet from a mythical problem.

  2. tallbloke says:

    Phil, I think you do it too much honour by calling it politics. Vandalism and robbery is nearer the mark.

  3. oldbrew says:

    For peat’s sake! The official website for Kilgallioch claims:

    ‘At the end of the operational life of a windfarm, it is easy to decommission the installation and return the land to its former use.’

    The plan shows the site is about 8km. long and 4-6km. wide, and will contain 99 wind turbines.

    I know this part of Scotland well and can’t imagine what this is going to do to it.

  4. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Slightly OT but I’ve been wondering how much solar IR radiation there is and to what extent this saturates the atmospheric CO2 absorption bands.

  5. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Sorry… my last comment was more off topic than I intended. It attached to the wrong post….

  6. MFKBoulder says:

    All i get from this post is that most UK wind farms are built with newly constructed roads on peatland, isn’nt it?

    [Reply] yes. Isn’t it enough?