Cynical blot on the landscape


Q: Why would anyone want to plant 10, 121 metre-high wind turbines on land which is sheltered from the wind? A: Because there’s easy money in it.

As the innocent energy user is led to believe in renewable power so a new market is growing: that of ‘renewable energy certificates’. It’s not unlike the carbon trading arrangement. To get a government subsidy, an energy company needs to show that 10 per cent of its power output comes from renewable sources. If, however, their energy output is from coal or gas or oil with a zero percentage of renewable sources never fear, they can simply pay cash for some certificates from another producer.

Now I’m not saying that npower renewables are going to all the trouble of appealing against a refusal by Maldon District Council for them to despoil an area of outstanding natural beauty by building 10 turbines alongside England’s oldest church, St Peter’s on the Wall, on the River Blackwater, Essex, in order just to sell renewable energy certificates.

But it is certainly odd that yachts can make a safe passage through the Rays’n Channel, which is adjacent to the church, when the prevailing wind – south-westerly – is blowing a full gale. Why can they do this? Because the wind is much less under the lee of Essex at this point than it would be many further miles off shore, where, incidentally, there are many perfectly sited sandbanks for turbines, but which cost more to develop!