There are a number of commercial wind farm proposals for North and West Devon in line with the government’s Kyoto Summit agreement. These are being met with massive opposition. They destroy the look of the countryside, they are inefficient, nimby-ism, and the huge grants available to energy companies who erect them is only there to make the government look as if it’s taken the energy crisis and climate change on board. Which, according to some, they haven’t, as they have their fingers stuck firmly in some other mucky puddle.

One argument that opponents to wind farms use is that because they can only generate power when the wind blows, every time a new wind farm is built a new coal, oil or gas station has to be built as well. I’m not sure I understand this. I get the point that wind farms will only ever produce energy intermittently, so they have to be used alongside other forms of power generation. No one says they are the solution on their own, just part of it. I just don’t see why new non-green power stations have to be built as well. Provided existing such stations are kept operational and ticking over, then when the wind drops they can be turned up. The argument that we need new conventional stations seems to me only to hold true if we need more energy overall – but with the increased imperative that now exists for energy conservation that should not be necessary. Indeed wind farms should surely mean that conventional power stations have to be used less (although as I say still kept operational), so helping to reduce climate change? Can anyone please help me here?

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