Below is a selection of Frequently Asked Questions about wind energy in general and about this project.
1. How big are the turbines proposed for the windfarm?
We are proposing to install turbines at a heigh of 111m to blade tip.
2. How many turbines are proposed?
Taking account of the constraints identified to date and the area of land available, we are proposing to install 7 turbines on the site. This is a reduction from the previous scheme of 9 turbines presented at the Public Information Days in June 2011.
3. What are the wind turbines made of?
The proposed towers are tapered, tubular and made of steel, painted white or light grey. The blades are made of fibreglass-reinforced epoxy. Turbines are usually light grey because this is the colour which is most inconspicuous under most lighting conditions. The finish is matt, to reduce reflected light.
4. How strong does the wind have to blow for the wind turbines to work?
Wind turbines start operating in only a gentle breeze and reach maximum power output after 12 metres/second (around 27 miles per hour). At wind speeds of about 60 miles per hour the wind turbines choose to shut down to avoid damage.
5. What is the lifespan of this project?
Windfarms normally receive planning permission for 25 years, and after this we would need to re-apply for planning permission, or decommission the site and return the land it to its former state. Any consent will certainly contain decommissioning requirements which usually require all visible traces of the windfarm to be removed.
6. Why do we need windfarms?
There are two overriding issues of public interest that are driving the development of windfarms. First, the need to generate electricity without emitting carbon dioxide in order to help tackle climate change and secondly to decrease our dependence upon imported gas and increase energy security.
Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels is a major aim for everyone, and the Scottish Government has set a target for the supply of 100% of Scotland's electricity demand from renewable sources by 2020.
We need to become more energy efficient and reduce our energy consumption, but however much we improve this we will still need to generate electricity. It is important that this electricity is generated from a sustainable source and wind energy is the most proven of all renewable energy technologies.
7. Does wind farming harm tourism?
There is no evidence to suggest that windfarms have a negative effect on tourism. In fact, the opposite is often found to be the case and many developers are asked to provide a visitor centre, viewing platforms and rights of way to their sites. A MORI poll in Scotland carried out in 2002 showed that 80% of tourists would be interested in visiting a windfarm. The UK's first commercial windfarm at Delabole received 350,000 visitors in the first ten years. The visitor centre at ScottishPower Renewable's Whitelee windfarm received 35,000 visitors in just over two months after it was officially opened in September 2009.
8. Can we get free electricity?
Unfortunately this is not possible. Electricity supply is a regulated industry and current legislation prevents this. Due to the design of the national electrical distribution system it is more efficient for the turbines to be connected into the existing grid network, where it will be mixed in with electricity produced by a variety of power generation sources, such as gas and coal fired power stations.
9. How long does it take for a turbine to 'pay back' the energy used to manufacture it?
The average UK windfarm takes only six months to pay back all the energy used to manufacture, build, operate and decommission the windfarm (Life Cycle Assessment of offshore and onshore sited wind farms. Elsam Engineering, 2004). Thus, over its lifetime a wind turbine will produce about 30 times more energy than it consumes.
10. Do wind turbines affect TV reception?
In extremely rare circumstances, some interference to analogue TV reception is possible. The main causes of problems are weak signals that are being received by old or poorly tuned aerials. However this is normally identified pre-construction and can be easily remedied. It should also be remembered that the UK is switching to a digital television signal at present (2009 to 2012), which means that satellite TV, Sky or free-to-air satellite signals from the BBC or ITV are totally unaffected by windfarms as the signal is beamed down from space by satellite.
11. Are wind turbines efficient?
In the UK, wind turbines produce useful power for 70-85% of the time.
12. Are there any impacts on house prices?
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors have undertaken studies to assess if there is an effect on the house prices due to the construction of a windfarm. In general the survey shows that the largest drop in house value is at the time of the planning application as is the case with any major development.
13. How will this project work with the existing landscape?
The development of a windfarm takes into consideration the existing landscape of the area and we work with professional Landscape Consultants to ensure any proposal provides the best possible solution.
This ultimately depends on your personal opinion of the turbines and your acceptance of them as providers of green electricity. A landscape and visual assessment of proposed development will examine the impact of the windfarm on the character of the landscape. Photomontages will be prepared from key views to show how the wind turbines would look in the landscape.
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14. Do windfarms kill lots of birds?
Well sited windfarms do not pose a significant threat to birds. To date, there have been no major adverse effects on birds associated with windfarms in the UK. An article in the journal ‘Nature' reminds us that the greatest threat to wildlife in the UK is climate change; the RSPB predicts that without a comprehensive network of renewable energy sources, climate change is predicted to detrimentally affect most species within the UK.
15. Do wind turbines frighten livestock?
Wind farming is popular with farmers, because their land can continue to be used for growing crops or grazing livestock. Sheep, cows and horses are not disturbed by wind turbines. The first windfarm built in the UK, Delabole, has a stud farm and riding school, and the farmer, Peter Edwards, often rides around the windfarm on his horse.