Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Secrets Revealed About The UK's Biggest Onshore Wind Farm - Criminal Levels Of Environmental Impact!

The topography of the area is of a relatively flat plateau with occasional hills rising above the flatter plateau landmass, all of which is overlain with deep peat, in some places reaching down past 8 meters. 

On top of this is found a mixture of plants that are specialised in living in the low nutrient peat environment and which give the area its distinctive appearance.

One further factor had to come into play for the peat to form of course - a high rainfall (oceanic) climate. This coupled with the underlying geology of Whitelee meant that blanket bog formed over the scarred hills.

No-one knows exactly when blanket bogs began to form but its accepted that it was somewhere between 6000 and 9000 years ago.

Whitelee Landscape

Utopia - Dystopia ???
Commenting on the official opening of Whitelee Wind Farm, Friends of the Earth's Executive Director Andy Atkins said it was "...an exciting step towards a greener future..."

3,200 MW Hinkley Point C [HPC] will operate at 90% capacity factor [cf]. 539 MW Whitelee has a cf of 27%. It needs 20 wind farms the size of Whitelee to generate the same amount of intermittent electricity in a year, as the 24/7 electricity delivered by HPC.

"...With the current windfarm covering 78 km²..."

20 x 78 km² = 1,560 km²

  • A windfarm constructed sympathetically on peat can produce a positive CO2 return within 3 years of operation. If however the windfarm is poorly built, the CO2 payback can take 30 years - longer than the lifespan of the windfarm
  • About 70% of the roads at Whitelee are built using floating road construction methods because of the deep and sometimes fluid peat
  • 900 hectares of non-native conifer plantation was removed as part of the development of Phase-1 of the windfarm - around 2.25 million trees
  • Deepest peat encountered was 7m. Average peat depth was 3.3m
  • Approximately 850,000m3 of peat excavated and spread
At 7:29, a walk through Whitelee Windfarm and a description of peat removal.
"...No-one knows exactly when blanket bogs began to form but its accepted that it was somewhere between A6000 and 9000 years ago..."

6,000 to 9,000 years of carbon storage - then it's all released in an instant. And for what? To cut an *unknowable* amount of greenhouse gas emissions 

*unknowable* - The calculation can only be modelled because of the impossibility of measuring the amount of methane released during construction, forest removal and peat bog excavation !
And that's not the end of the story. Whitelee's lifespan is stated as 20 years, but it will probably produce for 25 years, which is the norm [claimed by wind power bodies]. So the 20 wind farms would have to be built a 2nd and be 10 years into the 3rd build to deliver for 60 years. That's a factor of X2.4

That's 2.4 x 20 x 539 MW = 25,872 MW of installed capacity.
At £600 million for 539 MW:
25,872 MW Costs £28,800 million !!!!!!!


  1. If they last that long. Even assuming they do, there's a lot of maintenance to be done that adds to the capex payments. So much for free wind.