The case for wind farms is just hot air

TV naturalist David Bellamy has called them "weapons of mass destruction" as they do such untold damage to the environment as well as being a scar on the landscape. I call them wind factories - because farm is a misleading expression.

This Sunday, Professor Bellamy will be spearheading the fight against one particular plan - the proposed Auchencorth wind factory at a public meeting in Penicuik - to which all Evening News readers are warmly welcomed.

And if you are interested in the full story on the plans to build 18 wind turbines with a maximum height of 102 metres on a beauty spot, do try and join them. The event has been organised by a group of concerned locals called Penicuik Environment Protection Association. We believe EON, the giant German utility, partly owned by the German government and embroiled in Europe's largest-ever acquisition, has given the citizens of Penicuik one-sided information.

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Why am I so passionately against these plans? Well, all my life I have had a fascination with windmills as my country of origin, The Netherlands, only managed to keep its head above water thanks to the structures that today are famous tourist attractions.

When, some five years ago, one of the first wind factories was proposed at Bow Beat in the Moorfoot hills, I was naively taken in by the developers and believed "what they said on the tin".

I was rudely awakened to the folly of their propaganda when I attended a lecture more than two years ago given by Professor David Simpson - at the time the just-retired chief economist of Standard Life. The David Hume Institute, a respected think-tank, wished to know more about wind energy and had asked Prof Simpson to study the subject. His findings were published in the paper Tilting at Windmills - The Economics of Wind Power, which can be studied at

A week later, I attended a public meeting in Perth to hear more about several planned wind factories. That was when I heard Prof Bellamy, who was a speaker, call the windmills "weapons of mass destruction".

Ever since my "road to Damascus" experience, I have seen with dismay more and more of these utterly wasteful projects being planned and erected.

The recent proposal for a gigantic electrical pylon scheme from Beauly, north of Inverness, to Denny, in the Central Belt, had me gobsmacked. This intrusive structure is required as more wind factories are planned in the north of Scotland and all along the intended route. How can the Government be so blind to the economic facts of wind energy?

I'm all in favour of alternative energy, but let's have it from wave, tidal, hydro or solar - not a structure that is only 26 per cent effective and, unless sited near a hydro-power plant, makes no sense as no electricity storage is possible.

When Shell was forced to dismantle the Brent Spar rather than sink it, my firm was involved with a large Dutch engineering company. It had suggested erecting three windmills on the structure, together with some 300 wave buoys linked to the Spar, creating 20 megawatts of electricity.

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Although the most imaginative solution for the Brent Spar, Shell declined as it remained responsible for the structure.

The Moss at Auchencorth is home to wildlife and plants which are unique. Its landowner will understandably be charmed by the prospect of collecting some 7 million over the next 25 years linked to the hydro carbon index, but is he really aware of the impact this wind factory is going to have on his fellow citizens? We need a revolution of all citizens to make the planners, the councillors, the Scottish Executive and the Government wake up to the total folly of allowing wind factories in our midst.

• Peter de Vink is managing director of EFGH Corporate Finance and a local resident

The public meeting will be held on Sunday at Beeslack School, Penicuik, at 4pm. Speakers will include John Campbell QC and the chairman will be scientist and Penicuik citizen Professor Tony Trewavas FRS. If you are unable to attend or want to learn more, visit the website

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