Kenly wind farm to finally be built


The University of St Andrews has expressed “delight” at being given the green light by the Scottish government to go ahead with plans to build a wind farm at Kenly.

The decision by a government Reporter to uphold the University’s proposal may finally signal an end to the saga, which has dragged on for years. The University appealed to the government in September 2012 after Fife Council unanimously rejected the request for planning permission following four years of discussion and consultation.

The proposal to build six 328ft (100m) high wind turbines on Kenly Farm, to the east of St Andrews near Boarhills, has been contentious since its inception. Most objections have focused on the possible damage to the historic landscape and the resulting impact on tourism, St Andrews’ biggest industry.

The plans have long been challenged in particular by the Kenly Landscape Protection Group, formed of residents from Boarhills, Dunino and Kingsbarns, which has said that the turbines will have a “massive visual impact.”

Other complaints have been lodged by golfing businesses including the Old Course Hotel, which warned that the turbines would have “detrimental visual and economic impacts” on St Andrews. The University hit back at the time, stating: “It is simply wrong to say that [the turbines] will be visible on any significant scale from the Old Course… on a clear day, some of the blades will be visible from some parts of West Sands at a distance of over 7km – in between two much more prominent features, the caravan park and the Fairmont Hotel.”

The farmland at the Kenly site passed an Environmental Impact Assessment as part of the University’s request for planning permission.

The Ministry of Defence also initially objected to the turbines, stating they could interfere with the radar system around RAF Leuchars, but the impending closure of the base means this is no longer an issue.

The University hopes that the turbines will generate 12MW of electricity, allowing it to cut down its £5 million-a-year energy bill. In March 2012 Dr Roddy Yarr, the University’s environment and energy manager, said: “The reality is that at present, the University is experiencing a 15% increase year on year of the cost of Grid electricity. Since 2004, the cost of Grid electricity has tripled… it seems apparent to the University that we all need to change how we generate our energy.”

The wind farm would also help the University reach its goal of becoming carbon neutral by reducing its carbon footprint by up to 18,000 tonnes.

The project has been supported by the Students’ Association since its inception, with the SRC voting unanimously in favour in 2011. Then president Patrick O’Hare said at the time: “We commend the University’s commitment to renewable energy and believe that it is engaging positively with student desire for sustainable energy solutions as well as promoting itself as a leader in the Higher Education sector on sustainable development.”

A University spokesperson commented:

“We await the full detail of the Reporter’s decision, but are delighted that our appeal has been upheld and that this important project can finally go ahead.

“Kenly has always been central to our efforts to generate our own clean, green power, reduce our exposure to crippling external energy price rises and protect local jobs in Fife.

“We recognise that our plans for Kenly prompted passionate opposition from some people, but also very significant levels of support from within the local community. We remain fully committed to open discussions with local people about the detail of a community benefit scheme.”

The government’s decision was announced to University staff on Friday morning in the staff newsletter. The message stated:

“We learned this morning that our longstanding plans for a wind farm at Kenly have finally been given the green light by a Scottish Government Reporter. The Reporter has upheld our appeal against refusal of planning permission by Fife Council. The news is hugely significant for the University – Kenly has always been central to our strategic efforts to generate our own clean, green energy, reduce our exposure to crippling external energy price rises and protect local jobs.

“Great credit is due to Roddy Yarr, Environment and Energy Manager, and his colleagues in Estates who have patiently and consistently made the case for the project over months of delays and uncertainty. We’re now awaiting the full detail of the Reporter’s decision, but there is very understandable delight that our appeal has been upheld and that this important renewables project can finally go ahead.”

In a press release, John Goodwin, chair of the KLPG, said:

“Local residents and objectors are disappointed they had to find out about this decision from a student newspaper website on Friday. Nobody at the University or at the Scottish government had the grace to inform us directly.

“But there again this is typical of the whole shameful history of the University’s campaign to cash in on wind subsidy – because that’s what it’s all about: not a single turbine would be going up without the 100% subsidy and the tens of millions that will come out of poor consumers’ pockets will go straight into University coffers.

“The University’s campaign has been characterised by ignoring, misleading and misrepresenting the local people who live round Kenly and in Fife. Every single Councillor voted against this wind farm; local communities were wholeheartedly against it. The University has treated Fifers like dirt.

“We are baffled why the Reporter decided the undoubted impact on residential amenity at Kenly was acceptable when it wasn’t at Lingo. 97 homes lie within 2 km of the wind farm which will inflict an overbearing visual impact, noise and shadow flicker on many of them. People’s enjoyment of their homes will be diminished and house prices will inevitably fall. Similarly holiday homes and other rental accommodation will find it harder to find tenants.

“The Reporter attached no less than 40 conditions to his consent for Kenly. These conditions relate to acknowledged problems at the site, a number of which will be very expensive, if not impossible to mitigate. For example, the risk of radium contamination at Kenly, a known burial site for aircraft painted with radioactive glow-in-the-dark paint, is recognised but uninvestigated. Radium is highly toxic and dislodging even a tiny amount during excavation of the site will turn it into a no-go area like Dalgety Bay.

“Another condition is a response to an MoD objection that the turbines would interfere with radar and undermine national security. The suspensive condition gives the University three years to find a technological solution to the radar problem, for which no proven solution currently exists.

“Ordinarily, one might expect the Reporter to refuse a development which required so many conditions, or indeed a developer to abandon a site that is so problematic and potentially expensive. Should the University nevertheless press ahead, local residents will be watching closely to ensure the University complies with all these conditions and requesting regular updates from the relevant authorities.

“KLPG is also looking into the possibility of judicial review based on Lady Clark’s ruling last week that unless wind farm applicants have a licence to generate from Ofgem (or an exemption from DECC) their application is incompetent. The University of St Andrews has no such licence. We wrote to the Chief Reporter last week to warn her that any consent would be unsafe on these grounds.”


  • Updated 7 October to include a press release statement from the Kenly Landscape Protection Group


  1. Sarah,

    I believe the wind turbines will pay for themselves in the long-run through the money they save the University.

    I understand your point about the lack of comment from the opposing side, however.

    • Jonathan says that they will pay for themselves in the long run through the money they save the University. As I understand it, any electricity generated will go into the grid. So presumably the Uni’s savings will come as a result of subsidies paid to it, which is in fact paid for by consumers

    • There wouldn’t be any debate if there were no subsidies for the ugly landscape devastating wind scam ! ! ! No pylons nowhere ! No bird- and batcutters. In the land of Adam Smith. CO2? What a hoax. Look at the experiments of Robert W. Wood and Nahle, Nasif S.!

    • These turbines, far from being green, will be seen for 30km. It takes 900+ tonnes of concrete to stabilise one 100m turbine in the ground so that more C02 is generated manufacturing the concrete and steel, not to mention the rare earth minerals used in the magnets, than the turbine can offset in its lifespan.There is nothing clean, green or renewable about these industrial turbines. As to supplying electricity for the university this is not true as a back up connection to the grid is on all the time for when there is too little or too much wind. As such wind energy costs more as conventional generation is still needed. It’s a scam.

  2. Opposing side? What opposing side.

    Free energy. Clean energy. Huge reduction in University overheads. Better quality resources as a result. (Not to mention the increase in publicity we will get from making such a bold move)

    How can you possibly oppose this…unless you own the Old Course Hotel, Sarah?!

    • Wind turbines are useless unreliable expensive “NOT GREEN” Monstrosities the only thing they are good at is destroying and polluting the landscape killing birds and bats devaluing house prices and disturbing humans and wildlife.

      • I object to the wholesale destruction of Scottish landscapes by greedy energy companies and I don,t even play golf. if this university has a funding problem they should find another solution rather than imposing these monstrosities on everyone else.

    • Stan – if you believe that wind energy is free, either you’re an employee of Scottish Renewables or you haven’t done your homework! If the electricity was free, why do wind turbines have to be paid subsidies in order to make them viable?

    • The energy is neither free nor clean. Wind energy is both heavily subsidised and increases electricity costs directly for all bill payers. As for the claim that it is clean, every real-life study has shown that, due to the need for conventional backup, wind energy cannot claim to save any fossil fuels being burned and the more wind power is added to the mix, it actually causes more fossil fuels to he burned than if no wind power was being used at all. Therefore, the truth is that wond power is expensive, useless and environmentally damaging.

    • Free energy…clean energy? Nothing could be further than the truth. Wind is free but harnessing it is very expensive and as far as clean, where do you think they get the materials to make these things? Not only tones of steel and rare earth elements need to be mined to make turbines, but all sorts of materials that have a huge carbon footprint go into these things. And what of when they wear out? All this for power source that’s a small fraction of what’s promised, but also has nothing to do with demand and must be backed up with other power sources. It’s like buying an overpriced car that only runs 25% of the time and not necessarily when you need to use it. How can you consider this as anything but a waste of resources, unless you want to include the idea that people can live wastefully and not feel guilty about it and not deal with people need to start living sustainably and take personal responsibility for their own actions. I also know from personal experience Large wind turbines are the neighbors from Hell and think the only ones who should suffer from living with them are the ones who think it’s a good idea.

  3. And paid for by the poorest in our society on their energy bills. An unfair system for unreliable energy. Clean energy Stan? Sorry not the case. Huge pollution overseas for turbine components – but as long as not in this country it’s ok eh? That’s what they call Green Nimbyism – and that’s the very worse kind.

  4. It goes without saying that writers for “The Saint” will praise the wind installation. What choice do they have?

    Will they still be full of praise when they’re living and trying to work with the noise, the infra-sound, and the flicker, and can’t sleep or concentrate?

  5. I’m not sure that they run the risk of being impacted upon, Lesley; that’s for others to suffer. As I understand it the turbines will be some miles from the University – surely a true case of Nimbyism. No doubt someone will correct me if I am wrong.

  6. I stand corrected, then, Mary. All we can hope for is that they have miscalculated, and the staff and students will go home every day with their eyes and heads spinning.

  7. Ah that’s quite normal. Build them far enough away not to be affected yourself as long as you are able to rake in the extortionate subsidies paid for by people who can’t afford the supplement on their energy bills. Wake up people – this is the biggest scam of our time and people need to research this more. Plenty of info out there – no excuse not to.

  8. Local residents and objectors cannot believe they had to find out about this decision from a student newspaper website. Nobody at the University or at the Scottish Government has had the grace to inform them. But there again the whole shameful history of the University’s campaign to cash in on wind subsidy (because that’s what it’s all about: not a single turbine would be going up without the 100% subsidy – the tens of millions that will come out of poor consumers’ pockets will go straight into University coffers) has been characterised by ignoring, misleading, misrepresenting and generally ****ing on the local people who live round Kenly and in Fife. Every single Councillor voted against this wind farm; local communities were wholeheartedly against it. But hey the University knows best.

  9. People who are pro turbines are the ones generally totally unaware or misinformed as to the total unreliability of them as well as the high bird kill rates nationally,
    There are of course some brainwashed environmentalists who believe the sky is falling & will embrace anything that fits their agenda,
    Last but not least are the turbine snake oil salesmen themselves, they are quite happy to decimate our precious countryside while holding open their wallets for the cash that has been siphoned from the general publics pockets while supplying next to zero in energy,
    Lets also not forget that the more of these are put up anywhere means the more subsidies are being paid out, Therefore this guarantees us more energy price increases to cover it because WE ARE PAYING THEM, This is something people just don’t realise because we are never told the full facts.

  10. When other parts of the world stop laughing at us for blighting one of our own (Scotlands) main tourist attractions with wind turbines you should expect them to treat St. Andrews and the East Neuk with the same respect as those who allowed this abomination to happen. Of course this is only my personal opinion you understand.

  11. With a bit of luck the ‘saga’ won’t be over and legal challenges will tie this most inappropriate development up in knots for years to come.

    • Quite so, Lyndsey! This decision could well be challenged on a number of points, including there not being an independently conducted Environmental Impact Assessment available for public scrutiny (using recent Aarhus Convention draft decision) and on the basis that the developer does not have a generating licence from Ofgem or an exemption from DECC

  12. Shocking decision which will blight the landscape and the lives of many resident. Ironic as it comes at a time when other countries, the latest being denmark, are waking up to this wind ‘energy’ scam. The university should be ashamed of this decision.

  13. This was a very prejudiced decision. It shows a total disregard and discrimination to the local people living in 97 homes within 2km of the site, my home is just over 1km away. In a survey, over 70% of local people said they did not want the ineffectual industrial wind turbines in this internationally renowned area of natural beauty and prolific wildlife. If another survey was conducted now, the figures against this misdemeanour would be considerably higher.

    Why put turbines in a DECC area classed as low-wind? It can only be to get the subsidies we all pay, the University will receive in excess of £55 million pounds of our money and the local people will get no benefit whatsoever. The 97 + homes will be unsellable at market value and hundreds of people would be subjected to LFN/Aerodynamic Modulation Noise and ill health.

    Fife Council unanimously refused this application. With Alex Salmond a former student of St Andrews University, Ming Campbell – our Lib/Dems MP for this area is employed as the Universities Chancellor, The Principal Louise Richardson is an Advisor to Alex Salmond means that this biased and unjustified case should be taken to court.

    So far every wind turbine site in the East Neuk of Fife has been approved except for Lingo which was refused yesterday. It is quite clear that was done to lessen the outrage from the local people and allow Kenly to go ahead. Needless to say if a commercial company had been behind Kenly it would have been refused.

  14. This is a political stitch up with well known MP’s pandering to that great seat of learning, by handing them the opportunity to fill up their saddle bags and get rich. What does it matter that it is the wrong project in the wrong place, not wanted by 000’s of people and it will industrialise a lovely ancient landscape and that well known around the world home of golf. Coming Soon to a view near you` ~ Golf has been played at St Andrews Links for 600 years. In 1552 Archbishop Hamilton’s Charter recognised the right of the people of St Andrews to play golf at the Links. ~ Vandalised by The Politicians in 2013 for rich pickings

  15. If a university can behave in such an uninformed way and inflict suffering on its neighbours I suggest that it has lost the write to be regarded as a seat of learning. Shame on you St. Andrews

    • I would suggest that Angela informs herself on how to use basic English before attempting to inform the university on anything. At least at St Andrews they’ve taught us how to use the word RIGHT correctly. Clearly you didn’t go to such a great ‘seat of learning.’

      • Out of all the issues raised against wind energy, which are very valid, the only response you can make, is target a user for the incorrect usage of a word.

        Typical pro-wind stance, cannot defend the technology so will resort to personal attacks to try and deflect the argument.

        • Agree James – a really cheap shot. It’s very easy to get the wrong homophone, especially when one is cross. I know Angela – a GP of the old school – who has without doubt received a better education (and better schooling in basic manners and courtesy) than the vast majority of today’s university students.

      • I would suggest that Caroline inform herself, firstly, of the manners which could be expected to be taught at a seat of learning such as St Andrews. The comment smacks of the pompousness of youth and its inability to understand the sardonicism which I’m sure Angela intended with her clever use of the word ‘write’

        • Caroline rather eloquently displayed the arrogance of a University and it’s students who enjoy the welcome and support of the local population and then kick sand in their faces. An own goal if ever I saw one!

          • ‘A local population’ that by and large supports Fife Council that rejects everything that the university tries to build and pass in an attempt to improve the quality of life and academics for its students. Fife Council demonises the student body, and groups like the Preservation Trust take absurd official positions that every student should live in residence halls outside of town. I hope long time residents understand that the town would not flourish without the university, there would be very few if any restaurants, pubs, hotels, and stores. While golfers do support local commerce in the summer, it is St Andrews students that keep the town flourishing for the remainder of the year.

            I applaud Caroline for her wittiness because clearly her satire was a joke and pointed out the absurdity of Ms. Angela’s suggestion that the University of St Andrews has lost it’s supposed ‘right’ to be a seat of learning because it is committed to clean energy and reducing its own electricity bill that is already £5m a year and only continues to increase.

            Therefore, I hope that local residents not affiliated in any way with the university (and I’m sure the vast majority do have a direct affiliation with the university whether it be employment, use of facilities including the library and fitness centre, etc.) think carefully about their disdain for the university and its students when they use the very local businesses that would not be in existence were it not for the university.

            This is not a war between the university and students as some on this thread would suggest. This is a few extreme views that are by and large not representative of the majority of wonderful residents that love and appreciate the university and all of the commerce, culture, and energy that it provides.

  16. O have watched the development of this tragedy for a long time and am horrified that it has come to this awful conclusion. The development will produce a miserable amount of unreliable electricity at a very high cost to the consumer. It will ruin the lives of so many people in the community and will damage the environment and visual amenity. And for what? Just a fistful of money. The university should be ashamed that it is complicit in such wanton damage, as should the SNP.

  17. Good on the University, this is a smart, sustainable and sensible project. Without the University St Andrews would be nothing, such is its vast contribution to the town in so many ways, not least employment.

    • You Sir are sadly grossly misinformed. It is a shameful decision and I hope it is legally challenged and stopped. I would expect a university to have the sense to research the matter thoroughly and not just be blinded by the extortionate subsidies it hopes to reap.

    • Well said Simon! It’s a shame that a few anti-St Andrews people have come out in full force against anyone that posts anything sensible and eloquently written on this page. I’m sorry we care about the environment and the well being of future generations!

  18. Narcissism would not be enough to describe this decisions, feel really sorry for the people who’s lives will be destroyed by the granting of permission to build these things so close to homes, if Scotland is trying to destroy its beautiful country and nature for very little gain then they are going the right way to do it, money before health and beauty of nature.

  19. Wind turbines increase CO2 emissions due to the need for back-up at all times. In fact the wind farm will increase the University’s “carbon footprint”. But that’s a good thing as the CO2 is good for plants. However, there are much cheaper ways for the University to increase its “carbon footprint” (it could burn coal for example in a small power station) and they wouldn’t increase fuel poverty and cause more winter deaths to those in fuel poverty.

  20. Absolutely disgraceful and this is all part of the big scam and the bribery and corruption at the heart of the Scottish Government and the wind companies. I hope everyone who had a part in this thoroughly ashamed and there is no thought for the ordinary people who will not gain anything from this green scam. Wind doesn’t work and it requires the use of fossil fuels and does little to reduce CO2. Alex Salmond’s pie in the sky dream and a nightmare for the people of Fife.

  21. This is another classic case of the University just steamrolling over the local people of St Andrews and the local area. I wonder how much back handing has gone off between the Scottish gov / and the Uni.

  22. It is sad to see the one or two supporters of this anti-green policy and how they have been suckered into believing that any good could come from these schemes. They are the least green form of renewable available to man. Only exist because of subsidies and are a danger to life as illustrated by the death rate already to, not only wildlife but to humans, when the windy turbines fail, which they will. I only hope that the students are not near them when that happens.

  23. This is a disgraceful decision and everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves.I know from personal experience that University’s are in on the scam,as one university came on our local wind farm to do a BAT SURVEY when the turbines were SWITCHED OFF.How corrupt is that?

  24. Wind farms are not good, green or sustainable. They are expensive and only work when the wind blows at the right speed. Too much wind and they are shut down, not enough and they produce nothing at all. All the time they are producing electricity a conventional power station has to be running less efficiantly as back up to be brought up to full power as soon as the unpredictable wind stops blowing.
    Wind farms destroy the environment and do nothing to stop the production of CO2. They do not do what they say they will do.
    Also they make a lot of noise. I hear a windfarm that is 25 miles away from my home. I hear the LFN the huge turbines produce. This noise, even from so far away is enough to stop me sleeping well. It is very disturbing.
    There is nothing at all green about wind farms. They are only being put up because of the huge subsidies being paid. They destroy peoples lives and make their homes unsaleable. There are people all over the world who are stuck in houses they are unable to sell because of wind farms.
    That a university is putting these things up is a disgrace. I would have thought a university would be better informed about how useless wind farms are. More so called clever people bamboozled by the green energy movement. It is all a greenwash. The wind does not blow all the time. They are very noisy and do not do what they say on the tin.

  25. Have the students researched into this topic or just swallowed all they were thought? Would you buy a car that only worked at 25% capacity? Wind turbines only work between 12.5mph and 33mph. So the wind needs to blow at just the right speed in order to be productive and what happens when the wind doesn’t blow or blows too strong? Every Mw of electricity generated by wind needs to be backed up, usually by diesel generators. It does little to reduce Co2 and some argue it increases Co2 levels. What about the 600m-900m of concrete in each base, the copper and metal content are not very “Green”. Ice throw, shadow flicker, noise, destroying the landscape, environmental impacts, impacts to ecology, the proximity to peoples homes, devaluation of peoples homes, accidents…the list goes on and on. Wind Turbines are perceived to be GREEN. Please don’t take my word for it but research into it more with open eyes and see what you find. Scotland is being destroyed which might possibly be put up with if it did what it should do but it doesn’t even come close. This is about MONEY. Plain and simple. Take away the subsidies and not one turbine would be built. I stand to be corrected on any of the above as it is just my opinion… I am only trying to show that I believe there is a whole other side to wind energy that people are not even considering.

    • I agree totally! Joanne ,For one to support the building of useless wind turbines you either are very stupid or very misinformed or both ,Wind turbines are a scam! and has nothing to do with generating clean energy quite the opposite! ,It is money! bribery control and power over people.. that’s wind energy..

    • Joanne, your car argument isn’t really a fair comparison – but even still, the answer to your question is a clear yes for almost everyone.

      Does your car run at 100% of its top speed 100% of the time? Clearly not, its capacity factor will likely be far less than 25% just by being parked for a high proportion of the year or driven at 30-60mph. Similarly the capacity factor of wind turbines (25-30%) means that across an entire year they will operate on average at 25-30% of maximum power, so full capacity sometimes, zero at others. As a comparison with non renewable power sources – coal power station capacity factors are around 42%, nuclear around 60% in the UK (5 year average 2007-2011).

      Also your range of windspeeds where they operate seems very small, just looking at one turbine type as an example (the Vestas V80) the Vestas website states it operates from 4m/s – 25m/s, so 9mph – 56mph, which is far from atypical for modern wind turbines, I’m not sure where you got 12.5 – 33mph?

      As for backup, every MW of power from any power station in the UK is backed up, so that if jellyfish clog up the cooling systems for a nuclear reactor, or a tree brings down an export cable out of a coal fired plant, the grid is able to cope. Having a 10MW wind farm not producing (which can be forecasted with reasonable accuracy by weather patterns rather than happening with no warning) is far less of a problem for the national grid than a fault developing at a nuclear station and suddenly losing 1GW of base load off the grid with little warning.

      Multiple studies on turbine carbon lifecycles show they make back the energy used in production and construction within 1 year on an averagely windy site (7m/s+).

      I’m sure you have genuine concerns over the appearance of turbines or the way they’re funded (incidentally it’s the same way that all electrical infrastructure is – by consumers, at least with the ROC they only make money by selling electricity – no electricity generated = no subsidy) but you’ve missed the mark with quite a few points there.

      • Duke, would you buy a car that didn’t run when you needed it? That’s the deal with IWT’s. as wind knows nothing of demand. My cars speed is determined by me, in relation to the conditions and demands as I see fit. You must have missed that rated wind speed for Vestas V80 is 13.5m/s, or just over 30mph. That means any higher wind doesn’t get any more power from the turbine. Another fact of generating electricity from wind is power generated drops dramatically from rated speed and at the lower end, not very much power is to be had. I can tell you haven’t spent any time around an operating wind turbine in mountainous areas because the wind isn’t constant and you can hear the turbine rotation constantly speeding up and down, another reason another power source needs to mirror the turbines to even out the electricity to the grid. That said, developers always use rated capacity when doing their sell, and is part of the scam. Now your claim that every MW from any power station is more than a stretch of the truth, because that would require a capacity of 2x maximum demand. 1.2x is the current record for demand vs. capacity here in New England. My concern wind turbines of the appearance is much less than the environmental impacts which are considerable, as not only need to consider what goes into making and decommissioning them, and site preparation, plus the transporting. As a Vestas V80 weighs in at least 233.5 metric tonnes, I’d say your figure of net zero carbon in1 year is pure fantasy. All in all I’d say the real value is people like you continuing to be wasteful of energy and not feel guilty about it, while the neighbors of IWT’s suffer.

        • Larry, nice of you to speculate on my attitude towards wasting energy.

          Personally, I wouldn’t compare a wind turbine to a car at all, I was merely adding my perspective to Joanne’s comment. I agree wind knows nothing of demand – I certainly wouldn’t want a national grid based on wind power – but it can provide a useful contribution in a balanced system since when the wind is blowing the alternative fuel use and associated emissions are reduced by the contribution of wind power. If storage technology improves to a useful state then this benefit is extended – that’s the real holy grail for renewables. The Irish National Grid produced a good study on this showing fossil fuel use reduction, by the way.

          I didn’t miss that the V80’s generator has a peak capacity which it reaches at 13.5m/s, I thought it would be self evident that there must be a peak of some sort, and also it bore little relation to the ‘generates from x – y mph’ point that Joanne made. As for the low windspeed = low power output point, that’s physics I guess, but it goes back to the addition of clean energy to the grid – more would be great, but some is better than none.

          I agree I phrased my point on backup poorly – each station is backed up, but not an unique basis so power stations b,c,d pick up the slack if power station a is down, power stations a,c,d pick up if power station b is down, etc. – it’s a grid system, with enough capacity to pick up a drop in power of greater than the largest component (large nuclear, generally). The point being that everything has to be backed up, it is not a state of affairs unique to wind power. And given the geographic spread of wind farm sites and relative sophisitcation in weather forecasting it’s an easier bit of balancing to manage than a tripped safety system at a larger generator.

          On energy pay back I guess you won’t be impressed by Vestas’ own carbon footprint exercise, though it’s worth a read, but I’d appreciate if you can point me in the direction of something which disproves my ‘pure fantasy’.

          • Duke, How can a power source be useful if it has nothing to do with demand or can’t be depended upon? Until an reasonable means of storage that works in the market place is actually available I don’t think it’s prudent to start installing wind turbines all over the countryside as I do believe we need solutions right now. The “Holy Grail” doesn’t exist yet!

            Unless an analysis takes into account, site preparation, equipment transportation, and decommissioning it can hardly show what the carbon footprint or payback time of a wind turbine project is. Wind being much more variable than the fossil fueled or nuclear generating plants means a higher percentage of backup will be needed than many other types of generation. You say if, but with wind it’s not if, but when, and even when there is wind the variation requires some other power source to ramp up and down with the variation. Forecasting can not take this into consideration as wind is hardly ever constant.

            Now what is your definition of clean? Mine doesn’t include blasting the tops of mountains and filling in the low spots with material from some some other place and bull dozing roads to get to remote sites as is the case with many wind projects. I can tell you from my own observations the watersheds and aquifers will be altered and will be so long after the turbines wear out. This type of environmental havoc is part of why I don’t consider many of these projects clean and detracts from the value. That and neighbors who suffer from lack of sleep from noise from siting issues, among other health issues associated with large industrial turbine projects.

            I didn’t speculate on “your” wasting of energy, but people like you, who think investing in wind energy that costs millions for power sources that have nothing to do with when needed. Now if you want to compare notes on energy, lets’ go! Heating and transportation around these parts consume more fossil fuels than electricity use. I’m currently driving a 1985 Mercedes 300TD with over 293,000 miles and gets 27-30mpg on the highway with biodiesel if I keep under 70mph. I do all the maintenance and most of the work on it to be road worthy. Benny is fun yet dependable and I purchased it because it loves biodiesel. What does your vehicles run on as transportation is a big part of the energy consumption pie? I live in New England in western Massachusetts (Hooscac Wind is in my backyard) near the Vermont border and the Winters here can be quite harsh. We used to spend about $4000 a year on heating with oil, but decided to harvest the wood on the property. I selectively cut and harvest the wood to heat our home myself, and in fact the last several seasons have done so with downed wood on our property. While I’m aware it’s not a perfect system, it is sustainable and is renewable. So how about you Duke, how to you propel your vehicles and heat your home?

            Perhaps you can fill me in Duke and share what sort o

      • Duke, I am no expert but I have had to do a lot of research. Experts can best verify as to why wind doesn’t work….

        What I am is a resident/parent who is facing the prospect of having 25 Industrial turbines, in Phase 1, within 3km of my home. The nearest 3 being 580m from my home,6 more within 1km and all 166m high.

        The one question that the wind companies have NOT reassured me on is whether or not my deaf child with hearing aids, will suffer from interference from the noise off the turbines when she is outside playing?

        There could be 150+turbines within a 10km radius. The size and scale of this in proximity to peoples homes has not happened anywhere before. I would also like to know what the cumulative affect of all these turbines in a tiny village would be?

        Wind energy could be part of a solution to a problem but not THE solution.

        Is it right that our home could be rendered worthless yet I still owe e200k ? Would you buy my home if we need to leave?

        I am totally against wind energy being imposed on communities. It could all have been managed far better with meaningful consultation.

        Plus this is all happening in Ireland to export to the UK – 2,500 Industrial turbines up to 600ft high throughout 5 small counties.

  26. I have dug up some interesting documents (the latter on aircraft noise) which describe how LFN can travel over long distances. These documents show that mechanisms for long distance

    1) Informative document on wind farm noise from the Acoustic Ecology Institute.

    The following text is from Pages 20-22 concerning factors which may give rise to noise complaints against wind turbines. However you may find it worthwhile reading the whole document.

    Possible Factors in Noise Complaints

    Predicted Noise is Unrealistically Optimized
    Manufacturer measurements of the noise emission of their units is often based on optimized laboratory conditions and perfectly new machines; thus, the predicted noise output is likely the lowest that could occur with that particular turbine design. As units age, it is also to be expected that mechanical noise at least will increase (and perhaps aerodynamic noise as well, depending on wear of the blades themselves); a visit to most wind farms will confirm that some towers are louder than others.

    In addition, most noise impact studies assume spherical spreading of sound, which is a rather idealized pure-physics approach to estimating how sound energy decreases as it is dispersed over distance, expanding outward in an ever-expanding sphere. While useful in some situations, or as a starting point, the topographic and atmospheric effects mentioned below tend to shatter the simple picture on which these numbers are based.

    (Spherical spreading is based on the fact that the total sound energy spreads over an increasingly large sphere as a sound moves outward from its source. Any doubling of distance—whether from 100m to 200m or from 1000m to 2000m—will be marked by a
    decrease in sound intensity of 6dB, which to our ears, is perceived as cutting the volume almost in half. Higher frequencies are reduced more than this, by atmospheric attenuation, while lower frequencies stay pretty close to this model).

    In attempt to account for these and other factors, manufacturers often add 2db to their manufacturer’s sound emission estimates when applying for permits. Note: A 2007 study in the UK, comparing modeled sound levels to measured sound levels, indicates that some models are more reliable predictors of sound transmission. Specifically, the researchers found that when they used a conservative (worst-case) factor for ground hardness (and thus sound transmission) the actual recorded sound was nearly always lower than predicted at close and mid range (100m-500m), with a bit more variation and scattered higher measured sound at longer range (750m) . When using a “mixed cover” factor for ground cover, measured sound was more often louder than predicted, sometimes by as much as 5-7dB (the mixed cover results were only reported at 750m). [Bullmore, Addock, Jiggins, Cand. Wind Farm Noise Predictions: The Risks of Conservatism. Second International Meeting on Wind Turbine Noise, Lyon, France, September 2007)]

    Topographical Effects

    Sloping landforms can create unusual sound propagation conditions, especially in consort with atmospheric fluctuations. Near the Vancouver Airport, hills rising from a flat plain caused sound levels to be 20dB higher at 5500m than at 4000m, because of the way the increasing ground angles caused sounds to combine, more than nullifying what, in a standard model, would be expected to be a 3dB decrease over that distance.

    A different topographical effect is the one reported at Mars Hill, above, where noise from turbines atop a ridgeline is made “worse” by the fact that the ridge blocks the wind at homes along its foot, eliminating the masking effect that is often assumed to drown out the sound of turbines in high wind conditions.

    Atmospheric Effects
    Researchers looking more deeply into the readily apparent problems with noise that many residents are experiencing have uncovered a few possible atmospheric factors that deserve further investigation and due consideration from local authorities, as well as inclusion in noise models used to predict likely acoustic impacts of new wind farm developments. Most noise modeling is based on simplified wind speed models, and it is often assumed that higher winds will create higher ambient noise, thus hiding the increased sound of turbines.
    Among the recent findings:

    Night time atmospheric stability
    In the daytime, warming air rises, both carrying sound aloft and creating turbulence that scatters turbine noise, as well as creating more ground-based ambient noise that masks turbine sounds. At night, however, when the air stabilizes it appears that noise from wind turbines can carry much farther than expected. This effect can occur with light winds at turbine height and the ground, or, with light winds at turbine height and very little or no wind at ground level.

    With light and steady breezes capable of spinning the turbines, but not stirring up much ambient noise, sound levels measured at homes a half mile to nearly two miles away are often 5-15dB higher than models would suggest. Making matters worse, this same atmospheric stability tends to allow multiple turbines to settle into a synchronous rhythm (in more turbulent conditions, small differences in wind between the turbines keeps them out of synch). In this case, the “whish” of the blades as they pass the
    tower often turns into a more annoying rhythmic “thump;” in quantitative terms, the change in sound level creating the whish or thump can rise from 2dB to 5dB or as high as 9dB, making a clearly audible rhythmic pattern. These rhythmic pulses are likely the strongest
    factor in annoyance.

    Inversion layers
    While the quantitative effect of inversion layers on sound levels has not been systematically studied, many opportunistic reports suggest the obvious: that when an inversion layer forms above the height of turbines, it can facilitate longer-range sound transmission by reflecting some of the sound back toward the ground, or by forming (with the ground) a channel for sound propagation. In many locations, this will be a relatively rare occurrence, but in areas with frequent inversion layer formation, it should be considered.

    Wind turbines are often placed in a row; the sound emanating from each one will move outward in concentric circles. There will be places where the sound waves from one turbine interact with the sound waves from another turbine; in these locations, they sound waves may be out of phase, thus reducing the perceived loudness, or in phase, thus increasing the localized sound levels. You might more easily picture this if thinking of pebbles dropped in water; the expanding circles of waves will cross each other, creating a more dynamic pattern of higher and lower waves. Note: the same factors that can disrupt the idealized spherical spreading models, as noted above, also will tend to create a more chaotic pattern of sound waves from each turbine, thus also limiting the impact, and certainly the predictability, of coherence effects.

    NOTE: It may be useful keeping tabs on this web site as they update the site with new research results regularly.

    2) Report on Aviation LFN: Aviation Low Frequency Noise (April 13, 2001)

    This report highlights the problems with A-weighted noise measurements which has been in use since 1936.

    Conclusions of this report:
    3.9. Effects of Combined Noise Sources

    The evidence on low-frequency noise is sufficiently strong to warrant immediate concern. Various industrial sources emit continuous low -frequency noise (compressors, pumps, diesel engines, fans, public works); and large aircraft, heavy-duty vehicles and railway traffic produce intermittent low-frequency noise. Low-frequency noise may also produce vibrations and rattles as secondary effects. Health effects due to low-frequency components in noise are estimated to be more severe than for community noises in general (Berglund et al. 1996). Since A -weighting underestimates the sound pressure level of noise with low-frequency components, a better assessment of health effects would be to use C-weighting.

    A-weighted sound level measurements reflect the technology and industrial environment of the 1930’s! It’s time to update the noise pollution standards and references that are used today in a manner that reflects contemporary industrial technology and current research.

    3) WYLE REPORT WR 01-21 – “Status of Low-Frequency Aircraft Noise Research and Mitigation” (15 August 2001)
    Section 2.3 – Low-Frequency Noise Propagation (Pages 10-12) – has interesting information on mechanisms for propagation of LFN. There are also various graphs which illustrate the differences in measuring & analysing noise which comprises a broad spectrum of frequencies, including LFN. In all cases the sound pressure levels are significantly reduced when analysing noise the A-weighted filter is applied to the noise measurements.

    • I completely second what ChrisM has recommended. I was undecided but wanted to know more as a chemical engineer wanted to look at the facts not the propaganda. This Renewable Energy Limitations document helped me do just that. Wind turbines are overpriced, politicised and unreliable. In reality, we cause more environmental damage than we solve. Please don’t just look at headlines or think they’re a “nice idea”. yes they are a “nice idea” but they do not work in practice.

  27. Are the students/university familiar with some of the proven health effects that are caused by Wind Turbines? Migraines, Epilepsy, Motion Sickness can be caused and/or contributed by the flicker effect among many other health issues?

  28. It’s heartbreakingly obvious that most of the supporters of this destructive project are brainwashed students, and none of them has done any sensible research, or knows (or cares) about the effect that it will have on local residents. When they’ve grown up a bit, I hope they have the grace to be ashamed of themselves.

    What do they know, for instance, about rare earth mining and processing in China?

    I would quite like to be a fly on the wall, if they ever join the adult world, when they open their first electricity bill.

    • Lesley why is it that I get the feeling you’re the same kind of local that believes there should be a blanket ban on HMOs in St Andrews?

      Last time I looked students were not all ‘brainwashed’ cyborgs but, like any group of people, have wide ranging and diverse opinions and are perfectly capable of conducting their own research. It seems a common theme of these posts to place all students in the same basket and then make blanket statements about them. We are humans too and we are more than capable of making our own minds up. In the same way I am more than capable of opening the monthly electricity bill for my flat from scottish power, I can even read it too!!

      Here’s some research you might find interesting:
      Although I do like wind power I personally believe nuclear fission is the answer (look at the French energy prices)… But that’s another argument.

        • Mitchell and Henry….Canwea is the last place you will find the truth. That is like going to the tobacco industry, for information on the dangers of smoking. You kids are not that naive, are you?

      • Henry, I wrote “most of the supporters of this destructive project.” I didn’t write “all students.” There is actually a difference. If you represent the brightest and best of modern minds, and you can’t tell the difference, we’re in big trouble.

        I glanced at the link you posted, and at the conclusion, and it merely reinforced my suspicion that those who paid the piper – two wind energy associations – got the answer they paid for.

        By the way, I’m not local (not that I can see why that would be relevant), and I have no idea what an HMO is. Nor do I blame St Sndrews students for the decision. I just wish more of them could see beyond the subsidies, and learn about the damaging effects that turbines have on everyone except them.

    • See what I said below.

      Whatever ‘students’ think or support, they are not the ones who just overturned this decision and gave the turbines the go-ahead. Students did not decide to apply to build these turbines either, that was probably a select few bureaucrats within the university administration.

      If you are looking for someone to blame for this decision and why these wind turbines are given such backing, have a look at the elected SNP government.

      • Very well said, Gooner. In fact, I do not think that any of us anti wind people blame the students because they would never have been consulted in the matter. Like so many other decisions, it will be due to the powers that be who have decided, for their own questionable reasons, that installation of these awful machines is to go ahead. As with so many such developments, some people think that they know what is best for us and Salmond and his bunch of puppet acolytes are forcing their will on the people and give no opportunity for a proper debate on the subject.

  29. We the neighbors of Hoosac Wind are suffering and so far our political representatives seem to be giving us little more than lip service, as well as the government bodies supposedly protecting us. I realize their are many of you supporting us in all this…we do all appreciate the help and Thank You! Still things are taking their toll and it’s not so easy to hold hope that our homes and lives will ever be even close to the same as before Hoosac Wind came to be. What Iberdrola and the rest of them took from us seems difficult to let go of and I do search for it, as it seems as precious as life itself. I’m prompted to ask what is the cost of freedom to enjoy our homes? Is the answer in leaving the places we love and enjoy or perhaps it’s not a right and only a privilege? So many years I’ve said we live in a National Park without having the park. Now the Park has new neighbors that wake us at all all hours of the night and fill the air with industrial noise, this in the middle of the woods that was mostly free from such noises. We choose to live here for the rural qualities, with mountains in the back yard that I used to call enchanted, but no longer. Now there are alien monsters that even the wildlife fear. How I long to be free from waking in the middle of the night, heart pounding, my body drenched in a cold sweat. Feeling as if waking from a dream where a most evil thing was trying to get me, only to realize there was no dream, only invisible waves making everything vibrate in a most unnatural way. Other nights can be wakened by the thumping or what seems like a jets circling overhead that can be heard at times even with the windows closed making sleep difficult or impossible. After several nights of not sleeping well, it does take a toll. And we are the fortunate ones, as Tim and Nancy from the article had to abandon their home as a result of health issues from living so close to the turbines. Imagine being so desperate, that you leave your home with no recourse, or perhaps you say they are imagining it all? And so it goes the hours stretching into days, then months, wondering how or will it end? The uncertainty or accepting this is the way it will be for the rest of our time living here may be one of the more stressful parts about the situation. All this for a song with words that do not ring true, as Hoosac Wind is neither sustainable nor green. Gone are the swamps, blasted and dozed away and the backbone of the ridge filled in to make the roads for access and pads for the turbines. How can tons of steel and plastic contraptions shipped half a world away, with thousands of trees cut and shredded into pieces, mountaintops blasted, dozed, filled, swamps obliterated, and watersheds altered be considered green? And what of the time the turbines wear out and do nothing, become gigantic sculptures rusting away, is this sustainable? All this for an idea that doesn’t deliver as promised, as while the wind is free, harvesting it is very expensive and Hoosac Wind promised being able to power 22,000 homes. More than stretching the truth as the reality in New England is 25% efficiency at best with industrial wind turbines. Even then, what about when the wind doesn’t blow, sit in the dark? You see the wind knows nothing of demand, and the reality is every single MW from wind turbines need to be backed up by other means and more than half is fueled by gas on a typical day here in New Englnd. Adding more turbines doesn’t help and only makes thing worse as more conventional backup is needed. Another piece is called an emergency stoppage an industry term that means supply is more than demand. The result is wind and hydro turbines are shut down first because those turbines are easier to shut off than other plants. All tax and electric rate payers are funding the industrial wind scam, and it’s not just the neighbors who are being screwed, but all of us. Too bad the government didn’t give all the money to Iberdrola, and instead gave it to folks for PV systems for their homes. Our homes would appreciate in value instead of depreciate, require no additional infrastructure such as lines and substations, and allowed people to be more independent and add 3 times more capacity to the grid for extra measure. If you want sustainable and green, live that way and don’t expect the neighbors to shoulder the scheme to make others who do little to nothing feel good. Some people have said I’m this or that and don’t know me at all, but I heat the house entirely with wood I gather from our property and while not ideal is sustainable. Also, Benny the Benz runs on biodiesel, that is refined used vegetable oil. These two things, heating and transportation are the biggest uses of fossil fuels, and wind turbines energy is small in comparison. If you really want to make the world better environmentally, conserve and only use what you need, and put some solar panels on your house, before you ask me to sacrifice to make you feel good.

  30. Average output from wind was 27.18% of metered capacity in 2009, 21.14% in 2010, and 24.08% between November 2008 and December 2010 inclusive.

    There were 124 separate occasions from November 2008 till December 2010 when total generation from the windfarms metered by National Grid was less than 20MW. (Average capacity over the period was in excess of 1600MW).

    The average frequency and duration of a low wind event of 20MW or less between November 2008 and December 2010 was once every 6.38 days for a period of 4.93 hours.

    At each of the four highest peak demands of 2010 wind output was low being respectively 4.72%, 5.51%, 2.59% and 2.51% of capacity at peak demand.

  31. Wind turbines are expensive, very inefficient, have a high carbon footprint and need gas power stations to be on standby, to back up energy supplies when the wind is not blowing, or is blowing too strongly.

    There are no environmental benefits from having wind turbines, either locally or nationally and no justification for them being built. Each turbine will require a concrete foundation each in the region of 1000 tones, together with tracks leading around the site. These would cause irreparable damage to the local eco-system. A particular concern would be the effect on breeding game birds and birds of prey. There are also migrating birds that fly over the area and since these birds are unable to see the rotating turbine blades, they could be killed or injured.
    There are no UK or local jobs created during the 25 year lifetime of a wind farm, Europe makes and constructs all of the wind farms and exports them in to the UK.

    Visually and aesthetically they do nothing to improve on the existing landscape character, other than change it forever by industrialising and sterilising it. There is no evidence that any proposed development will respect or enhance the intrinsic character and quality of the landscape and will in fact be a blight on natural landscapes.

    The sheer size of these monster size turbines are usually totally out of proportion to any existing natural features or development in the area and remain prominently visible for many miles in all directions.

  32. That such privileged youngsters that have won a place at St. Andrew’s consider it acceptable to harvest revenue that pushes the least advantaged in our communities into fuel poverty and do so from a position of ignorance and blind adherence to a false doctrine leaves me very disappointed at what should be an enlightened community. That one day they will experience the folly of their youth is little comfort to those that suffer now.

    • I’m a student, and I completely agree with the vast majority of the comments here. I also fully understand the various limitations of wind turbines and why they are in no way a sustainable solution to this country’s energy demands.

      I am also very familiar with other areas of Scotland which have already seen dozens of these large turbines ruin the landscape, and am aware of the often farcical nature of the decision process which local authorities go through in order to achieve this (so credit to Fife council for rejecting it on this occasion, though it raises the question of why it can now go ahead anyway).

      To be fair to the article here, it is mainly just reporting quotes from the university, rather than expressing any sort of opinion itself.

      However, I would have expected the reporter to pick up on the various claims that this will somehow reduce the university’s carbon footprint, despite the turbines obviously being miles away. Assuming that this energy goes straight to the grid, the only relevance to the university is the huge subsidies that it will receive.

      Of course, these subsidies are grossly inflated, and given that energy companies are obliged to pay for them, it increases prices for everyone else.

      I also have no idea how it will project jobs in Fife. What it will do is ruin the landscape, as well as the value of their properties, for a lot of people in Fife. It really is nibyism at its worst, with the added bonus of having a hugely negative effect on the back yard of those it does impact.

      As for false doctrine, whoever the victims of that may be (students or otherwise), for the culprit, you only need to look as far as our esteemed alumnus Alex Salmond, whose party will say whatever they want to win votes.

  33. Scandalous and corrupt. What a terrible scar to the area and a blight on the lives and livelihoods of many nearby. A disgraceful ripoff of consumers and honest tax payers. Horrid massacre of wildlife. This decision needs to be the subject of a legal challenge, utterly utterly disgraceful. May the decision be overturned.

  34. If the University wants to do something good, how about 24 hr. surveillance cameras on the turbines with infrared, and zoom lens, so that people all over the world could finally get an accurate count of the devastation, instead of the industry covering the truth. A U-tube channel could play this 24/7 for all to see. Also, force the pro-wind people to live near the turbines, and be studied, so that innocent victims aren’t being forced to be guinea pigs. Use their windfall to purchase enough land, that no innocent people would be subjected to their money-making scheme. Use the ineffectiveness, and unreliability of these machines, as a lesson for the students, on what not to do. Show them the harm that can come from making technical decisions, for ideological reasons. A group of college students visited my home today, to ask for assistance with producing a short film on the injustices of the cities and towns benefiting from the harm and destruction to the rural areas because of the wind turbines, and the theft of local decision-making. I was never more proud of any students, in my entire life. They had not been tricked into the faux-green dream. They knew the reality!!!

  35. Most people agree that there is a need to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and that we should encourage the use of renewable energy sources. However, wind is emphatically not the way to go due to its extreme unreliability and the need for constantly available back up from conventional generation. Even if Scotland were to be wall-to-wall carpeted with wind factories, there would still not be a single conventional power station closed. Germany has closed down many of its nuclear power station post Fukushima and is replacing them, not with wind, but with lignite burning coal stations, which are the most dirty of all power generators. If wind were to be a genuinely reliable and good source of power then, I am sure, there would be a much greater acceptance of it, in spite of its manifold problems. However, it is patently not a viable power source and the only reason for its adoption is the ridiculously high subsidies that can be collected. Wind was initially given subsidies to help a then infant industry. It is no longer in its infancy and should, by now, be capable of self sufficiency without having to continue to absorb huge amounts of money that is being paid by the customers, many of whom are now being forced into fuel poverty.

    • Jon, some facts about Wind energy in the US. 5-6¢ a kwh is not typical of the deals being made for wind power and keep in mind 2.3¢ of every kwh put on to the grid is paid by PTC subsidy. This is not including all tax incentives paid to developers or that ratepayers pay for infrastructure for transmission lines and such to connect the projects to the grid. As for jobs, Hoosac Wind (local project) has 19 turbines made in China and erected by companies from out of state and there are 3 local permanent jobs for the project. Reducing fossil fuel use isn’t something industrial wind has much of an effect on as the wind is so variable around here gas turbines have to ramp up and down to even out the power to the grid. With low demand situations the wind turbines are among the first generators to be shut off. Economic benefits to local economies can be very limited. I live a mile from 10 large turbines and the only thing I receive is noise. Usually these projects don’t pay any taxes and work out deals to pay towns based on power output to the grid. Hoosac Wind, received $94,000,000 in tax incentives and payments to the town will bare projected to be $250,000 annually, but that is based on the rated capacity, not actual output which is about 25% of capacity. Land leases do benefit property owners, but other neighbors do not have such benefits. Extracting electricity from wind in not inexhaustible and requires a large amount of fossil fuels to manufacture, ship and prepare sites for industrial wind projects, and in the end the machines will wear out and restoring the sites require resources s well. wind turbines require hydraulic fluid to operate and are not benine to the environment, as even if leaks don’t occur the fluids do need to be replaced and is an environmental concern as turbines require 100-200 gallons of fluid. Besides the huge operating cost of installation, manufacture, and infrastructure needed to operate, maintenance is a major cost including replacing worn out parts such as gear boxes and other components as there are many large moving parts weighing many tons. Also damage do to things such as lightning and from winds are another operating cost. As for being popular, is mainly based on misinformation and lies on the part of developers. We were told we wouldn’t see of=r hear the turbines which is not true, and the figures for power generation were greatly exaggerated. In the end industrial wind turbines promise much but deliver little at great cost, not only financially, but environmentally, and the neighbors suffer from being too close.

  36. Using a failed technology at vast cost both socially and environmentally is no advertisement for an academic institution’s sense of place or purpose but the establishment, and St Andrew’s, has got it horribly wrong before -as Patrick Hamilton’s execution for ‘heresy’ not long before his ‘heresy’ became ‘orthodoxy’ exemplifies. Wake up, young saints and question what your elders, but scarcely betters, are about to do against the express wishes of local residents but clearly in the narrow interest of a few.

  37. Good on the University for pushing through a bold decision. Making the transition to clean, renewable energy is never going to be an easy one, but this is undoubtedly the right decision.

    • Margaret, have you actually taken the time to read the detailed reasons given by those opposed to this out of scale development? If you had you would have realised that it has nothing to do with so-called ‘clean, renewable energy’, and everything to do with raking in obscene subsidies from our soaring energy bills.

      • Karen, I think it’s quite obvious that Margaret isn’t interested in anyone else’s point of view. She’s just throwing in this year’s buzzwords – clean, renewable, bold decision – as though we’re going to be convinced by a post with no argument and no substance.

        I wonder if she’ll come back to stand her corner – if she’s got one?

        • It’s not like you lot aren’t relying on buzzwords. Who really cares about rare earths? No one. The laptop you’re using to read this has rare earth minerals in them, so does your phone. Why don’t you smash them up right now, it’s the only moral decision.

          It’s merely a red herring designed to distract from the fact that residents don’t want their precious tourism revenues decreased in favor of bettering the university’s carbon footprint. Well guess what. Decreasing reliance on fossil fuels is more important than your aesthetic considerations. There are plenty of uglier things in the landscape, exhibit a) those awful green temporary homes near east sands. Protest those why don’t you.

          And to everyone blagging on about how wind turbines aren’t economically viable–of course they aren’t perfectly efficient, that’s the same with any newish alternative technology. You lot aren’t economists (that is painfully evident from the comments here), but there exists a concept called economies of scale–the more of something that is produced, the more optimized the supply chain gets, the cheaper the technology gets. Fact is we’re going to have to move on from hydrocarbons eventually, and investments in wind, solar, geothermal also serve as signals to the market that those technologies are gaining acceptance, will drive down the price and increase their efficiency. For whatever reason, the government here is resistant to nuclear, so these are the only options we have. Thing is, it’s almost never sunny here, so solar is out of the question. One thing we have heaps of is wind. Lots of it. It’s remarkably consistent. That happens when you live near the sea.

          Cut the cr*p guys. It’s not about birds, bats, mongolian lakes, or danish landfills. It’s about your precious landscape being ‘defaced’. This wont change your tax burden at all–those subsidies have already been allocated, and if the University doesn’t take them, guess what? Someone else will. Frankly I think turbines are beautiful. Maybe you lot prefer looking at power plants belching out smoke and carcinogens, but I sure as hell don’t.

          • Your self styled and arrogant name is in total conflict with the content of your posting. Anyone who thinks/believes that wind turbines are a “newish” technology immediately tells me that he he/she has no idea what they are talking about!
            Yes, fossil fuels are finite in nature and we must work towards replacing them. However, I would argue that the current subsidy scheme throwing money at wind turbines is frustrating the research effort to identify and develop viable and reliable alternatives. Not to mention the left wing dogma which prevails around the use of nuclear energy – to my mind that is dark ages dogma. New technology based nuclear energy generators are developing fast but we seem to bow to the irrational and historical arguments against this technology.
            If you really knew what you were talking about, you would see that wind turbines cannot possibly supply the reliable 22/7 electricity requirements of a developed nation such as ours.

    • You sound like you could be a very good candidate for a position with Scottish Renewables, Margaret. I assume that you have heard of this “economic with the truth” organisation which peddles nonsense and myths on behalf of wind generating companies – all for a few £££s from the multi millions of subsidies these companies are paid from all we ever poorer electricity consumers.
      If you are not a green zealot, and genuinely interested in broadening your education and want to learn a bit more about the issue – rather than accept all you are told by those with a vested interest, please try reading the article by Leo Smith at . This is easy to read article written by an independent engineer

    • Margaret, do you think that turbines are all tiptoe through the tulips, and there is no pollution from electric cars – the raw materials are all lying around in the fairy woods, the components are assembled with fairy dust, and the electricity to power them drops from fairy heaven?

      I was a bit disappointed to see no mention of China before I mentioned it, and no response when I did. Margaret, would you like to be the first to comment? To save you the bother of searching for it, here’s my question:
      “What do they know, for instance, about rare earth mining and processing in China?”

  38. Being impartial as I live in England I have to say, Scotland is being destroyed bit by bit, by cash hungry people who claim that wind turbines are green and, make unfortunate people who actual care about the beauty of the landscape suffer these, ugly, massively inefficient, war of the worlds monstrous turbines. I for one do not want to pay through my energy bills for a handful of people to get rich off the back of everyone else. You will regret ruining such a beautiful place for you and future generations to come.

    • Racheal – well said!

      I live in England too, and I’m not impartial – have you seen what’s happening to Cornwall? – but I agree wholeheartedly with what you’ve written here.

  39. Wind Farms, Point of NO Return when energy density level reaches 20% across UK.
    St Andrews come to your Senses (7 October 2013)
    The renewable energy mallarky is reaching ROCK BOTTOM when communities around Kenly / St. Andrews in Fife, and as far afield in my own area of South Warwickshire, when the majority of local communities vote against such developments in low wind resourced areas and their considered wishes are ignored by their own Governments. AND whats more its NOT going to save carbon dioxide emissions overall!!!

    We have heard from National Grid that the balancing activities are becoming more and more complex as the energy density levels of wind turbines in the UK is increasing. AND the sheer madness of Alex Salmond and the SNP who have stated that they intend to reach 100% renewables as soon as possible. Does the SNP NOT realise that this is an unmanageable scenario on the British Grid. I personally believe that this is unachievable and Alex Salmond should NOT expect financial compensation OR bail out support from the rest of the UK when the wind does not blow or when England and Wales refuse to accept imports from Scotland in low demand conditions when it is very windy in Scotland. Alex Salmond seems to believe that the world should cater for his niave policies.

    These scenarios are NOT reducing carbon dioxide emissions above an energy density level of 20% for the whole of the UK, So WHY does Alex Salmond believe he can dictate the terms for the UK to cater for his shortcomings. You have got to be joking wee Jock Salmond. Come on now wee fellar pull the other one, its got brass knobs.

    No it is a very, very sad day for Scotland that the Kenly wind farm has been sanctioned by the Scottish Government. The local HARM outweighs any renewable energy benefit.

    Now, a Reuters report has at last got National Grid to state that the electricity supply stability is threatened by the ever increasing energy density levels of wind turbines. AND just this evening, YET another warning, that the risk of some parts of the UK, National Grid may have to shut down because of the forced closures of thermal coal-fired power stations from Europe, highest risk of shut-down since 2005/2006, all because of the unreliability of wind-farms!!!.

    There is one certain fact that the Kenly wind farm WILL NOT provide any energy security over the severe winter periods when there is NO wind!!!.

    The Scottish Government and the UK Government should think very seriously whether this continued trend of building more and more wind turbines is sensible???

    I think personally that we should cut the subsidies to wind farms immediately, develop the shale gas resources rapidly and move to reliable nuclear resources.

    Please, scholars of St Andrews University, try and make your authorities see common sense and STOP this Kenly windfarm development.

    George Wood

    • George Woord – may I adapt this into a Viewpoint article on the response to the Kenly Wind farm article? Could you give me some information about yourself, and why this particularly incenses you?

      • georgieporgy backround:
        retired head of technical and economics, National Grid Ancillary Services relating to plant/demand services, dynamic performances of generation and plant margins, now balancing services. Also, development of second-by-second monitoring of generator performances and testing of power plant dynamic performances.
        Previous relevant roles:
        National Control Engineer,CEGB: Commissioned CEGB computer programme GOAL (generator and loading programme that included transmission losses as the plant operating tool for the UK electricity market 1990 to 2001)
        UNDP/ILO expert 1970-1972 in Power Systems Load Programming
        post retirement: Turkey Power System marketisation, Renewables design and costs of tidal power generation for DTI. Gas-turbine proposals for electricity generation,waste heat and CO2 utilisation.
        Attempted: Set up analyst team to evaluate carbon dioxide emissions and carbon footprints comparing variations of generation plant mixes renewablkes such as wind-turbines versus gas turbines and other generation plant mixes for the UK.

      • The sanctioning of the proposed development for Kenly will benefit St Andrews University BUT this will be at the expense of renewable energy subsidies levied on all other electricity consumers. Being north of the border, it will only add to the abundance of hundreds of wind-turbines across the borders with England. The predominant electricity flow is from Scotland to England and building more wind turbines in this location will only increase transmission flows to England and add to the overall UK balancing costs which is levied through the electricity Suppliers charges. Also, when the wind is high during summer periods it will also add to the need for Scottish exports of electricity to be “constrained-off” causing yet more increases to the overall UK balancing charges.

        As previously stated, increasing wihd turbine build across the UK is NOT beneficial moneywise and we have sufficient wind-turbines built or in the planning stages to satisfy the 15% renewables targets by 2020.

        A major study needs to be carried out to demonstrate that above the currently sanctioned renewable target levels that there is a carbon emissions benefit overall. Many experts have indicated that at the levels of wind-turbines planned, i,e, 15% by 2020 we will have reached a point when NO carbon emissions benefits will be achieved, i.e. ‘my term’ ‘the point of no return”. Professor Gordon Hughes of Edinburgh University, John Muir Trust, Colin Gibson,, research by C lePair, Wind Schipol, PhD thesis, and many more.

        There is NO point of Ed Davey spouting forth that we should be targetting 30% renewables by 2020 when the actual target is 15% and there is ABSOLUTELY NO POINT in Alex Salmond stating that he wants to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050 for Scotland. This is both economic madness and transmission stability wise undoable without ultra expensive pumped storage arrangemets that would beggar the Scots.

        ‘Why-o-why’ is the UK hell bent on economic renewable energy madness above anything being attempted elsewhere. It is time that Ed Davey and moreso Alex Salmond put their feet firnly on the ground and delivered sound economic electricity generation strategies for the UK.

        As for St Andrews University, I DO NOT believe that the Kenly windfarm would be built if the ROC subsidies were cancelled since the overall build and operational costs would be astronomic.

        The above statement is my reason, that apart from the untold visual damage to such a beautiful landfscape, is why I sincerely believe thgat this development should NOT proceed.

        • Georgyporgie. Alex Salmond’s “economic madness” is even worse than you have written! His renewable electricity target is 100% by 2020 (not 2050 as you have written!) with an interim target of 50% by 2015!!
          I doubt if he is aware that the grid will simply NOT be able to handle such quantities of unstable generation – without collapsing! If people look carefully at statistics – particularly constraint payments – it will be observed that wind turbines are constrained off the grid when the amount of electricity being generated by wind approaches 20-25% of total demand at any given time. It is often assumed that these constraints are associated with the lack of capacity from the North of Scotland to the central belt (currently being addressed by the Beauly to Denny upgrade) but as often as not a number of wind installations to the South of the Central belt are regularly being constrained off – including Whitelee and Black Law. This tends to happen at weekends when total electricity demand is lowest and when the wind is blowing. My analysis of this is that the grid stability is compromised when the %age of unstable wind generation reaches 20-25%.


    There are many degrees of ‘greenness’ and wind turbines sit at the bottom end of the scale.
    The damage they do to the local eco-system is well known and the wind industry should consider itself lucky that badgers can’t fly, given that the population in general doesn’t have the same degree of attachment to birds and bats.

    A second issue is that damaged wind turbine blades cannot be recycled. In Denmark alone a gigantic mountain of scrap blades – many thousands of tonnes – is building up. [Ref: Dagbkadet Borsen, June 10 2011, Denmark’s leading business newspaper.]
    Wind turbine blades are made from a fibre thermoset composite and are not readily biodegradable and are prohibited from going to landfill under EU regulations.
    Energy intensive grinding of the scrap into granules has been tried but there is no ready market for the output.
    Incineration is not really an option for, in addition to creating toxic emissions, this would generate CO2.
    This, of course, is a global issue and apart from damage due to occasional structural failure, over time a build up of dead insects plus other surface wear and tear reduces power generation by 20 to 30 percent, so for safety and efficacy the blades are replaced. The timescale can vary dependent on conditions with a minimum lifetime around 7 years.

    Most green activists conveniently overlook this and the biggest guilty ‘secret’ of all – the appalling pollution caused by the extraction of one of the 17 ‘rare earths’ – NEODYMIUM.
    Neodymium is used in an alloy with iron and boron to produce the strongest permanent magnetic material known. This is used is most direct drive modern wind turbines at around 300 Kg. neodymium per MWt. nominal capacity.
    In Mongolia where 90 percent of the neodymium is currently produced approx. 7 million tonnes a year of toxic, acidic and radioactive tailings waste is discharged forming a ‘lake’ which is already 5 miles across and 100 feet deep increasing by around 3 feet per year.
    Early this year Jamie Choi , an expert on ‘toxics’ for Greenpeace China said villagers living near the lake face horrendous health risks from the carcinogenic and radioactive waste.
    Ms. Choi went on to say;-“There is not one step of the rare earth mining process that is not disastrous for the environment. Ores are being extracted by pumping acid into the ground and then processed using more acid and chemicals. Finally they are dumped into tailings lakes that are often very poorly constructed and maintained. And throughout this process large amounts of highly toxic acids, heavy metals and other chemicals are emitted into the air that people breathe and leak into the surface and groundwater. Villagers rely on this for irrigation of their crops and for drinking water. Whenever we purchase products that contain rare earth metals we are unknowingly taking part in massive environmental degradation and the destruction of communities.”

    Food for thought and worst of all there is no saving grace. There is no significant reduction in CO2 generation per unit of electricity produced when the complex grid system is looked at holistically. Modern 65 percent thermally efficient combined cycle gas turbines can work very well without wind power. The converse is not true and to support intermittent wind energy, gas turbines are forced to work very inefficiently.

    Wind Farms/turbines have no ecological,environmental or economic rationale and offer no CO2 reductions when you take in to account the lifecycle emissions from the building of the turbines in Europe, to the lengthy construction works on precious unspoilt landscapes here in Scotland and the UK. And finally the need for gas powered power stations to be built, which will be running inefficiently on standby conditions, for when the wind turbines are unable to operate and the decommissioning and remediation work to restore the landscapes. Please note……..There are no nett CO2 reductions/savings.

    The fuel poverty that millions of people are now being pushed in to, results directly from the over generous subsidies that governments are paying to the wind farm operators, who are making an absolute fortune whether the wind is blowing or not, as they still get paid.

    Students at all levels in all universities should be challenging the wind industry and the politicians and not just accept that this is the way to go to save the planet.

  41. The close proximity that many developers place their industrial turbines so close to where people live shows that they are more interested in money rather than making the environment a better place.

    Time and time again, applications for industrial wind turbines are misleading and shifty – skirting around notifying the public properly in hopes that many living nearby will not notice until they have been approved and are being constructed.

    Students in favor of the Kenly wind turbines will be graduating and moving away after they graduate whereas the people of Fife will have to live with the detrimental effects of so many industrial-sized wind turbines places way too close to where they live.

    A consistent percentage of people worldwide have reported adverse health effects from living so close to these things. And if someone just wants to move away when their concerns are often ignored, they can’t because no one will buy their homes so they are trapped living next to the things that have made their health deteriorate.

    You certainly won’t find many large-scale wind farms close by where the ones who approve of these things live.

  42. If the entire land was covered in wind turbines, there would still be a shortage of power. The National Grid balances power output to power demand, there are no banks of batteries that conserve power in a reserve. The output of wind turbines are an additional complexity to that balancing, and when their power is not required, need to be paid to not produce. Moreover, during the freeze that covered Britain a few years ago resulting in the dramatic satellite image of the British Isles totally white, wind power output was zero – right when power is needed, indeed, they consumed power as their turbine shaft bearings needed to be relieved of the constant weight on one spot by being electrically driven round. They are a financial nightmare, a visual nightmare, and a ‘green’ misnomer.

      • Pumped storage as it exists in Scotland is inadequate to conserve significant quantities of wind-generated electricity, and I understand we do not have the topological potential to create more (unlike Norway). Pumped storage is not going to fix this problem.

        Ask yourselves why England/Wales has something like 20 offshore wind farms operational or consented and Scotland only has one or two – a major reason is proximity to areas of significant electricity demand.

        Another problem Scotland has with its theoretical huge wind resource apart from the current impossibility of storage is the enormous cost of transmitting the electricity to where it’s needed. Cost here means not just the economic and political cost of new transmission infrastructure but also the fact that 15-20% of electricity is lost in transmission from the outer reaches of Scotland to the energy-users in the south of England.

        I wish the wind energy idealists on this site would talk to some grid engineers with practical experience.

        • Susannah, I do not seem to have your email, but what I would want, ideally, is a 700 word piece on why the wind farms should not be built – you would synthesize your personal views and factual data about wind energy that you have compiled into a comprehensive attack on the building of the wind farm. Could you get it to me by Wednesday evening?

      • Pumped storage uses more power than it cam produce at about 20% waste. Part of the issue is also electric companies are for profit and prefer, specially with hydro to make electricity when demand is highest so maximum profits are realized. Reality is the batteries (pumped storage) used to make profit.

  43. The Scottish Government and St Andrews University should be ashamed, how dare they do this to communities where the overwhelming majority of local people said NO, in addition to a unanimous vote of NO from Fife Council. This is supposed to be a democracy. The only way to right this wrong is for the university to do the decent thing and cancel their Kenly wind farm, which is too near to 2 primary schools.

    This abhorrent decision would destroy an important tourist area, with beautiful landscape. How can a university support the killing of millions of birds and bats? It is a barbaric plan and the people will not forgive this theft of money from their electric bills. The green tax we all pay is pushing millions of people and children into fuel-poverty. Think of the elderly and poor, rather than filling the pockets of an already very rich university.

    Think of the aerodynamic modulation noise inflicted on the hundreds of people living in 97 homes within 2km of this site. They will be trapped because they cannot sell their devalued houses to escape. I know people who have been trying to sell their homes for over a year in the Kingsbarns/Dunino area, but have failed to do so because of the university’s wind turbines. The Scottish Government said that the 2km setback was to “protect people” – stand by your words SNP and retract your approval for the Kenly wind farm!

    This week has been very windy, yet the 5,000 + wind turbines erected in the UK are currently only generating 2.59GW on the National Grid. Not one erected turbine has ever managed to power one house 24/7, let alone power thousands of houses, that is a blatant lie from Government and the fraudulent Wind Industry. Normal readings of wind generation on the NG are usually around 1.0GW or less. We couldn’t boil a kettle with that and it is costing us all billions on our electric bills.

    Time to end this scam and stop subsidies to wind/solar and remove green tax from our bills.

    • The “Atlantic Array has been SLAIN”

      BUT to sanction developments north of the border, AND at ST. ANDREWS is presposterous!!!
      Alex Salmond is destroying Scotland for his “EGOTISTICAL BELIEFS”
      He is So Wrong !!!


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