SIR – We were both astonished and upset to read the article printed on December 1st, accusing communities fighting wind turbine developments as being funded by the nuclear and fossil fuel industry. Nothing could be further from the truth!
We have seen first hand the struggle these communities face in raising the necessary funds to fight these industrial developments in the courts, through individual donations, taking out loans and organising community fundraisers.
It is the wind farm industry itself, which has become a ‘vested interest,’ relying on subsidies, grants and tax payer’s money. The recent report painstakingly researched by Wind Aware Ireland shows that the wind industry is costing us €1.2 billion annually as a nation.
In return for this, they have failed to significantly reduce our carbon emissions. It must also be realised that wind energy generates electricity, which accounts for only 20% of this country’s total carbon emissions.
Wind farms have become the easy option as the developers and investors are guaranteed profits through the Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff (REFIT), which subsidises them and is paid for out of the PSO levy on each ESB bill. Central government has failed to do any cost-benefit analysis of the wind farm sector, to see if it is of any benefit to the country.
Meanwhile, rural communities have to stand up to these inappropriately-sited wind farm developments. Once they are built, they will provide no employment for the area and instead will reduce property values, keep tourists away and depopulate our countryside further.
There is also a growing body of evidence that ultra and infra sound generated by turbines have significant health effects on local residents. Most other countries have increased the regulations about the siting of wind farms, while in Ireland we are still subject to 10-year-old guidelines, made when turbines were one third of their present height.
Successive governments have promised to update these guidelines, but so far have failed to change them. We believe we have to look beyond the stranglehold of the wind lobby to other more effective ways of meeting our CO2 targets, including a mix of other renewables and a concerted effort to reduce our energy consumption.
Tony Miller & family,