Decision delayed on Breaker Hill windfarm

RENEWABLE energy experts have hit back at inaccuracies in last week’s Gazette over the report of the Breaker Hill wind farm application.

The group responsible for the windfarm application, Wind Prospect, criticised the Gazette for misleading readers in their preview of the application being heard at County Buildings last week.

The decision on the application was delayed after Wind Prospect had submitted information and evidence in support of their application.

The Gazette had misinterpreted the planning report and implied the objectors reasons as that of the council planning officers. The fears and concerns reported last week were that of local residents unhappy with the planned wind farm.

Colin Williams of Wind Prospect Group said: “Since we submitted our application to South Ayrshire Council in 2009 we have been working hard to answer queries from local residents and other stakeholders.

“Many of these queries, including those mentioned in last week’s Gazette have been addressed in our submission.

“The council has deferred their decision in order to take full account of the extra information and there was not an intention to make a decision on Friday.

“We are pleased that the Gazette has taken such a positive and prompt approach to setting the facts straight about this project.

“We only put in wind farm applications that are well researched and carefully considered, and we rely upon consultations and feedback from stakeholders and the local community to create a good application.

“We look forward to hearing the council’s decision in due course.”

Professor Ian Arbon, of Barrhill, also got in touch with the Gazette and raised questions about the objections put forward.

He said: “Terms like ‘capacity’ and ‘saturation’ are used, which are very subjective and depend on different people’s views and opinions.

“In technical terms, South Carrick is nowhere near its ‘capacity’ for wind farms and is in no way ‘saturated’.

“‘Turbines generating electricity at 30 per cent efficiency at best’ is also incorrect and the ‘manufacturing process of the turbine outweighs any advantage in reducing carbon dioxide’ is such a hoary old myth.”

Professor Arbon also offered his opinion on the alternatives put forward by objectors instead of wind power as a viable energy source.

He continued: “It said, ‘solar and hydro power are more viable’. Clearly not, or that’s what we would be doing!

“South west Scotland should indeed be looking at all renewable resources but the amount we can achieve with solar and hydro, good as they are, is not great.

“Several times in the Gazette I have challenged protesters to suggest what we can do to achieve a sustainable energy supply – I’m still waiting!

“Perhaps the most concerning statement of all is “there is already enough capacity to achieve the 50 per cent renewable target by 2020”.

“Are the objectors really so out of touch that they are unaware that the 50 per cent target was increased by the Scottish Government to 80 per cent in September 2010 and to 100 per cent in April 2011? We are nowhere near meeting these new targets in SW Scotland.”