Mr Farmer...please read
Many agents exaggerate the returns on wind investment and understate the failure rates and maintenance costs.
Edie Energy report that:
Four out of 10 farmers surveyed by Lloyds TSB Scotland are disappointed with the performance of their wind power investments which they say are producing less income than expected. ‘40% of farmers disappointed by wind power revenues’, Edie Energy, 19 March, 2012.
Wind developers will tell you that turbines have a very small footprint, do not affect farming operations and no long term effects on the land. 1
This is misleading:
- Large industrial turbine foundations are usually 15-20 metres in diameter and a minimum of 5 metres in depth. The foundation is a minimum of 750-1,000 cubic metres or more of concrete and steel reinforcement (see this record of the construction process from Cefn Croes, in Wales).
Also visit "The Environment" section on our site, to see photographs of the process.
Foundations and cable trenches are not removed or restored at the end of a turbine’s life, they are merely covered with a layer of topsoil.
- A turbine, its foundations, cable trenches and roads capable of taking the huge loads in construction can affect drainage and even groundwater supplies over a surprisingly large area. You are advised to seek expert independent advice from a hydrologist before signing a contract.
- Each turbine needs an adjacent area of hard standing for crane operations. This may be partially reinstated but will remain compacted and this will be aggrevated if cranes are used in maintenance operations.
- There will normally be a need for the construction of substantial additional farm roads or tracks to construct and access turbines. Some land may also be taken for ‘borrow pits’ (quarries), control building(s) and, possibly, for power lines to connect the site to the grid. Depending on who you believe (and which audience the information is written for!), a turbine array will physically occupy between 1% and 5% of the site area (usually the area of your land): “1-2% of the landowner's total holding is used.” (NPower Renewables, landowner page); “wind turbines and their associated infrastructure typically occupy no more than 5% of a site” (E.ON UK, West Ancroft, Sustainability Statement [planning document], p. 5). As noted above, the effects on your land (e.g. drainage and moisture retention) and farming operations may be more widespread.
- “Entering into an agreement to allow a company to build such a large capital intensive scheme on your land, and then to manage it with total professionalism for the next 25 years is an important decision.” (NPower Renewables).
Many small speculative developers in the wind business have no experience or expertise in power engineering or, indeed, in management of large industrial projects. The wind business, like property speculation, needs nothing more than a line of credit and a thick skin. Many of these companies have no income stream, but are riding the wind bubble, kept afloat by the same investment hysteria that was experienced during the dot-com boom. Many of them will go the same way as dot-com companies when the UK follows Denmark , Germany, Spain and other countries in cutting the subsidies which are fuelling the wind rush.
You, however, if you agree to host a turbine array, will be left with the turbines and a legal liability for their safety and effects, whatever happens to the limited liability company that first built or operated them. There are examples in California and Hawaii of hundreds of derelict turbines being abandoned in situ by operators.
1 There is increasing scientific evidence that turbines do have an effect on agricultural land and crops. This is mainly in the mixing of air layers and turbulence downwind of turbines which reduces moisture content and affects air temperatures.
NB You will never read anything like the following in the UK, because landowners here are hog-tied by confidentiality clauses in their legal agreements with developers.
Once you have signed an option agreement you have effectively surrendered control of your land and lost your freedom of expression. You are legally prevented from criticising the wind farm company or its operatives for the duration of the option agreement, or the operating contract.
We know of several landowners who, while enjoying the income, deeply regret getting involved with wind developers because of the effects on the community they live in and the enduring hostility of former friends and neighbours.
Ripley farmer regrets wind turbine leasesThe Kincardine News [Ontario, Canada], Thursday 13 November 2008.
Dave Colling regrets having leased some of his farm near Ripley to a wind energy developer.
Colling is part of a group of neighbours who signed a three-year lease in return for a fixed amount of money a year, plus a percentage of the profits once the project is underway.
“If I knew then what I know now, I never would have signed up,” said Colling, whose farm will have wind turbines as part of the second stage of development near Ripley. The first phase of 38 turbines developed by Suncor came online last year.
“We are entering a whole new era of technology and we don’t know any of its effects,” Colling told about 150 people at a meeting on Wednesday in Feversham put on by a group called Preserve Grey Highlands.
Colling, who tests homes and farms for the presence of stray voltage, related his experience testing the some homes in the Ripley near new turbines. He found that the lines carrying electricity from the turbines to the transmission lines were located too close to the lines leading to the homes and created much higher than normal levels of electricity in the homes. This was causing residents to display the symptoms of electrical hypersensitivity - dizziness, ringing in the ears, fatigue, headache, feeling of pins and needles and a burning sensation.
“It was like being in a microwave oven on high frequency,” said Colling, who noted that once Hydro One buried the cables in the ground, the symptoms disappeared.
Colling urged anyone thinking of signing up with a wind development company to find out as much as possible.’
“Educate yourself. Listen to the people you trust,” he said.
You may be thinking only of your land and your business interests. But you should be aware that impacts of 350-500 foot high turbines go way beyond your boundaries and are likely to have substantial adverse effects on local residents and their property. This will also apply to tourist businesses, including other landowners’ diversification enterprises.
In north Northumberland, there is firm evidence of the damaging effects that the ‘Moorsyde’ proposal had in blighting investment in tourist enterprises. This cost the area well over £1 million in direct tourist investment and resulted in a financial crisis for people who had sunk their savings into properties that they intended to develop for tourist enterprises.
The planning blight of the ‘Moorsyde’ proposal lasted for nearly 6 years and is ongoing with E.ON’s neighbouring West Ancroft scheme.
Whatever the industry might claim from its very partial and selective tourism studies, be aware that North Northumberland’s USP has always been its quiet, unspoilt nature. This is epitomised by the ‘Secret Kingdom’ campaign which is still recognised as a key identifier for the area.
YOUR NEIGHBOURS: PROPERTY
Do you care about neighbours who will end up living close to turbines?
Property close to a projected turbine array will:
- Be blighted for the period of scoping, planning and construction. This may be several years, during which people cannot sell their property without taking a large (usually 20-25%) cut in its value.
- Be blighted for years when the scheme is operating.
- Properties experiencing noise problems may be rendered unsaleable and therefore worthless. People in this position at present have no legal recourse.
YOUR NEIGHBOURS: HEALTH
Contrary to what the developers tell you, there are numerous, and growing, numbers of cases where turbines have caused a severe nuisance to people living nearby with consequent effects on their physical and mental health.
YOUR NEIGHBOURS: THE LAW
You will be responsible, with any turbine operator, for any nuisance, damage or injury caused by turbines on your land.
So far, in the very few years that turbines have been built in lowland, settled areas, operators have escaped legal action for the nuisance and injury caused by turbines.
The lawyers tell us that this can, and probably will, change.
UK civil law is based on tort and on precedent, and it will only take a couple of successful actions to open the floodgates for civil actions from the close neighbours to wind power schemes who are suffering health effects or who have suffered damage to the value of their property.
If you go into the power generation business, you are advised to take expert legal advice on possible future liabilities and the consequent level of liability insurance that your business should carry.
INCOME TAX, CAPITAL GAINS TAX AND INHERITANCE TAX
Just do your homework, could your family afford to pay out the potential Inheritance Tax if anything were to happen to you?
There is a tax minefield out there in regard to these, be sure to get independent advice from a Tax expert on this- or if you want, believe the nice developer, they are sure to tell you the truth- aren't they?
By far the most important thing we want any landowner doing is to educate themselves about the impact that these giants will have on them, their families, their Neighbours, their communities, their landscape, their legacy!
Do not believe the hype blindly- do speak to expert legal advisor's (not the family solicitor if he has never dealt with this type of thing before), do speak with expert Financial advisor's, do talk to other land owners who have fallen into the lifetime trap of wind farming. do some research, ask questions.
At the end of the day you will be living next to these things also, do you want you and your family to suffer the problems that others have documented? When they are up it will be too late to do anything, and you will be remembered as the ones who let them do it!
They will generate Employment- Won't they?
Current renewable energy policies are no more than an unnecessarily
costly means of achieving given emissions reductions. The idea, now
embraced by our Government, that officially-created
higher energy costs open up exciting new prospects for growth
and jobs, is an illusion which this paper dispels effectively.
Click here to download
"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children."