Monday, 22 March 2010

Green Energy ??

Time for another rant. Having had a very interesting conversation about wind turbines this afternoon, I decided to do a bit of research. And some rather frightening and puzzling things came to light.

First, locally. It seems there is a large tract of the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park which has been designated as suitable for wind farm development. This is puzzling, especially as the founder of National Parks did so with a view of restricting development in order to conserve the habitat of that particular area for generations to come. I just wonder, in these modern times, what gives government funded organisations the right to sacrifice their moral and ethical obligations for what appears to be, commercial gain.

Second, nationally. It seems the R.S.P.B. lack direction and clarity in their decision making. At one point, not many years ago, they were vehemently opposed to wind farm development. However, over the past few years, this has changed. In fact, a 180 degree turn. They now support wind farm development, saying renewable energy sources must be used to combat climate change. They qualify this by stating wind farms must be located where bird populations are not affected. Maybe if the R.S.P.B. were more effective, and less political, there would fewer members disillusioned. They are the nationally recognised body we all rely on to look after the interests of our wild birds, and as such, they should shoulder that responsibility. There are dozens of studies and reports showing the damage to birds by turbines. There are studies and reports showing how inefficient wind turbines are.

There are far less damaging ways of harnessing the elements to provide energy. Or, providing the means to reduce the amount of energy required. The only ones who are gaining from this bandwagon, are those involved in the supply of the equipment, and those being subsidised to run it. I wonder. With so much money at stake, what lengths will the parties concerned go to, to ensure these projects go ahead.

Something which may have a bearing on the above. Why are the studies to establish Golden Eagle populations only concerned with the number of breeding pairs ? The last census, in 2003 by the R.S.P.B., established just over 420 breeding pairs in Britain. So, where are the others ? A Golden Eagle does not reach maturity until at least four years old. it may not pair up and breed until 5, 6, or 7 years of age. If we assume breeding success of 60%, 420 pairs, offspring start to breed at 5 years of age. The calculations say that there are well over 1,000 Golden Eagles unaccounted for. That is more than the total of breeding birds. Can the R.S.P.B. tell us where they are ?

The consequence of the above is. Golden Eagle territories are mapped based on breeding pair population. If wind farm development is allowed in areas where there is no recognised Golden Eagle population, i.e. breeding pairs, they may be allowing development in areas where the population is actually greater, but only juvenile birds. Kill them with turbine blades, and you kill the future.

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