Anger in Caio at Wind Power Plan
by Pat Dodd Racher
A planned wind turbine 250 feet high is creating havoc in the peaceful village of Caio, in the hills of north Carmarthenshire.
The turbine would be on top of a hill on land farmed by Doug Davies, Maescadog Farm.
More than 100 anxious and often hostile local residents packed into Pumsaint’s Coronation Hall on Tuesday (August 27th) to hear environmental scientist Tony Jukes reveal the turbine’s potential impacts on people and wildlife, and to listen to county councillor Eirwyn Williams (Plaid Cymru) explain the planning process and to outline legitimate grounds for objections.
According to Cllr Williams, wind turbines should not be allowed if they would harm sites of specific environmental, landscape or historic value, cause a noise nuisance or road safety hazard, or interfere with electronic communications.
Mr Jukes highlighted the UK government’s subsidies for wind energy, which consumers pay in their electricity bills. He also explained the problems caused by the variability of wind, resulting at very gusty times in too much energy for the National Grid to accept. The turbines then have to be switched off, and the generating company is compensated. Once again consumers pay through their electricity bills. In Scotland alone, in the two years to August 2013, wind farm owners were paid about £34 million in compensation when the National Grid could not accept power from them.*
The Renewable Energy Foundation estimates that electricity users pay £1.2 billion a year in subsidies to wind turbine owners, a sum expected to rise to £6 billion by 2020, to meet the government’s target of generating 30% of the UK’s electricity from renewable sources. In a bid to curtail these escalating bills, in July the government cut the subsidy period from 20 years to 15, but only for turbines erected from 2017 onwards. **
The company wanting to put a turbine above Caio is Truro-based Mi-Grid Ltd, which offers feasibility and planning services for renewable energy projects to landowners, developers and community groups.
After the meeting, which was conducted entirely in English despite the presence of many Welsh-speaking people, opponents of the wind power plan formed a committee to fight the proposal.
*Information from the Renewable Energy Foundation. See ‘Alex Salmond attacked over £2 million payment to shut down Scottish wind farms’, Daily Telegraph, August 13th 2013.
** ‘Wind farm subsidies cut by 25 per cent’, Daily Telegraph, July 14th 2013.
Mi-Grid (not much detail on the website at present)