West Wales News Review — analysis with a sustainability slant

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.

Conflict: poster objecting to the proposed wind turbine above Caio has been defaced.

Conflict: this poster, objecting to the proposed wind turbine above Caio, has been defaced.

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.

Renewable Energy Foundation

Mi-Grid (not much detail on the website at present)


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5 thoughts on “Anger in Caio at Wind Power Plan

  1. just like to point out that the Renewable Energy Foundation is a front for the fossil fuel industry, check out the directors etc. and that modern wind turbines rarely have to shut down in high winds, they can withstand gusts approaching 90mph. Also the national grid can easily cope with wind variability, up to 20% of total generation on current estimates although this will increase as storage capacity increases.

  2. Personally, I have no objection to wind turbines in the right place and at the right time. The right place is well away from human habitation and important ecological and tourist areas and the right time is when our communities have the power to decide exactly where they go, whether they are needed at all and what happens to the revenue and the infrastructure to support them if we agree to have them.
    Wales produces enough energy for Wales already and these projects are primarily for the benefit of others. The developers take the subsidies, compensation for the units is poor for the community and where community benefit is “given” may even turn out to be as manipulated and useless as Objective One money.
    The example of the refusal of Western Power to bury the cables from Brechfa to preserve the tourist attraction of the area, the impotence of the County Councils and even the Welsh Government to control the situation, and the central control from Westminster clearly shows the naked exploitation involved.
    I doubt this will turn out to be the “easy money” promised to landowners in the glossy adverts in the Farming press.

    Cllr Sian Caiach
    Carmathenshire County Councillor for Hengoed.
    People First/ Gwerin Gyntaf

    • A few years back local opposition succeeded in preventing the erection of overhead power lines from the power station at Llyn Brianne down the upper Tywi valley to Llandovery. The landscape was protected. I would have thought that, in the case of Brechfa, the some of the subsidies paid in the form of higher consumer prices for electricity could be diverted to pay for burying the cables. The landscape of the Cothi valley is just as precious as the upper Tywi valley.

      • Emyr George on said:

        All the talk of burring power cables from wind farms ,Quoting “they burried the power lines from Llyn Briane” I do wish that some people if they don’t know facts actually googled, before they spurt ! Llyn Brianne produces up to 4.6MW of power,which is a lot! but the bigger wind turbines produce up to 3MW each..Multiply that by 10,20, 40 turbines and try to remember your basic science/physics school lessons .

        Watts = Volts X Amps. Even if the voltage was transformed up to 132,000 volts, the amprage would be astranomical, underground cables of that power would have to be water cooled, burried a long distance appart , what a mess on the landscape and disturbance ,compared to 3 cables in the air carried on a pair of wooden poles .Above all I have to admire the workers of Western power ,the way they can place electricity poles with nothing more than a mini digger,with out any mess,even when it’s damp.Do gooders thinking that they are looking after the enviroment? get your facts correct!

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