Saturday, September 27, 2014

Dark clouds gather over Clocaenog Forest

So....It came as no surprise when the coalition energy supremo, Ed Davey, MP for Kingston and Surbiton, rubber stamped the planning application by German global energy corporation RWE, to build a thirty two turbine wind farm in Clocaenog Forest. For those who argue for devolving power away from the London political mafia to the nations and regions, the Clocaenog decision, highlights the rotten and corrupt way decisions like this are made. A project which will have huge social and environmental consequences in North Wales, decided in London by a Southern English Liberal MP who almost certainly has never even set foot in Clocaenog Forest.

For these people and the global energy corporations they serve, places like Clocaenog, The Hiraethog and the Arenig outliers, are just contour lines on a map.  Relatively empty expanses, remote and easy to exploit.Elevation..tick: thinly spread population..tick: compliant political machine..tick: sympathetic landowners (In this case The Welsh Government) tick.

The Right Honourable Edward Davey MP. Member for Kingston and Surbition....and global energy corporations.

A while ago I outlined the serious impact the wind farm could have on residents in the Vale of Clwyd through the risk of increased flooding caused by extensive deforestation; ( The Vale of Clwyd is the most at risk area in the whole of Wales and one of the highest at risk areas in the UK) See ‘All this Useless Beauty’. I also outlined why the planning enquiry then taking place was a total sham. The tracks within the forest were already being widened and reinforced to take heavy plant machines and borrow pits (quarries) were being  reopened and extensively worked to provide aggregate for the development.

As with most of these huge industrial scale developments, the name of the game is profits. Huge heavily subsidised profits at that. As I write, electricity provided by these wind farms is down 20% on 2013 levels, despite more wind farms opening and operating. Quite simply, the wind is not blowing as strongly this year! One of the biggest scams to incense environmentalists is when the government pays the wind farm operators to close down their sites in periods when the UK’s nuclear, coal and gas power stations are producing too much energy. For example, when it becomes unseasonal warm and electricity demand drops.

Factors like this will not affect RWE’s profits though as the UK government guarantees a fixed rate for renewable energy, despite this economic strategy falling outside of its neo liberal philosophy which preaches the absolute laws of the market must prevail. Whereas ship building, coal mining, car production etc-is allowed to fail and production out sourced to the far east, the so called renewable sector is feather bedded and protected. Little wonder that investors gather like swine around a steaming subsidy trough!

Economic and political factors apart; I am left wondering who will notice when the red squirrel, the black grouse and the red kite are wiped out in Clocaenog Forest and who will pick up the tab if-and some would say when- serious flooding impacts on those vulnerable valley communities? Not RWE or its shareholders that's for sure!


  1. According to the BBC: "The company (RWE) has said it has worked closely with ornithologists and ecologists to produce a habitat management plan, to include restoration of habitats and woodland management."

    Well, that's me reassured...

  2. Points to consider:

    The general population is broadly ignorant of the economics of wind energy.

    The NGOs - Greenpeace, WWF and FoE - have been massively supportive of wind turbines for their own political ends - certainly not environmental reasons. These organisations are held in high regard by the general population.

    Ed Miliband stated that not supporting wind turbines should be as as socially unacceptable as speeding.

    Tony Blair signed the UK up to a European draconian reduction of CO2 emissions in the early hours of a morning - not even understanding what he was signing up to.

    Folk like Ed Davey, whilst being economically illiterate, also simply don't understand the mathematics of wind farms and CO2 emissions. Put plainly, wind farms built on peat soils save no CO2 at all.

    With all of the above taken into account it's no wonder that wind farms are continuing to destroy our countryside. It's only by spreading the word about the economics, the CO2 calculations, the *real* value of countryside that we stood a chance of the spread of wind farms.

    Sadly this has not happened and it is now all too late.