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INTERACTIVE MAP: North Devon's landscape is changing thanks to wind turbines

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: July 19, 2012

CHANGING FACE: Approved applications are shown in green and proposed are in red. The yellow ones are under appeal.

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THIS map shows how the North Devon landscape is changing in the face of demand for renewable energy.

The region has 102 existing turbines, could face up to 40 new ones (excluding the 278 turbines that make up the Atlantic Array and the 11 currently at appeal) in the coming months and has already been spared the construction of 54 turbines thanks to Torridge, North Devon and Exmoor planners refusing permission and applicants withdrawing their plans.

Click on a pointer to find out more information about that particular wind turbine. Use the status dropdown box (above left) to choose which turbines to display.

Those numbers add up to a worrying situation, said physicist Dr Phillip Bratby.

Dr Bratby, an energy consultant who has given evidence at numerous public inquiries, said: "It is worrying. These turbines are having a devastating impact on our landscape and on electricity prices, because they are so heavily subsidised.

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"My view is it will have an impact on tourism, nearby residents will be affected by noise and the big issue is what has been a very quiet, rural landscape with no real industry to speak of will be dominated by these huge industrial turbines."

North Devon councillor Rodney Cann agreed.

He said: "There is hardly a place now if you walk around North Devon where you don't see a turbine.

"It has affected the entire character of North Devon and cumulatively they are having a huge impact."

But the turbines currently existing and pending approval in North Devon and Torridge could provide enough energy to power up to 75,000 homes for a year.

Torridge and North Devon districts contain around 70,000 homes.

And the fact all North Devon homes could be powered by renewable energy soon is a huge positive, said the Green Party's Ricky Knight.

He said: "We're in a wind corridor in North Devon and if we could become a net exporter of energy it would be a good thing.

"We do have to wean ourselves off fossil fuels and we have to do so either with renewable energy or nuclear power, and nuclear is hugely expensive."

Although Mr Knight accepted subsidies for wind turbines made them expensive, he said it was a factor people need to forget about.

He said: "All energy sources are heavily subsidised, and wind turbines are no different. However, they are vastly cheaper and less dangerous than nuclear power plants."

Dr Bratby said wind turbines were inefficient and the amount of energy generated was not worth it, when weighed against the impact on the landscape.

He said: "There's very little energy in wind because of the lack of density in it.

"I couldn't think of a worse way of generating electricity because it's so intermittent.

"To be honest no renewable energy sources are particularly efficient, apart from hydro electric power, and we don't have the landscape to implement it.

"We have the potential for wave power in the region but the environment we'd have to work in is too difficult.

"And as for solar power, I heard a remark at a conference that sums it up well – 'You've more chance of growing pineapples in Alaska' – we simply don't have the weather for it."

Please note: Wind turbine figures published in today's North Devon Journal are inaccurate. All correct figures are in the article above. Related: NDJ COMMENT: Torn on turbines debate

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  • Jonny38  |  July 22 2012, 3:14AM

    People used to moan about pylons and electric cables, the moaning old gits will fade away and wind turbines will be the normal view, I look forward to it because too much moaning is just dull and boring and I also think they look rather cool, I regularly park near then to have a nice view while I eat my takeaway on way home lol, true the subsidy is a bit bad but so is nuklear decommissioning..... Get a grip they look cool, lower your stress levels and get used to it, you like your electric lights and tv, learn to like windmills, I never heard anyone in holland moan about them lol

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  • sandman18  |  July 20 2012, 12:56PM

    We are the only country stupid enough to sign up to a legal agreement to reduce our CO2 when we only put out 1.5% of the worlds CO2 , China and USA 40% and they will never toe the line and reduce what they produce. Out of 4686Mw monitored by the NETA website the turbines are producing currently 78mw 0.2% of the UK's power, over the last 24 hours 0.5%. Even with a total output average for the last three months of around 21% they have still taken £115million pounds in subsidys before they have sold the electricity. One year will give them £460million but the goverment want a 10 fold increase in turbines so that will put it up to £4.6 Billion Pounds coming out of mine and your pockets , and guaranteed for the next 25 Years and also index linked. And as far as save the planet goes what ever we do will make little difference to the earth and when we wipe ourselves out in a couple of hundred years through over polpulation, wars and our own stupidity, the planet will still be here.!! and it will recover and flourish. The climate is changing so adapt or die. What size turbine does tomgreen1234 live next to and how close to his house is it ?.

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  • BOGOFF2  |  July 20 2012, 12:30PM

    I'm a nimby and have no shame in it. No I dont want to look out of my window and see a turbine generating nothing but money for the energy company and the land owner. We already have turbines all over North Devon and yet nobody has seen a reduction in their energy bills, quite the opposite infact. Nuclear is the only reliable way to go and once greedy landowners ,windfarm companies and the knitted sandal brigade realise this it will all be too late as the landscape will be ruined. We are creating a nightmare landscape for our children and it will be them who we leave to clear up the mess.

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  • Bangtastic  |  July 20 2012, 10:49AM

    I tend to agree with Tom, there does appear to be a certain amount of NIMBYism (if that really is a word) about the Wind Turbine sand there whereabouts. However I totally disagree that wind turbines are the answer. They are unsightly and the output from them is very poor. From a Cost Benefit prospective they are very poor value for money and are ruining the countryside. A much better cost effective way to provide energy is Nuclear, it is the only way to go. And seeing as the locals are saying that they are not worried about having wind turbines in their backyard obviously they wouldn't object to a nuclear power station on the north Coast. think about it logically, its relatively clean energy, cost efficient and 1 power station in Barnstaple to power the whole of the West Country. i genuinely do not understand why more nuclear Power stations are not being built. In 20 years time when the fossil fuels either run out or become more expensive than gold, we will be struggling to provide enough power. Think early, get the power stations built now. Nuclear is the way ahead, wind turbines are just not up to the job.

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  • 2ladybugs  |  July 20 2012, 10:33AM

    Got no problem with solar panels or fracking or hydro power but still can't beat the good old Power stations especially if they adopt the new generation stations that France has developed. The wind turbine just up on the hill from here is causing the TV programmes to break up in many of the houses round here and that turbine is only small compared to a lot of them.

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  • tomgreen1234  |  July 20 2012, 10:26AM

    I actually live next to one of the turbines. People say they are noisy but i beg to differ. Why don't you look at the bigger picture and the exploration of alternative energy sources before our planet is completely taken over by global warming. You only have to see the weather over the last few weeks to appreciate the causes of global warming. We need more wind farms and more thought given to wave energy and thermal & solar heating, or do you not like looking at solar panels either???

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  • 2ladybugs  |  July 20 2012, 10:11AM

    Lived almost next door to Berkeley Power station for a while and didn't have a problem with that so don't judge everybody by your standards.

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  • tomgreen1234  |  July 20 2012, 10:08AM

    Power stations also polute the atmosphere causing irreparable damage. Also you would be up in arms if there were plans to build a power station where you live, yet your quite happy to have your electricity shipped in from elsewhere where the power station isn't a blot on YOUR landscape, so YES you are NIMBY's.

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  • 2ladybugs  |  July 20 2012, 9:52AM

    Power stations have to be kept running permanently anyway because wind power is not reliable. If it is too windy the turbines cut out and if there is no wind we need power from elsewhere. Power stations ARE reliable and if we were to pull our finger out we could be producing enough of our own power not to have to import any. France is a good example of this, where they export to all and sundry. So no we are not nimby's....... we are realists.

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  • tomgreen1234  |  July 20 2012, 9:32AM

    Interesting to see the NIMBY's out in force. Unsightly for them but they are just looking at the smaller picture. I take it they would prefer to get their electricity 'shipped' in from somewhere else, like from a power station that is in someone else's backyard where it doesn't blot their own beautiful views. Hypocrisy at its best. NIMBY.

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