2018: That was the year . . . when wind farm ugliness and blight became a fact of life for the half million folk who live in coastal Sussex.
The Rampion wind farm – insultingly called after the beautiful purple Sussex county flower and one of the largest such installations in Britain – was granted planning permission in 2014, was built at breakneck speed and since April has been operational.
At the year end, the ramifications are painfully clear. Sea views from the elegant squares and terraces of every settlement from Worthing in the west, through Hove and Brighton, to Peacehaven in the east are now dominated by the 116 bird-slicing turbines, each towering to a massive 460ft.
The eyesore status is round the clock, too: by day, the monster towers can be seen with startling clarity; at night comes light pollution because each turbine has a warning flashing red light and there is the near-permanent presence of glaringly lit supply boats.
If buildings have listed status, residents can’t alter a thing – not even the colour of stucco paint – because planners want rightly to protect the historical heritage. But at a stroke that heritage has been despoiled by an industrial complex that has ruined the coastline beyond anything previously imaginable.
Why? Well, of course, it’s claimed by the green lobby that – despite their massive ugliness and murderous 160ft turbine blades – wind farms are justified because they provide ‘clean’ carbon-free energy.
In this brilliant synthesis of the wind farm con, Wind turbines are neither clean nor green and they supply zero global energy, recently published in the Spectator, Matt Ridley explains why. First, the manufacture and installation of such offshore farms demands massive resources. Second, they are ‘economic’ only because of massive subsidy, and third, they have a very limited operating life, providing only intermittent and totally unpredictable energy supply. Finally, despite the massive investment and subsidies they provide none of the world’s energy supply. How so? Ridley demonstrates that to the nearest whole number there is still no wind power on Earth:
‘Even put together, wind and photovoltaic solar are supplying less than 1 per cent of global energy demand. From the International Energy Agency’s 2016 Key Renewables Trends, we can see that wind provided 0.46 per cent of global energy consumption in 2014, and solar and tide combined provided 0.35 per cent. Remember this is total energy, not just electricity, which is less than a fifth of all final energy, the rest being the solid, gaseous, and liquid fuels that do the heavy lifting for heat, transport and industry.’
And one of the key beneficiaries of this lunacy? The Queen. Her income has been boosted by tens of millions because the Crown Estates ‘owns’ and leases to energy suppliers the coastal waters off the UK. Maybe someone should tell her.