Friday, 26 October 2007

BT wants windfarm at Goonhilly

At present BT operates its famous Earth Satellite Station at Goonhilly on the Lizard Peninsula. Last year the company announced that much of the work there will be transferred to its site in Herefordshire, a shame as west Cornwall is the home of much of the communications revolution. You just have to think of the telegraph cables from all over the world that terminate at Porthcurno and of Marconi's radio transmission over the Atlantic Ocean involving Poldhu apart from the Goonhilly operation in much more recent times to realise that the area is right in the thick of it.

Now I appreciate that companies like BT have on occasion to rationalise their activities but on the plus side they have to leave at least one dish - it's the one known as 'Arthur' - because it is a listed structure. Adjacent to the satellite station is a wind farm, much newer, which I think is completely independent of BT. Could be wrong but I'm almost sure that I'm right on this. This particular wind farm, like others in the county is what I call a first generation of its type. In other words the turbines are much less tall than today's monsters.

Not surprisingly BT's activities gobble up a tremendous amount of energy and they are keen to use their sites for renewable power supplies and, bearing in mind that the exposed Lizard has a tendency to be pretty breezy, they are suggesting building their own wind farm there. Reports suggest that they are looking to erect from 3 to 6 turbines up to 80 metres tall. (I hate all this metric stuff, I ought to convert it to 'proper' measurements I know). Anyway they will be very much taller than what we are used to in Cornwall and I think that many will be outraged if the scheme goes ahead particularly as it is in an AONB.

I have yet to be convinced that wind farms should be built onshore in Britain. Their output in relation to their size and landscape impact is not sufficient. Couple that with the extreme variability of wind speed and they don't make much sense to me. Bear in mind too that the wind farm developers get a hefty subsidy from the public purse. Just possibly that's why BT is showing its green credentials. Brian you are getting too cynical in your old age!

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