David Banks: Turbines putting the wind up the locals

Wind turbines are seemingly popping up everywhere. David Banks gives his views on this blustery subject

Wind turbines near Kielder
Wind turbines near Kielder

Any day soon it’s all going to kick off down at the old Red Lion. April, we’re told, perhaps April the First . . . All FUELS Day!

Ever since Klondike announced that his wind turbines were only a couple of months away from being ‘planted’ there’s been hell on down at the auld henhoose. The Byreman won’t have a bar of it. “What happens when the wind doesn’t blow or when it blows too hard and the turbines shut down?” he asks.

Simple: we shovel enough dirty coal and convert enough deadly uranium to cover the shortfall and hope that it doesn’t happen on a day when a death in the royal family coincides with England’s World Cup Final win over Uruguay (2-1, by the way).

We have been down that route before, when miners stopped hewing or power workers shut down the reactors. At least with wind-starved turbines we know the wind will be back at work tomorrow or the day after. And the news on that front is good.

The National Grid announced that on January 6 wind power alone was generating an astonishing 14% of the UK’s power supply, enough for more than one in every ten homes in the nation.

It was what one might call the perfect storm: while most of the county was battening down the hatches between the deluge of gale force winds and torrential rain January 6 was a record day for ‘usable’ wind power.

Usable? Apparently while no wind produces zero power and any gust greater than 56mph automatically shuts down the blades there exists between the two a sweet spot which was consistently hit on January 6.

Try telling that to the Byreman and his pals in the wind power denial lobby and you will have scorn heaped upon you. Others don’t want to get involved: Klondike’s racing buddy, Billy the Kid, is in a tight spot; he’s the Byreman’s golfing partner and can’t be seen to take sides.

He’s hoping his rams will have sprung a spring surprise that demands his attendance in the lambing shed the night the newly-minted billionaire Klondike makes good his pledge to buy bubbly for the boys,

The Lawnmower Salesman, on the other hand, has a genuine excuse: his boss Fast Eddie is getting the lad retrained to handle livestock so he can demonstrate Jethro Tull’s horse-drawn hoe and seed drill at this year’s Kelso Show.

The argument rages everywhere up here in Godzone where our beautiful landscape waits to learn its fate to provide you townies with everlasting light and heat.

A councillor in the ‘turbine toon’ of Lowick claims disruption from construction traffic will prevent residents parking at their front gates (a supposed resident’s ‘right’ which has no validity in law, a policeman pal tells me); her opponents argue that to oppose the development will lose the parish a promised annual payment of £25,000 from the developer.

Isn’t that bribery, asks a third party? No more so, surely, than our Prime Minister’s promise of substantial financial rewards for planning authorities that grant permission to ‘fracking’ applications in the search for shale oil.

“This government is for shale,” Cameron is reported to have declared.

Which is fine unless the PM has developed a lisp, in which case he has acknowledged something far more disturbing!

:: A LEFTY pal of mine (not ALL of my best friends are Tories!) has perfected the ideal mini-break.

He travels by public transport to avoid the motorway cameras, keeps his mobile phone switched off to dodge digital trackers and pays for tickets, accommodation, meals and all other purchases with cash withdrawn from a local cashpoint before setting out.

He returns refreshed and triumphant, secure in the knowledge that he has been to, say, Cornwall and back and neither GCHQ nor the CIA knows a thing about it.

Is he nuts or are they just too damned nosey?



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