Power plant more welcome than wind

From: Ian W Murdoch, Spring Hill, Welbury, Northallerton.

THE announcement of plans for a 1,500mw gas-fired power station at Thorpe Marsh (Yorkshire Post, October 31) is good news, and at one stroke does as much to keep our lights on as all the onshore wind factories despoiling our countryside.

Is this one of the 17 gas power stations which will be required by 2020 to back up the unreliable and constantly varying outputs from wind turbines or is it genuinely new capacity?

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One would hope the latter and that the new station will be allowed to run at its optimum capacity, minimizing carbon dioxide emissions, and not forced to throttle up and down, to follow the intermittent wind output, thus producing more additional carbon dioxide than the wind installations save.

The proposed 1,500mw capacity well illustrates the futility of the current policy of promoting wind generation.

At an output of just over 50 per cent of rated capacity, it will produce as much electricity as all the onshore wind factories operating at just over 20 per cent capacity did in 2010 (814mw) – and will produce it steadily and reliably in a form ready to be fed in to the National Grid.

There is no evidence that offshore wind operates at any higher capacity than onshore – or is any less intermittent, so further fossil fuel capacity will be needed to back up the proposed offshore developments.

At a time when the country’s energy policy is driven by politicians who are have no idea about the practicalities of producing and distributing electricity, the announcement seems a welcome breath of common sense!

From: Howard Bryan, Eastgate, Beverley.

PJ Cawthorn (Yorkshire Post, October 29) raises some legitimate issues over the efficiency of wind farms, but fails to mention that the argument is only valid if one wind farm is considered in isolation and nuclear power is ignored.

With a network of wind farms across the country, the failure of winds in one area will be compensated by sufficient winds in other areas, thus to some extent maintaining supply.

Although not supporting nuclear power, while these stations exist, they have to be kept active the whole time, so they should also be taken into account in the supply mix.

What is more relevant in the letter relates to the Sculcoates power station in Hull.

A relative of mine who was an engineer at this station in the 1940s tells me he was not aware of quick start up and that the generators and drive shafts were horizontal, not vertical, therefore making it unlikely that they “went through the roof”.

Perhaps we need an independent body who can look at all these issues and settle matters definitively.

From: Arthur B Fell, Queen Street, York.

WHEN you printed my letter on the subject of turbines (Yorkshire Post, October 21), you omitted what was perhaps my most important point, namely the disgraceful bribes offered by the turbine developers when they apply for planning consent.

Substantial sums are offered to stifle opposition to the schemes. The payments are actually made only if planning consent is granted.

And another important reason to object to any turbine proposals near you is the depressive effect they will have on the value of your house when you come to sell it.

But, above all, it is the desecration of Britain’s lovely countryside that should motivate objectors.

Don’t be ill in A&E lottery

From: Coun Geoff Walsh, Pontefract South ward, Wakefield MDC.

SINCE its inception, the directors of the Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust with the aid of our MP, the then Junior Health Minister, have fought to balance a budget, have centralised and decentralised, have “consulted”, re-organised, re-configured and latterly wiped away clinical and emergency services before demolishing the buildings that made up Pontefract General Infirmary.

They have entered into a 30-year term multi-million pound PFI to give us the new “Pontefract Hospital” which is a third of the size of the old infirmary.

The majority of beds and services are now in Wakefield or Dewsbury and, with all its coffee shops, newsagent and gates, what we are left with is an airport lounge with the capabilities of an outpatient clinic. From this month, less than 12 months after the grand opening, we are now faced with “temporary” night-time closures of the A&E department.

Residents of the five towns on the eastern side of the district, travellers on the East Coast main line railway, the M62 and A1 who have depended on Pontefract facilities are now in a postcode lottery through the hours of darkness. So don’t be ill, and do not be involved in a serious accident, or you will have to be taken to Wakefield, Dewsbury, Leeds or Doncaster as the clock ticks. This is just not good enough.

To the directors of the trust who state that they cannot attract doctors to their shiny new facility, please ensure that this temporary closure is overturned at the earliest opportunity. The people of this district deserve better.