Wind Resources in the Gap
It may not surprise you that the wind resources in the Goring Gap are credible enough to support large scale wind turbine development. The Government’s own wind resource database shows wind speeds on average of 6.5m/s and on the Downs and Chilterns in excess of 7m/s. This is very good for turbines.
So why wind?
It is simply the most economical attractive renewable energy technology. In addition the technology is well developed and it works. Sceptics claim that wind is unpredictable. Well, like the rain, wind always comes and goes without fail every year. It is in fact an extremely easy science to predict.
So why not wind?
Because we can predict wind so well we know that it is an intermittent technology with availabilities around 30% Turbines, especially the new mega turbines offer a visual impact. Airports don’t like them and neither do birds! The thought of wind energy in most people’s minds is positive, until they can see one out their window. Obtaining planning permission is hard enough in a conservation area. Getting planning permission for a turbine, well we’ll leave that to your imagination. Finally getting a turbine to a rural location is a logistic nightmare.
Go on then, how many do we need?
Based on a population of 900 people in Streatley, a single 2.5MW turbine would provide enough energy for the village. Based on a population of 3100 people in Goring, three 2.5MW turbines would provide enough energy for the entire village. That might mean no energy bills for at least 20 years!
How much is this going to cost?
A single turbine development is likely to cost in the region of £5 to £8 million, which seems a lot. By selling the electricity back to the grid these costs would be recovered within 5-12 years. Saving thousands of tons of carbon. After the payback has been completed the turbine produces pure profit.
Are we likely to see turbines then?
No, not until attitudes to energy generation significantly change anyway. Community run schemes are likely to be the only way that to ensure energy stability (both the supply and costs) to rural communities in the future. In order to realise this our landscape will have to change.