Questionnaire to seek Guernsey view on development of off-shore wind turbines

January 13th, 2011 by Yvonne Burford

I am a mother and a part-time Trislander pilot who is studying for a Master’s degree in Renewable Energy and Sustainable Building.  Part of my Master’s degree is a research project into what local people think of the possibility of offshore wind power for Guernsey.

A photo montage of what nine wind turbines situated about two miles off the north coast of Guernsey might look like (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

I will be posting out questionnaires in the second week in January 2011 to 520 households that have been selected at random. Any one adult aged 16 or over in each household is invited to complete and return the questionnaire in the stamped envelope provided.

It should only take between 10 and 15 minutes to complete. The more replies that are returned the better the overall picture will be about what people think.

I would like to encourage everyone who receives a questionnaire to take a few minutes to make their views known. The results will be published in due course on this website.

The reason behind my research is that the States of Guernsey has agreed in principle (subject to further investigation) to produce 20% of our island’s electricity supply from local renewable sources by 2020.

I wish to find out what people living in Guernsey think about this as I believe that public opinion is very important in the formation of policy.

Whilst there has been investigation locally into tidal power, this survey focuses on people’s views on the possibility of offshore wind turbines (windmills) a couple of miles off the coast.

10 Responses to “Questionnaire to seek Guernsey view on development of off-shore wind turbines”

  1. Iain Timms

    I think it is a very nessecary step for our Island community to go. Because we are surounded by water there are no hinderences to stop the full force of the wind so we should make full advantage of this energy resource and reduce our Island carbon footprint

  2. errol

    Hows about onshore wind power too.
    Have long thought that the German gun towers could make good bases for generators.

  3. Yvonne

    Thanks for the comments. The questionnaires were posted on Wednesday so I hope to see some responses very soon!

  4. Tani

    A good idea in principle, but I’d like to know more about the possible effects on local birdlife after reading articles like this:

    http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/sowb/casestudy/289

  5. Yvonne

    Hi Tani,
    The last sentence of the article you link to states: “It is vital that the design, position and alignment of future offshore wind farms take into account the distribution and sensitivity of seabird populations” and I would like to think that no-one would disagree with that. If wind turbines are proposed for Guernsey at some stage in the future a full Environmental Impact Assessment would have to be undertaken to investigate such issues.

    All forms of power generation have some impact on the natural world – for example, to what extent does pollution from a fossil fuel power station affect wildlife?

    The best and most sustainable way to reduce our impact is to reduce the amount of energy we use.

  6. Tani

    Hi Yvonne,

    Thanks for your reply, and I agree that no form of power generation is without some detrimental effects on wildlife.

    As a matter of interest, have any studies been done on the direct and indirect effects of our local power station on wildlife? I’m new to environmental issues and am simply curious.

  7. Yvonne

    I am not sure – unless someone else comes along with an answer it would probably be best to give Guernsey Electricity a call – I have found them very helpful with the queries I have raised.

  8. Tani

    Many thanks :)

  9. Yvonne

    Here is an abstract to a journal paper that I came across whilst researching something else, which may go some way to answering your question.

    Contextualizing avian mortality: A preliminary appraisal of bird and bat fatalities from wind, fossil-fuel, and nuclear electricity

    Benjamin K. Sovacool,
    Energy Governance Program, Centre on Asia and Globalisation, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, Singapore 259772, Singapore
    Received 7 October 2008; accepted 9 February 2009. Available online 18 March 2009.
    Abstract
    This article explores the threats that wind farms pose to birds and bats before briefly surveying the recent literature on avian mortality and summarizing some of the problems with it. Based on operating performance in the United States and Europe, this study offers an approximate calculation for the number of birds killed per kWh generated for wind electricity, fossil-fuel, and nuclear power systems. The study estimates that wind farms and nuclear power stations are responsible each for between 0.3 and 0.4 fatalities per gigawatt-hour (GWh) of electricity while fossil-fueled power stations are responsible for about 5.2 fatalities per GWh. While this paper should be respected as a preliminary assessment, the estimate means that wind farms killed approximately seven thousand birds in the United States in 2006 but nuclear plants killed about 327,000 and fossil-fueled power plants 14.5 million. The paper concludes that further study is needed, but also that fossil-fueled power stations appear to pose a much greater threat to avian wildlife than wind and nuclear power technologies.

  10. Tani

    That’s very kind of you. I’ve just found the full paper and will comment when I’ve read it.

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