INTERACTIVE MAP: North Devon's landscape is changing thanks to wind turbines
THIS map shows how the North Devon landscape is changing in the face of demand for renewable energy.
The region has 102 existing turbines, could face up to 40 new ones (excluding the 278 turbines that make up the Atlantic Array and the 11 currently at appeal) in the coming months and has already been spared the construction of 54 turbines thanks to Torridge, North Devon and Exmoor planners refusing permission and applicants withdrawing their plans.
Click on a pointer to find out more information about that particular wind turbine. Use the status dropdown box (above left) to choose which turbines to display.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
Those numbers add up to a worrying situation, said physicist Dr Phillip Bratby.
Dr Bratby, an energy consultant who has given evidence at numerous public inquiries, said: "It is worrying. These turbines are having a devastating impact on our landscape and on electricity prices, because they are so heavily subsidised.
"My view is it will have an impact on tourism, nearby residents will be affected by noise and the big issue is what has been a very quiet, rural landscape with no real industry to speak of will be dominated by these huge industrial turbines."
North Devon councillor Rodney Cann agreed.
He said: "There is hardly a place now if you walk around North Devon where you don't see a turbine.
"It has affected the entire character of North Devon and cumulatively they are having a huge impact."
But the turbines currently existing and pending approval in North Devon and Torridge could provide enough energy to power up to 75,000 homes for a year.
Torridge and North Devon districts contain around 70,000 homes.
And the fact all North Devon homes could be powered by renewable energy soon is a huge positive, said the Green Party's Ricky Knight.
He said: "We're in a wind corridor in North Devon and if we could become a net exporter of energy it would be a good thing.
"We do have to wean ourselves off fossil fuels and we have to do so either with renewable energy or nuclear power, and nuclear is hugely expensive."
Although Mr Knight accepted subsidies for wind turbines made them expensive, he said it was a factor people need to forget about.
He said: "All energy sources are heavily subsidised, and wind turbines are no different. However, they are vastly cheaper and less dangerous than nuclear power plants."
Dr Bratby said wind turbines were inefficient and the amount of energy generated was not worth it, when weighed against the impact on the landscape.
He said: "There's very little energy in wind because of the lack of density in it.
"I couldn't think of a worse way of generating electricity because it's so intermittent.
"To be honest no renewable energy sources are particularly efficient, apart from hydro electric power, and we don't have the landscape to implement it.
"We have the potential for wave power in the region but the environment we'd have to work in is too difficult.
"And as for solar power, I heard a remark at a conference that sums it up well – 'You've more chance of growing pineapples in Alaska' – we simply don't have the weather for it."
Please note: Wind turbine figures published in today's North Devon Journal are inaccurate. All correct figures are in the article above.