Letters - Less wind, more waves

Your Leader (19 April) says that "we all approve of wind and tidal power". Yet most planning applications for windfarms have been refused by local authorities. This has so upset the government that it has put out a draft policy to change the rules, so that it will be difficult if not impossible to refuse such applications. Wind power is of no use whatsoever in tackling climate change.

It is intermittent and unpredictable, and produces its rated output for only 30 per cent of the time. Conventional power stations have to make up the shortfall when the wind drops, or is blowing so hard that the turbines have to be turned off to avoid damage. Because power stations cannot be switched on quickly, they have to remain on "spinning reserve". This uses fuel inefficiently and produces extra carbon emissions. Offshore tidal power, by contrast, is totally predictable. This is where our effort on renewables should be directed.

John Hammond
Builth Wells, Powys

This article first appeared in the 03 May 2004 issue of the New Statesman, Religion: Why do we still give a damn?