Wind Farms


Date: 26/01/14 Sanchez Manning, Mail on Sunday
The presence of wind turbines near homes has wiped tens of thousands of pounds off their value, according to the first major study into the impact the eyesore structures have on house prices.
The study by the London School of Economics (LSE) – which looked at more than a million sales of properties close to wind farm sites over a 12-year period – found that values of homes within 1.2  miles of large wind farms were being slashed by about 11 per cent.

This means that if such a wind farm were near an average house in Britain, which now costs almost £250,000, it would lose more than £27,000 in value.

In sought-after rural idylls where property prices are higher, the financial damage is even more substantial. In villages around one of Southern England’s largest onshore developments – Little Cheyne Court Wind Farm in Romney Marsh, Kent, where homes can cost close to £1 million – house values could drop by more than £100,000.

The study further discovered that even a small wind farm that blighted views would hit house values.
Homes within half a mile of such visible turbines could be reduced in value by about seven per cent.
Even those in a two-and-a-half-mile radius experienced price reductions of around three per cent.

Prof Gibbons, director of the LSE’s Spatial Economics Research Centre, said: ‘Property prices are going up in places where they’re not visible and down in the places where they are.’
The study, which is still in draft form but is due to be published next month, focused on 150 wind-farm sites across England and Wales. It compared house-price changes in areas that had wind farms, were about to see one built or had seen one rejected by the local authority.

The report’s author, Professor Steve Gibbons, said his research was the first strong evidence that wind farms are harmful to house prices.

The Turf

From The Spectator Australia, Robin Oakley, an Englishman:

At Christmas a friend from CNN sent me the story of a US officer on a European train. Searching for a seat, he found one occupied by a miniature poodle and asked its French female owner if she would put the dog on her lap. She not only refused but also remarked loudly as he moved on, ‘God spare us from these bloody Americans who think they own the whole world.’

Ten minutes later, the visibly weary American returned to say that there was no seat vacant on the entire train. Again he requested politely that madame move her dog. Again she refused, this time snarling, ‘Won’t somebody protect me from this boorish foreigner?’ At this point, with the train slowing, the American seized the dog and hurled it through the window on to a grassy bank. As its owner shrieked her fury, an Englishman sitting opposite spoke for the first time. ‘Oh dear, oh dear,’ he said. ‘You Americans never get it quite right, do you? You hold your fork in the wrong hand, you drive on the wrong side of the road and now you have thrown the wrong bitch out of the window.’

England’s drubbing in the Ashes series already had me thinking about national characteristics: the Australians not only played much better cricket than our boys, they also seem to be altogether more proficient at the art of ‘sledging’, verbally destroying their opponents’ morale even before they have faced their first ball. Friends have asked if the same happens in racing.

Not in quite the same way. There is not too much time for verbals when you are driving half a ton of horse across two dozen obstacles, although occasionally, when a jockey’s call for racing room is ignored by a rival, it can lead to choice words afterwards, occasionally to changing-room fisticuffs. Jump jockey Timmy Murphy has just returned from a nine-day suspension after he and Dominic Elsworth scrapped in the Newbury weighing room. In Murphy’s case, injury was added to the perceived insult: throwing a punch at Elsworth, he dislocated his

Jockeys do talk to each other during races. The day after he won the Cheltenham Gold Cup on The Dikler and celebrated into the early hours, a badly hungover Ron Barry only won a race at Uttoxeter thanks to two fellow jockeys shouting a warning to him and his mount every time they approached a hurdle. There is kidology too. When David ‘The Duke’ Nicholson was riding Mill House in the Whitbread Gold Cup at Sandown, his less experienced fellow jockey John Buckingham loomed up beside him around the final bend on San Angelo. ‘Steady Buck,’ called Nicholson, ‘you’re trotting up.’ Buckingham eased his mount and at that moment The Duke went hell for leather for the line on Mill House. Had Buckingham not been influenced into taking a pull, Nicholson admitted later, his own horse might not have been in the first four.

The leading Flat jockey Greville Starkey used to do a marvellous imitation of a barking dog and occasionally went into his routine during a finish to put off an opponent’s mount. It happened as he fought head-to-head with Pat Eddery as Pat won the Japan Cup on the Dowager Duchess of Bedford’s Jupiter Island. She still has the photo to confirm it.

I have been trying to recall, too, which jump jockey it was who accidentally spat out his false teeth as he shouted at an opponent for taking his room during a race. The jumping boys being what they are, linked always by the camaraderie of facing injury or even death every time they go out, the offending jockey, who didn’t have a ride in the next race, went back along the track to search for them.

Perhaps it is a little less friendly on the Flat, although even there most of the tensions are worked out in weighing-room antics, like the time Philip Robinson and George Duffield tried to get the South African champion Michal ‘Muis’ Roberts superglued to the floor in his riding boots. They just couldn’t get him to stand in one place for long enough.

The one man not to make an enemy of in the old days, however, was Lester Piggott. In Piggott’s later years as a jockey, the cocky young Italian Frankie Dettori used to enjoy teasing the icon of the Turf. Lester eventually had had enough of it and one day at Goodwood Frankie was leading him around a bend when suddenly Piggott struck like a cobra. A hand snaked out and seized the crouching Dettori firmly by the testicles. The grip then tightened like a vice, bringing tears to the Italian’s eyes, while the leading jockey’s voice muttered in his ear, ‘That will teach you to be so cheeky, you little sod.’ Dettori and some fellow jockeys afterwards examined the video of the race but no evidence was visible. ‘The cunning old fox had caught me on the blind spot where the camera angle changes.’

At least England’s batsmen haven’t had to face that from the Australian slips.

Renewable Energy

From Alan Moran:

Much has been written about the contribution that wind and solar have made to Australian energy supply, especially in the recent hot spell. About 10 per cent of electricity supply comes from renewable sources, two thirds of this being unsubsidised hydro-electricity, with one third from wind/solar which needs subsidies to cover more than half of its costs.

AEMO data shows that during heat wave conditions in the five days to 18 January this year, wind actually contributed 3 per cent of electricity supply across the Australian National Electricity Market. Nobody knows the contribution of roof top solar but it could not conceivably have been more than one per cent.

Overall, wind facilities amount to 3,300 megawatts of capacity, somewhat less than the Loy Yang brown coal power stations in Victoria or Macquarie Generation’s black coal facilities in the Hunter Valley. Windmills produced at an average of 23 per cent of their capacity during the January heat wave. This was below their year-long average of about 30 per cent because the hot spell, as is often the case, was characterised by still air. Fossil fuel plant is available 95 per cent of the time. Gas plant (and hydro-electricity) can be switched on and off at very short notice to fill the peaks in demand. As a result it generally earns more than the average plant on the electricity spot market.

The below par performance of windmills in high demand periods means they not only require a subsidy but are also less valuable than other plant because their availability is reduced when they are most needed and when the price is highest. Accordingly, windmills actually earn less on average than other plant in the electricity spot market. Indeed, during the recent heat wave, wind power earned an average of $123 per megawatt hour in Victoria and $182 in South Australia while the average price was respectively $209 and $285 in the two states.

Investments in wind and other subsidised electricity generation, according to the renewable energy lobby group the Clean Energy Council, has been $18.5 billion. By contrast, the market value of comparable generating capacity in Macquarie Generation coal plants is said to be only $2 billion and a brand new brown coal plant of 3,300 megawatt capacity would cost less than $10 billion.

Wind aficionados claim that such costings do not take into account that wind is free whereas fossil fuel plants have to pay for their energy. But that is also untrue. Wind plant maintenance is about $12 per megawatt hour which is more than the fuel plus maintenance costs of a Victorian brown coal power station.

Subsidies to renewable energy were once touted not only as a key to reducing emissions of carbon dioxide but also as paving the way to a future source of electricity that would become competitive in price and reliability with fossil fuels. After two decades of increasing subsidies, this optimism has proven to be unfounded. Instead we have seen subsidised renewable energy sucking capital into worthless investments.

On present plans, a nominal 20 per cent of electricity is to be sourced from renewables by 2020. By that year the excessive cost burden on the economy will be $5 billion a year and rising. This entails crippling subsidies paid by consumers and businesses. The imposition has been an important factor in the foreshadowed plant closures of Holden, Electrolux and the aluminium smelters at Kurri Kurri and Point Henry.

Because of our readily available coal and gas Australian electricity costs are intrinsically is among the lowest in the world. This was formerly crucial to attracting highly competitive energy intensive industries like smelting. Australia could once again benefit from low cost electricity if deregulation freed energy supply from its renewable obligations. The benefits would be especially welcomed across all agricultural and manufacturing industries that are subject to international competition.

Subsidies on existing Australian renewable plant are planned to run for 15 years. But Spain, previously the poster child of renewable subsidy excesses, has shown the way forward by eliminating all previously promised subsidies. Australia needs to abandon its own renewable schemes and allow the energy market to operate on commercial terms.

Boats Stopped

The Australian Government has admitted that it had breached Indonesia’s 12 nautical mile limit.

What is interesting it is the people smugglers and asylum seekers who alerted the media not the Indonesian Government.

Now to the facts:

1. In the last 4 months of the Labor government there were 12,603 illegal maritime arrivals.

2. In the first 4 months of the Coalition government there were 1,581 illegal maritime arrivals.

3. That is, during the exact same period the Coalition have been in power, there were 135 boats under Labor, and 29 under the Coalition, down around 80%.

4. In January 2011 271 people illegally arrived, January 2012 it was 278, January 2013 it was 419, but so far this month NONE.

This Government was elected with a mandate to stop the boats and that is what it is doing.

A major government policy being competently implemented and operating effectively.

Makes a change.

Bathers Beach Saturday Markets to close.

The City of Fremantle is about to accept the Sunset Events proposal for J Shed at historic Arthur Head, and if that is the case the Bathers Beach Saturday Markets will have to be considerably smaller or have to close.

Sunset Events are proposing a 850 – 1500 capacity Tavern and Ticketed Concert Area at J Shed. To give an idea of the size, this is larger than the Great Hall at Little Creatures. They will have 12 – 15 ticketed concert events each year that by necessity will be fenced off denying residents and tourists access to the area.

At a very well attended FICRA meeting this evening there was unanimous opposition to this proposal as it is much too large, and would have considerable negative impact on inner city residents.

Bear in mind that Arthur Head is an A Class Reserve.

The original Council proposal was for a small bar/cafe/gallery to compliment the art activities in the area and this would have widespread approval.

This proposal is totally wrong, Sunset Events are gifted an A Class Reserve, on the beachfront, for $70,000 a year.


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