Established on 23 December 2013

Lecture given in Slaithwaite about the energy crisis

It might be thought that a “community project” would be the ideal way to bring a community together and to foster good relations between neighbours for the benefit of all. Unfortunately in Slaithwaite just the opposite has happened. A bitter debate, perhaps better described as a ferocious battle, is currently raging in this normally quiet and peaceful village between the supporters of the Valley Wind Cooperative and Slaithwaite Moor Against Giant Industrial Turbines.

The debate between Valley Wind and SMOGIT is not about whether global warming is real, but about how to find the most effective options for preventing it.

In order to inject some realism into this debate SMOGIT arranged for a lecture to be held on the 5th February. It was well attended by both supporters and opponents of the wind farm. Some impassioned views were expressed by members of the audience!

The powerpoint slides for it can be seen on this link

About the speaker

Professor Cywinski is committed to public engagement in science and gives a number of talks each month at events and locations which include on topics as diverse as Energy, Relativity, Quantum Physics, Archaeology and Materials and Materials Research. He does not accept renumeration for his lectures.

In his lecture Professor Cywinski demonstrated that perhaps the only route to achieving the UK's 2050 CO2 emissions target is through a balanced portfolio of energy technologies in which Wind and Nuclear power play a major role in providing 140GW of electricity with an emission rate of 10g/kWhr.

Slaithwaite MoorHowever his lecture also demonstrated that each of these clean technologies had both real and perceived shortcomings which need to be addressed urgently. He therefore called upon advocates of both nuclear and wind generation to be honest with each other and honest with the wider public.

 Focussing upon the Colne Valley, and drawing upon figures provided by DECC and by the wind industry, he showed that the proposed Valley Wind industrial turbine development at Cupwith could save no more, and probably much less, than 1% of the total CO2 emissions from Colne Valley, and less than one thousandth of a percent of the UK's total emissions.

Without giving his own opinion he asked the audience to make up their mind as to whether they considered such a saving was worth the investment and the development of the moor - or whether it was equivalent to offering a sticking plaster to a victim of a serious car crash "because every little bit helps".

Following his lecture Professor Cywinski asked SMOGIT to point out that in his own view the Valley Wind development is not worth it. Professor Cywinski's family can trace its history back almost 500 years to an area within just a few miles of Cupwith, and he himself paddled at Cupwith reservoir 60 years ago. He believes that if we want "to save the planet" we need to have a planet that is worth saving, and industrialisation of great tracts of historically, environmentally and ecologically important areas such as Slaithwaite Moor for either greed or guilt is not the way forward.