Rock, hard place and covert operations

Skellefteå kommun surprised a few people when plans for the wind farm to surround Bygdsiljum were announced. And even though I know it's not the kommun directly putting these up and that even their own energy company are not exactly investing heavily in this form of energy creation, the kommun do decide where these can be placed and give permission.

I think the surprise came because nobody knew about it and the people telling us about them a few weeks ago as good as said this was happening, without real consultation.

I suspect also, although I'm not sure, the kommun are also making money from this. In fact, I can only see that as the reason for doing this and I think that makes it even worse.

And while it's taken me a while to get in contact with someone at the kommun, I've now had an email with what I'm guessing are the people I need to be emailing. But instead of emailing, I'm writing a blog post, as that is what grumpy old men do, but also because this is my sort of 'open letter' to the kommun and it will mean I only have to write this once.

I'm also trying, when writing this, to not get carried away and to make this as simple as possible, because I'm personally quite keen on wind power, but like everyone that is, I don't want it in my back garden.

But that isn't the reason I'm annoyed or want answers. I'm quite annoyed because so many other things haven't been factored in, especially when you consider this energy isn't for my house, but an apartment building in Stockholm and mostly because there are other alternatives than destroying the countryside and looking for quick cash.

And I also accept that some will like looking at the 70+, 210 meter high wind turbines, but I wont and most that I've spoken to wont either. And there is also clear evidence from the London School of Economics that points to people not wanting to live near these things and that small communities are severely effected by them, as well as reports from Swedish doctors warning of health risks, when living near these.

So I have some questions I'd like answered

1. Who decided to grant permission for these wind farms, that combined are bigger than the biggest wind farm on the continent of Africa and why weren't the people that are going to live near these consulted before that decision was made?

2. Has anyone factored in the independent health reports of living near a wind farm and if so, what plans do the kommun (not the owner of the installation) have for those that might be affected by the placement of these turbines? I also want to stress the word independent because there are so many reports written by or sponsored by the wind energy associations or energy companies.

3. Can someone tell me what happens to the Bygdsiljum vision? Bygdsiljum hope to attract 100 new people by 2022 and the evidence provided by the London School of Economics suggests that it's going to be even harder to get people to move here if these turbines are erected. Aligning that with the Skellefteå vision of more people by 2030, do they think this is a positive message for smaller communities in Skellefteå or is that vision for 2030 only for the centre of Skellefteå?

4. Lastly for now, but after the kommun tried to close the school in Bygdsiljum, after they refused to build a safe walking road for residents (when millions are getting spent on the same road) and now after giving permission to build a wind farm surrounding the village, can the kommun finally confirm that they're not actually interested in the smaller communities of Skellefteå?

That last question could be taken so much further and I have more, but I think it best to leave this for now as I don't actually expect anyone to get back to me. But I really like living in Bygdsiljum and Skellefteå, but it does feel a little like the kommun are not interested in smaller communities.

I spoke with Lorents Burman about the safe walking road and he assured me he'd get back to me. He didn't. And here I am, surprised that a politician says something and something else happens.

It just feels so depressingly predetermined that while as a society, we face major disruption over the coming years, that Skellefteå, instead of looking at the long term problems and looking for long term solutions, they look for a quick fix that is only about money.

And as I wrote above, that is what makes this worse. It's just about cash. This isn't about harnessing a renewable source of energy because these turbines wont be around in 25 years and they will likely just stand there like the thousands across America that just stand there today.

But they wont say that. The companies that erect them will also say there are no problems with the equipment when people complain. That's what they do. They don't want the additional cost of having to deal with these issues, especially when the electricity price is so low. They don't want to take responsibility when they're up because every time they do, it eats into the profits.

Turbines are a blight on the countryside and Skellefteå as a kommun, as well as Bygdsiljum, already do more than their fair share for the environment. But what I don't understand is this; has Skellefteå kommun just shrunk and ran out of space and the only place to do this is here?

And if there is so much wind around Bygdsiljum that putting up 70+ of these turbines is a good idea, why do they have to be the biggest turbines known to man? Why not the smaller ones we often see along the coast?

These are the same size as Canary Wharf in London and twice the size as the Statue of Liberty in New York.

So here's a radical idea that could generate revenue for the kommun and show that Skellefteå isn't just a dumping ground for others (that's how this feels and looks); why not support and invest in the companies on the verge of creating the technology for energy creation and consumption that mean we wont need to ever use coal, or nuclear or even have these wind turbines put up for 20 years.

Put money aside to invest in these companies, at the same time as attracting people and creating jobs, rather than make it difficult for small communities to attract new people. Kill two birds with one stone.

Skellefteå already creates enough power for Skellefteå in Skellefteå and as this is just about the money, why not look at it in the same way as you should be looking at the problem, rather than a quick dirty and not really a very environmentally friendly way, look for something that is actually sustainable and good for the long term.

Nobody is saying don't make money, but it's not as if Skellefteå isn't a big bloody municipality with plenty of space to put these where nobody is going to see them or be bothered about them or worry about the health risks.

Or, why not plant them all around Skellefteå, rather than, quite literally, as far away as possible from the city centre?

So, those are my questions. I again don't expect an answer much like I haven't had an answer from the guy that came around to tell residents that these were actually happening, but there is no harm in asking and it's done now. Let's see what happens. Lorents Burman is now on Twitter, so we'll see if I get a response.

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