Tuesday, 26 December 2006

The Prevailing Wind

Catching up with various blogs on Boxing Day, I come to Andy Howell's, where the topic of wind farms has been raised by a comment from Calvin Jones.

Comments from Calvin Jones include:

  • I believe that walkers should be with environmentalists and yes that means with wind.
  • There has been increasingly vocal opposition to wind farms and associated works throughout the UK. Mainly by people who “don’t want to see the countryside spoiled”. Such an anthropocentric view of the countryside is just the sort of ignorant and harm full attitude that really does threaten our lands real beauty.
  • When a wind power project is proposed near your home, will you protect your most treasured land and support wind?
My democratic position on this is that business is out to make as much money from wind farms as possible, scourging the landscape and saying that anyone who is against them is short-sighted. People in the Hebrides were in favour of windfarms, but then the proposed turbines got taller and taller as the venture capitalists got greedier and greedier. The landowners own the land, and refuse to allow small local developments to go ahead.

If the power is required in the central belt, why not build the windfarms in the central belt instead of scarring tracts of the landscape of the Highlands? That must make both economic, environmental and social sense? But the NIMBY voters of the central belt won't be happy bunnies; better to upset some Teuchters instead.

It should be quite simple to have 'energy miles', like 'food miles'. Draw a circle around a town or city, and say that x% of the power used by that area must be generated by that area. Most houses will have loft insulation by now (heck, that project's been going on for years), so scale it up to domestic solar panels.

So, I'm in favour of community wind farms (local power for local people), incentives for solar panels, responsibly sited tidal and wave power, geothermal power. And whilst countries like China, Russia and America keep belching out greenhouse gases, it will make little difference to the changing climates. But at least make a little difference and can try to hold back the rising tides and be a shining beacon to the world. And where humanity builds a tv where the 'off' switch really means 'off' .


Calvin Jones said...

Hi AktoMan glad to see that you have taken some interest in my article.

The article largely states my views which don't however tackle your main gripe so i will just add a few words here.

Businesses will try and make money, and wind turbines are increasing in size rapidly. I see this as a happy coincidence rather than a problem, this is based on my assesment of the relative benefits and disbenefits of wind power.

I believe the wind power is the issue--not the motivation for building it.

My article lays out why i believe the wind power is important.

AktoMan said...

So, is scarring the landscape to make more money a 'happy coincidence', or am I not reading you correctly, Calvin?

Wind and other so-called "alternative" energies are important. That's not the issue. The issue is do you kill the patient to protect that which is not worth protecting (i.e. corporate profits).

If Aberdeen needs the energy, the power needs to come from there, not hundreds of miles away cutting through the landscape (where the land just happens to be cheaper per acre that that around the city). See? Corporate profits, not environmental issues drive the sitings and scale.

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear, Aktoman!

I'm an Aktoman myself, having started Aktoing my way around the Highlands back in 2004. Great website, and I'm really glad to see you take this stance on wind factories.

AktoMan said...

The Akto's a great tent, and I'm not sure of other tents that people love as much. They just use them.

Thanks for the compliments.

As to wind factories - they seem to take the cheapest financial options - if they were made to pay for the loss of tourism and environmental damage, then the "cheapest" routes would be undersea, and not the equivalent of driving a motorway through the wild places.