There appears to be an ongoing battle in the UK between those who are looking to use wind power as a cleaner source of energy and those who want to preserve the natural landscape. Both want to protect but in different ways. I saw this article this morning and it got me thinking about if there is a “right” answer to this issue and if there can be a balance struck between the energy companies and the conservationists that will see both sides satisfied.
Why Wind Farms?
There can be no doubt that we need to look for renewable resources of energy as we move forward and develop. The impact that fossil fuels is having on the environment is placing the future of the planet in jeopardy. Conservation of the planet and wildlife conservation must be realised by the majority of people if a difference is to be made. This is where harnessing natural energy will become vital for future development. Wind power is abundant and there is no signs that the wind will run out so it is completely renewable, this must be the answer to our energy woe. Below are some points towards the advantages of wind power.
- The wind is free and with modern technology it can be captured efficiently.
- Once the wind turbine is built the energy it produces does not cause green house gases or other pollutants.
- Although wind turbines can be very tall each takes up only a small plot of land. This means that the land below can still be used. This is especially the case in agricultural areas as farming can still continue.
- Many people find wind farms an interesting feature of the landscape.
- Remote areas that are not connected to the electricity power grid can use wind turbines to produce their own supply.
- Wind turbines have a role to play in both the developed and third world.
- Wind turbines are available in a range of sizes which means a vast range of people and businesses can use them. Single households to small towns and villages can make good use of range of wind turbines available today.
There are many positive points to the wind farms so why would people take such a stand to new developments being put up?
The Other Side Of The Farm
The main issue that people have with wind farms is the locations that are chosen to host the farms. They are almost always of natural interest and beauty. The fact is that wind farms take up a lot of space and need to be placed in remote areas so that they don’t interfere with cities and air space. This is where the two groups really clash, there are other reasons that people feel that wind farms are not the best way forward listed below.
- The strength of the wind is not constant and it varies from zero to storm force. This means that wind turbines do not produce the same amount of electricity all the time. There will be times when they produce no electricity at all.
- Many people feel that the countryside should be left untouched, without these large structures being built. The landscape should left in its natural form for everyone to enjoy.
- Wind turbines are noisy. Each one can generate the same level of noise as a family car travelling at 70 mph.
- Many people see large wind turbines as unsightly structures and not pleasant or interesting to look at. They disfigure the countryside and are generally ugly.
- When wind turbines are being manufactured some pollution is produced. Therefore wind power does produce some pollution.
- Large wind farms are needed to provide entire communities with enough electricity. For example, the largest single turbine available today can only provide enough electricity for 475 homes, when running at full capacity. How many would be needed for a town of 100 000 people?
Again, most of the points above are conservation related and when constructing anything there will usually be some kind of emissions produced. It appears that there will always be a sticking point between the two groups on the overall effects that the wind farms will have on the land, so what could a solution be?
There is the option of taking the wind farms offshore, there are already a number of offshore wind farms around Europe that are generating power as we speak. Although they are not affecting the land conversation groups there may be calls from those who are concerned about ocean preservation. As well as this once they are offshore they become much harder to maintain and fix should something go wrong. Offshore may solve some problems but it also raises others.
There are also ongoing projects looking into the viability of other natural resources such as tidal energy and solar. There will always be people who disagree on different aspects of energy but it is important that people can have their opinions heard and a solution can hopefully be worked out. We have put together a bundlr looking at the different stances on wind farms from around the net. If you have an opinion on the wind farm situation we would like to hear it, please leave any thoughts in the comments section below.