NewEnergyNews: TURBINES SPOIL THE VIEW?

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    Monday, November 26, 2007

    TURBINES SPOIL THE VIEW?

    Those who oppose wind installations on aesthetic grounds must simply not know what strip mining and mountaintop removal mining for coal look like. They must not know what sludge-filled water below the mines looks like. They must not know what the brown haze over an urban landscape looks like, let alone what it does to the lungs of those living there.

    The bottom line: We need electricity. We all depend on it being there when we flip the switch. But as Mr. Tsipouridis of the Hellenic Wind Energy Association says below, “We’re living in the most polluted era of humanity…it’s sheer hypocrisy to spend so much time talking about wind turbines’ noise and aesthetics.”

    Fears about the noise from wind turbines are outdated. A
    University Of Massachusetts, Amherst, study thoroughly established their safety when properly sited. It has been legally proven that a normal conversation can be held at the base of a big turbine. Most other fears are either equally groundless or would be prevented by careful siting.

    Debating the Merits of Energy From Air
    Joanna Kakissis, November 24, 2007 (NY Times)

    WHO
    Angeliki Synodinou, Mayor, the Greek island of Serifos; Lisa Linowes, executive director, Industrial Wind Action Group; Alistair Danter, wind energy supporter, Isle of Skye;

    Perhaps those who find such elegant additions to the already developed landscape on Panachaiko Mountain overlooking the Gulf of Corinth near the city of Patras objectionable...

    WHAT
    Localities from New Hampshire to the Greek islands are opposing wind turbine installations for aesthetic reasons. There are also irrational, uninformed and unsubstantiated fears of noise and other dangers.

    WHEN
    The spread of wind installations into European localities is driven by the EU goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions 20% by 2020.

    ...prefer this West Virginia mountaintop removal coal mine...

    WHERE
    The Greek island of Serifos, rural New Hampshire, the rural northeastern English county of Northumberland, Britain’s Isle of Skye, western Scotland

    WHY
    - The objection in the Greek islands is that the installation would destroy tourism by destroying the islands’ ambience. Greece has much less wind energy than most of the rest of Europe and gets 17% of its income from tourism. Greece gets much of its electricity from the dirtiest of coals and some see it losing tourism due to smog.
    - Spain obtains 12% of its electricity from wind and has suffered no noticeable loss of tourism.
    - The objection in Northumberland is that the turbines would especially ruin the view by contrasting harmfully with local castles and might, as well, do harm to historic sites when being installed. Rigorous siting procedures carefully protect against this. The 89-mile Kintyre Way hiking trail in western Scotland has a 9-turbine wind farm and views of others but remains popular.
    - People in tourism on Britain’s Isle of Skye welcome the installations and say they don’t intrude.

    ...or this sludge-filled pond. Tourists need electricity, too.

    QUOTES
    - Mayor Synodinou: “No one would come here…Our island would be destroyed.”
    - Linowes, Industrial Wind Action Group, on opposition to turbines: “These are not just one or two turbines spinning majestically in the blue sky and billowing clouds…”
    - Catalina Robledo, analyst, Emerging Energy Research: “…people are afraid that there will be these humongous wind parks that will block the sunset…”
    - John Ferguson, Save Our Unspoilt Landscape (S.O.U.L.), Northumberland: “The eyes are constantly drawn to them…”
    - Danter, tourism business, Isle of Skye: “There’s still a feeling that the west coast of Scotland offers something authentic and real…and people don’t want to lose that.”
    - Jason Ormiston, CEO, Scottish Renewables: “Wind parks can be elegant and inviting…”
    - Nikos Charalambidis, director, Greenpeace Greece: “If the climate gets worse here, tourists will vanish and not come back…”
    - Tsipouridis, Hellenic Wind Energy Association: “We’re living in the most polluted era of humanity…it’s sheer hypocrisy to spend so much time talking about wind turbines’ noise and aesthetics.”

    1 Comments:

    At 5:44 PM, Anonymous off gridder said...

    Some areas of the world have a natural beauty, devoid of large scale industrial structures such as wind turbines. Before choosing to build in such areas we should use all means to minimise consumption, as it is always much cheaper to save a unit of electricity than to generate it.
    Also don't make the common mistake of comparing intermittent, renewable generation with continuous "baseline" generation which all grid systems have to rely on. Any intermittent generation on a grid voltage scale cannot replace baseline generation, usually from steam turines. Wind turbines generally are low efficiency eg
    24% in some of the windiest areas of Europe. That is producing electricity for only 2.4 hours out of each ten on average. Only the huge subsidies paid to developers and the above-market prices paid for their output make them commercially attractive. A fraction of their budget, if spent on conservation of energy, would yield a much better result in terms of carbon saving. In straight terms, in the UK especially, wind turbines are little more than expensive window dressing to show off this governments supposed green credentials. Somewhere down the line an announcement will be made that the UK has tried wind energy, but it has been found not efficient enough. Whats the bet thats when nuclear power is brought back to the agenda?
    As for our beautiful landscapes littered with dead turbines? Even our own Centre for Alternative Energy in Wales cannot organise removal of their own defunct turbine. A taste of things to come, but on a much larger scale? Try asking the government who pays to remove these towers or dig up 250 cubic metres (per turbine base) of highly alkaline concrete from our hillsides when these generators no longer make economic sense to maintain or rebuild. I have lived off grid for 7 years and can run a house on a fraction of the power that a grid connected house uses. Small scale generation by wind is relatively low cost and discreet if used to power homes locally. Good energy management is fundamental to conservation of resources. The largest wind farms in Europe built on the finest landscapes of one of Europes smaller countries to produce energy that is wasted in so many ways is sheer stupidity.
    Conservation of energy important? Ask the UK government why insulation and energy saving products still attract VAT at the full rate of 17.5% if bought by non VAT registered persons, yet fuel is taxed at 5%. Incentive to use or incentive to save?
    The bottom line is that real money isn't made by saving energy. Real money is generated by multi million pound contracts for wind farms, paid for by levy on each householders electricity bill. When the wind blows, stay indoors, burn some more juice by watching the TV, because the UK countryside wont be worth going outside to look at.

     

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