Wind Farms

Of late there has been a lot of news in the press about wind farms in Scotland. We have the Scottish Executive releasing the “news” that they may axe seven planned Wind Farms in the next few months, preparation for the actual event if ever I heard it. Then we hear that Donald Trump complains that Scotland is in danger of ruining its world renowned scenery all for the sake of a little electricity while he looks to build an exclusive golf resort outside Aberdeen.

It does make me wonder what is going on in the minds of these people who are so opposed to such progress towards ecological forms of energy, and the excuses fall into various types. I’ve highlighted them below.


Ruin my view

These are the people who live somewhere which might have a nice view either from their posh huge houses they commute from to the city, or somewhere nearby. It’s also the locals who are just caught up in the movement and local organisation of people complaining and probably haven’t seen proper plans for the development other than those presented to them in order to gain their support.

I’m sure there are other people that fall into this category, but that about covers it for the main swathe.

These people are being selfish and short sighted, looking no further than their little lives, and certainly not onto their children’s. They’d be happy just sticking their heads in the sand and hoping that the energy crisis, rising temperatures, rising sea levels and growing ferocity of the weather will just peter out. After all aren’t there many Governments and news agencies giving out this very message?

Of course it won’t affect them, and why should they think of their children? This is the result of our self centred, throw away society.

The fact is it will affect you and your kids. Expensive fuel, perhaps even rationed, extreme weather, brownouts and blackouts, crumbling coasts, and the option of having a nuclear reactor or dump close by is not as far off as you might think. This is what our children and their children are going to have to deal with.

We are already looking at £1 a litre in the UK, and the news is that reserves are getting harder to find. There’s talk of reopening coal mines because the cost of mining has now become feasible once again due to fuel prices. Reserves of oil are dwindling, and our weather is changing each year.

Vested interest

This is perhaps the most worrying group. People who are profiting in some way from the perpetuation of the more harmful fuels. These are people such as those involved in the fossil fuel companies, Governments, the motor industry, etc.

What they see is profit. They are making vast amounts of money and as the prices rise and the stocks get thinned, so they can demand more and squeeze the market place.

Why would Governments stop this? They’re making tax profits or if they are an oil producing country, receiving profits directly.

If we moved to alternative fuels how will they replace that profit model? With high taxation on the production and sale no doubt and that returns the cost to the consumer once again. Then we might consider how much it could cost to produce a litre of alternative fuel as an equivalent litre of current fuel. More perhaps? Then with tax too…

The motor industry want to perpetuate this because developing cars for new fuels and then creating them for mass manufacture, is way more costly than continuing to sell the cars they already have mass manufactured, ready to customise slightly for the next model to appeal to the car buying market.

They also face the problem of making cars that match the models already out there. What about the sports car market, the high performance market, or the off-road market?

These customers already have a demand for a specific type of vehicle and performance. Can they produce an equivalent hybrid or alternative fuel engine that could replace that, or would we take leaps back in time to begin refining the technology from the basic engine? After all let’s not forget that the engines we use today were first built back in XX.

Whatever happens with alternative engines the motor industry still have to design and develop them and replace all the types and models on the road right now, and that will take a lot of money. Money which they need to earn and/or recoup.

Ignorant

Then there’s the final group of people, those who are just plain ignorant to what the continuing issuing of pollution means to the world as a whole and the ongoing affect it’s having.

It is perhaps in this group that Donald Trump would fall. Here he is shouting about spoiling the view for a little electricity. I wonder how he intends to power his leisure facilities, coal, oil or with gas? You can guarantee that these facilities will be immensely power hungry. What does he care though, he just wants a golf course and a huge profit.

These are the ignorant people. The ones who couldn’t care what mess their children or grand children have to deal with. The ones who are arguing that there is no affect from global warming.

No, there is no increase in high category storms, there is no rise in water levels and local low level flooding, there are no unusual changes in the weather patterns, there is no increased destruction of the polar caps and there are certainly no drop in the quality of air or rise in the levels of breathing problems.

No we are told these are manufactured by scientists, fear mongerers and “green” groups with their own agenda. Yet I can see it. I can see these things happening even hear in Scotland. Is it just a few freak years of weather?

These people want their disposable lifestyle and don’t see that there is or could be a problem, in fact they can’t see further than their own lives and their next weekend.

Sure I can understand their mentality, some don’t care and want to enjoy themselves every moment they can, some think that the problems can be faced and addressed by the next generation, and some think that it was the fault of the industrial age as a whole so why should we be the ones to try and solve it.

There are so many excuses for overly selfish and self centred people, it just boils down to plain ignorance and arrogance. Let’s stick our heads in the sand and hide from our slow self harm.

What we need is some strong leadership and direction and some decisions made with balls and looking to the future, not sitting back and playing the safe card. Tell people that if they want electricity then they have a choice, none, wind farms, coal mine, radioactive dumping ground or a nuclear power station. Oh and nothing means no electricity supply!

You can imagine the choice, wind farm wins every time. I’d rather that than rising tide lines, higher temperatures, freak weather, radioactive material next door, a huge coalmine down the road, etc, etc.

Wind Farms, wave farms, solar energy, it’s what we need to turn to in order to try and halt the slippery slope we’re on maybe even reverse the damage.

So what can be done? The answer, my friends, is to take action at every level. Let’s not just sit back and wait for the major corporations to do something, let’s try and do something now.

There’s always that old adage of the smallest things count, but they really do. If we all switched off electrical items at the wall rather than leave them or on standby we’d save so much energy. Turn down the heating, turn off lights, walk or cycle instead of drive, take the stairs instead of the lift, turn the gas down a little. All these little things can help, but they only make a difference nationally or worldwide. What about making a difference to you and your bills?

Around Edinburgh you will see the odd wind vane sitting atop a building. They’re only a few feet in diameter, an example of two can be seen atop a petrol station as you leave Edinburgh on the M8. There they sit turning away generating electricity for the building.

The amazing thing is that Edinburgh Council are offering financial and red tape assistance in getting these personal turbines installed. Not only will planning permission be easier, but they are also offering grants to help buy and install them. That would make a noticeable impact on your bills and a welcome reduction in the demand on resources from your house.

Another is solar power. My parents had two vehicles for a while and one was sitting idle for some time due to family illness. Rather than run a battery charger to it continuously, or start the car up now and again, he installed a small solar panel on the dashboard and plugged it into the charging socket. This small and cheap panel kept the battery topped up without the need for starting it up all the time, taking it for runs, or charging from the mains.

So you see practical home installations of wind and solar power aren’t that hard and are encouraged by the very powers that are actively trying to kill large wind farms.

There’s still the question of actually buying and installing them though, and then there’s bound to be an equal group of people who hate the appearance of wind vanes and sparkling roofs on their skyline.

Yet is a wind vane and a roof of solar panels on every building in a city or town really more acceptable as wind farms in the middle of the countryside?

I actually think that wind farms are extremely attractively engineered and give a strange feeling of peace and relaxation, they are not the eyesore that others claim.

We need to accept our fate and push others to accept responsibility. Indeed force people to take positive action and perhaps then we might slow down the adverse effects we are having on this world.

People need to stand up and take responsibility rather than hiding and perpetuating the popular notion that nothing is wrong. It certainly doesn’t help when our Councils back down from taking a positive step towards cleaner power.

3 comments on “Wind Farms”

  1. pablo Reply

    Wind farms look very nice. and to be honest, thats about all they do until we can work out a better way to harness the power.

    At the moment the only way to produce power where we want it and at levels to meet current demands is to build more nuclear power stations.

    cause lets face it, nobody is going to slow down using all their gadgets(how many people have two phones, two tvs, two computers, two etc….) i know i am one of the worst…. so why do i need two? i can use the easy card and say society says so and thats why. but the truth is i WANT my gadgets and easy lifestyle and if most people were honest thats what it boils down to.

    problem comes when more and more people around the world want the same stuff and surprise surprise the planet cannot handle it.

    In the next month or so i am changing my lifestyle in one go. different country, different job etc etc. its giving me a clean sheet to start again and do my bit for the planet. fingers crossed i don’t get sucked back into the same as before.

  2. Richard Reply

    Pablo, we had this dicussion last night and we did agree that wind farms do provide electricity in a good, clean and safe manner.

    Martin brought up an excellent point about the amount of time it takes to have a viable, operational nuclear plant up and running, which was many many years. It was also interesting to think how long these stations and their pollutants take to fully close and complete.

    You’re right, no one is going to slow down, unless the Goverment tell them this is how it’s going to be. Sitting there, as the Executive have done today, and telling us the top ten things we should be doing to save energy while they axe seven wind farm installations and our Prime Minister tells us Nuclear Power Stations are the only way to go, will not work.

    They need to make laws and enforce them. Make all new houses have solar panels on their roofs, make all new houses have personal turbines, make everyone aware (certainly in Scotland) that they can have financial aid to purchase and install these, and allow them all.

    I don’t give a hoot if I can’t see the top of the hill across the city anymore if it means that I can still find it filled with woodland and animals in the future, or that the beach is still accessible without the water level haven risen up to hide it.

    We need positive action from the Goverment in the form of definite decisions of law, not humming and hawing and then saying lets go back to the single most pollutant method of creating energy.

    Give me wind and solar power for now rather than reprocessing plants, nuclear waste dumps, new coal mines, more fossil fuel burning, etc. The more investment and consumer drive towards the newer forms of energy, the more likely the companies are to follow by investing in them and developing new types and more effective methods.

  3. pablo Reply

    ok, after an upfront conversation and a few words of wisdom from martin and rich. i agree that whatever the solution is(wind, solar, nuclear etc) it will take time to setup and time to decommision.

    Based on that nuclear is the EASIER solution to say out loud and more importantly for a politician to point in his speeches. BUT its the wrong answer.

    I’d prefer to see(and fingers crossed we do), lots of smaller more localised solutions. Yes MORE EXPENSIVE solutions. solar panels here, wind farms there.

    there are so many issues to overcome to achieve this, and it will require everybody to buy into it. Lets hope the government and local councils can communicate with other.

    Maybe a bit of hot sauce on some chicken wings would be enough to power my flat for a little while. 🙂

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