1 EAGLETON NOTES: Wind Farms

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Saturday, 12 January 2019

Wind Farms

Wind farms have been a very controversial subject on the Isle of Lewis for many years. I first posted about them 10 years ago here. I won't try and make a case here for or against them but will simply say that I am qualifiedly in favour of them in principle. There have been and still are many proposals for wind farms on Lewis but real progress has been hampered by the lack of the multi-billion pound interconnector which would be needed to transfer the power generated to where it was needed on the Scottish and English mainland.
 
I will, however, tell you a short account of something that happened to me a few years ago. I was sitting in a hotel on one of my journeys in England or Scotland. A small but noisy gathering sitting adjacent to me were discussing windfarms. I was taking no notice until someone very loudly pronounced that "You would never see windfarms in New Zealand. They are too concerned with their environment and their tourism. They would never stand for them." I was about to ignore that when he started up again and I politely said that as they were speaking so loudly and it was impossible for me not to be in their debate I'd like to make a small contribution. They were quite amenable. I pointed out that I lived part time in New Zealand and that, in fact, New Zealand had the largest windfarms in the Southern Hemisphere and that they were an integral part of their 80+% reliance on thermal, water and wind energy for their electricity. I was invited to join their debate but having made my point I politely declined.
 
Part of the Te Apity wind farm with The Handbag in the foreground. I do miss the decade running around New Zealand with the lid off.

These are two of the windfarms in New Zealand in the Manawatu at Te Apiti and Tararua Ranges having 55 and 134 turbines respectively.

Wind farms and turbines generate a wide range of opinions from outright opposition to widespread acceptance. Opposition is due to noise, aesthetics and ecological factors. However New Zealand has one of the lowest carbon footprints from electricity generation in the world. These two windfarms are very prominent and claim to be a significant tourist attraction. Certainly I've seen lots of people stopping in the carparks to look and take pictures.

28 comments:

  1. Interesting. While i like the wind energy, the noise the windmills make is a concern Here in Vermont, some folks are very uncomfortable living near the noise, and the loss of property value.

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    1. They are quite noisy, Maywyn. I wouldn't like to live near one. It's one of the reasons that very remote places are a preferred choice. However that brings out those who think it ruins the view.

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    2. I find that the major issue Graham. Here in Tolsta the proposed/ agreed windform is really close to the village and well within the advised distance they should be from housing. And these are huge, really huge windmills. Too many pound signs for some I think

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    3. O, I think that in those circumstances there is every justification for refusing planning permission.

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  2. I'm with you. we need more wind farms and less coal mines. They are even better to look at than coal mines.

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    1. They are better in almost every way than coalmines, Diane, except providing employment.

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  3. Interesting that we are now on the second or third generation of wind chargers and they become more efficient every time.

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  4. There are definitely wind farms here in NZ, we travelled through to Raglan year before last and there was one on the hills as we came in.

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    1. Yes, Amy, they've started appearing everywhere.

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  5. As a painter, given the subject matter of your final photo, would I include the turbines or not? I think not.

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    1. Cro, that's the advantage of being an artist. As structures in themselves (ignoring all other factors) I think they are very beautiful.

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  6. I dislike the damn things. Not anything I can do about it so I'll just say that anything that requires such massive subsidy must be far from optimum.

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    1. PS. Check HERE for current generation statistics.

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    2. I think, Adrian, that like anything these days its environmental considerations that are driving things and without government subsidy relatively few environmental projects get off the ground. Your link was very interesting indeed. As you (but probably few of my readers) will know is that Scotland was 100% self-sufficient in renewable (wind and hydro) power for one whole day last year. It's a start for the environment.

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  7. There are several wind farms near OK's and there is one I can see from the office. I like their looks and knowing that the energy they produce is clean and renewable, not produced with fossiles such as oil or coal. We sometimes walk up to them (as shown on my blog a few times), and I must say I much prefer the sound they make to the traffic noise in town.

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    1. That's a really good point, Meike. Living with the sound of the wind and the waves and never hearing traffic where I live, I'd just never have thought of that.

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  8. It must be very hard to find out the best way. Political decisions are often to choice a better way.That is to choice a solution having less damages. It's really very hard. But this is our world.

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    1. You are correct, Roughterrain, if we are to minimise damage tough decisions must be taken. However they should also be fair.

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  9. I don't like the look of wind farms. They are a blot on the landscape or indeed on the seascape... but we all need clean electricity so I guess we must tolerate them.

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    1. YP it's all in the eye of the beholder. I think some windfarms are incredibly interesting and quite attractive. The turbines themselves I find exceptionally pleasing structures aesthetically.

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  10. I suspect the objections to wind farms have much in common with the early 19th century objections to railways. They really don't look natural, they aren't particularly pretty and they are obtrusive, too modern and too technical looking. My guess is that in 100 years time there will be specialist wind farm tours for those who yearn for their youth amidst the wind farms. I love them myself, though admit they seem a bit silent and creepy too!

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  11. We have several turbines neat to where we live, Farmers or a business using the energy for their own consumption there is also a 12 turbine site which is a bit of a blot on the landscape but if they produce some power to top up the national grid then I think we have to be happy with the look of them.

    Beverley

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    1. Beverley, there are quite a few individual businesses or communities generating their own power but to make a significant contribution to the country's requirements large investments are needed and, to some extent, we need to put up with them even if they are not liked.

      I assume that you have solved the signing in problem - it's good to see you here 'in person'.

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  12. Hi Graham, hope you're well. I have not exactly solved the sign in problem but I have found out that on the laptop the comments box at the bottom of your replies comes up with my name and in brackets after it (Google) but on the I pad the same box just says Google but won't let me change it to my name followed by Google???? I must have what they call an account on the lap top which isn't transferred on to the I pad. Thats a mystery. I don't remember making myself an account at anytime. I have the same issue on a few other blogs that I read so have to use the anonymous drop down in the comments box and go through the tick all the boxes with traffic lights etc. At least I can reply now but just on the laptop.

    All the best
    Beverley

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    1. Beverley,I too had that problem on my iPad when using Safari on my iPhone or iPad but I solved it by using Chrome or Firefox and signing in to either with my gmail account. It then automatically used that account to sign in to all Blogger blogs (but not Wordpress ones).

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  13. Trying to post from gmail account.

    By heck, I think that’s cracked it from the I pad, thanks for the help.

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