Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The answer, my friend, is... ?? (Part 4)

OK, I guess I'd better wind up the argument and let this storm blow itself out.

The past few weeks have been a bit of a journey for me as far as contemplating the pros and cons of the wind turbine debate. I, at least, have found it useful to glimpse beyond the blades, and ponder whereabouts on the alternative energy continuum I would place myself.
An article appeared on the BBC News website in August 2011, which featured the graphic below. 
Graphic*Can carry a higher cost as the farms are sited further out to sea and are in deeper water
The graphic above refers to energy projects started in 2009. As time passes costs are expected to drop, the government hopes that offshore wind can reach £100/MWh by 2020.
As a species, we're not great at acting together in a national interest, let alone a global one, so I am not convinced of the quick-fix necessity of nuclear power. Unless we can come up with a safer version, it is simply not worth the risk to ourselves and future generations. Gas, coal and oil are part of the problem, not part of the solution. Unfortunately, wave, tide and solar don't appear on the graph, but of all the flavours of generation by wind, onshore is the cheapest.

Admittedly, this is one person's interpretation of one graph, but if I've learnt anything from this project, it's that the local community must be seen to benefit from a wind farm situated on their doorstep. It's the 'hearts and minds' reasoning. I've little time for the blatant profiteering by landowners or the blinkered braying from energy-consuming nimbys.
To end on a less serious note, wind turbines do have their lighter moments.
Try this YouTube clip from Ecotricity.
Or this cartoon strip from the amazing xkcd.com. And don't forget the mouseover!

4 comments:

holdingmoments said...

I think the quote, 'the government hopes that offshore wind can reach £100/MWh by 2020' just about sums it up really.

When have they ever got their sums right?

(The word thing is still on lol)

Imperfect and tense said...

Keith, Oh piffle, it isn't linked to moderation then, which is what I switched off. Ok, I'll try again.

Anonymous said...

Blinkered, braying nimbys - insulting and enonerous description on all three counts! NIMBY: If local people don't protect the area they live in who else will? The proposed Haversham Wind Farm would be sited just 50 METRES from the edge of Little Linford Wood! You seem to care about this ancient woodland and its wildlife so please get involved in the fight to protect it from this industrial vandalism which will likely destroy it? BLINKERED: Those objecting to wind turbines are among the best informed on the subject; the "pro" lobby quickly resort to personal insults and attacks (hence this is an anonymous post)as the facts and figures do not support their case. Wind turbines are destroying the countryside while ordinary people pay through the nose with higher and higher electricty bills. I have no doubt in ten-twenty years what is going on now will be recognised for the massive scam it is - all in the name of multi-million pound profits for landowners and power companies who don't even have to compensate the people living nearby whose lives they destroy. BRAYING: People get involved less and less in politics these days - is it any wonder when getting active to protect your community is labelled "braying".

Imperfect and tense said...

Dear Anonymous,

This series of posts was a broad brush stroke on the topic of wind farms, without delving into any particular case in detail.

The phrase you have taken exception to featured in the following section:

"...but if I've learnt anything from this project, it's that the local community must be seen to benefit from a wind farm situated on their doorstep. It's the 'hearts and minds' reasoning. I've little time for the blatant profiteering by landowners or the blinkered braying from energy-consuming nimbys."

It was a broadly consensus-seeking paragraph in tone, so I find your outburst a little odd. To put it another way, I don't agree with the extremes of either argument, but I do agree that power generation of any type must benefit the local community where it is sited. By extension of this reasoning, if there is no direct benefit for the local community, then obviously there will not be local support.

See also:

http://aeshnacaerulea.blogspot.com/2011/03/worrying-about-hare-loss.html

Thanks for your kind offer, but I have my own battle to fight on this side of the river.