Somerset Green Party

Wind turbines are ugly? So are motorways, airports, power stations...

17 June 2013

The Western Daily Press today regurgitates the The Sunday Telegraph's article on wind turbines, seemingly without any additional thought: 'Wind turbine owners received £1.2 billion in consumer subsidies last year. There are around 12,000 jobs in the industry so the subsidy – paid by a supplement on electricity bills – equates to £100,000 per job. The figures are seen by some as yet another blow to the beleaguered wind industry, which already faces increasingly fierce opposition from residents in rural areas who say towering turbines will ruin the landscape and damage tourism.' [1]

I think there is a lot of nonsense being spoken here. I wrote to the government in 1989 after seeing wind turbines operational all over Denmark. Their response was 'not proven technology' and because of this view renewables didn't take off here for a long time. China and the USA now have them and they are common right across Holland, Germany and Spain and are spreading across France.

I have hugged one in France and been given a tour of the lower level by the maintainer, who was Dutch. I learn two things from all this, firstly that nearly everyone thinks they are worthwhile and secondly if you are late into the game you don't get the perks. The jobs and business go to those with experience in the field, so we are already missing out on the benefits of going renewable.

The talk of subsidies for renewables should be seen in light of the Chancellor's recent financial encouragement for North Sea oil and for fracking which can apparently give us 40 more years of fossil-fuelled existence and the as yet undetermined support for nuclear, the next generation of which can also supply us with 40 years of energy, so we will be ok for the next 40 years but what happens then? Fracked silly and covered with nuclear waste, do we wait till then to turn to renewables?

And then there is Climate Change. Fossil fuels and Fracking are a bit of a problem there and in terms of a room full of elephants this problem is the bull in the china shop!

But 'oh wind turbines are so ugly and so noisy' doesn't rate with me; so are motorways, airports, power stations, sky scrapers, multi-story car parks, modern churches, you name it...

And the politicians who are leading us by the nose into a new nuclear and fossil fuel age are leading us by the nose into military confrontation in the Middle East too. Watch them carefully. It really does matter what we bequeath to our children and to our grand children. Their life will be harder than ours, a lot harder.

Peter Lansdown
Secretary - South Somerset Green Party


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