Wind Farms Gone Wildby Jonathan DuHamel on Jun. 24, 2013, under Energy, Politics
The Scottish Wild Land Group, a private, non-profit group established to protect and conserve wild land in Scotland, has published several papers about wind farms in their magazine Wild Land News. This environmental group does not like wind farms. (Download the entire issue of their Wild Land News here.) I have traveled through much of Scotland before the advent of the wind farm craze.
The Wild Land Group introduces this special issue on wind power with an editorial which includes this statement:
“This is not a narrow plea for wind farms to be located in areas that we consider ‘less wild,’ however. Almost every aspect of wind energy developments across the UK is the subject of fierce controversy. In considering the justifications for the use of wind power, as the contributors to this magazine do, we have found few that seem genuine and none that is agreed upon. This is not a sound basis on which to pursue policies that affect people’s homes and lives, national and international responses to climate change, billions of pounds of public money, rocketing levels of fuel poverty, and the survival of rare species and environments.”
The issue of wind energy is discussed in 13 articles within the magazine. Here are some highlights (British spelling retained):
“… it has been apparent for some time that the costs of wind-power, on which the UK’s policies are dependent, are so high that the technology fails to offer the developing world a viable alternative to coal, and because of this our overall climate change policies lack credibility. Rethinking this position requires governments to admit that little or nothing has been achieved in the last two decades, in spite of vast subsidy expenditure.” – John Constable.
“I’ve recently noticed an interesting phenomenon in the world of environmental communications… If you are associated with the ‘green’ or environmental movement in any way, it automatically seems to follow that you must be a supporter of all forms of renewable energy, including mega-windfarms, because the alternatives (fossil fuels, nuclear power) are unspeakably pernicious. And if you don’t think that wind farms are a good idea, then you can’t be a ‘proper’ environmentalist…wind energy is renewable…but the often-fragile ecosystems associated with the hills and moors colonised by wind farms are not.” – Sharon Blackie.
Clive Hambler discusses the impact of turbines on wild life, especially birds. “Scotland has the best wild terrestrial habitats in the British Isles, and many of the most important ones for global conservation…these sites are threatened by renewable energy schemes!… of course some things kill more birds than turbines – so what, why kill more?”
“The aesthetic objection to wind farms is not about the appearance of wind turbines themselves, as
artifacts, but about the damage they do to priceless landscapes – such as those of Scotland.” – Christine Lovelock
Iain A MacLeod discusses the “wind power question:” ‘What proportion of wind power in the electricity system is appropriate?’ “As someone to whom the quality of the Scottish landscape is deeply important, I find any wind generator to be visually intrusive. However, if their efficacy were demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt, I would…accept the need for them. But available information that seeks to justify government policy for wind energy does not persuade me that a ‘beyond reasonable doubt’condition has been achieved.”
Frank Hay discusses a specific project, the Shetland Viking wind farm. “Beyond numbers and statistics, there are very real concerns about the impact the project may have on the health, mental well-being and daily lives of those who live near – or even in - the windfarm site. Although the community was assured by Viking Energy that a Health Impact Assessment would be carried out, this was abandoned, and is only now being considered, not by the developer itself, but by Shetland
Jack Ponton: “In summary, the EU, UK and, especially Scottish government renewables policies are a pointless fraud which will neither alleviate climate change nor provide energy security. I have not gone in to how much they are costing consumers, but they are at best an economic nonsense and for
Scotland a potential economic disaster. Nor have I talked about how they poison communities, pitting landowners who expect to collect large sums in rent against other residents whose once quiet surroundings are devastated by turbine noise and who see the value of their homes diminished or even destroyed. A final comment. The public have been led to believe that so-called “renewable” energy is user friendly and consumes no resources. Anyone who has been forced to live near a turbine will confirm that the first is a straightforward lie. The second is also untrue; wind turbines consume two irreplaceable resources – land and peoples’ lives.”
There are several other articles in this issue.
I find this magazine both amazing and heartening, because it shows that at least one environmental group bases policy on facts and concern for people.
(H/t to John Droz, jr. for making me aware of this publication.) I took the photo below in the Argyle Forest.