Wind Farms: Recent Arguments in Wales and Elsewhere

A local lad writing 'People Power' on a turbine tower

A local lad writing 'People Power' on a turbine tower

There is much more organised opposition to rural wind farms since the early days. It seems to be more or less accepted that if you have a home in the countryside with nice views you automatically line up to oppose wind farms and -- even more -- pylons. This became obvious in several publIc meetings in which I took part. The following pieces are attempts to find where the polarisation begins and try to start a constructive dialogue. Readers will be able to see me 'deconstructing' letters from anti-wind campaigners and inviting them to dissect my own analysis.

Unfortunately this is as far as it goes, because my correspondents, having agreed that we could have a public dialogue, failed to continue after the 'second round' . My impression is that this is often the case in the 'climate debates' because the two sides are not equally open to data and argument, one side having an elaborately disguised vested interest to defend, most commonly property prices. Note that if wind farms in the landscape are thought to damage it, this perception feeds back into the realisable value of a property. They are in this sense, 'fundamentalists', which might be said of me too. But in that case, let someone show me where I have really gone wrong.  I would be delighted, honest!

The only serious argument that has dented my view that onshore wind-farms should be pursued pretty well everywhere, is the rise of offshore arrays, of which the collective potential is much larger. Although offshore wind is more difficult and expensive, it is not in anyone's face and does not drastically affect property prices.  The argument goes something like this: why invite a protracted political battle for parts of what will in the end by only (say) 20% of the wind capacity, when you can relatively easily slip in another smaller array offshore?  I find that quite attractive, but I can hear my great-great-great grand-daughter (q.v) saying 'don't listen grandpa! It's got to be belt and braces'. 

Anyway my account of the debate as far as it got can be found here:

A public debate by correspondence (2012) [.doc]

Further writings on wind power can be found here.