Prince Charles and the power of wind

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Shirley
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Prince Charles and the power of wind

Post: #8041 Shirley
Wed Dec 28, 2005 11:21 pm

someone on my iVillage board brought this to my attention... any thoughts here??


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0, ... 98,00.html

Charles: I’ll use influence to halt turbines
Camillo Fracassini



THE Prince of Wales has pledged to use his “influenceâ€Â
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Post: #8082 ina
Thu Dec 29, 2005 6:22 pm

I always thought Charlie was a bit contradictory... I fully support his attitude towards organic farming, but sometimes I wonder whether he's not a bit selfish in his views! Renewable energy, yes please, but not in my backyard. And as we all know, he's got rather a large backyard.

Trees (and other plants) as alternative energy source are ok and necessary, but the supply is not quite as limitless as wind. (As we who live in Scotland all know.) And if people only went away from these huge wind farms to smaller units, supplying a small area, they wouldn't be regarded as hideous, but might even be a ground for pride in the local energy supply (with the local WI planting the area below them as a public park :wink: .) The losses through transport would also be less.

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Post: #8171 wulf
Sat Dec 31, 2005 9:44 am

There's one section of Devon we pass through on the visit to my parents where I get the impression that a wind farm is planned and local residents are against it - there are certainly a number of home-made posters up with pictures of the turbines and "save our valley" messages. Once down there, we went for a walk and saw an established wind farm in the distance. I have to say that, of the various manmade impositions on the landscape, it was far from the worst blot visible.

I certainly haven't got any sympathy for anyone who lives in a house in a pretty part of the countryside, disrupting the natural environment by their presence, and then cries foul when wind turbines are put up. That goes for royalty as much as anyone!

There was a place I visited in Cornwall a couple of years ago called the Gaia Energy Centre, where you could learn about alternative energy sources and walk round the base of a working turbine and I've come away from that very positive about the technology. I don't know if it's still open (the website seems to have closed down) but I hope wind farms continue to be developed.

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Post: #8199 ina
Sat Dec 31, 2005 5:20 pm

There's been quite a bit of research showing that those who already live near windfarms are the ones least opposed to it - they've realised that the noise and visual effects aren't half as bad as is often made out. I once lived about 1.5 miles from a substation - no wind turbine, just an ordinary substation - and I could constantly hear it. Worse if the wind was from that direction. There were quite a few houses nearer to it than the place where I lived - but I don't think any of them complained; after all, everybody was using the electricity. Pylons seem to be widely accepted, too. It's just this alien concept of a turbine that gets people's backs up!

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Post: #8202 Magpie
Sat Dec 31, 2005 6:55 pm

Same sort of thing happening here in NZ... I really like the look of them, like a huge moving sculpture. And those opposed to them will still want the electricity, I'm sure they wouldn't compromise by agreeing to use less.

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Post: #8259 Andy Hamilton
Sun Jan 01, 2006 8:22 pm

Magpie wrote:I'm sure they wouldn't compromise by agreeing to use less.


Very good point. Did you know that if everyone in the UK turned there TV off instead of leaving it on standby then enough energy would be saved to shut down a power station?
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Post: #8268 Muddypause
Sun Jan 01, 2006 9:55 pm

Have to say, I think wind farms are terrible things. A single wind turbine is a thing of wonder (we've just acquired our own 'landmark' turbine in the town where I live - huge thing, featured on BBC 2's Newsnight a few weeks ago), two of them a novelty, but an array of a score or more is hideous. If Scotland is really planning to get 40% of its energy from these things, then you will not be able to go anywhere in that magnificent landscape that hasn't got these whirling monstrosities. There will be no retreat from mankind's attempt to consume the world; you will never again be able to climb a hill without seeing, by the dozen, the whirling evidence of our greed. By their very nature, they will be positioned in places where they are easily visible for miles around. The demand for energy is largely down to the cities, and yet we are paying for it with our countryside.

I'm not against the idea of renewable energy, or even energy independence, but the sudden proliferation of wind farms makes me think that there must be a lot of money to be made out of them. None of them are publicly owned (though I think there may be public money spent on them).

It's also worth considering that, contrary to some perceptions, the world is not imminently about to run out of gas. If we suffer any of the predicted gas-cuts this winter, that is down to politics, not the end of world resources.

What we in the UK are about to face, however, is much more expensive gas. This is because our own gas stocks are running out, and we will have to import it. I would suggest that it is this factor, more than any environmental considerations, that is creating the rush to invest in windfarms. As world gas prices rise, there will be a lot of money to be made out of them. This has, today, been underlined by the way that Russia has just cut off gas supplies to the former Soviet Bloc state of Ukraine - the Ukraine are baulking at gas prices that have risen fourfold. Russia has a European market at its feet, and is increasingly in a position to dictate prices.

Personally, I think it would be a good idea if we did have to pay more for energy - much more. That might make us think more about what we are doing, and focus a few minds. But windfarms may also enable us to have some sort of influence on the world market cost of energy. If exporters like Russia can be persuaded to take seriously that we may not need their gas, they will think twice before raising the price. This, in turn, will enable us to go on comsuming the world to death, but at least we'll be able to do it cheaply.
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Post: #8300 wulf
Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:51 am

Muddypause wrote:Have to say, I think wind farms are terrible things. A single wind turbine is a thing of wonder (we've just acquired our own 'landmark' turbine in the town where I live - huge thing, featured on BBC 2's Newsnight a few weeks ago), two of them a novelty, but an array of a score or more is hideous....

I guess it depends on your definition of 'farm' - I was thinking of a cluster of three or four rather than a field of twenty or more!

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Post: #8307 Muddypause
Mon Jan 02, 2006 3:04 pm

I think three or four turbines is really pretty small. Not really a 'farm' as I am given to understand it (perhaps a smallholding?). For example, a quick bit of googling turns up a pair of wind farms near each other in Powys that have between them 159 turbines and cover and area of several thousand acres. I can't see that as an enhancement to the environment any more that a similar coverage of heavy industry would be.

I am quite surprised to find myself as a relatively lone voice on this side of the fence. Normally I'm pretty much in favour of 'green' initiatives, and would throw my hat in with Friends of the Earth , et al, on many issues. But I see 'green' as being things on a human scale, and wind farms are industrial sized things, with industrial sized impacts.

But I will restate that I'm not against environmentaly friendly energy generation (if that's not a contradiction). I would have thought there was huge scope for householders to be encouraged to install 'personal generators' - a bicycle wheel sized turbine on their chimneys would be no worse than a satalite TV dish and probably a similar price. It could be patched in to their domestic electricity circuit, and would save them money. These things are made already, and installation grants would help get their use established. But, of course, the energy companies wouldn't like it, and theirs is a pretty loud voice in these matters.
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Post: #8317 Andy Hamilton
Mon Jan 02, 2006 5:59 pm

Muddypause wrote:I would have thought there was huge scope for householders to be encouraged to install 'personal generators' - a bicycle wheel sized turbine on their chimneys would be no worse than a satalite TV dish and probably a similar price. It could be patched in to their domestic electricity circuit, and would save them money. These things are made already, and installation grants would help get their use established.


Will have to look into that. I will also have a look at my contract for my house, not sure if the landlady would be happy if I start installing a turbine. I also like the idea that communities will get together and buy a turbine for a few houses. I think that wind power could be a very viable alternative if it was kept to small scale.
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Post: #8323 Magpie
Mon Jan 02, 2006 8:29 pm

Yes, I guess I had a vision of just a few at one place...

I think the problem with individual turbines is the effect turbulance has on them - you have to be in an area with enough wind to start with, but it has to also be "straight" wind - no turbulance allowed, which I would imagine would be difficult to find in most areas. Solar cells would maybe be useful in more situations than turbines? We plan on a combination when we build, hopefully the best of all worlds, with a bit of hydro thrown in too. :cheers:

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Post: #8325 Chickenlady
Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:27 pm

I think wind farms have their place, but do need to be sensitively placed. A few years ago we drove through central Spain - huge empty areas of plains and mountains - and were awestruck by how majestic and beautiful the wind farms we saw were.

But we don't have many vast empty areas in the UK (certainly not in England), and I wouldn't like those we have to be filled with any kind of manmade structure. There was lots of talk about siting them out at sea, wasn't there? Although I think there may be negative environmental impact in terms of bird and marine life (not sure).

I like the idea of everybody generating a little of their own power at home, by means of a small turbine, solar panels, etc. I think this kind of thing (plus energy saving features) should be compulsory in every new building.
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