Wind Farms - Love em or hate em?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by JessopSmythe, Jan 7, 2007.


Windfarms - Love em or Hate em?

  1. My house is run by a small turbine in my garden!

    0 vote(s)
  2. All our energy should come from them

  3. They're a vital part of an environmentally friendly energy plan

  4. Yes we should have them, but I don't want to see them near me

    0 vote(s)
  5. There's no benefit, lets stick with what we've got

  6. Don't Care

  1. JessopSmythe

    JessopSmythe Active Member

    Out walking this afternoon in an area chosen via one of my other favourite websites - - I walked pretty much through the middle of a 20 turbine wind farm. I know that these are a bit controversial at the best of times so I thought it would be an interesting debate. I've heard a lot of the arguments for and against (most of the against seem to me to be NIMBY, rather than any real scientific objection) but I reckon that they're definitely a decent part of the way forward. It would be stupid to believe that all our energy requirements could come this way but every fraction of our power that we get from sources like this means a little bit less reliance on non renewable sources.
  2. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    I love them - more the merrier as far as I am concerned. I think they are so graceful, and I love the fact that they are totally environmentally friendly. We have a 95 metre high one just down the road from where I live, and it is a real landmark :clap:

    I would however like to see more in town environments, rather than stuck on a mountainside causing controversy though. If you drive along an autobahn in Germany, virtually every town you pass has turbines on industrial estates and in areas that are generally pretty unattractive. I think if we had turbines on every industrial estate in this country it would not only mean that the industrial estate would be made more attractive, it would also go some considerable way for each town to be self-sufficient.
  3. super_sop

    super_sop Supporting Member

    yep no probs here.

    Our local school has one. it's only a small one, but provides the school with 18% of it's electric
  4. Bass Man

    Bass Man Active Member

    Wind farms really dont bother me at all. I don't think they are an eyesore or find find them particularly attractive either. The main point is that they are an environmentally friendly source of electricity and I think that is what people should think about before going on about them, because it will be the same people who complain about the toxic emissions from coal or oil powered electricity stations.
  5. JessopSmythe

    JessopSmythe Active Member

    It was fairly windy up there today. All 20 were facing the wind and operating well. I couldn't get over how alive they felt. Almost as if they were actually part of the hillside.
  6. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    There's a big wind farm off the coast of Prestatyn - you've maybe seen it through the haze of alcohol at Pontins. I quite like it! I've heard some of the arguments against them, and they don't seem to me to hold up. My only slight reservation is that there seems to be a big focus on wind power at the expense of tidal, which is more reliable. But on the whole, I'm in favour :clap:
  7. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    I don't really see the problem with them - at least not now the technology makes them more efficient. In the mid 90's I made a visit to the Dutch Delta Expo (the big North Sea dam that effectively keeps the reclaimed land from becoming sea bed again..) and that is peppered with them. I commented about them to my Dutch friend and he reckoned (at that time) they cost as much to run as the electricity they produced cost. I know now from reading my engineering trade journals that due to advances in the gearbox technology behind the sails that they are now quite an efficient way of producing electricity.

    I think they are quite graceful. OK they don't look "organic", or fit in with the countryside, but then neither does (for example) the Angel of the North, or the Clifton Suspension Bridge, or I guess Stonehenge for that matter. People who moan about them do seem to be suffering from a case of NIMBYism to me - I would be OK having one within sight of my house. Maybe its a resistance to change? They do look quite modern I guess, but in twenty years time they will be a part of our countryside just like the examples I have used. The one thing I'm not sure about is the noise - are they noisy? I haven't been close enough to really tell.

    Anyway, we have to do something for sustainable energy and that means sacrifices - nuclear power has waste problems, wave power is still a few years away to get it really working (so I read), and as a country with a lot more wind than sun (especially over the last few weeks!) solar doesn't seem to be the best solution for UK.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2007
  8. needmorevodka

    needmorevodka Member

    Crikey! Someone voted "Don't care" :eek:

    I love them too. I live in Rugby, right next to the BT radio masts (some of you might know them if you travel up and down the M1). These are due to be taken down soon and there is much speculation going on about what this huge greenfield area will be used for. There's talk about building a whole new community with schools, shops, hundreds of houses (Why? No jobs here:confused:) But I would really love it to be a wind farm instead. I wasn't sure when I first thought 'wind farm!' if it's a suitable site (not very high but pretty flat and exposed. I don't know what conditions these things need), but I've since found out it really is an option and may be considered :cool:

    I hope it happens. If houses win the battle I'm ready to join the protest. I'm already lobbying my husband to get us a mini one and solar panels for our house :D
  9. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    Not very - they make a slight whooshing noise, but it isn't terribly loud. A passing car makes much more noise.

    There used to be a visitor centre at Delabole Windfarm in Cornwall that was fascinating - but then I'm a bit of an alternative technology geek. Unfortunately, it closed last year due to poorer then expected visitor numbers, but AFAIK the farm is still there. There are loads of turbines in Cornwall, and I know that as soon as I see them I am nearly on holiday! :biggrin: They are even building a Tesco's in Cornwall (I can't remember where) which has 4 small turbines on the roof - enough to power all it's lights and fridges and sell some back to the National grid.

    The problem is that they are unreliable - if the wind doesn't blow they don't turn. As Andy says, tidal power is more reliable, and there are plans afoot to harness the tides in the Bristol Channel (which has the highest tidal range in the world). That too is suffering from NIMBYism. It seems bizarre to me that most of the NIMBYism is from environmental groups. A planned windfarm off Kent / Essex had to be moved to avoid red kites flying into it. I don't know how many birds are killed by wind turbines each year - I can't imagine it's many - I've never seen any statistics. I should have thought that if it was a big problem that there would be avian carnage at the bottom of each turbine, but I've never seen anything!

    If I lived in a house with a garden (rather than a flat) I would have a turbine in the back garden and a solar panel on the roof. B&Q sell them quite cheaply now! :clap:
  10. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    Just in case anybody is interested, there is a website that details all of the current windfarms in the UK and enables you to support windfarm applications that are needing support. London and Southern Counties has a grand total of two windfarms, each with 1 turbine. One of them is the one down the road from me, and the other is just off J20 of the M25 - some of you may have seen it. I think they also have a bank of solar panels there too. :clap:

    However, two turbines in an area of maybe 10 million people is not good...
  11. Di

    Di Active Member

    Who wouldn't want Tellytubby land in their back garden! :rolleyes:

    OK, sorry but that's the initial impression when you see them. :redface: I wouldn't mind seeing them round here, not sure where our nearest ones are, but we see loads when we're down in the south west.
  12. geordiecolin

    geordiecolin Active Member

    Personally I like wind turbines from an aesthetic perspective. I think that they are particularly graceful. Although in the huge numbers you find them in, on for example, the south coast of Spain they are intrusive.

    However I do have concerns that they aren't the way this country should be progressing with regards to renewable energy sources. Per unit, wind turbines are relatively inefficient and need to be constructed in large numbers to really be viable. I think on a small scale, for powering individual properties or installation (e.g Nissan factory in Sunderland) they're great but are not the way forward as far as large scale electricity generation is concerned.

    As to the objectors, its NIMBYism at its worst and to a degree, BANANAism (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything). However, such are the joys of democracy and unfortunately a large part of our society will still put the view out of their bedroom window over our impending climate crisis. But that attitude doesn't just apply to wind farms... Its the people who ring up to shout at me about mobile phone masts from their mobile phones which make me laugh!!

    With regards to what Dave said about bird strikes, I once went to a seminar about renewables at NAREC (National Renewable Energy Centre) and someone asked an RSPB representative what they though of turbines and the reply was "Birds are neither blind nor stupid. They can see turbines as well as we can."

    Better put my professional hat on now - If anyone is considering installing one of those home wind generators you can get at B&Q etc... check with your local council first regarding planning permission. The changes in legislation recently published in the media have NOT yet taken place and it is well known that at least one promotional leaflet from a certain DIY store states that wind turbines in your back garden do not need planning permission. That is inaccurate. Such a turbine may well need permission - check with your council first.

    For advice see here
  13. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - apparently the price of the B&Q turbine includes this ...,,1883732,00.html
  14. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    I like the look of them but they can decimate bird life.
    Look at this link for a disturbing report

    Regarding these DIY windmills. I read a sales leaflet and the estimates where that they would pay for themselves in 7 years but had a projected life of 10.
    Being a promo leafllet that would be a best estimate so I doubt in the end they are worth buying at all except to salve your concience.
  15. Bungle

    Bungle Member

    I too think thay are graceful. One thing that has not been mentioned on the downside is that if you live close to large one and the sun shines through them onto your house, you do get a light strobing effect in your house, which is not desirable. Also I think the working life is only about ten years, so the cost of replacement needs to be taken into consideration. I remember seeing a wind turbine at the Ford dagenham plant which I though was quite impressive.
  16. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    New style Nuclear Power Stations get my vote. I'd rather have a nuclear power station down the road than a wind farm, (come to think of it, I do). The cost of the turbines, the life of them and that they don't work well in very strong winds, puts me off. I'm all for tidal and solar power though.
  17. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    I think they should be sited (if the wind is adequate) in Industrial zones.. there are 2 in the Ford complex just of the A13 in East London. New houses should be made with solar panels in roof and small wind turbines. These could be used to charge batteries for energy efficient lighting etc. if every household generated a small percentage of their power this would have a big impact.

    I used to live on the Isle of Man, which is mostly very windy :).. but I believe wind turbines were rejected as eyesores and they would damage the tourism industry. When in Gran Canaria on holiday, there were many wind farms dotted around the coast, didn't seem to affect the tourism there, although, it may have something to do with temperature, sunshine and lack of rain!! :)
  18. im a proper nimby with them!!! i like them and think the power should come from them...but i was really against them when they wanted to put them in saddleworth!!!
  19. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    I like the idea, but think there is a long way to go until they reach maximum efficiency. If you compare the progress made in PCs since (say) 1995, then apply that kind of rapid advancement to wind farm technology, THAT is when I think their worth will be truly appreciated.
  20. needmorevodka

    needmorevodka Member

    Very good point, I agree with that. I like them a lot already myself but I can also understand the arguments against. However, if we all dismissed things out of hand because they still had a long way to go we wouldn't have the technology we now do. I'd be happy to support wind farms now and therefore also support ongoing development.

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