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On Industrializing an Irish Landscape to Meet UK Energy Needs

Have a look at this article about a recent Australian study on "windfarm sickness" - this is a well recognised phenomenon

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/mar/15/windfarm-sickness-spread-word-australia

I'm not going to comment on specific cases without knowing the full facts - the family in Vermont could have a valid argument. But let's not forget that wind farm developers have to undertake noise pollution studies as part of their EIA report.

 

September 18, 2013    View Comment    

On Industrializing an Irish Landscape to Meet UK Energy Needs

Actually not - I have a direct view of a vertical axis wind turbine down the side of a 12-storey building from my bedroom window....and I'm pretty happy with the view

September 17, 2013    View Comment    

On Industrializing an Irish Landscape to Meet UK Energy Needs

You raise a good point regarding those who view turbines every day versus those who view only occasionally.

I should qualify my statement on the "objections of local people". I believe that local communities need to be engaged and that their objections should be listened to. However, I don't believe that the answer is to avoid addressing these objections by placing wind turbines in ever more remote areas. We should confront community concerns head on to ensure that there are direct benefits for those who live close to turbines.

I'd like to add that my article is also concerned with the wider issue of manmade structures of any sort in the few remaining natural landscapes surviving in Ireland - roads, houses, pylons etc. - especially when undertaken on a large-scale.

September 17, 2013    View Comment    

On Industrializing an Irish Landscape to Meet UK Energy Needs

Willem,

Yes, noise can be a concern but I disagree with your comment on the need to site turbines 2-3km away from human habitation. I've spent a lot of time up close to turbines under various weather conditions and this is certainly not my experience. I would also like to add that there are all kinds of manmade sounds that already exist in rural areas - road traffic, jets passing overhead etc. that are louder than rotating turbines at shorter distances than you mention. This is another argument that's often used to force wind farms into ever more remote areas. I haven't heard of the impact on cattle that you mention but I've photographed groups of horses at several sites in fields right next to turbines - an even more flighty and sound-sensitive creature.

I agree with your statement on habitat - my article addresses landscape issues only as I believe it to be an under-represented concern.

I'd like to see peer-reviewed evidence that proves property prices are affected by nearby wind farms. Home-owners do have a legitimate right to be concerned. However, I would say that those most strongly opposed to wind farms inadvertently talk down the price of property in their area in the process of justifying their true objections (which are often visual impact). Public sentiment plays an important part in dictating prices...

Personally, I would like to see more community owned wind farms similar to what exists in Germany. The wider community (not just the landowner) owns or partly owns the turbines and they get a direct benefit as a result. We need to bring people and wind farms closer together, not push them further apart.

September 17, 2013    View Comment    

On Industrializing an Irish Landscape to Meet UK Energy Needs

I have to disagree with you Steve. I've spent quite a bit of time getting up close to wind turbines with my camera and they can be beautiful...All in the eye of the beholder as they say...

September 16, 2013    View Comment    

On Industrializing an Irish Landscape to Meet UK Energy Needs

Haha - you're entitled to your view. I prefer to see it as the exact opposite of NIMBY. We're talking about remote undeveloped landscape that effectively isn't in anyone's backyard and as a consequence nobody seems to be speaking up to represent the concerns of the landscape...

September 16, 2013    View Comment    

On Industrializing an Irish Landscape to Meet UK Energy Needs

Let me start of by saying that I accept the need to locate wind turbines in the countryside. I also agree that people's perceptions of manmade structures in the landscape can change with time. Traditional windmills existed two or three hundred years ago in the UK and other parts of the world. Many are now protected structures and attract tourists from far and wide. My 'Tilting at windmills' photo project explores the visual impact of wind turbines on landscape in the UK and I've included traditional windmills in an exhibition of my work to get people to think about the possibility that modern turbines might also be viewed differently in the future. But there are limits...

I think that it is highly unlikely that the large-scale wind farms proposed for Ireland will ever be seen as aesthetically pleasing in the future. If we are to deploy wind power on an industrial scale, then we should choose to avoid sensitive and undeveloped landscapes wherever possible. This is particularly relevant to a small country such as Ireland that no longer has significant tracts of wild and untouched landscape remaining. Perhaps in the US, it would be much less of an issue due to the wide open empty spaces that exist. If we choose to industrialize a landscape, then it should be in parts of the countryside that have already been developed (cutaway bog, for instance) and that already have a rural population. The debate on siting wind farms is too focussed on avoiding the objections of local people with the result that wind farms are pushed into the most remote, undeveloped and sensitive landscapes.

 

 

September 16, 2013    View Comment    

On Respected GOP Leaders Support Obama's Climate Action Plan

Reframing climate change as a public health issue does indeed sound like a sensible approach to engage voters of all political persuasions to take action to protect the most fundamental of human rights - access to clean air and water. The challenge lies in converting what is very much a local issue into the consolidated joined-up action at a global level which climate change demands. Of course, you could argue that if everyone acts locally, then the net effect is global in nature. But it's never quite as simple as that...

August 8, 2013    View Comment    

On Respected GOP Leaders Support Obama's Climate Action Plan

Why do you think that these four republicans have found common ground with Obama? And how can we amplify their message?

August 7, 2013    View Comment    

On Obama and the New Climate Change Paradigm

Sorry I totally don't get the relevance of your remarks. And it's not just cause I'm an uneducated European...

June 28, 2013    View Comment    

On Obama and the New Climate Change Paradigm

A well-balanced article overall. I totally get the pragmatic approach but you should not flatter US citizens with talk of the most rapid fall in domestic emissions worldwide. I guess you get the import-export argument? Hmm I guess I'm a bit uneasy about passing the baton from coal to gas and expect it to fall in the lap of renewables. And there is a clock ticking after all. All means at our disposal - I get this. But lets be realistic about locking ourselves into a moderately better carbon-friendly fuel source now versus a truly carbon neutral source in 10 years time. 

June 28, 2013    View Comment    

On Wind Farm Energy Innovation in the UK

If we invested in building the long-awaited smart grid where supply and demand can be evened out, then intermittancy would be largely irrelevant. It's very unlikely that we are anywhere near building so much capacity from wind power that the current grid cannot cope. But we do need to update the grid, no question about it. One other point, the new generation of combined cycle gas turbines are far more responsive and have the ability to ramp up quickly when wind is not blowing. So we will need gas as back-up but not nearly as much as some might think. 

June 20, 2013    View Comment