The Wind Farm Debate
According to the Energy Saving Trust, the UK has 40% of Europe's total wind energy. But it's still largely untapped and only 0.5% the UKs electricity requirements are currently generated by wind power.
Wind power is proportional to the cube of the wind's speed, so relatively minor increases in speed result in large changes in potential output. Individual turbines vary in size and power output from a few hundred watts to two or three megawatts (as a guide, a typical domestic system would be 2.5 - 6 kilowatts, depending on the location and size of the home).
Uses range from very small turbines supplying energy for battery charging systems (e.g. on boats or in homes), to turbines grouped on wind farms supplying electricity to the grid.
In Saddleworth, near Greater Manchester, an eco-war about wind turbines is waging. United Utilities want to build seven 350 foot wind turbines.
These will generate enough power to supply the average electricity needs of 8,500 homes in the local area. This wind farm is not situated out to sea but in the picturesque hills of the Saddleworth Moors and would be visible for miles around. Government targets state that 10% of the UK's energy should be supplied by renewable resources by 2010 and developments like the Saddleworth Moor turbines would contribute towards that total. Leading environmentalists from across the country have previously convened in Saddleworth for the first ever National Forum opposing the creation of wind farms on rural beauty spots.World renowned TV botanist, Professor David Bellamy, joined former Downing Street press secretary, Sir Bernard Ingham and hundreds of activists at the National Wind Farm Group Conference. There were a total of representatives from over 50 environmental groups from across the country attending this event. It aimed to raise awareness about the perceived dangers of wind farms and bring environmental groups closer together in their fight against the government.
The Saddleworth Moors Action Group says the turbines would have a negative impact on a unique landscape. The group also insist their campaign is not prompted by "not in my backyard" sentiments, but through a genuine desire to preserve the character of the local area.One could argue that the government is not bothered about the environment then they are continually financing the construction of coal fired power stations in the third world and building more airports and more motorways in Britain? As tensions are mounting in Iran and Nigeria leading to increased oil prices, is now not the ideal time to exploit wind power both on land and at sea via grants to companies? With labour slipping up at the local elections in 05/06 and the Conservatives pushing the eco argument, is not in Labours interest to follow the Conservatives lead and not to pay lip service to wind farms as they currently do?
Will the people that have to live near wind farms and see the things every day change their minds and believe that wind farms form a concerted effort to save the environment or just another commercial money making scheme for the companies involved?
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