As many of us celebrate Global Wind Day today, the caption on this photo has probably crossed many a mind … in both the pro- and the anti-wind camps across the world.
As I made clear in my latest article on RenewableUK’s Community Benefit Protocol for Wind (for Renewable Energy Focus magazine), both sides have legitimate concerns that need to be heeded. No-one wants a huge wind turbine everywhere they look (and it simply doesn’t make good business sense to do so anyhow),
- Securing our energy future
- Reducing carbon emissions and stemming climate change
- Creating jobs and boosting our economy
And it can do so without breaking our collective bank balance – onshore wind is now competitive with many traditional alternatives. Fact…no matter what the NIMBYs would have you believe. Moreover, rising fossil fuel prices, devastating oil spills and the nuclear crisis in Fukushima have substantially raised the expectations for wind energy, notes the European Wind Energy Association.
The industry does need Governments to help foster investor confidence by ensuring strong policy to support onshore wind, however. This is particularly so when it comes to planning regimes and pricing mechanisms (putting a price on carbon, as more and more experts are calling for, would make wind even more competitive over other fuels). The same can be said for other clean technology industries, like solar PV, which was recently dealt a crushing blow by the UK government.
By the same token, the industry needs to be fully transparent and honest with local communities, another point I make strongly in the Renewable Energy Focus article, Fighting the NIMBY war with a gamble. It must work closely with them too, taking particular due care and attention to minimise any potential negative environmental impacts – which from my experience (gained from nearly 20 years covering the industry’s development) it does for the most part.
What is really not helpful is just saying no to wind farms because you don’t want them right by you.
- Climate change is a reality.
- Fossil fuel depletion will be reality.
- A dependence on expensive foreign imports for our energy supplies, however, need not be a reality.
We will need a mix of power generation technologies – including onshore wind, other kinds of renewables, and cleaner ways of creating electricity from fossil fuels while we still have them – if we are all to have a truly sustainable energy future and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
So let’s please just get on with it!
Happy Global Wind Day folks!
See here for an alternative Global Wind Day message in pictures and remember people … Always Rage With A Smile!x
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