Thursday, May 25, 2006

What a lot of hot air.

I cannot believe all the recent controversy over wind turbines and wind farms in Scotland. Have people no idea how wonderful these things are for the environment?

In October, most folks in the UK woke up to a nasty relization that power was going to cost a small fortune for everyone with an increase of 5-8% for electricity (which has increased by 31% since 2003) and a 14.2% rise in gas. We were lucky that back in the fall of '05 when our electrics company made the offer to fix our current rate until 2007, we jumped at the opportunity. There's a comfort in knowing exactly what you're paying every month. So when the new year came with announcements of big charge hikes we sighed with relief.

Others haven't been so lucky. When the cost of power went up, Michelin in Dundee was put under serious stress. They decided to put up a couple of on-site wind turbines. They'd be creating their own electricity, saving them millions. The Michelin factory "Currently employs approximately 1000 people and its direct financial contribution to Dundee represents around £40 million per year." reported the Evening Telegraph and Post. They also said;

"The wind turbine project is extremely important to the Michelin factory, the environment, and also to the city of Dundee. For the factory, it delivers cheaper electricity at a time when electricity bills have doubled for Michelin, this increase can be counted in millions of pounds. This, in turn, along with other initiatives, helps secure the long-term future of the site. For the environment it produces clean, renewable energy at a time when the world is wrestling with the issues of global warming and securing supplies of energy from hard-pressed natural resources."

Isn't it great that a big company like Michelin are looking to not only cut their power bills in half, but to reduce emissions into their local Dundee community, not close down it's factory and lay off all those workers just by installing two wind turbines on-site instead. Just look at the statistics since they went up in March Not bad, and considering Scottish Power, today announced it's enjoyed a 47% profit since October. This article makes the sad claims:

"For every 5% increase there are 30,000 more people across Scotland who fall into fuel poverty," she said.
"The big problem organizations like SCARF have is that we are working hard to eradicate fuel poverty, but it seems that every time we make some progress there is another price hike. It is like we are taking two steps forward then one step back. The rises make people just want to switch off. A lot of people have card meters, the companies install them to help people budget, but people often self-disconnect and go for a couple of days without light or heat. They then have to buy food from the chip shop, which isn't healthy. Kids are getting healthy eating programmes at school but going to homes where there is not enough money to heat or eat properly. It is the people at the bottom who suffer."

Knowing that the increase in power charges causes problems, and not wanting to make matters worse by making their workforce reduntant with factory closures, Michelin goes and puts up turbines to create their own power sources. What is there to complain about? Well, the people don't like them. The wind turbines. They just don't like them, because they may make some noise, and they could interrupt television signals and they kind of look like things from War of the Worlds.

You folks really have to get your heads out of your buttholes.

I, personally, think they look great - they are beautiful. When we drove down for the wedding a couple weeks ago we saw turbine farms for the first time, and both of us thought they were amazing. We stopped at a pub for lunch near a wind farm and never heard them make noise. But, I imagine if you did live near them, and they made a noise, wouldn't it be worth the trouble to have electricity, clean air and peace of mind that you aren't going to have to freeze to death in your own homes? I can't imagine the noise would be much anyways - wouldn't you just get used to it? People who live near airports (like me!) or major highways (like I used to) or busy cities (like I used to) get used to those sounds, and often find it disturbing when they're gone. It took me weeks to get used to sleeping without the sounds of the #23 bus screeching outside my windows, and I imagine the same would happen for these sad souls - you'll get used to it. Stop complaining!

It's Not just the Dundonians who think that turbines are ugly. Donald Trump doesn't like them either. Donald Trump has invested £300 million to develop 800 acres of Scottish seaside into “The World's Best Golf Course”. But when he found out there were plans to have off shore turbines within view of the 18th hole, he threatened to scrap the whole project if the turbines went up.

There's been talk back and forth over the situation and it seems they've agreed to some turbines, but not to the original spec. Scotland officials assert that they didn't back down from Trump's threat, and that his investment didn't affect their changes, but we all know they back pedalled. Seriously, what does Scotland need with another golf course, anyway? What a bunch of wusspies. Donald Trump, although known for his poor taste (fix the do Don!) obviously doesn't share my admiration for ecological art.



Reaper Girl said...

Honestly, the first time I ever saw one of these farms was in MI3. As you know, in America we don't do anything until the last minute. I don't know about sound, but they aren't ugly. I would think they would be peaceful looking -- kinda like watching the waves at the beach. And like you's good for the environment. Some people aren't happy unless their bitching and complaining.

Amber said...

I've seen them in movies but not in person. I happen to think they're so cool. I wish Ontario would put a bunch up instead of pushing nuclear down our throats. Last I heard there were no long term health effects to having a wind farm accident.

Darla said...

There's a handful of windmills on every second hill here in Germany, it seems. The info was cool--I was wondering how much they actually helped.

tornwordo said...

I said this same thing today! Except without actually saying the word butthole:

You folks really have to get your heads out of your buttholes

Douglas Hoffman said...

Wassamatter, tornwordo -- you too good to say butthole?

Butthole butthole butthole

Yeah, I could do this all day.

Sorry to come over and harass your visitors, Lyvvie. I think windmills are cool, too.

EDW said...

We have some in NJ, near one of Trump's stupid casinos, actually. They are pretty cool. I'm all for them, I love how other countries have really embraced alternative energy sources. We're going to do a major remodel on our home in a few years, and put in solar panels. A friend of ours is converting his home to bio diseal, which he already runs his car on. There's so many other things you can do.

Maja said...

There are some really windy areas in Australia on the southern coast, and quite a few of them harness this power with wind turbines, and I agree with you, they look awesome! They're so huge and spectacular, and you can really see how windy it is.

God it pisses me off how much some people are opposed to change.

Nice story!

SafeTinspector said...

I LOOOOVE these things. They are so cool, so MODERN. I mourn the loss of modernity in the USA.
In the sixties and seventies we had it in spades. Now we retreat from the space age and regress into shells of inarticulate self-inflicted ignorance and religious dogma.

Turbines are great, we need them.

SafeTinspector said...

Turbans are also nice. Only certain people need them.