July 17, 2011 by

Nationalism and Wind farms

Categories: Research

I found this while doing research on Pelagius, believe it or not.  It comes from this page:  http://welshpatriot.blogspot.com/2011/07/congratulations-to-pobl-powys-on-your.html

I can’t decide how I feel about this, in part because we are having the very same discussion in Oregon, though it is less the Umatilla Tribe that opposes windfarms than people who live in the Columbia River gorge who don’t want their view spoiled.  I have never heard the building of wind farms framed in terms of nationalism, but it’s all over the web for Wales:

This one attests that the white eagle’s habitat is being destroyed.  Wind farms were blamed for eagle deaths in Norway:  http://www.socme.org/may06downloads/birds0506.jpg

Though my son points out that more birds are killed (by a magnitude of a hundred fold) by glass windows every year than wind farms.  “Building window strikes may account for 97 to 976 million bird deaths each year.”  This is from the department of fish and wildlife:  http://www.fws.gov/birds/mortality-fact-sheet.pdf  In contrast, “Federal government estimates indicate that 22,000 wind turbines in operation in 2009 were killing 440,000 birds per year.”  http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/releases/110208.html

Obviously, there are way more windows than wind turbines, but . . . someone needs to do the math on this for me.

I’ve gotten way off track, but the Welsh, for good reason, have a long history of viewing encroachments by English government/corporations in exactly that light, regardless of what that organization actually accomplishes.  Thoughts?



6 Responses to Nationalism and Wind farms

  1. litesong

    Our Northwest U.S. wind turbines integrate via computer control easily with our hydro-electric dams. With new wind turbine designs, 15% to 20% extra efficiency in the new gearless wind turbines, carbon fiber blades, & more low speed efficiencies to come, wind power viability has arrived. The large bird kills at the aging Alta Mount Pass wind farm are & will kill off bird populations. The ten-fold bird kill reductions per Mega-watt-hr from new wind turbine designs is good, but still won’t reduce bird kills, since the newer turbine designs will produce ten+ times more power than the old designs. As much consideration of bird-kill turbine design must be done, as work on turbine efficiency design.

    • Sarah Post author

      Thanks for that information. I had heard that the new turbines were much better in this regard.

  2. Elin Gregory

    It’s not just Wales, it’s all over England too. We are desperate for alternative sources of energy but the wind turbines are perceived as an eyesore and when they are turning fast they can be noisy as well. They site them in windy upland areas that are sparsely populated, there are masses in Mid-Wales. Unfortunately they are often put up by English electricity companies, because they have more R&D budget, so are of little benefit to the local population. If turbines were tied to an area and the locals could see a fiscal benefit – expressed in lower electricity bills etc – I think they might be more tolerant of them.

    We don’t have white eagles in the UK. I think maybe someone has got a bit confused about sea eagles, which have white tails.

    • Sarah Post author

      Thanks for the response. I can totally see how this could be the case in Wales, exacerbated of course by the long history of colonialism. Here in Oregon, we already predominantly use hydro-electric power–which brings the controversy over salmon spawning–so we too are looking for alternatives. Geothermal and wind are the way to go, but as always, at what price? And what price if we don’t given global climate change? It’s too bad that the local communities in Wales aren’t benefitting from these changes and that these upland regions were just let go to English electricity companies . . .

      • Elin Gregory

        There are plenty of turbines in England too. It’s interesting how in some places the turbines are put up as a local cooperative, funded locally with the power used locally and any surplus sold on the the National Grid. I think that’s a system that might work. But sadly turbines aren’t that efficient. The machinery has generally worn out long before it has covered it’s own costs. Basically we have just too many people using too much power with too little thought. In my house I swapped all my standard light bulbs for long life ones and am saving myself about £200 a year. If everyone did that …

        • Sarah Post author

          I’m sure that we waste far more energy in the US than you do in England, but I’m pretty sure that the newer turbines here are more cost efficient. Either way, it would be better to pursue a broad spectrum of localized energy sources (out here, solar for sure), but it takes a significant political will and vision to make that kind of change happen. Efficiencies and trying to reduce energy usage would save us tons in the long run, but they are politically unpopular because using less energy doesn’t make money for corporations.