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Monday, 16 December 2013
Benefits of wind farms
In a recent poll by Ipsos Mori it was found that renewables are greatly favoured by the British public over fossil fuels in generating electricity. In fact, more Britons are in favour of subsidies for wind power development than those who are opposed. So it seems that, despite the frantic efforts of wind farm protestors, the balance of public opinion lies heavily with the wind far advocates.
The Ipsos Mori poll found that two thirds of those polled were either strongly in favour or tended to favour wind farms, believing that the impact on the landscape was acceptable.
Those opposing wind farms include the Daily Mail and US property magnate Donald Trump who is famously campaigning against them in Scotland. A new anti-wind farm campaign group has also sprung up called National Opposition to Windfarms.
It is with some amusement when asking wind farm protestors where they believe future energy demands should be met. Fracking and underground explosions polluting water supplies? Oil from despotic regimes who believe in stoning women to death? Coal powered stations belching out pollution and causing smogs? And what happens when these alternative sources run out, given that they are finite?
Opponents of renewable energy also claim that wind farms cost more to build than the electricity that they produce, and that the lights will go out because renewables are unreliable. Again, this is propaganda not substantiated by the evidence. For example, the Scottish government plans to generate all of its electricity from renewables by 2020. With further capacity due to be added after that date, it is set to become a net exporter of electricity to England.
The argument against renewables clearly is inane and short-term, which is why the public is not fooled and remains generally supportive of wind farms and other developing renewable technology. Yet the protests continue, most prominently by the tycoon Donald Trump, who has claimed that Scotland will become a third world wasteland that global investors will avoid.
There is a further, strong case for investment in renewable technologies. That is, they create jobs and stimulate investment. In Scotland alone, its waters are estimated to have a quarter of European potential offshore wind technology, which is forecast to generate about £30bn of investment and lead to the creation of up to 28,000 jobs.
Like fossil fuels, the protestors are relics of a past generation addicted to old oil and coal, destined to be left behind in the unstoppable momentum towards a cleaner and ecologically brighter future.