4 Alternatives To Wind Power That Won’t Ruin Your Life

There are other options to Wind Turbines…

Whilst we have absolutely no issue with Wind Farms being placed at a reasonable distance from people’s homes, the planning of turbine construction close to where people live is something that we deem unacceptable.

However, despite our misgivings, we can understand that there are many people who are keen on protecting the environment by producing their own form of renewable energy. So, if erecting a noisy wind turbine is out of the order, then what are your options if you want to invest in your own form of renewable energy?

Gas From Landfills

Although you’ll have to convene with the council to enquire about the state of your local landfill, this is a great alternative to a wind farm for a couple of reasons.

The first is that any new building will be taking place primarily on a landfill, a site that’s already an eyesore.

Waste company, Viridor, already run 18 sites around the UK that reclaim the harmful gases created in landfills. The gas is then run through a system which filters out damaging chemicals, creates energy and runs it back into the national grid.

Solar Power

There may be many arguments against the masses of ‘solar farms’ that are crowding the green fields of Britain, that would have once been traditionally farmed, but there are alternatives to linking up endless arrays of panels.

If you’ve got a a few square metres of space on your roof, or in a spare patch of land you own, then solar panels are a simple and silent way of generating your own electricity. They don’t break the bank and they’re also easy on the eye.

Bio Mass Wood Pellets

Shovelling kilos of wood pellets (http://www.liverpoolwoodpellets.co.uk/) into a hot stove may seem like a rather old-school method of providing yourself with energy, but there are ways of doing it now that are not only carbon-neutral, but positively renewable. 

Through the use of Short Coppice Rotation, a tried and tested method of quickly growing trees, species such as Willow can be quickly processed into pellets which make perfect fuel for heating your home and water!

Ground-source Heat Pump

One environmentally friendly option, which unfortunately comes with a larger initial price tag, makes cunning use of the thermal heat that is contained within the very ground itself.

The typical cost of one of these systems is a little high – between £13,000 and £20,000 – but the returns that you see on them will make it all worth while.

The big advantage of using one of these systems is that you’ll barely even notice that it’s there. Keep the machine locked away in a shed outside and the small humming it will make will be inaudible to anyone outside.

If you feel like you need to do your bit, in regards to creating your own source of renewable energy, then these ideas should get you started.

How To Protest A Wind Farm Proposal

So you’ve heard about a wind farm proposal coming worryingly close to your village.

In fact the company, let’s call them Wind Power Corp., are planning on building 15 3MW turbine.

Each turbine will have a rotor length of 100 metres and will be placed within half a kilometre of your home as well as those of your neighbours. These turbines will be both within earshot and view of your home, meaning that you are almost guaranteed to suffer from noise pollution, with the chance of shadow flicker also affecting your home.

You can’t simply sit there and allow this development to go ahead, so you decide to organise a protest. Before you start investing in materials for picket signs and ‘Guy Fawks’ masks, take a look at the more practical things that you will need in order to successfully oppose this inappropriately placed wind farm.

Community Organisation

You can’t win a battle such as this by yourself. If you want to convince the council to categorically oppose this proposal, then you’re going to have to get some help from your neighbours and friends.

Handing out leaflets and sticking up posters won’t cut it here, I’m afraid, the only way of galvanising your community is by getting out there and actually talking to people. Once you’ve won people over to your cause – then you can start fighting the good fight.

Legal Help

The next step in the process is to find legal help as soon as possible. The rules that govern the way councils and energy companies talk are complex. In order to pick apart the technical jargon and tricky statutes, you’re going to need the help of someone who understands them.

The more people you win over to your cause, the better chance you have of finding a connection that will lead you to free legal help. If the worse comes to worst then you’ll be able to club together and pay for a solicitor.

Patience

Above all else, this is the one virtue that you must share with every single one of your comrades. Although the construction of turbines can fly by in a flash, the planning process, thankfully, is a long, arduous process. Don’t be disheartened by your lack of progress – use this to your advantage.

As long as your legal counsel is keeping you well informed, you should be aware of the time frame of the project and how long you have to pull together a suitable proposal for opposition. Just be aware that these things take time.

Political Connections

It never hurts to know a man on the inside. Before you start your fire and brimstone campaign, consider that some of the members of the council that you’ll be petitioning to may well not agree with the development either.

A kindly worded letter/email goes a long way – find out who your councillors are and send them a note to test the waters. You’ll more than likely strike gold with at least one of them and end up winning a power ally.

A bid to oppose a Wind Farm is not a battle that is won in a day. It takes time to wear down the opposition – best of luck!

Why America Is The Perfect Home For Windfarms

Although the focus of our writing may well be campaigning against the improper planning of wind farms in the UK, every now  and again it’s worth taking a look at how other countries implement their own wind farm strategies. 

America is not a land well known for it’s healthy stance on green energy.

This is, after all, the country that guzzled over 140 million gallons of gasoline in 2015 alone.

However, that doesn’t mean that our friends on the other side of the pond aren’t still trying to turn back the tide on their energy consumption methods.

There are a few things needed to get a responsibly placed Wind Farm into development:

Money

Energy companies need millions of dollars, in order to invest in the best technology so that their farms will stand the test of time (the industry standard is at least 25 years). Wind farms do not come cheap. Singular turbines alone, depending on the wattage output, can cost anywhere from around $375,000 to nearly $4,000,000.

Considering that a new wind farm development will usually consist of at least 10 turbines, then factor in the cost of infrastructure, as well as wiring the farm up to the grid, and the cost of construction soon rises into the stratosphere. Luckily, America has the largest GDP in the world and investment is never short in supply.

Technology

Having millions of dollars to throw at a project is all well and good, but without the right technical specifications the project could well go up in smoke.

Although you might not initially associate the US with a burgeoning passion for Renewable Energy solutions, there are multitudes of companies that contribute to the Technology industry.

They’re not all necessarily giant conglomerates either. Companies, such as Wall Industries, operate on a smaller scale, providing custom built power converters and power supplies that are crucial in the production of America’s rising wind farms. Instead of being forced to outsource outside of the country, like the UK often has to, American projects can look to their own shores for the components they need – further bolstering their own economy.

The last key ingredient you need is something that America has in abundance…

Land

A casual glance at a map will tell even the biggest Geography dunce that America’s massive land mass, around 9.8 million square kilometres, leaves plenty of space for wind farm developments.

Unlike our dinky island here (the UK’s land mass amounts to less than 250,000 square kilometres) America’s seemingly endless reams of lands remain largely unoccupied. In fact, after a census taken in 2014, it was found that 47% of the country still remains empty. This make large swathes of America ideal locations for wind farms.

Of course, in the wake of the recent inauguration of a certain President, it remains to be seen whether Renewable Energy will get the support it needs for the US to make the most of their significant advantages in the world of Wind Power…

New Offshore Developments and Turbine Collapse In Scotland

In Wind Farm News This Week…

World’s First Floating Wind Farm Is A Go

One of the largest oil companies in the world, Statoil, has decided to significantly branch out by announcing a partnership with Masdar.

A renewable energy group based in Abu Dhabi, the company operates with funds totalling well over $500m USD. In an unexpected move, they have offered to take on 25% of the development risk in building the world’s first floating wind farm. Statoil have sold off a quarter off their assets in Hywind Scotland so that the project can go ahead.

Combining project management experience with high tech expertise, this is a positive step in taking wind farms further away from homes for good.

Green Light Is Given To Largest US Offshore Farm

Offshore wind farms have long been considered one of the soundest options for harnessing the power of the wind.

Far from the land, on the continental shelf, the power capacity of individual turbines is greatly increased. Companies can build their wind farms bigger, with little fear of opposition from campaigners.

In the States, local authorities are making the most of this convenience by planning what will be the largest offshore wind farm in the US, 30 km from the southeast of Long Island. Out of sight from those living in Queens and Brooklyn, with the distance also nullifying the noise, this is a wonderful example of smart wind farm planning.

The South Fork Wind Farm should provide enough power to light up 50,000 homes from the construction of only 15 turbines. Construction should begin in 2019, with the option of building more in the future.

Scottish Wind Farm Under Investigation

An investigation has been launched into Scottish Power Renewables after a wind turbine has suffered a critical failure and collapsed at a wind farm in Kilgallioch.

The turbine is part of a massive 96-unity site which is still under construction and due to be hooked up to the grid later this year.

The incident is reported to have occurred early in the morning on Friday 13th January – a spokesperson for the company said that they were currently investigating the collapse but confirmed that no one was near to the turbine at the time.

Once construction is completed and the farm is connected to the grid, it will be come the second largest in the UK and could provide 130,000 homes with power.…

Days of Protests Past: 2000, Denbigh Moors

The turn of the century, the dawn of a new millennium and a time of aggressive wind farm planning.

Seasoned Wind Farm protester, Dan Shankley, recounts to us here one of his first experiences on the picket line…

“My Father was livid that day.

Perhaps it was his stubborn vitriol, a look that I’d never seen on him before, or maybe it was simply the grim determination with which we set about every single task that led to us spending 7 hours on the side of a busy Welsh A-road. It still sticks out in my memory – that long, hot summer’s day – almost 17 years ago now.

I’d never thought of my Father as much of an activist.

There were clues, of course, little signs that fly over the head of a child, but start to merge into a cohesive meaning as I get older. Small things like a faded red sticker, emblazoned with a sickle and hammer, stuck to the boot of his car. Oddly stylised portraits on the walls of his study, of serious looking bearded men in military dress. The clues were always there.

Of all these little memories – that summer’s day in Wales is the one that remains the most potent.

We’d heard about the protest through an old University pal of Dad’s. That Friday, he picked me up from Mum’s, with the back of the car packed full of camping gear. He told my Mum we were going fishing and she seemed happy. As soon as he shut the car door and started the car, he turned to me and whispered:

‘We’re not going fishing, son. We’re going to save Wales.’

It was as simple as that.

It was a sweltering hot, English Summer’s day, the kind that only exists in memory and never seems to occur anymore. I remember my legs sticking to the leather interior of my Dad’s beaten up Anglia. We set off from Leeds, stopping off at Sheffield to pick up a man-cooling fan from Beatson Industrial Fans (a company that still operates to this day).

‘We’ll need this if we’re going to survive the day. Today, son, we’ll make History.”

That’s how he said it. As if that day and only this Father/Son team could possibly ‘save Wales’. I was 10 years old and had very little scope of the world at that point, so that day felt important. In fact – it felt compulsory.

When we arrived at the designated car park, selected by Dad’s old friends, it became clear what kind of group we were joining.

Craggy beards in familiar looking military suits tottered around beneath picket signs, simply drawn crosses through the symbol of a tripod-like fan, much like the one that we’d brought with us. The sickle and hammer that had always puzzled me was stitched on badges and slapped on satchels, the air was alive with, what I thought at the time was passion, but what I realise now was outrage.

We set up position next to the road side and protested the building of a 28-unit wind farm that promised to blight the countryside and fill the peaceful quiet with a constant drone.

That day, we disrupted the tranquillity of that land, for the greater good. And were we successful? It depends on how we judge success. In a time before social media and the sharing of events, we amassed a small crowd and made people aware of the changes that were about to take place in their local area.

The wind farm was still built. But, after our day of protesting, the company in charge of construction decided to cut the number of turbines down to 26 and reduce the height of all of those built by 10m.

We might not have saved Wales that day, but my Father still looks back on that day as one to remember.”

Living Close To A Wind Farm Could Harm You

Close Proximity To A Wind Farm Could Effect You Physically

You may assume that the worst part about living uncomfortably close to a wind-far would be simply seeing it on a daily basis.

A constant blight on the landscape, for some this would be enough to ruin their life wherever they live.

There are, however, more serious implications to living on a farm than you might have been previously expected. Before you blindly accept the installation of a wind farm too close to your farm, consider the possible eventualities that could await you in your new life under the farm:

Your Pre-Existing Health Conditions Could Worsen

There have been reports, over the years since Wind Farms have been installed of the medical conditions, of those living near turbines, worsening. Back in 2012, Aileen Jackson, who had lived in the idyllic village of Uplawmoor, was shocked to discover that her neighbour was choosing to make the most of ‘renewable energy subsidies’ and erect a 64ft-high wind turbine that was effectively in her back garden.

However, the speedy planning and construction of the turbine wasn’t to be the last of her surprises. Diagnosed as a diabetic at the age of 19, Aileen soon discovered that her blood sugar levels began to soar higher than ever before, causing her to take even more insulin. As a result of this she developed a cataract.

This wasn’t to be the last of her family’s problems though. Her son Brian, previously an outgoing student, became reclusive and dropped out of college. To make matters worse, her husband’s blood pressure, which had usually been at a healthy level, began to sky rocket forcing him onto medication for the first time in his life.

Vibroacoustic Disease Could Affect You Mentally

You may have always considered Wind Farms as the silently, spinning friendly giants of the Environmentally friendly world. However, with blades that can rotate between 10 and 20 rotations per minute, the tips of these can move through the air at speeds up to 180 mph.

A common complaint of those living nearby wind farms is of the noise that they make. The noise that a wind turbine emits can vary from around 50 decibels (the sound of mid-sized microwave) all the way up 105 db (the sound of a lawnmower). These might sound like too much to deal with, but imagine dealing with 2 or 3 of these.

There have been medical conditions linked to working in loud environments, research has shown that those working near noises of more or equal to 90 db. Symptoms of the condition known as vibroacoustic disease can be presented clinically in the form of lesions in systems around the body, or mentally, with sufferers showing signs of cognitive impairment and stress-induced pathology.

Headaches and Stress from Shadow Flicker

Shadow flicker, a phenomena first documented in 2011, occurs when the sun is low in the sky causing a shadow to be projected a long distance from the turbine. This phenomenon is often not accounted for by planners of wind farms and can have serious implications on those affected by it.

Although the Department for Energy and Climate Change deemed the effects of shadow flicker to be insignificant, case studies have proven the opposite to be true. Whereas some campaigners have insisted that the effect can cause significant stress and even headaches.

This may sound extreme, but there is a grain of truth within it. A recent report published confirmed that shadow flicker has a significant effect on those living with it. It stated that those who are subjected to more than 30 hours a year should be able successfully apply for mitigation measures.

Before you consider moving closer to a wind farm, or allowing one to be built near you, take a further look into the effects that they can have on your health.