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/ourshop/cat_610197-Wood-Pellets.html) 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!

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.”