Driving along the west, you see a fair number of windfarms. You can see them from rather far off. I am not a “green” enthusiasts, but I think they’re neat. Local residents disagree:
Throughout the UK — indeed, all over the world — fights against large-scale wind-energy projects are raging. The European Platform against Windfarms lists 518 signatory organizations from 23 countries. The UK alone now has about 285 anti-wind groups. Last May, some 1,500 protesters descended on the Welsh assembly, the Senedd, demanding that a massive wind project planned for central Wales be stopped.
Although environmental groups like Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council and Greenpeace claim that wind energy is the answer when it comes to slowing the rate of growth in carbon dioxide emissions, policymakers from Ontario to Australia are responding to angry landowners who don’t want 100-meter-high wind turbines built near their homes.
On seeing the headline, I figured that the opposition was Kennedy-esque: aesthetically unpleasing and such. I am relatively unsympathetic to that argument because, well, I think they look awesome. The picture of the wind turbines visible from that guy’s backyard? Awesome.
My views on this matter are atypical, I suppose. Near my house, they built a condo skyscraper several years ago. It’s conspicuously visible from our backyard. The neighborhood hates it. They were opposing the building of more before the real estate collapse killed all future projects (the builders of the condo in question are taking a bath - I wouldn’t be surprised if they just cut their losses and tore it down soon).
Anyhow, whether you like the sight of a skyscraper or wind turbine is a matter of taste and - in my view - a relatively superificial concern. Their complaints about the noise and lights, on the other hand, are a bigger deal. This is especially true in areas where the lack of light pollution and noise pollution are one of the few things that they have going for them. There are a lot of downsides to living in ruralia, but even someone like myself who puts Works of Men in front of Works of God, I can appreciate seeing the stars and night. And everybody appreciates some peace and quiet.
Whether they should take it in the chin for The Greater Good is for people in greater positions of authority than me to decide. People have a high tolerance for unpleasantness when it is perceived to be good for the economy. Louisiana objected vociferously when offshore drilling was quashed. Wyoming’s air quality may be worse than Los Angeles’s, and fracking may be contaminating their water supply, but it’s the outsiders who are raising the alarm bells and Wyomingans (except the Dairy Towners from California) who want to keep moving forward.
So why not with Windfarms? Maybe it’s not profitable enough for them to get their cut? If you paid them off, would it still be economically feasible?