Monday, February 27, 2006

Atomic Batteries to Power. Turbines to Speed.

The energy company E On UK wanted to build seven 350ft turbines on Saddleworth Moor, above the village of Denshaw. I did a film on Saddleworth Moor once. We stayed in Denshaw. It rained for 10 days out of 14.

E On reckon the farm would have provided the grid with enough electricity for 8,500 homes, but environmentalists claimed it would ruin the landscape so the application was rejected by Oldham Council on Thursday night. This was, probably, the wrong spot for this, a Greater Manchester beauty spot (wet though it is) an’ all, but talk about alternative energy sources is only talk if none actually go ahead. Lets hope this rejection doesn’t set a president.

It’s argued that the only people to benefit from these turbines are the manufacturers, the installers and land owners and that for this technology to be anything more than a gimmick, the whole country would be covered in them. Bollocks.
We need to change our habbits now, for the future, and if we believe Greenpeace then 80 square miles of offshore space would be enough to supply the entire UK's electricity needs. Expensive, yes, but what could be simpler?

Anyway, is money and nostalgia for the ye olde English countryside a reason to allow global warming? Would the Lake District still look as charming with tumbleweed blowing across its salt flats? I digress.

So what's being done? According to Labour '10% of energy must come from renewable resources by 2010'. The new Cabinet Office Performance and Innovation Unit (PIU) report actually recommends this rises to 20% by 2020. Friends of the Earth says a conservative estimate is that by 2050, wind power could meet about 20% of current energy demand. Eighteen new offshore wind farms were given the green light in April 2001 - when they are built, they should generate enough energy to supply more than one million homes. Other onshore projects - like a 140-turbine wind farm south of Glasgow, which could power 150,000 homes - are currently under way. Wavegen is also planning an offshore wave farm on the Orkney islands (comin' at ya Meddler) on the north coast of Scotland, which should generate enough electricity for 1,400 homes.

We need to do this, or the only practical alternative is nuclear. The yanks are doing nowt (but that's another rant). Personally, I'd much rather we harness natural resources than crack atoms and burn fossil fuels...

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