Thank you for reading thecheers.org's Opinion articles.

ARE WIND FARMS THE ANSWER?

 article about Wind Farms - Alternative Energy
2008-06-17 03:11:37

This article belongs to Australia - Land of the Free? column.


In Australia in the last few years there has been a huge expansion of wind farms. Because they are a renewable resource with almost no emissions, they are being touted as the answer to all our prayers to reduce the speed global warming catches up with us. But are they? The total capacity so far in Australia is just over 800 mega watts, which is only a small percentage of the total power needed.


Wind Turbines Wattle Point


 


Visually these huge structures have a colossal visual effect on the environment. They may be sleek and have good lines but so many of them pollute the landscape. Unfortunately, these eyesores are located in some of the most picturesque country in Australia because of the availability of suitable wind.


 


Wattle Point Wind Farm is the largest in Australia and generates 312,000 MWh of electricity per year, which is 2% of South Australia's total requirements or enough to power 52,000 homes. The farm has 55 turbines spread over 11.5 square kilometres of farmland.


 




Wind Turbines Wattle Point
Located at the bottom of Yorke Peninsula (see map where the location is marked with an X) in an area of constant wind making the area ideal for generating power. The height of each tower is 67 metres and the length of each blade is 40 metres making the combined height 110 metres. Electricity generated by the farm is fed directly into Electranet's 132kV main transmission system and then onto the national electricity grid.


 


So if Wattle Point produces 2% of South Australia's power on 11.5 square kilometres of land then that means it would require 575 square kilometres or 2,750 wind generators to produce the state's total power needs. To put that in perspective it amounts to almost 0.4% of the area of England - and bear in mind the population of South Australia is just in excess of one million.


 


So if the population of England is fifty-two million it would need 143,000 wind generators spread over on area of 29,900 square kilometres or 22.93 percent of the area of the country - clearly not viable.



Wind Turbines Wattle Point


 


Wind power generation is only for countries that have large areas of land to spare. Although in the Wattle Point facility, it is mostly on farmland with an agreement that allows the farmer to farm the land after the generators have been built. Although the generators are fixed into the ground on large concrete slabs these are underground and backfilled leaving the only impediment to the farmer the circumference of the tower leaving plenty of land for the farmer.


 


When asked on ABC Radio National, 7 January 2006 what it would mean to them one farmer replied, 'I'd be very happy to have more turbines on my land. Initially for the benefit of renewable energy, but as far as the revenue it would bring to my farm it would be fantastic.'



Map Yorke Peninsula


 


Another farmer said, 'I can retire and the kids can go on farming. Those four towers on my land I hope will help my retirement.'


 


However with so much land required there is bound to be conflict - and so there was at Wattle Point. Quenten Agius speaking on behalf of the Narungga Heritage committee under the heading, The nightmare continues declared -'You'd think with what was found at Wattle Point Turbine 4; our ancestors skeletal remains and hundreds of ancient artefacts and tools (which were desecrated at the site by developer's grader); and after I said to the Minister's Department that the boundary of the protected archaeological site next to Wind Turbine 4 was compromised and put in the wrong place and built on the protected site you'd think the minister and his department would have done something to protect the site.'


 


Wind Generation is only a part of the solution. Solar, hydro power, hot rocks, and many other alternative power sources with need to also supplement fossil fuel and nuclear power for a long time to come. In the meantime, a great deal of effort must be put into improving the technology to make alternative power generation more efficient.


 


Source - Research Institute for Sustainable Energy (RISE)





have your say


more in Opinion
North East India needs to emulate Mawlynnong - Asia's cleanest village

In a world that is going grey about grime and industrial waste spoiling the lungs of the city-weary soul, Meghalaya is proud to have the Asia's cleanest village surviving yet.

RATS!

Are rats cute? Just look at Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. They have an entire carnival of their own and a worldwide business around them! Theme parks galore! We have movies about a rat that turns into the amazing chef in the 2007 film Ratatouille. They are holy and auspicious as well. The Hindu God Ganesh’s favourite animal is a rat (or is it a mouse?).

How to stuff up a Mighty River

Inept decision-making, greedy self-interest, head in the sand politicians, drought, have ruined one of the great rivers of the world. Only time will tell if it is too late. The 10 billion dollars is to buy back water leases that never should have been granted in the first place.

The Post Action Wisdom

The other evening Victor charged into his house blowing fire and smoke while his wife stood wondering what could have happened. Meantime, Victor was throwing curses at himself, “How stupid of me … How stupid…”

Business White-Collar Corruption, the gentlemanly maggots

We see corruption generally as a third world problem and a problem which is primarily at the governmental level. But far too frequently, we ignore the role played by the major corporations of the world in starting, propagating and yes sheltering the corrupt guilty. Over the past few months, I have continuously read a series of stories relating to white-collar crime and still do not think that we are taking this seriously enough.

thecheers.org

Welcome to TheCheers! We've been around for a long time now, since 2004, publishing articles by people from all over the world. Roughly 300 people from 30 different countries have written for us over the years. Should you want to become a volunteer contributor, be sure to contact us!

Educational resources
Entertainment Blogs
get in touch

You can contact us via The Cheers Facebook page or The Cheers NEW Twitter account.