Ecology And Environment

Wind Turbines for Home Farms and Communities



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What would you rather see on your horizon: a nuclear power station or half a dozen turbines turning elegantly in the wind? The wind is an undervalued resource and, so far, the government hasn't found a way to tax it.

This is good news for supporters of the sort of clean and people-friendly environment produced by wind power. While giant wind farms still often get a bad press, small-scale and communal schemes are gradually achieving favour, at least in the UK.

What about the argument that wind turbines spoil the landscape? Well, just ask the people of Swaffham in Norfolk. They would say that small-scale wind farms can become part of the landscape and part of the local character, and that they act as symbols of a better, less polluted future. In fact, Swaffham is so proud of their turbines that they've even named the main road leading into the town Turbine Way.

Are wind turbines noisy? The brief answer is no'. Wind turbine technology has moved on very quickly and turbines are now quiet enough that people living only a few hundred metres away can expect no disturbance at all.

Can wind turbines help to prevent global warming? The answer is yes'. For instance, at Moel Moelogan in North Wales, three turbines power 2,500 homes daily. And while they do this they are also preventing more than 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide from permeating the atmosphere every year from fossil-fuelled power stations.

Here, at least, according to the co-operative that owns the turbines, the aim is not to make a quick buck, but rather to leave a cleaner environment for the generations that follow.

Turbines don't need much room. Although often tall, they can be erected on a relatively small plot of land. And the installations don't, as some people think, frighten nearby livestock. In fact, ground on which they are positioned can still be used for agricultural purposes, such as sheep grazing.

Of course, there are still are few remote areas not connected to the national electricity grid where wind turbines are especially welcome. For instance, the island of Muck in the Hebrides has a full-time population of less than 40 people and the installation of wind turbines has transformed this community completely.

The good news is that the government is gradually relaxing the planning rules so that more communities and individual households and businesses can follow the examples of Swaffham, Moel Moelogan and Muck.

So, if you can't find other interested people in your particular area, what about installing one in your own garden or on your own roof? Wind turbines now come in a range of sizes and you're sure to be able to find one to meet your particular domestic or business requirements.

These days you can even find them on eBay!

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