We’re kind of used to critics of wind power here at TreeHugger. We’ve already heard about, and debunked, the idea that wind turbines are a massive threat to bird life, and our reporting of the New York Times trashing of turbines kicked up a lively debate. However, thanks to Rob Hopkins of Transition Culture, we’ve just heard of a new argument against renewable energy that, quite frankly, has us stumped: apparently the newly announced plans for the expansion of offshore wind power in the UK makes a prime target for terrorists. The claim comes from a letter to the Metro Newspaper by David Hill of the rather mysterious looking World Innovation Fund. Normally, at this point we would voice our incredulity and outrage. Rob Hopkins, however, does it so well that we’ll let him pick up the story:
I have since been wracking my brain as to how a terrorist cell might actually set about making any meaningful impact of thousands of wind turbines situated out at sea. They might hijack an airplane and crash it into, at most, 4 turbines, a somewhat pointless exercise. They might attempt to haul a large amount of welding equipment out to sea, with a generator, in order to try and fell a turbine, a pretty momentous task, and one that would presumably be spotted remotely pretty quickly. They could sail out with a boat full of semtex and then sail from turbine to turbine setting explosive charges. Beyond that I am pretty non-plussed as to how even the most dedicated and maniacal terrorist could have any significant impact on thousands of wind turbines located off shore.
I have heard some daft arguments against wind turbines in my time, but I think this is by far the silliest. It is if a terrorist cell decides to target a nuclear power station, or even a coal-fired power station that we need to be extremely worried, as the results could be catastrophic. Surely the terrorist threat is a reason to support wind, not reject it. Or have I missed something here?!
I wonder if the same logic, that decentralised energy systems are somehow an inherent magnet for terrorists, extends to other technologies? Does putting solar panels on the roof make you more or a target for terrorists? Would a wood pellet boiler mean that you could be targetted? If Mr Hill has any specific information, I think we should be told.