Not everyone loves wind turbines. This is an easy fact to forget, if you surround yourself with environmentally conscious people, but some folks even consider them ugly. One of the most common criticisms of wind energy, at least in the UK, is the argument that turbines industrialize our already dwindling areas of natural beauty. This treehugger personally considers these towering giants to be graceful and elegant symbols of a green future, but understands that not everyone feels the same way. It seems to make sense then, to place turbines in already industrialized landscapes, wherever possible. Not only does this avoid inciting the hoardes of NIMBYs, it also has the added advantage of increased visibility for, and acceptance of, renewables by the general public - especially as they are not placed on their favourite hillside landscape. The turbine pictured here sits on junction 11 of the M4 motorway in Reading, UK, and is seen spinning by as many as 60 million people annually as they drive by. Apparently the turbine features state-of-the-art blade technology for maximum efficiency and represents 'the next step into the future for multi-megawatt class turbines in the UK.' It is also claimed that it creates enough electricity to power the equivalent of 1000 homes. Surely high profile installations are the best way of showing that many of the solutions we have been waiting for are already here. And we've yet to meet anyone who has claimed that their favorite motorway junction has been spoiled by one of those 'ugly turbines.'
The good folks at Ecotricity, the company behind this installation, are also working on the high-profile turbine project at Manchester City Football Club's stadium, which we reported on here, and have just started work on a three turbine project in Avonmouth Docks, just outside Bristol. Coincidentally, the Avonmouth site sits right next to the M5 motorway, which connects with the M4, so a drive from Somerset to London will soon take you past at least 4 2MW wind turbines in the space of a few hours. And just in case anyone is still worried about aesthetics, it is probably fair to say that Avonmouth (pictured left) is not the prettiest part of the UK. When local news reported on proposals for this project, they asked local residents whether it would spoil the view. "Are you kidding me?" came the reply. No sign of the NIMBYs here.
[Written by: Sami Grover]