Renewable Energy

The question of wind farms and solar power has been brought closer to home this week with the announcement in the local paper that a company is looking at placing eight wind turbines and 50 solar panels in an area close to the M1 near to Watford Gap services. According to the paper there would be between 2 and 4 MegaWatts of power generated by each of the turbines, and 150 Watts from each of the solar arrays.

There has been the obvious statement by local councillors regarding the ‘blot on the landscape’, and a picture in the paper showing a picture of the area with 8 turbines superimposed on it.

I have never been able to make up my mind about wind power, I can see the advantages of it, and should society wish to continue its power consumption then we need to look at alternative ways. I can also see some of the disadvantages, the huge amount of power and concrete used to make the turbines, and the noise that they make.

In terms of the proposed constructions close to the M1 I have less of a problem. The area is just a few miles away from the Rugby transmitters which are being dismantled, but can be seen for miles around. Indeed, not long after I moved to the area I remember seeing an article in a local paper suggesting that the transmitters should be replaced by another landmark, firstly to make the area memorable, and secondly because motorists apparently like to have something noticeable every now and again.

As far as the environemental impact goes, the smog that is generated by the traffic on the M1 can often be seen from Daventry as a brown cloud over the horizon.

However, as far as the solar panels go I am more certain about the ratio of advantages to disadvantages. These also take a fair amount of energy to produce, and I am not sure that 150 Watts of electricity, a couple of light bulbs, is really worthwhile. Perhaps they should consider planting some trees to absorb some of the pollution and noise and provide a wildlife habitat instead.

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