I would like to welcome the recent statement in Tynwald from Manx Utilities outlining the options for onshore wind turbines, and acknowledge the detailed surveying and planning which has gone into this important project.
It is disappointing that the announcement has focused so immediately on one aspect, that of visual impact.
Surely the factors of paramount importance are any ecological impacts, and what is actually the best site to make the best use of our abundant renewable energy source.
There are those who do not want to see any turbines anywhere, ever, but we have to move past that.
Any infrastructure development has a visual impact.
I would strongly contend that a few wind turbines have a much preferable visual impact than gas-powered or biomass plants for example, as well as proof that we are a responsible modern society finally getting to grips with the reality of climate change and energy security.
This is much more important than any charges of virtue signalling, though I can already hear these comments coming down the line.
We must reduce the carbon emissions of energy generation, which account for roughly a quarter of our embarrassingly high output.
There are no technologically or financially suitable options for tidal power, and it’s worth reminding people that onshore wind is also the cheapest form of energy, which should be at the forefront of future publicity.
As to the better of the two sites, it’s surely as clear as day.
Why would we choose the site with the poorer wind resource, requiring twice as many less efficient turbines with the much higher carbon footprint of the installations, capable of producing only 60-70% of possible output and tying future generations into the higher cost of refurbishment or recommissioning?
If detailed environmental impact assessments do not rule out either site, it does seem rather obvious which way to proceed.
Isle of Man Friends of the Earth
This letter was first published in the Manx Independent of on July 27.
Mr Christian also has a letter on the subject in this week's Isle of Man Examiner, which is on sale now.
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