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Monday, 6 August, 2001, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
Wind farms: Hot air or way ahead?
turbine
Turbines will be built five miles off the Welsh coast
Energy supplier npower and Greenpeace have announced plans to build the UK's first offshore wind farm off the north Wales coast.

Fives miles off Rhyl, the 60m development's 30 giant wind turbines will stand 70 metres tall.

The alliance says the Juice project will generate enough electricity for 50,000 homes by 2003.

They claim to be a pioneering "clean" electricity product to help tackle global warming.

But is a wind farm in the water the best way to ease the burden on the ecosystem? Will the Rhyl project become a blot on the north Wales seascape, or is this a vital and revolutionary leap forward?

This debate is now closed. Read your comments below:

Regarding Mark Newdick's point about energy used in manufacture of wind turbines - If you do the sums, it turns out that a typical UK wind farm will pay back the energy used in its manufacture over 3 to 5 months. Over its lifetime a wind farm will generate 30 times the energy used in its manufacture.
Magnus, UK

Conventional energy will be required to build this power station, servicing will also be required from conventionally powered auxiliary and ancillary machinery. How far in the future will it be before clean power generation, overtakes the conventional power consumed in building and running this plant. It is to early to say if this will really be an ecologically friendly form of power generation
Dave O'Neill, England


If you do the sums, it turns out that a typical UK wind farm will pay back the energy used in its manufacture over 3 to 5 months. Over its lifetime a wind farm will generate 30 times the energy used in its manufacture

Magnus, UK

To make a modern windmill, I need to manufacture it. That takes an enormous amount of energy ... from bulldozers to dig the ore out of the ground, to the smelters, to the mills, to the trucks that transport everything, to the people who have to commute to (and live in houses) to build and maintain it. Like solar energy cells, it is doubtful that one single unit will ever generate the amount of energy it took to manufacture it in the first place! This is one of those "good ideas" that really has no merit when examined closer!
Mark M. Newdick, US/UK

By all means put wind farms out to sea but over the horizon and well away from recognised shipping lanes.
Bryan Gibson, UK

Having just returned from Denmark where wind turbines are everywhere, I am firmly of the opinion that this has to be the way ahead. They have a certain grace - even lots of them together - unlike a power station, and if the world is serious about safer, renewable energy, then lets have more of them! If I had the space, I'd have one in my back garden!
Rob, England

Wind farms wherever they are have to be by far the best option for long term energy for this overcrowded island.
Judith Atkins, Wales


By all means put wind farms out to sea but over the horizon and well away from recognised shipping lanes

Bryan Gibson, UK

Great idea and about time. We're way behind other European countries - Germany has thousands of the things everywhere in it's Eastern region - it's like looking at rolling hills with electricity pylons - your brain filters out the pylons to leave the beauty. Given that we're rather windy it's great. Where can I buy some shares?
Alex Banks, UK, living in France

Clean, cost-saving, practical - and one of the few things in the world immune to a computer virus. Bravo!
Robert del Valle, USA

Put up turbines all along the centre of motorways and railway tracks, then we'll have enough environmentally friendly power for the entire country's transport system. After all motorways and railways are already a big enough blot on the landscape and already noisy, too, so the turbines wouldn't do any more harm, even a bit of good, what? Remember, 25% of Denmark's power already comes from wind turbines!
Steve, Netherlands

An energy company willing to take a leap of faith that the way forward must be renewable energy. I, for one, will be changing over to this company to demonstrate my approval. Anyone with an environmental conscience would be wise to show solidarity and reward this forward thinking.
Nicola Whelan,
Wales

A wind farm in the ocean would be an ugly thing to see. Do not blot the seascape with this, or put it far enough out to sea to not be seen.
Stan Piatek,
USA

The fact of the matter is this should have been done a long time ago. I'm surprised it took so long to come up with the idea. Why will it take two years to do? Dont they think they are a little bit behind? I can't believe people are concerned about the way they look! That is the most stupid thing I have ever heard.
Dean Smart,
UK


A wind farm in the ocean would be an ugly thing to see. Do not blot the seascape with this, or put it far enough out to sea to not be seen.

Stan Piatek, USA
It's about time these protestors stopped their "not in my back yard" mentality. The wind farms eventually will remove uglier, more pollution-causing power stations that many others have had to live beside. At least the power stations they live next to will be safe, almost silent and, in my opinion, quite beautiful to observe. Natural energy - such as the sea, sun and wind - is the way forward. The alternative future is one filled with fossil fuel-burning monstrosities and potentially unsafe nuclear plants.
Bruce Biddulph,
Scotland

Surely a little noise and the sight of windmills is much more appealing than health problems, ugly concrete chimneys and thick black smoke. Also the knowledge that it is much more beneficial should be enough.
Vicky,
UK

I think it's excellent. We have a farm on Anglesey and if we had suitable land we'd have them here as well. I think the more of these developments we have the better.
Mary Gaunt,
Anglesey

This is a wicked idea. No debris or anything to impair the environment and will make life safer for my children.
Derek Chapman,
Trawscoed


We would rather live next door to a windmill than a nuclear power station

Janet Davies, Flintshire
I live in Denbighshire - 450ft above sea level - and I don't think other people realise how awful it is to have these wind farms looming above us. I am on the Committee for the Protection of Rural Wales and we do not need these developments.
Mrs Thorburne,
Denbighshire

I think that the wind turbines would be great for Wales because the turbines would put us on the map - not many countries have wind turbines in the water. They shouldn't put anybody off Wales because they are so far out in the sea and people or tourists will hardly be able to see the them.
Jack Rees

My husband and I agree that we would rather live next door to a windmill than a nuclear power station. Our opinion of the windmills at Rhyl - why has it not been done sooner?
Janet Davies,
Flintshire


People don't realise how awful it is to have these wind farms looming above us

Mrs Thorburne, Denbighshure
Offshore wind farms will have some visual impact, but so do nuclear power stations such as Wylfa which is situated in the middle of 16 miles of heritage coast, and the decommissioned reactor buildings may well be around for up to 100 years after they close.
Neil Crumpton,
Friends Of the Earth Cymru

The economic benefits of developing the technologies in Wales are enormous, and the number of jobs that could be created are significant. For landowners wishing to get out of farming or supplement their farming income, on-shore wind farms are an attractive option.
Morgan Parry,
Head, WWF Cymru

See also:

01 Aug 01 | Wales
New wind energy plans revealed
16 Nov 00 | Scotland
Making waves to generate cash
13 Nov 00 | Europe
Exploiting wind power in Holland
01 Aug 01 | Scotland
Plans unveiled for massive windfarm
10 Jul 01 | Wales
Wind farm plans scrapped
02 Jul 01 | Sci/Tech
Europe discusses wind power
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