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Wind farming on the Isle of Man
Wind Farms

Good news is hard to find if you are one of a growing number of people who are becoming concerned about the state of the environment.

Love them or hate them, wind farms are emerging as one of the most advanced and affordable ways of creating low-carbon energy.

Could they be the renewable energy future for the Isle of Man?

Not everybody would welcome a wind farm but most would welcome forward-thinking action from the Isle of Man Government.

A UN panel of scientists and over 160 governments agree that the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) is causing our climate to change dramatically.

It's very black and white. You either like wind turbines or you hate them. If you hate them, very little can persuade you otherwise
George Fincher

Last year the UK Government predicted that global warming will expose many millions more people to the risks of hunger, drought, flooding and diseases like malaria, and produce irreversible losses of species.

So far, fossil fuels have met the world's demand for energy because they pack millions of years of the sun's energy into a compact form, but experts predict that it is unlikely we will find their like again.

There is a commonly held belief that the world's oil supply will last until about 2040, although some believe this date to be hugely optimistic.

As we approach what experts call "Peak Oil", harnessing the natural power of wind is thought to be an important weapon in the fight against the onset of global warming.

Wind Farms
In the UK there are around 208 on and off-shore wind farms

There are currently around 208 on and off-shore wind farms in the United Kingdom consisting of a total of 2386 turbines.

With this in mind you may ask why the Isle of Man Government is not yet jumping on the band wagon and getting to grips with wind turbines.

George Fincher from the Manx Energy Advice Centre says wind farm enthusiasts are waiting in limbo until the official word comes from Tynwald.

"It's very black and white. You either like wind turbines or you hate them. If you hate them, very little can persuade you otherwise.

"At the end of the day, the Government controls planning so if no decision has been made by the people in power, no progress can be made - all community wind farm initiatives will ultimately be either blocked by the Council of Ministers or appealed by a group of objectors.

"An appeal process would be presided over by Government officials so without support and commitment from those officials there is, of course, no way forward for wind farms on the Isle of Man.

"People who object to wind farms use all sorts of arguments but there's only one real reason and that is visual. You sometimes get noise brought up as an issue but that is invariably because people haven't researched the facts. Noise isn't an issue with a modern wind turbine.

"It's very black and white. You either like wind turbines or you hate them. If you hate them very little can persuade you otherwise.

"There have been a lot of surveys done and you can see that before a wind turbine has been built around 50% of people are in favour of them and 50% of people are against. But after a turbine has been up and running for a couple of years the amount of people in favour goes up to about 80%.

"It's about getting used to something new. We have all got used to electricity pylons. No one ever complains about them.

Previous objections to wind farms include concerns about the effect on the landscape, noise pollution and the possibility of interference to television reception.

Others argue that wind turbines present a threat to wildlife not to mention the affect they could have on the value of housing in the area.

The Isle of Man Government says it views renewable energy, particularly wind power as a key component in its 3 key energy policy aims for the future.

This aims, the Government says are "maintaining the security of the Isle of Man's energy supply, securing the efficient use of affordable energy and minimising the impact of our energy use on the environment."

An Energy Policy Working Group is currently looking at different forms of renewable energy and will advise the Government once the relevant economic and social information has been compiled.

Chairman of the group is the Director of Environment, Safety and Health, Martin Hall. He says the Energy Policy Working Group is "focusing principally upon wind energy as the most mature and affordable technology.

"In addition to these studies my Group has interviewed a number of interested private sector companies with a view to establishing a wind farm on the Island.

"The results of these interviews were very encouraging and I am hopeful that when we have established our policy and targets we will be in a position to commission our first wind farm."

Off-shore wind farm plans on show
03 Mar 10 |  Isle of Man
Island wind farm 'a viable plan'
17 Apr 09 |  Isle of Man

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