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Tilting at wind turbines

Letters - Irish Times

A chara, – In response to Breandán Ó Mathúna’s letter (May 9th), I would initially say that it is a matter of taste as to whether or not these wind turbines are aesthetically pleasing to one’s eye or a blight upon the landscape.

From a practical point of view, these wind farms are essential if we are to become less dependent on fossil fuels. If they are such an eyesore then move them offshore. We hear constantly about the potential of Ireland’s renewable sources such as wind, wave and tidal, yet are unwilling to develop them either because of collective Nimby syndrome or an outdated and inefficient planning and investigation process. The alternative is to develop the Corrib gas field and similar fields off the south coast and even this, judging by public opinion, is less desirable.

As a PhD student involved in offshore wind farm development, I have seen at first hand the frustrating lack of progress made in this field in comparison to the likes of Scotland, which has led the way in developing offshore renewable energy. Similarly, having lived and studied in Germany for the past six months, I have seen how ubiquitous both onshore and offshore wind turbines are here. Germany (like Ireland) hasn’t a mass reserve of fossil fuels and so is a net importer, yet they have realised the undoubted potential and need for these wind turbines and have embraced them.

In conclusion, I would say Ireland has an immediate choice to make; do we commit to the whole renewable energy concept fully, and by doing so develop a proper, efficient legal process to initiate and stimulate such projects; or do we continue to dodder along, humming and hawing whilst the rest of Europe and indeed the world streaks ahead, leaving us in their wake? Within our universities, colleges and industry we have the expertise, enthusiasm and initiative to do so; it is the policymakers who are holding us back. – Is mise,





Sir, – In his letter, Breandán Ó Mathúna rightly points out the disadvantages of the seemingly inexorable march of wind turbines.

He notes that those driving these projects stand to earn millions, and care nothing about the destruction of the Irish landscape. Furthermore, they care nothing about the need to provide back-up power for those many occasions when the wind doesn’t blow – as, indeed, occurred at breakfast time today, when wind contributed a mere 5 per cent of the demand for electricity.

It hardly needs saying that for every megawatt of installed wind turbine power there must be an equal amount of back-up power, which currently has to be supplied by burning fossil fuel.

Surely this isn’t the solution we want, is it?

The preferable alternative is nuclear power, which is reliable, cheap and safe. – Yours, etc,


Knocksinna Crescent,

Dublin 18.

Posted Date: 
14 May 2012