Longford Leader columnist Mattie Fox: Modern wind turbines don't make very much noise at all
Speaking of wind, and storm Ophelia, we are reminded very much of that topic of the moment, wind energy.
If we care about our emission targets - and we should - under EU rules to which we are signatories, we must consider our reliance on electricity very carefully.
The fact that politicians don’t care enough is obvious, otherwise they wouldn’t allow half the stuff that goes as ‘policy’.
Nonetheless, emission targets are important, if we want to preserve any modicum of decent reality for our children.
Having seen acres and acres of solar panels on TV recently, I would definitely prefer the sight of windmills any day.
I have driven past the wind farm on the Moycullen to Spiddal road, in Connemara, many times, and just recently perhaps because the subject is so topical, I stopped the car.
Got out to see and hear for myself what people might find objectionable, given all the frenzied discourse that goes on about turbines.
I’ve heard one man say that they’d keep him awake all night.
I walked the half mile or so, until I came close to the turbines.
There were over thirty of them in the field along the road, so that should have made a hell of a sound.
The turbines were turning gracefully, with a mere purr.
Okay, old ones are terrible - constructed and installed by cheap means - but modern proper turbines don’t make very much noise at all.
Yes, I could hear them, given their number and scale. These things were maybe 100 foot high, towering over all.
But I really couldn’t understand how anyone could be kept awake at night, providing the turbines are of modern build and design.
In Ireland we tend to look at how cheap machinery can be acquired, instead of asking about the quality.
A suit bought for €200 will look well for a short time, then begin to look shabby. Whereas one bought for, say €800, will look smart and elegant for years.
There are dozens of wind turbines along the Moycullen/Spiddal road.
Majestic, graceful structures on both sides of the road in this area - the nearest being at least a field away.
On each day I passed, most were actively spinning steadily, but we had to listen carefully to hear any sound.
It was no louder than a gentle breeze blowing through the trees.
It’s much louder here in Ballinalee today, Monday October 16, as the storm grows.
I respectfully acknowledge that there may be other reasons for the objections that I am unaware of.
But, visually, they outshine many allegedly artistic endeavours we encounter today along our motorways!
The only other alternative we appear to have is solar energy.
Having seen acres and acres of grassland covered with solar panels on TV, this would turn our green isle, but, as the reporter was anxious to point out, sheep could easily graze underneath them!
From what I can gather, barren land is being used mostly for wind farms, and therefore would not infringe on good farmland.
Seeing them pop up here and there in Ireland is giving us food for thought, and who knows, the next children’s book. Standing guard on our coast and peeping over mountains in Kerry and waving at us as we pass.
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