Do Wind Turbines Need to be Aesthetically Pleasing?
Here is a tale of two turbines.
One is utilitarian—maximizing efficiency while scaling back style. The other is a work of art masquerading as an energy source. In the end, they ultimately serve the same purpose—or do they?
The first turbine is a project of French energy giant EDF. The squat new turbines have several blades, are smaller, and supposedly less obtrusive than traditional turbines. However, to quote The Telegraph, to move toward this style of turbine would mean “wind turbines [would] take a turn for the uglier.”
The prototype turbines (left) and traditional turbines (right).
The turbines are set to go into a new farm at Fos-sur-Mer on the Mediterranean cost, close to Marseilles and will consist of 13 turbines. The 26 MW farm has the potential to power 60,000 homes and is set to begin operations in 2016.
Many are unhappy with the turbine, though, as it was developed with funds from the European Commission.
“Getting value for money has never been a strong suit for the European Commission, but it seems now they are happy to throw taxpayers’ cash around like straws in the wind,” Conservative MP Christ Heaton Harris said.
Harris is not alone is his distaste for wind.
The U.S.’ first offshore wind farm, Cape Wind, was delayed for 13 years because it was thought it ruin the view.
The answer to this, to some degree, is the Windwaker project in Copenhagen, Denmark. The project is an art installation that uses sail-like wind turbines to power 90 homes.
The turbines are supposed to represent Copehagen's history as a port city.
“The project tries to encourage people to realize how urban elements can generate energy, while they can also add other features to the city,” Miguel Angel López, one of the project’s designers, said. “Besides lightning in the night, and a panorama view from the Little Mermaid, the sails create semi closed spaces inside the park ... The idea was to create a new type of energy installation kinder in its relation to our culture and our customs and capable of generating points of interest wherever it is placed.”
So, does it matter what wind turbines look like, or is that straying away from the true purpose of the turbines?
Let us know what you think in the comments.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.