There has been some discussion at Belstead allotments in Ipswich about the nearby development of a number of wind turbines which are being proposed at Thorington Park, just the other side of the A14. This has been brought about by the emergence of a counter-campaign called Stop Ipswich Turbines.
The planning process has been going on for years and I cannot find much evidence of anything exciting happening any time soon. Regardless, it has been interesting having people ask me about my opinions on renewable energy rather than the other way around!
I thoroughly recommend that anyone who is interested arms themselves with knowledge before they enter into a debate about whether these turbines should or should not be built. Professor David Mackay wrote a superb book called Sustainable Energy Without The Hot Air. He demonstrates that if we want to continue using as much energy as we do now then we have to accept some significant changes. Fossil fuels (oil, coal, gas) will run out one day.
The three turbines are projected to generate 16.5GWh of electricity a year. That’s equivalent to over 8,500 domestic solar PV installations (generating 2,000kWh a year each). I reckon the whole of Ipswich uses in the order of 195GWh a year; 130,000 residents using on average 1,500kWh a year. That’s less than 10% of the required energy!
We need these turbines. We really need three times as many. We need towering pylons reaching out to offshore wind farms. We need lots of homes covered in solar PV panels. Dare I say we will then still need to get energy from a waste incinerator, from Sizewell and from fracking gas under the Suffolk countryside. Even with all that we will still need to import some gas and oil from other countries, making political deals with shady characters in the Middle East and Russia.
Most importantly, we need to use less energy. I recommend getting an energy monitor to better understand your usage. You will see which appliances are using most energy and decide whether they can be replaced.
I say let us embrace the turbines. As people drive along the A14 they will see the great white blades serenely cutting through the sky. They will become a monument to the progressive minds of Ipswich, using new technology to power our digital society, reducing pollution and leading the way to a brighter, cleaner future for our children.
If you disagree then what is your proposal for generating this 19.5GWh of electricity as cheaply? I don’t think there is value in a debate unless you can suggest an alternative.
I’d love to hear your comments. Lets discuss this and see if we can work out a plan to please everyone.
Those lovely folks at Ipswich Quakers are putting on a jam packed day of green goodness on Saturday 23rd of July from 10am to 5pm. See the Suffolk Quakers website for more details.
The weather forecast predicts the first frost of the winter midweek. It is the last weekend to harvest any tender crops, so we went to gather all of the courgettes, marrows, butternuts, pumpkins, patty pans and whatever other hybrids of squash we grew. Beautiful.