Windmills have been used for centuries to pump water out of the lowlands, but The Netherlands is conflicted over the installation of gleaming, new 650-foot monsters along shorelines that formerly were dominated by picturesque, wooden, four-bladed versions.
They’re noisy, opponents say, and will disrupt the tranquil panorama. Birds will be traumatized, fishing will be endangered and tourism will dwindle.
Last year, nearly 10,000 megawatts of wind power was installed across the European Union, making a total of 84,000 megawatts, or 10 percent, of the EU’s power wind-generated.
Wind is still more expensive than the coal that provides most of Nebraska’s power, and wind turbines would have to occupy a large fraction of the state before they could begin to replace other sources of power generation.
As a pathway for migration, specifically whooping cranes, Nebraska’s potential for inflicting injury and death on birds is a serious consideration, as is the prospect of changing prairie vistas.
Planners need to make sure, as we gear up for more wind power, to take aesthetic and environmental issues into account in advance.
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