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Lay of the Land: A green wind farm? Come off it, it’s all about making money  

Credit:  Fiona O'Connell | December 05 2021 | www.independent.ie ~~

‘Anger is an energy,” snarled Johnny Rotten, aka Lydon, the London-born son of a father from Tuam, Co Galway and a mother from Carrigrohane, Co Cork. “It really bloody is,” the Sex Pistols punk, who also wrote the angry anthem, recently reflected. “It is possibly the most powerful one liner I’ve ever come up with.”

Though anger is not the only energy, nor the most powerful, judging by a small rural community near this country town who angrily complain that their objections to a proposed wind farm in the area are being silenced and ignored. Claims that the Castlebanny Wind Project is “shrouded in secrecy” aren’t helped by the way it has been deemed a Strategic Infrastructure Development, thereby enabling the developers to bypass the local planning process and preventing protesters from appealing in the usual way.

“There she blows!” seems to be the mantra with this supposedly green, clean energy, with nuclear energy still stigmatised by Chernobyl and the nightmarish notion of nuclear war – something the powers that be seem reluctant to remedy, despite it having near-zero carbon emissions and working well for France and Sweden. This on top of the emperor-wears-no-clothes clincher, as a recent letter to the Sunday Independent pointed out, that wind farms don’t function well here because our wind can go AWOL. There is a place for wind farms – but it’s at sea. A new report from Wind Energy Ireland concluded “the long-term potential of floating wind energy is staggering”, with enough renewable energy off our southern and western coasts to not just meet Ireland’s needs but also majorly contribute to decarbonising Europe’s energy supply.

So why are we entertaining the proposal from a private wind-farm developer, a handful of landowners and state body Coillte – which has commercialised climate change by covering Ireland in predominantly non-native forests that arguably exacerbate carbon emissions as well as devastating biodiversity and quality of life for locals – to wreak even more potentially irreversible havoc, in this case close to a Special Area of Conservation, of which there is only 13pc so designated in this country? Doing so will surely spell the end of the salmon that spawn here, with the run-off from a project so big that it’s been given the same industrial classification as a motorway construction. And I worry too for kingfishers and other wildlife.

What’s green about 21 massive concrete foundations or the service roads that will rip the landscape apart? And the blades and other parts that cannot currently be recycled once they become obsolete? Claims the sub station will go underground instead of involving giant pylons are met with incredulity by one local, who points out: “The river runs fairly obviously in the low ground between the two valleys. Are they proposing to run cabling under the river bed?”

There is talk of employment opportunities, but to me it sounds like little more than using local suppliers during construction. How many jobs in tourism will be lost when visitors are blown away for all the wrong reasons?

Certainly, that small rural community will look very small indeed from the top of structures set to be one-and-a-half times the height of The Spire on Dublin’s O’Connell Street, above which are giant, rotating blades the length of a jumbo jet. Residents worry their water supplies, health and even livelihoods will be adversely affected. But those protesters must look even punier from the perspective of the profits to be made, perhaps best summed up by a nearby resident who says house prices within a 2km radius of the proposed wind farm are projected to fall by 30pc to 40pc, adding, “It is a transfer of wealth.”

That wind farm will produce another more familiar green energy in the form of that sought-after currency called money, which empowers those who possess it to engage in such transactional trade for their benefit. Making them rich enough to spoil themselves Johnny bloody rotten.”

Source:  Fiona O'Connell | December 05 2021 | www.independent.ie

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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