Published: Wednesday 3rd Sep 2014
Written by: Ginnie James
Green Energy – a vast subject and potentially a contentious one! Whatever side of the debate you are on it is difficult to deny the overwhelming scientific evidence that fossil fuels are not going to last for ever. There seems to be a pressing a need to develop effective, yet environmentally friendly, methods of creating energy. Driving through rural Wales, wind turbines are now part of the landscape.
While some people have welcomed them as a necessary step forward there are others still campaigning vigorously against their continued use and development. The issue came very close to home for me recently. I have always quite liked the site of the majestic towers soaring up to the sky, but I must admit that it’s difficult not to be a NIMBY about such matters when plans include a 30 acre substation just a few hundred yards from your house. In the end, a different location was decided upon but the whole consultation process does make you question your priorities.
Another alternative energy source, which has been in in the Welsh news quite a bit lately, comes from solar parks. There are over 15 high power solar schemes in place in Wales already and over another 30 are in development. Many objections are still raised though from local communities, often because due to the amount of land needed (at least 150 acres) developers often have no options apart from greenfield sites.
Both the Welsh and UK governments are keen to hit their renewable energy targets, but at what cost to the local communities involved? Where should an individual’s priorities lie? This is a big issue, with no easy answers, but it cannot be dismissed and solutions will have to be found. The Centre for Alternative Technology, just outside Machynlleth, has long been an advocate for sustainable living – not just through renewable energy but in all aspects of our home and local environment. With over 7 acres of gardens, play areas and hands-on activities, it is a great place to visit for all ages to learn how we may all be able to contribute to creating a greener planet.
A feature of the site that I love is the unique water balance cliff railway up to a lake and stunning views of Mid Wales. Even our historic houses are doing their bit with one particular example being Plas Newydd House on Anglesey. The National Trust are hoping to install a heat pump that will generate it’s energy by amplifying warmth from pipes laid in the water of the Menai Straits. Sounds like a brilliant idea which, in theory, should pay for itself in 15 years.
Let’s hope the technology works and can then be utilised by many all along our coastline whilst retaining its beauty and appeal. Would having a windfarm or solar park nearby, put you off visiting an area? Would you be more likely to stay somewhere with eco-friendly credentials? I would love to know people’s views!