On a recent walk in the countryside, I unexpectedly passed a small solar farm after walking through a village and along a river. Its presence somewhat struck me because of its proximity to a village and the obvious visual impact. However, it was a positive surprise; I’d rather walk past a solar farm than a coal-fired power station. On another walk, I walked passed a sign opposing the construction of wind turbines.
I wish we saw solar and wind farms more often, but wind farms are often blamed for ruining the landscape and killing birds, and instead of the solar farm, one might say, there could be woods or a meadow. But if energy is not produced near where we live, which is the case for most of us, then the impact is felt somewhere else. In the case of coal, gas and nuclear plants, there is not only the plant that leaves a big environmental footprint, but also the mines and the carbon emissions associated with burning fossil fuels.
It’s easy to ignore the environmental impact of the energy we use as we can see neither the mines, nor the plant, nor the emissions. This is why I think the true beauty of renewable energy lies in what it stands for: Sustainability. Solar and wind are renewable energy sources with a much smaller environmental footprint. The sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow, but when they do, the energy that is produced is clean and less energy will be needed from fossil fuels.
I would like to see where the energy I use comes from to know that it’s produced sustainably. Maybe it would make us more aware of how much energy we use and encourage us to use less, especially on days when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow. With the landscape around us being far from natural, wouldn’t renewable energy sources be a symbol of modern, sustainable lifestyles?
When I see wind turbines, I see giant man-made flowers that produce energy for the people that live around them.
Renewables will play an increasingly important role as we move away from fossil fuels to decarbonise the energy system and so I think that we should stand up for them. Before we oppose, let’s think about the impact non-renewable energy production has on the environment as well as our energy-consuming lifestyles. Adding a solar or wind farm to the landscape will surely have an impact, but do the negatives really outweigh the benefits and how does it compare to the impact that has already been done?