Our latest challenge is a wind farm proposal and it’s in our backyard.
the grid fails? Wouldn’t that need local storage, presumably in hydro form? Again, is solar better, given that people can buy their own, no company, no shareholding required?
Is there a case for grasping every ‘renewable’ regardless of what it is, due to the urgency of the situation? Most of us agree that the sooner we go allrenewable, the better. You can argue that wind turbines and solar panels are constructed of, by, and with fossil fuels, and you’d be right. But we have to start somewhere, which means using what we’ve got to get what we haven’t. When we get to thinking in terms of using fossil fuels to manufacture their replacement and to realising how late in the game we are, maybe we should just go full steam ahead (pun intended!) with everything we can, everywhere we can. Including wind turbines, here in our backyard.
My concerns are not really Nimby ones though. They’re more about whether this plan is part of the best way forward, but that wasn’t the case when some worried folk called a local meeting. A hand-out on every seat listed every possible downside, plus the usual complaints about not enough consultation, that the proposal will kill birds, impact tourism, all that stuff.
We’d gone along to get informed but I suspect we were in the minority. I sat there
A repeated comment was that ‘this is difficult country, even the local farmers have trouble with it’, the rationale being that the construction of turbine foundations might lead to landslides or similar. Those farms produce meat, using fossil fuels, on tricky, slip-prone country so you could ask the dispassionate question, which is the worse land-use?
Then there were the comments that ‘if Tiwai Smelter closes down, there will be more than enough renewable energy’ and that’s worthy of deeper thought. Yes, in theory we could run the entire nation on electric cars (excluding manufacture of cars and batteries) with what Tiwai uses, roughly speaking. That doesn’t take account of heavy transport, tractors, or the other displacement demands that would be loaded onto the grid if fossil fuels became unobtainable, whatever the reason.
I came away with a heavy heart. I don’t like seeing a community divided. After a lot of equivocation, I made a qualifiedsupport submission (see page 55) along the lines of what you’ve read so far.
If we are going where I think we are, things are going to become more local. That includes energy and food production, infrastructure maintenance, and dealing with our pollution. Nimbyism – however understandable – isn’t tolerant enough to co-exist with localism as it needs the part called ‘away’. It will be interesting to see how our attitudes change when the pressure comes on.