Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Letters / Will it help the planet?

We are led to believe that the Viking Energy wind farm is being built as an environmentally friendly alternative for the production of electricity.

However, when you consider the production of carbon involved in the construction phase presently taking place in the changing Shetland landscape plus the amount of carbon that have been used in the production of the windmills themselves, it is possible that those promoting the development may have got their figures wrong.

The environmental cost of the wind farm’s construction may be higher than any possible environmental gain that can be achieved in the short lifespan of the windmills.

Twenty-five years is said to be the life term of a windmill, after that time it has to be replaced. How much of it can be recycled at that point is debatable; at present we are told that there is no way to recycle the blades. They are cut up and put into landfill; which I would think is not particularly environmentally friendly.

Out of sight, out of mind may be the attitude applied here, which is probably where windmills at sea have an advantage.

At the end of the windmills’ life companies can possibly conduct a burial at sea, as this might be perceived to be a more carbon friendly option than transporting it all back to shore for burial in landfill. This might also appease the land based environmental campaigners.

The positive side is that the investors will make profits from government grants provided for the production and selling of the environmentally friendly electricity.

But the downside is that it would leave a debris strewn seabed for the fishing industry to avoid for decades to come.

I am just not quite convinced that the environmental destruction involved in the construction and decommissioning of wind farms will help to save the planet.

William Polson