1990’s - Wind Turbines

Pollution, global warming, the eventual exhaustion of our reserves of fossil fuel, the fear of nuclear catastrophe - all have given impetus to the search for alternative, renewable sources of energy. Research is being conducted into wave power, solar radiation, even energy derived from waste products or the hot rocks below the Earth's surface. In one of the most promising schemes, power is drawn from the wind by the use of special turbines. As the air flows over its blades, it exerts a turning force on the rotor assembly which can be used to drive a generator. Individual wind turbines of considerable power have been developed but harnessing enough power for energy production on a significant scale calls for a number of turbines to be grouped together in a wind farm, j Is the wind farm's visual intrusion | on the landscape a price worth paying to obtain 'clean' power?

Supplying our energy needs has in itself created one of the nation's biggest industries. But our lavish use of fossil fuels has affected the environment - acid rain, for instance, is the last link in a chain that has been traced back to our coal-fired power stations. This has led scientists to search for non-polluting and renewable sources of energy. Wind power is one alternative that has been given particular attention. On current projections it could only provide 5-10% of our total requirements, but that is still an awful lot of power. This wind-driven generator is one of ten that have been installed at Britain's first commercial wind farm, a 140-acre site on a high ridge above the north coast of Cornwall, between Delabole and Camelford. A unit on this scale could produce enough electricity to meet the annual needs of 3,000 households. This would save the equivalent of over 2,000 tonnes of oil per year. To make the same amount of electricity, a coal-fired power station would exude 75 tonnes of sulphur dioxide, 50 tonnes of nitrogen oxide and 12,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. The environmental benefits extend to the visual aspects — not something that has always been an over-riding concern for industries in the past. Though it is visible over some distance, the wind farm needs no access roads, and all cables are buried underground, feeding a local sub-station. Sited with care, the clean, graceful lines of the wind turbines can actually enhance the landscape - much as the slow-turning sails of the old-fashioned windmill have become a traditional feature of the countryside, lovingly preserved for posterity.

1990’s - Nuclear Power Station

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