The development of alternative energy sources with particular reference to wind farms

Midgley, Keith H (2009). The development of alternative energy sources with particular reference to wind farms. PhD thesis The Open University.



Numerous study groups and government white papers have concluded that a mixture of energy sources, including gas, clean-coal, alternative energy and possibly nuclear, will be required to meet future energy needs. Foremost amongst alternative energy sources is wind power, seen by the government as a cheap, carbon dioxide free energy source and one which has a history of successful development in Denmark and Germany. Wind power is currently the most developed renewable in the UK and because of its geographical position, Wales has been at the forefront of several new wind developments. This thesis outlines some of the stages in implementing a major wind farm development in Wales and how there is a correlation with developments in Denmark. It examines the challenges facing energy companies during the planning stage; foremost amongst these, the fact that some of the most favourable sites for wind penetration in the UK also coincide with a number of environmentally sensitive and protected areas and whether in the future, major new developments will be sited offshore.

Other challenges include the need to gain public approval for this form of alternative energy, through opinion polls, positive media coverage and most importantly a greater willingness by energy companies to engage the public in a sensible debate about the benefits of wind energy. It looks at, in some detail, the more recent concerns being expressed over the intermittency of the wind resource and at more specific issues including local objections to visual intrusion in scenic areas and the well publicised promises for job creation. It examines the opposition to wind farm developments being mounted by well informed groups who question the viability of this form of alternative energy to play a significant part in the UK’s future energy needs. In conclusion, it maintains that wind power, in the form of offshore wind farms, will complement other more traditional forms of energy sources, providing the case for wind power is not overstated.

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