‘Tis an ill wind?

January 29, 2010

No matter where I wander in recent times I seem to be coming across what can only be called a blight on the landscape. Now.. anybody that knows me will be aware that I like my technology. I like it new, I like it up-to-date and I’m a real fan of the cutting edge. If it’s modern, new, cool… then I have to say I’m a sucker for instant purchase. I am…. a modern technology ad man’s dream!

But, and it’s a big but, I’m becoming really quite worried about one piece of modern technology that is beginning to blight the landscape. I’m getting pretty concerned by the massive growth in wind farms. Yes…. I’m told they are better than oil fired power stations, cleaner than the coal fired varieties and safer than the nuclear option but …boy oh boy are they UGLY! A true blight on the landscape.

Every journey through the Sperrins or anywhere on the coast of Donegal, where the magnificence  of the scenery used to lift the heart, now has the potential to make me wince. Everywhere I look the white stalks of the ugly whirling dervishes pierce the flesh of the mountains. Our fabulous forests now compete for space with these gigantuan man-made monstrosities.

A Wind Farm on the hills of Donegal. (Click for full image.)

Forgive me if this insults the Greenies among my readers, but I have to ask, ” Is it worth it?”

Is destroying a landscape worth the 50 pence worth of electricity that these German manufactured monsters are producing?

Now I see that we are set for a massive hike in the  number and size of these wind farms  – BWEA News – where I’m told:-

“By 2010, across the UK as a whole, the onshore wind industry could generate 50 per cent more electricity than previously predicted, expecting to install 6,000 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity, generating almost 5 per cent of UK electricity supply, avoiding up to 13 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and delivering nearly half of the Government’s 2010 renewable energy target, according to a report published by the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) today (27 March 2006).”

And BWEA goes on to tell me:-

About wind energy in Northern Ireland:

  • There are already 12 wind farms totalling 107 MW generating in Northern Ireland, representing 8 per cent of the UK’s current wind power portfolio, including the newly commissioned 13 MW Callagheen project near Belleck in County Fermanagh.Do we need all of these?
  • New wind farms identified for completion by 2010 will bring Northern Ireland’s total to 543 MW, representing 9 per cent of the UK’s total forecast build by 2010.
  • 543 MW of onshore wind will generate 1.4 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity in an average year, assuming 30 per cent capacity factor as applies across the UK, equivalent to the annual electricity needs of over 300,000 homes.
  • Economic benefits accruing from wind energy development in Northern Ireland by 2020 include £35 million in landowner income and £11 million in payments to local communities
  • A target has been set for 12 per cent of electricity demand to be generated by renewables in Northern Ireland by 2012/13.

Am I the only one who is worried by this build up?

Does anyone else care? Can anyone assure me that, at the very least, we’re destroying some of more spectacular views for a worthwhile cause?

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Food waste- who’s fault is it?

November 2, 2007

I just loved reading this piece by Dennis Winterman on the BBC Website. It’s not very often you food2.jpgread sense anywhere these days but this is one of them! His piece – The lost art of leftovers – explores the wastage of our normal cookery lives. According to Dennis our lost skills in using leftover account for:-

“… 6.7 million tonnes of food we throw away each year. A third of all the food we buy is now thrown into the bin and half of it is still perfectly edible, according to the government’s waste reduction agency, Wrap. You’re throwing away one bag of shopping in three, it says.”

Good grief…. every £90-00 I spend in Tesco’s I’m throwing away £30!! It is startling when you think of it that way.

Dennis goes on to argue that:-

  • we’re basically all too lazy to use up leftover food and prefer just to chuck it;
  • we really don’t know how to shop for food – we just throw anything in the trolley and don’t have a plan;
  • domestic science should have been extended to into boys’ education instead of being virtually eradicated from the school timetable;

It’s pretty hard to disagree with all of this. He goes on to say:-

“This wanton wastage is not only costing us money – up to £400 a year – but is hurting the environment: the methane released by decomposing food in landfills is the most potent of greenhouse gases. Cutting it out would be the same as taking one fifth of cars off the road, says Wrap.”

I now feel throughly chastised for my extremely lazy attitude to using up those leftovers and intend to discover what to do with the 2 potatoes, 6 pieces of carrot and three marrowfat peas left after to-night’s night’s dinner.

I’ll let you know if I find a recipe that is edible…. in the meantime if you come up with any ideas don’t be afraid to append them below.

***Check out the WRAP website and their campaign Love Food Hate Waste. ****


Where have all the trolleys gone?

October 16, 2007

Where have all the trolleys gone? Sounds like the beginning of a good song, doesn’t it? (“Ah whemmmm [clears throat] “Where have all the trolleys gone, long time passing. Where have all the trolleys gone, Long time ago…etc etc )

The trolleys in question are of course the very useful and utterly annoying supermarket variety. Useful at the supermarket when the alternative is to hump piles of stuff around in your arms on the weekly forage through Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda or whatever your local shopping emporium happens to be. Utterly annoying when you get one that doesn’t work. What’s the choice here…. traipse back to the trolley park wrestling with 30lbs of uncooperative metal or abandon the darned thing in an aisle leaving your £1 coin for the first brave soul who wants to dance with the devil? On balance – and I’m not usually accused of balance(!!) – I hate the things!

But in their right place and when looked after properly I have to admit that they are useful. Now where I really get angry about these things is in situations like this:-

trolley_line.jpg trolley_line2.jpg

A Talkni staff photographer took this image along the banks of the beautiful River Foyle today.

‘Nuff said…… “Tesco, hi,…we’ve found one of your lost trolleys. Care to collect it?”