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Wind power has been around for a long time. Our ancestors used wind power to sail their boats around the world. Wind power has been used to pump water and power machines for thousands of years.

Before the use of steam power in the 18th century, the United Kingdom had more than 10,000 windmills that were used in energy production. This number fell to almost zero in the 20th century. They now have about 3,800 and rising fast.

Wind is probably the one clean energy source that comes under fire for a reason that has nothing to do with clean energy. It has everything to do with their looks.

Some folks love the look of the wind turbines. Some folks have a problem with them. Have you wondered why people are happy to live alongside thousands of kilometres of telegraph poles and wires crisscrossing the suburbs and countryside? We get emotional about the location of wind towers. Humans are not rational creatures.

Sunset and wind turbinesIt tends to be very windy on coastal areas and the last thing that you may want is a 100-metre wind tower hovering over your dream coastal cottage. Daryl Kerrigan (in the classic Australian movie The Castle, 1997) holidayed under the power lines at Bonnie Doon. He marveled at them and loved them. They reminded him of man’s ability to produce electricity.

On the other hand, you may be a farmer with land in a windy part of the country who is very happy to take money from some bloke who wants to lease a few acres for wind farming – you can almost hear the farmers giggling from here (well they would be if it weren’t for the droughts, floods and bad prices).

Given that there’s lots of wind, it’s surprising that we haven’t made the most of this cheap and easy energy source. It seems there is a lot of hot winded debate around Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) when it comes to wind farms and the potential benefits

Wind is not constant, but it is always blowing somewhere. If the turbines are spread far enough, they can capture the wind energy and put it into the grid. Wind alone will not solve our energy needs, but it is a part of the solution.