NIMBY, or anywhere else

Britain and its manufacturing workers are dismayed that energy giants like BP and Vestas are giving up on wind power in the U.K. and moving on to bigger and better places like the U.S. and China. David Mackay shines light on why with two strikingly similar maps. One shows areas within 2k of human habitation, which are of course too close for wind farm development. The other shows areas with high wildlife sensitivity, which are or course also not suitable for wind farm development. As he says, "Wind farm development is to be encouraged in all other areas on the map."

And what about offshore?
For Tony Hayward, CEO of BP PLC, the company’s preference for onshore wind is just a question of logistics. An onshore wind farmer can drive up in his 4×4 to fix his turbine if it conks out; if it’s in the middle of the North Sea he’ll need a big boat and crew. And he’ll struggle to find one suitable. “There’s no supply chain to service offshore wind farms,” he told reporters Tuesday.

He also doubts the technology exists to build a wind turbine that would survive for 20 years in the extreme conditions north of the Shetland Isles, Britain’s remotest point. That coming from a company that operates drilling platforms in some of the world’s deepest waters and stormiest seas is a pretty bleak assessment.

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