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International Studies S1 Sustainable Development Resource 3: Our rocks and minerals

Wind power good or bad?


Task 1 Just think about it, you can use something that is free and will never run out (unlike fossil fuels) and turn it into electricity Water, sun, wind will always be around. Thats magic! Making energy available in a useful form always costs something, even if we use natural resources. Wind turbines are expensive to build, and need to be strong to resist the weather. Hydroelectric dams are expensive to build and need to be strong to hold back the water they use to make electricity. Biogas requires anaerobic digesters to break down waste. Even solar panels are expensive to install. All of these natural sources can provide energy, but there is a cost involved in creating and maintaining them. Nuclear power stations are very expensive to build to ensure that they are safe and dont leak radiation. Nuclear waste stays radioactive for thousands of years and needs to be stored carefully In rural areas in remote parts of the world, small scale renewable energy is the only option available.

Look at the passage and the cartoon. If you were the fourth person, what might you say? Start, Renewable energy is not free because... Extension Task 1E Read New Wider World, page 104 Answer question Q9, p.110.

Task 2 Case Study-Whitelees Wind Farm

Whitelee Windfarm is the UK's largest onshore wind farm. It is located on Eaglesham Moor just 20 minutes from central Glasgow. The wind farm has 215 turbines which can generate 539MW of electricity, enough to power just under 300,000 homes*. . The wind farm became fully operational in 2009 the wind farm producing clean, green energy. Ten years in the making, Whitelee has been carefully planned and designed to work in harmony with the existing environment and is home to a 25 square kilometer area of habitat management, one of the largest in the UK. Species such as merlin and black grouse can be spotted at Whitelee. Many people believe wind power is essential to having a more sustainable Scotland. Others, however, are very critical of the impact of wind farm on the environment, and dont think they are value for money. Source A Whitelee Wind Farm website Look at the Whitelee Wind Farm and Answer the following questions: (a) What is the difference between an onshore and offshore wind farm? Onshore wind power is a much more proven and cost-effective investment than offshore wind power. (b) How many wind farms are there in Scotland? 70 (c) How many houses can be powered by Whitelee Wind Farm? 300 000

(d) What happens when a. It is too windy? Windmills get put off b. There is not enough wind? Windmills get put off (e) Suggest two ways in which wind farms do not harm the environment. No burning No toxic emissions (f) Do you think wind farms are one way to save our planet? No, you have to chop down trees to build big, ugly wind mills. I prefer the nuclear idea.

Source B-letter from local resident Dear Sir As a local resident, I am writing to complain about the growth of wind farms in Scotland. They are causing some serious problems. Loss of wild land; damage to much loved landscapes - industrialised with turbines, roads, control buildings, pylons and fences; loss of thousands of acres of access land, now ringed with security fences and 'keep out' signs. Human impacts include the loss of attractive scenery which people love to look at; noise nuisance, adverse health effects; tourists wont come to 'wind farm landscapes'; damage to property values; not to mention the protests and arguments they have created in our village. 70% of Scottish wind farms built on peat; huge areas of forest being cut down for turbines, yet forests use up more dangerous CO2 than wind farms save! ; bird habitats over huge areas disrupted; bird and bats are killed from badly sited turbines. They look awful and cost more than they save. I could go on, J Smith Eaglesham

(g) Draw up a table to sum up the main advantages and disadvantages of wind farms

Good No toxic emission No burning

Bad Takes up space ugly Chop down trees to build windmills Nature losing habitat Loss of scenery Adverse health Property values declining