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As the human-driven greenhouse-effect appears to be a very real threat to our climate, carbon dioxide emissions must be reduced. One option is wind energy.

However, when it comes to blighting the landscape, ''People prefer nuclear waste.''''People living near wind farms are always very positive,'' says Andrew Henderson, who works at the wind energy section of Civil Engineering. ''People on holiday do complain, because they want a pure countryside, but the locals see the business opportunities.''Many Dutch farmers have been subsidised to put these colossal turbines on their land; however, their neighbours suffer from the inconvenience and don't profit financially.Wind-turbines pollute the horizon, their opponents say. And some turbines are one hundred meters tall, so it's true they can't be ignored. Appealing or appalling, it's a question of taste.''Sometimes they're beautiful, these white mills against a grey sky,'' says landscape architect, C.M. Scheepmaker, who was an advisor on a windmill farm near the Afsluitdijk. Form, though, is important. ''Three rotating vales are better looking than two. The lining of the mills can show hidden structures in the landscape, like the coastline, a dike or a sandbar underneath the water's surface,'' muses Scheepmaker. Several environmental organisations question the ecological soundness of wind energy. Does it make up for the harm done to landscapes and birds? Henderson: ''There's no evidence of negative effects on birds in Europe.'' Offshore and on flat lands, the risks are especially small compared to traffic, hunting and power pylons.StuffThe costs of wind energy depend on location. Commercial exploitation has resulted in prices between 11 and 18 cents per kilowatt-hour, while conventional energy costs about 8 cents per kilowatt-hour.'Wind turbine's contributions to the savings on fuel are minimal. The population needs protecting from ecological boasting,' the National Critical Platform Wind Energy Co-operation's website declares.Peter van den Berg, who recently quit his Ph.D in wind energy, claims the Netherlands isn't suitable: ''Holland is crowded. Only boring landscapes can be embellished with mills, otherwise, you blow your scenery. I think people prefer nuclear waste.''Wind energy's yield, onshore at least, is marginal. ''If you stuff Holland with mills, you'll realise 2200 megawatt onshore at most. That'll save 5.5 percent on present electricity use, or 1.2 percent of the total energy use. But I've got great expectations for offshore farms. 5000 megawatts should be possible. Imagine, 2,500 wind turbines!'' Van den Berg exclaims.Shipping lanesBy 2003, the Netherlands hopes to realise a near-shore wind-turbinefarm near Egmond aan Zee. This farm will have 70 turbines, applying 100 megawatts. And several organisations and partnerships between companies and researchers are planning new wind-turbine farms with increasingly larger turbines.To supply each wind-turbine with sufficient wind, a considerable amount of distance is needed between offshore wind-turbines - seven times the rotor diameter, or approximately 70 meters. Such farms, therefore, would have to be located outside of crowded shipping lanes.A further disadvantage is poor access to sea-based wind-turbines, especially in winter, when the sea is rough and turbines can't be reached for repairs. Before offshore wind farms can be successfully exploited, the number of technical and logistical problems must be significantly reduced.Henderson, however, is convinced of wind energy's bright future: ''Wind turbines are valuable, regardless of the serious problems caused by global warming. They're competitive in price now, so they're here to stay.''

As the human-driven greenhouse-effect appears to be a very real threat to our climate, carbon dioxide emissions must be reduced. One option is wind energy. However, when it comes to blighting the landscape, ''People prefer nuclear waste.''''People living near wind farms are always very positive,'' says Andrew Henderson, who works at the wind energy section of Civil Engineering. ''People on holiday do complain, because they want a pure countryside, but the locals see the business opportunities.''Many Dutch farmers have been subsidised to put these colossal turbines on their land; however, their neighbours suffer from the inconvenience and don't profit financially.Wind-turbines pollute the horizon, their opponents say. And some turbines are one hundred meters tall, so it's true they can't be ignored. Appealing or appalling, it's a question of taste.''Sometimes they're beautiful, these white mills against a grey sky,'' says landscape architect, C.M. Scheepmaker, who was an advisor on a windmill farm near the Afsluitdijk. Form, though, is important. ''Three rotating vales are better looking than two. The lining of the mills can show hidden structures in the landscape, like the coastline, a dike or a sandbar underneath the water's surface,'' muses Scheepmaker. Several environmental organisations question the ecological soundness of wind energy. Does it make up for the harm done to landscapes and birds? Henderson: ''There's no evidence of negative effects on birds in Europe.'' Offshore and on flat lands, the risks are especially small compared to traffic, hunting and power pylons.StuffThe costs of wind energy depend on location. Commercial exploitation has resulted in prices between 11 and 18 cents per kilowatt-hour, while conventional energy costs about 8 cents per kilowatt-hour.'Wind turbine's contributions to the savings on fuel are minimal. The population needs protecting from ecological boasting,' the National Critical Platform Wind Energy Co-operation's website declares.Peter van den Berg, who recently quit his Ph.D in wind energy, claims the Netherlands isn't suitable: ''Holland is crowded. Only boring landscapes can be embellished with mills, otherwise, you blow your scenery. I think people prefer nuclear waste.''Wind energy's yield, onshore at least, is marginal. ''If you stuff Holland with mills, you'll realise 2200 megawatt onshore at most. That'll save 5.5 percent on present electricity use, or 1.2 percent of the total energy use. But I've got great expectations for offshore farms. 5000 megawatts should be possible. Imagine, 2,500 wind turbines!'' Van den Berg exclaims.Shipping lanesBy 2003, the Netherlands hopes to realise a near-shore wind-turbinefarm near Egmond aan Zee. This farm will have 70 turbines, applying 100 megawatts. And several organisations and partnerships between companies and researchers are planning new wind-turbine farms with increasingly larger turbines.To supply each wind-turbine with sufficient wind, a considerable amount of distance is needed between offshore wind-turbines - seven times the rotor diameter, or approximately 70 meters. Such farms, therefore, would have to be located outside of crowded shipping lanes.A further disadvantage is poor access to sea-based wind-turbines, especially in winter, when the sea is rough and turbines can't be reached for repairs. Before offshore wind farms can be successfully exploited, the number of technical and logistical problems must be significantly reduced.Henderson, however, is convinced of wind energy's bright future: ''Wind turbines are valuable, regardless of the serious problems caused by global warming. They're competitive in price now, so they're here to stay.''

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