Vital Questions for Our Energy Future
From Planet 214
Kelvin Mason argues that to go beyond frustratingly polarised disputes over windfarms we need to look at broader questions about landscape, corporate power and justice.
People feel as though these large and imposing structures suddenly appeared on the landscape and they represent this sense of disengagement with the decision making process ... These structures reminded people of these feelings, feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness to change the conditions that affect their everyday lives.
(Greg Dash, in an Aberystwyth University study on attitudes towards windfarms)
Are you for or against windfarms? Given the controversy surrounding windfarms in Wales, and indeed the UK, I’m guessing most readers had a ready answer. It would be interesting to know how many people, although perhaps quite well informed on the issue, responded uncertainly: ‘I’m not sure.’ Even more interesting would be to know how many gave a contingent answer: ‘It depends.’ Having researched windfarm development in Wales over a number of years, that would be my own response: it depends on whether all relevant voices are heard – and heeded – in decision-making processes, and on how such processes are constituted. It depends on where the windfarm is proposed. It depends on who benefits, on who owns the windfarm, the power and any profits generated. And, on another level, it depends on whether as a society we’ve had conversations about how we value landscape, wind, energy and, ultimately, the lives of others. Are these fit subjects for the market domain?