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article imageOp-Ed: Tragedy & Hope — A massive oil slick, and massive wind generators

By Alexander Baron     Aug 15, 2011 in Environment
As Shell confirms a massive oil spill in the North Sea, an equally massive windfarm is launched from a Belfast shipyward to generate clean, renewable energy for Britain.
Yesterday, after being typically coy about an oil spill from their Gannet Alpha platform in the North Sea, the oil company Shell finally admitted to its true extent. More than 200 tons of crude oil have been pumped into the water 112 miles east of Aberdeen, and this at a time when young sea birds are particularly vulnerable. Although the spill is now said to be “under control” and is only a fraction of the size of the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, at the end of the day, this is cold comfort to both puffins and people.
At the same time as Shell were owning up to their folly – our folly – something far more edifying was happening on the other side of the north coast. Indeed, this project is simply awesome; a wind farm that was started as recently as May of last year was being assembled on the quayside at the Belfast shipyard of Harland & Wolff. At around 100 metres in height, the towers of the wind turbines are taller than Big Ben; there are thirty of them, and they will have a total output of up to 150 Megawatts. The project has been expensive, but once installed, the generators will require little maintenance, and what is the worse that can happen if they fail?
This is the future, not just for Britain, but for world energy generation per se. If every country in the world were to develop wind, wave and solar power – something that is more than feasible – we could reduce our dependence on fossil fuels to a fraction of today’s consumption within a decade, and all the geo-political turmoil that is associated with them.
Video Link: Oil Spill
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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