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Wind of Change?

Agosto 2006
Il Regno Unito è uno dei Paesi più ventosi d’Europa, con una energia eolica potenzialmente in grado di coprire tre volte il fabbisogno di elettricità del Paese. Ma per qualcuno le turbine eoliche sono un problema estetico.

di Julian Earwaker

File audio:

A wind farm
A wind farm

Speaker: Mark Worden (Standard British accent)

The whole world is worried about energy. Oil supplies are limited and prices are high. Gas and electricity costs are soaring. In the search for cheaper, renewable power, Britain has one big advantage: the weather. Most people think that the British climate is terrible; too much rain, too little sunshine. But it’s another aspect of the weather that is important: the wind.  Britain is actually the windiest country in Europe, which is good news for the supply of green energy, says Milan-born Germana Canzi, head of climate policy with the campaign organisation Friends of the Earth in London:

Germana Canzi (Standard American/very mild Italian accent):

Well, there’s a very large potential. There are countries like Denmark, for example, that have around 20 per cent of their electricity supplied by wind power, and in this country we only have... we have less than two per cent. And we are a lot windier than Denmark, so the potential is really huge. Now, of course, if you have a lot of wind power on the system, you also need to have other types of renewable energy and other types of generation, in order to compensate for the fact that the wind will be blowing in certain parts of the day, but not in others.

the landscape factor

A recent report by the Environmental Change Institute in Oxford shows that the wind is blowing somewhere in the UK every single day. This means that wind power can generate energy all year round if wind farms are situated in the right places across the country. In the past, windmills were used in agriculture for pumping water and grinding flour. Today’s wind farms consist of a number of giant wind turbines, each with three propellers. These modern, hi-tech windmills generate huge amounts of electricity.
Not everyone finds wind turbines attractive, however. Opponents claim that they are ugly, noisy and affect wildlife. But wind farms are certainly less noisy and dangerous to animals than roads, and more environmentally friendly than nuclear, coal or gas power stations. A wind farm can be erected and dismantled without any lasting impact on the landscape. This is probably why only three per cent of the UK public actually opposes the building of onshore wind farms. 90 per cent supports the use of renewable energy. Still, not everyone wants a wind turbine in their back garden:

Germana Canzi:

Well, I think it’s an understandable concern. I think people want to see pristine landscapes. So, of course, we cannot dismiss these concerns. But, at the same time, people should understand that we have to produce our electricity, and we have to have industrial development – we... we will always have it and we’ve always had it. Wind power actually happens to be one of the forms of generation that is the cleanest; it doesn’t produce any pollution, for example. So, would you rather have a coal-fire power station next to your home, or would you rather have a wind farm? I would definitely rather have a wind farm.


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Glossary

oil supplies - scorte di petrolio.

are soaring - stanno salendo alle stelle.

actually - in realtà.

huge - enorme.

wind farms - centrali eoliche.

windmills - mulini a vento.

grinding flour - macinare farina.

ugly, noisy and affect wildlife - brutte, rumorose e disturbano la fauna selvatica.

onshore - sulla terraferma.

understandable concern - preoccupazione comprensibile.

pristine landscapes - panorami incontaminati.

dismiss - liquidare.

pollution - inquinamento.

coal-fired power station - centrale elettrica a carbone.