Local Heart, Global Soul

March 9, 2019

The Answer My Friend, Is Blowing In The Wind…

Filed under: LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS,Windmills — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Netherlands is trying to become completely independent from all imported gas for heating, cooking etc. from approximately 2025-2030.

With these dates looming fast, a lot of investment is being made in green alternatives.

Wind and solar are the “big two” of course, with heavy investment into R & D for other possibilities like wave technology close behind.

With the coastal areas averaging 360 windy days per year, it’s no surprise why windmills have been such a success throughout Dutch history.

Large modern wind turbines dotted around the landscape, and even bigger wind farms in the North Sea supply more and more of the countries energy, but there are some smaller wind generation alternatives around too.

This variety of small wind turbine looks perfect for a “local” solution, and personally I’d love one of these on our house, the only downside is that I am not sure how much noise these make and if they therefore would be suitable in a residential area.

The noise of just one single unit, might not be a problem, but if they were especially successful and several sets of neighbours wanted one too, then a string of them in each street might have a cumulative noise effect that may well become a contentious neighbourhood problem. The one I sighted here looks like it’s on a commercial property, so less noise concerns there.

We are totally into the idea of generating our own green electricity, Himself and I are going to be insulating our roof in the next months and afterwards, as much area of the roof as possible will be covered with solar panels.

The cost difference these days is amazing: we bought three solar panels around 15 years ago and they set us back around 10, possibly 11.000,– Euro, Now we can get 25 solar panels for 5.000,– Euro ! Both cases are without subsidy, but in the latest set, we hope to fight a bit harder for our share of the tiny subsidy budget that the Gemeente (city council / Town hall) has, even if it gets paid retroactively in the next years. In the meantime our electricity comes via one of the big wind energy companies, so we are trying to do what we can to keep the planet healthy. Hopefully part of the answer to the global warming crisis is blowing in the wind…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 18, 2010

Wind and Solar Energy and going Nuclear about Nuclear…

Filed under: PORTUGAL — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Ask most non Dutch person around the world what they think The Netherlands looks like, and chances are the word ” windmill” will crop up fairly fast in  many of the answers.

It doesn’t matter if they have ever visited The Netherlands or not, the stereotypical  icons of Clogs, Cheese, Tulips and Molens (windmills) are as ingrained into people as much as Apple Pie and the Statue of Liberty are for the USA, the Maple Leaf and the Mounties are for Canada, the Eiffel Tour and Baguette for France and the  and Boomerangs and hats with dangling corks are for Australia.

Entire tourist industries depend on these clichés, and whilst it is true none of these icons are actually myths,  they don’t really paint a true picture of the country concerned either.

(In case you ever wondered, Kiwidutch doesn’t go to work every day outfitted in her regional Dutch National costume, complete with hat with pointy sides, wearing clogs and with a round of cheese under her arm LOL). And worse still, I don’t even own a National costume and the only clogs in the house are attached to fridge magnets, purchased by Kiwi Daughter on a spending whim one day ( i.e. her pocket money burning a hole in her pocket).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Cheese, I admit to having a small love affair with, but if you have ever tried a Dutch Farmhouse cheese thats about three years old then you would totally, completely and utterly understand this love affair and thus Himself, Old Cheese and myself are a happy threesome.

So… now I’m going to turn a familiar Dutch icon on it’s head… the windmill. ” Molen” in Dutch. (pronunciation = ” mole in” ) Oh yes there are the beautiful mills of Kinderdijk and others all over the country, but there are also modern ones, for electrical power generation and they are the ones that set my inner Greenie on fire and make my heart tilt.

Why one earth do some people consider windmills an eyesore? I find them serene, streamlined, mesmerizing and beautiful. If I ever lived in the countryside then give me a view of a wind farm over that of a nuclear power station any day.

In fact I have a ” thing” about nuclear, a source of energy that creates a toxic waste that contaminates for tens of thousands of years and generically mutates living things is for me an abomination and if I were God : any Government Minister and all advocates of this energy source would be required by law to house him/herself and the next 10 generations of their entire family slap on the doorstep of one of these monstrosities to prove that they are indeed “Safe”.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

They can be the ones laying in their beds worrying about a possible “China Syndrome”  rather than some unsuspecting community who doesn’t get a choice. Hmmm, think ” official” policy might suddenly experience a swift about-face?  Moi, I’d be willing to put money on it.

But back to windmills… I am DELIGHTED to hear that Portugal is currently undergoing a significant Green Revolution, wind turbines are becoming a frequent feature of the landscape as they are building and installing them flat out with the aim that wind energy should supply 20% of the total energy capacity of Portugal ( but oops, I did forget the year that this was to be completed by, …but it was SOON !)

As we travel around we are seeing wind-turbines on hillside everywhere!

Bravo Portugal,  this beats current Dutch turbine energy generation hands down!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch have solar panels on our roof ( just three at present due to to the cost, but we are saving to extend this) and we get our electricity from wind turbines, our gas come from the most eco-friendly source currently available, but as soon as it’s viable (practical and financial) both Himself and I want to switch 100% to renewal energy sources only.

You might think I’m strange but I can’t wait for the worlds gasoline supplies to run dry, the sooner the better.

Harsh as it sounds, sadly human beings have proved to be at their most brilliantly inventive when the pressure is greatest.  We take swifter deeper, more long lasting, whole hearted measures when the situation demands “reaction” rather than being stepping up to the mark and being “proactive” well beforehand.  But…I want a cleaner greener future and I want it now!

I want focus on zero carbon emissions to be urgent NOW, I want a brilliant zero emission car “today” and the infrastructure to run it all “today” too. We know people around the world LOVE 4×4 cars, minibuses are the large family and small businesses best friend, small vans are a commercial necessity, as are trucks. Why on earth are car companies not giving us these vehicles with radical new carbon neutral emission motors in them now?

I know that wave energy generation experiments are also going on in several European countries, for me, wind, solar and wave energies are the way forward, and Himself and I can’t wait.

Portugal isn’t waiting either… they are powering ahead with their wind turbine programme, and every turbine I see on a hilltop is one step closer to a renewable energy powered future.

I find that to be a beautiful sight on many many levels.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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