Wind Power Sparks Controversy Across Western Europe

In Western European countries, where thousands of wind farms are sprouting up across the landscape, fierce bickering has broken out over the benefits and drawbacks of wind energy. In the U.K. and Germany, activists and rural residents are waging a ferocious battle against what the Germans call “Verspargelung der Landschaft” — the transformation of the landscape into an asparagus field. While renewable energy in general enjoys wide public support — and heavy government subsidies — in these countries, wind farms have drawn the ire of groups that claim they foul the landscape, create noise pollution, kill birds, and cost vastly more than most other sources of energy. U.K. conservationist David Bellamy calls wind power “sheer lunacy” and says “it beggars belief that some environmental groups say [wind turbines] are ‘green.'” In turn, Tony Juniper of Friends of the Earth U.K. calls anti-wind forces “parochial, shortsighted, selfish, peddling falsehoods and misconceptions.” Wind-power advocates say that, in order to stave off climate change and a resurgence of nuclear power, society needs to use what clean-energy sources are available, and for now, that’s wind.