27 February 2017
“Time for ‘Tele Wind Win’, Time for ‘Tele Wind Win”; ‘GPEC’ Green Party East Cambs- February 2017 Introduction:
What did the ‘Teletubbies ever do for us?’
“The ‘Teletubbies’ introduce Wind Energy and the now famous ‘Wind Turbine’-in background- to the Nation, especially its children and their smiling parents J “.
One could say using the Teletubbies to explain ‘green living’ ‘green energy’ and ‘green technologies’ is rather indulgent, but it’s justified ten fold because of the invaluable work the makers of the 1990’s Teletubbies series did for Britain’s ‘awareness’ of evolving environmental issues. Who says TV cannot be both entertaining ….and…. educational??? J. The year 1997 was of course an eventful year for Britain, encapsulated in the ‘cool Britannia vibe’, a kind of mini renaissance in British culture, but more importantly, confidence. Alongside this development however, our world was increasingly becoming more complex, as we neared the millennium and there was sadness too with the passing of Lady Diana, the Princess of Wales. Climate Change was ‘yet’ to become ‘the’ issue of ‘critical’ importance and ‘daily pondering’-among the British public, as it has now arguably has become.
The power of art, media and storytelling can certainly transform our world for the better, it enriches our lives and gives us something to believe in when our own is feeling ‘energy low’. Teletubbies encapsulated much about what we love most, here in Britain, namely our vast, diverse and beautiful countryside- illustrated in the show as the ‘green carpet’ of the world metaphor. Personally for me, this takes the best features of British landscapes, the plant species that is grass. The ‘green lawn’ is always a mainstay, but we’re here to talk ‘Wind and its energy potential and production. The famous wind turbine which produces the ‘magic golden energy waves’ , manifestly ‘visible’ in the Teletubbies- represented the ‘magic’ of wind power and its ability to harness the raw energy of nature in a clean and environmentally sustainable way.
Wind –interchangeably known as airJ, is one of the basic elements of nature, traditionally considered one of ‘the’ four elements of nature, as ‘air/wind’, alongside earth, fire and water. ‘Storm Doris on the 23rd of February, 2017’ reminded us of the power and potency it can wield-in this case as a ‘disruptor’ to all our lives. Those very same characteristics however make it a highly valuable energy source, as we have harnessed it’s ‘vigour’ for sustainable energy production across the U.K. As a key and growing part of the national energy mix since 1997, wind has already been proven an environmentally viable option and quickly becoming; viable financial and economic options as well.
U.K. Wide Renewable Wind Picture:
To give a fuller U.K. wide picture of wind energy’s track record; in ‘2015, RenewableUK (a U.K. based trade association) stated that the wind supplied 17 percent of Britain’s electricity demand during December, setting a new monthly record for the country’. It also reported ‘that of the 11 percent of electricity generated by wind in 2015, 5.8 percent came from onshore wind and 5.2 percent came from offshore wind’ in ‘Renewable Energy World (2016)’. Wind, alongside other renewable energy sources like ‘solar’ are now beginning to structurally move the energy production system in the U.K to a more ‘balanced’ and ‘hybridised’ one. The Climate analysts ‘Carbon Brief; have among other actors, hailed this landmark shift as a great success as renewables provide for between ’10 and 20% of the UK’s electricity energy demand’ in Adam, V. (2017) ‘UK wind power overtakes coal for the first time’, Guardian’.
Wadlow Wind Farm:
Within our East Cambridgeshire (EC) district, arguably one of the most ‘iconic’ and most recent wind farms is located within the southern third of the parliamentary ‘territory’ at ‘Wadlow Wind Farm’-located between the villages of ‘West Wratting and Balsham’. Constructed by‘(RES) ‘Renewable Energy Systems, after it received consent to build the 13-turbine Wind Farm (W.F.) in November 2009, the project entered construction in June 2011 and was completed with all turbines reaching full operation by September 2012. The 26MW (W.F.) is capable of generating sufficient renewable electricity to meet the annual requirements of nearly 17,000 UK homes’ –which in a growing county, is most welcome- in ‘Wadlow Farm Wind Farm’ (WFWF) in ‘RES’ (2017)’.
Increased investment in wind energy generation, ‘Wind Farms’, which in recent years have become a familiar part of our local skyline, thanks to local, now ‘iconic’ farms like at ‘Wadlow Wind Farm’, show progress in ‘green energy production and green technology’. Solar Energy, constituted as ‘Solar Farms’ have also manifested in a bigger, if slightly less ‘visible’ way, ‘solar farms’-lying closer to ground level. However, renewable energy remains controversial
…through the substitution of food production space for energy production space, which doesn’t sit harmoniously with all our neighbours-even if the land allocated for ‘renewable energy production’ is considered of less agricultural value-but this is an ongoing debate to be had.
Is Substitution, both Feasible and Desirable?
A crucial debate is whether ‘capital substitution’ is effective in a physically anchored world, and if there are indeed ‘physical limits to ‘growth’?’ in Sarre, P. (2014) p.368- which will substantially harm us in the Industrialised world, more than economic crises have already. Wind energy production is promising because it remains in its infancy, whilst already achieving great success in sustainable energy production, in contrast to other energy production systems i.e. the fossil fuel energy production systems of coal, gas and oil- emitting large amounts of CO2- with nuclear energy production; un ‘unknown quantity environmentally’ with its production, decommissioning and re-processing of spent fuel processes’. Wadlow Wind Farm is a great local district example of the potential, the potency, and reality of wind power as a ‘natural, home-grown and abundant source of energy, with the (WFWF) helping protect our ‘finite natural resources and make our energy supply more secure, reducing the need to rely increasingly on imports of foreign gas and oil in ‘Wadlow Farm Wind Farm’ (WFWF) in ‘RES’ (2017)’.
It is hoped that wind will continue to grown its contribution to our energy mix nationally and internationally. It has certainly moved the UK’s energy mix to a more balanced, hybridised and ultimately sustainable place, critically in relation to its historical make up built upon natural gas, oil and coal. We are moving toward a policy of energy implementation- locally, regionally and nationally – which is far less ‘all your eggs in one basket’, something to be commended. However, nothing ‘can’ be taken for granted, as the ‘Neoliberal orientated Conservative’ Government slashing of solar subsidies and the ‘solar tax hike’ last year (2016) showed-by illustrating once again how ‘ideology’ can still trump ‘scientific empiricism’ and the need for ‘greater social and financial equality among the U.K. populace’.
It’s now the 20th anniversary of the Teletubbies and their environmental message- which has achieved great success, however our achievements have not been shared as equitably and effectively for all our neighbours as many of us believe was ‘practically’ achievable. So while there is much more work to do long term, we can at least celebrate our ‘collective’ achievements thus far and thank Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po for reinforcing our ‘British values’; that a diversity of ideas and actions i.e. ‘both breadth and depth of knowledge from diverse actors’ across our communities in Brown, W. (2014) p. 300 –is both desirable AND feasible and brings out the ‘best’ in environmental decision making, so that the ‘longer term is brought into the present term’. J
Brown, W. et al (2014) DU311 Earth in crisis ‘Environmental Issues and Responses, Milton Keynes, The Open University, p.300
Eject The Disc (2014) ‘Silly Shit’, ‘What would you do ‘For Frodo?’, July 17[Blog]. Available at:
https://ejectthedisk.wordpress.com/2014/07 (Accessed 23 February, 2017).
Renewable Energy Systems (RES) (2017) ‘About Us, Redefining the way we think about energy’ (Online). Available at: http://www.res-group.com/en/why-res/about-us (Accessed 23 February, 2017).
Renewable Energy World Editors (2016) “2015 Record Year in Wind Energy Generation for UK”, Renewable Energy World, 5 January [Online] Available at: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2016/01/2015-record-year-in-wind-energy-generation-for-uk.html (Accessed 23 February, 2017).
Sarre, P. (2014) ‘Governing the international economy: growth, inequality and environment’ in Brown, W. Aradau, C. and Budds, J., Milton Keynes, The Open University, p.368
Venables, H. (2015) Wadlow Wind Farm from Fleam Dyke (Online). Available at: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4684190 (Accessed 23 February, 2017).