A common and frustrating argument against renewable energies that I have been repeatedly encountering, throughout the week of research, is the aesthetics of them.
There are solutions being developed to negate the common complaints of appearance and noise. A French company has come up with a structure inspired by leaves on a tree trembling in the wind (Andreri, 2014).
Here is a video of the leaves in action
I feel like this approach raises complex question about how we view nature and the value that we put on landscapes and technologies. Why do we find various landscapes appealing or off-putting? Why do some people object to conventional wind farms and others find them pleasing?
Concerns about the aesthetics of landscape can appear frustratingly insignificant in the face of global climate change, increased atmospheric pollution and rapidly depleting fossil fuels. Especially when it is considered that coal power stations and oil drilling are much uglier, noisier practices. I hope that a cultural shift to the acceptance of renewables will occur as it becomes increasingly apparent that they are necessary and beneficial to us now and to future generations.
My preconceptions and frustrations of the aesthetic arguments against renewables have been challenged. Contrary to my previous “people should just learn to love or tolerate wind and solar farms” stance, I now realise that attempts to make renewable generation more attractive (such as the silent wind tree or black solar panels) may, on reflection, be a positive step towards helping an attitude change to come about.
Whilst I still feel that we need to accept the aesthetics of renewable technologies in their current forms, perhaps catering to public demand for a different style is not a waste of resources.
Andrei, M. (2014) New silent wind tree turbines make energy production beautiful, accessed 27/05./15 from ZME science http://www.zmescience.com/ecology/renewable-energy-ecology/wind-turbine-energy/