Editorial – Eye of the beholder

Jeff Burgar

Can you imagine waking up in the morning to the whoosh – whoosh of multiple wind turbines?

Can you imagine paying for that? Paying, not $1,000, not $2,000, but $5,000 per night, or even more, for that privilege?

It is indeed true beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you aren’t a big fan of wind turbines, waking some place like the above is probably not the holiday adventure you are looking for. It still should be noted; however, wind farms are actually considered, in places, to be tourist attractions. Some farms even do tours.

We have no idea why John David Washington in the movie Tenet woke up inside a wind turbine, but it seems an interesting place to have a look around. Not so sure it would be fun for anybody to climb that ladder however. As tourist places go, an entire wind farm does seem interesting.

Back to our opening paragraphs, the prices listed are indeed for a one night stay. But not on that ocean-based wind farm site as shown in Tenet. The prices are for a stay in the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. The actual site is called Necker Island.

Necker is the private getaway of billionaire Sir Richard Branson. Branson has, since the mid 1970s when he bought the tiny, 30-hectare (74 acre), island (he says he could barely afford the $200,000 back then) built and rebuilt Necker into a quiet resort. A beautiful place to enjoy a holiday. You can rent rooms and entire buildings. In fact, the entire island.

Complete with three wind turbines spinning away. The turbines, along with a solar panel field, supply energy to buildings. According to the Necker website, there are plans to send power to nearby islands in the future. Once undersea cables and more renewable generating capability is built and Necker itself is able to survive without backup fossil fuel generator power.

There are many questions: If wind turbines are so ugly they destroy the view, as so many opponents say, how is it possible Necker can rent out suites to people who ‘want to get away from it all?’

If wind turbines are so dangerous to birds, as many wind farm opponents claim, does Sir Richard keep staff on hand to clean up bird deaths all day? Do renters at Necker Island help out doing this? At the wind turbine places that give tours, do tourists help out in this?

Meanwhile, the people of France are often noted for being independent thinkers. As just one example, while much of the world made plans for shutting down nuclear plants after the Fukishima disaster in 2011, France decided it was better to stay nuclear rather than switch to fossil fuels. History has proven this to be working out much better as the Russian Ukrainian war is strangling countries like German who cannot get supplies from Russia.

Tidbit on France: To appreciate how many nuclear plants there are, a ride on one of the bullet trains has huge power transmission line and towers going by every few minutes. Through hill and dale and farms and villages.

It’s all quite interesting. Indeed, beauty is in the eye of beholder.

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