Tuesday, March 10, 2009

University venue for Samso energy educator

Image from Centre for Alternative Technology, Wales: Community-owned wind turbine

I've been following the Danish progress with wind power, biomass, energy efficiency and generally reducing climate emissions with some interest now for several years. The island of Samso is particularly interesting since it now produces more energy than it uses.

Imagine -- a net-metered island!

I expect to go to this talk tomorrow (below). I wonder if any of the growing number of anti-wind power activists in Maine will show up. I noticed on my drive today that a local farm, where I know some locals involved in the opposition to the proposed wind farm in Jackson/Dixmont live. has put up a new sign, "Against the Wind Farm." Symbolic, but a real sign of the growing upset.

I don't expect tomorrow's speaker, Mr Hermansen, would understand where all the upset was coming from, and why it was coming from environmentalists. It would be one of those cultural disconnects.

I can't help but ask, why do the Danes accept wind power so much more easily than some Mainers? This is a pretty good social science question. I wouldn't mind doing a study. I've done social science studies on similar issues before.


The most determined opposition comes from those who are most affected -- who live closest to turbines and hear noise or get shadow flicker.

Other, somewhat different opposition comes from folks who may live further away but don't like the way turbines look.

Some opposition comes from folks who interpret wind power companies as "industrial wind." Is this a variant of anti-capitalist sentiment? Possibly mixed up with localist environmentalism?

Some opposition comes from conservatives who don't think much of renewable energy or climate policy.

Finally, I think ordinary Danes, like most Europeans, have a better grasp on climate change, and support measures to reduce emissions. Most Americans don't. Although most Americans don't know very much about why scientists are so worried, either.

I'm not trying to slander these folks. It seems to me they have a right to oppose the turbines. I am trying to understand.

One answer would be some level of community involvement, or community ownership. Another would be to reduce the scale and scope of wind farms and to increase the setbacks. The ultimate answer is offshore development. It seems to me, for instance, that the Jackson/Dixmont project, with up to thirty turbines, is too big. A smaller number of turbines, set as far as possible away from houses, would be better. If the town or towns were to put up one or a couple of turbines on the land they own, that would be better too.

(Source: Bangor Daily News)
trackingORONO - Soren Hermansen, who was named a Time magazine Hero of the Environment last year for his efforts to gain energy independence for the island of Samso in Denmark, will speak at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 11, at the University of Maine.

Hermansen's talk, one of six he will make in Maine, will be held at the Wells Conference Center. The talk is free and open to the public.

Hermansen, a native of Samso, directs the Samso Energy Academy, which serves as a site for alternative energy research and trials, and functions as a conference center for meetings about renewable energy, energy savings and new technologies.

He will share what has been learned at Samso and what it could mean for other communities and explain how Denmark has achieved energy independence through the development of wind and solar power and biofuels.

The talk is sponsored by UMaine's Advanced Engineered Wood Composite Center and the Maine Sea Grant College Program. Hermansen also was scheduled to speak at Colby, Bates and Bowdoin colleges, College of the Atlantic, and will deliver the keynote address March 12 at a daylong forum at the University of Maine at Augusta.

(c) 2009 Bangor Daily News. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.

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