Generating electricity from either wind or hydro power is something I have always believed to be a benefit to mankind and the natural world.
Apart from the initial capital costs, energy generated by wind is free and there are no harmful emissions to contend with. So what's the problem?
Reading the literature handed out by the objectors, one would think that wind farms are a potential disaster, threatening our health and the rural landscape.
Yet when I see clusters of windmills on a hillside, I don't believe they have a negative impact on the landscape and find the sound and sight of the blades turning therapeutic.
Apparently the sound generated actually lowers blood pressure and when you compare the alternatives such as burning oil, surely wind is a far better option?
Some years ago I climbed up a hillside in Co Monaghan and stood beneath a turbine while the rotation of the blades created an almost soothing hum.
There was no smoke, no toxic emissions, cattle grazed contentedly nearby and the experience gave me no reason to think that living close to them would trouble me unduly.
Most of the objections appear to come from people who do not want to see the landscape altered in any way and have worries that the value of their properties may be affected.
One has to ask is this concern well founded or is it just more of the all too prevalent NIMBY (not in my back yard) reaction to any new development.
The most vocal objectors to changes in the rural landscape tend to be the most recent arrivals to the area.
Once they have built their own new home, they often don't want anyone else to do so. Nor do they want to allow farmers to carry out their legitimate business of working the land.
Anyone reading this who objects to wind farming is probably seething with anger by now but please bear with me as I am beginning to have doubts.
Despite my enthusiasm for any form of power generation that harnesses natural forces such as wind and water and my belief that objections to the noise created or any perceived alteration of the landscape are spurious, I do want honest answers relating to the effect of windmills on bats and birds.
The campaigners against genetically modified food crops used some very unconvincing arguments to make their case and perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks to any campaign that involves environmental issues is that it attracts fringe elements that are no real help and only antagonise the public.
Rent-a-crowd thugs have demeaned protests against hunting and other similar issues.
The Corrib gas furore demonstrated just how ugly some protesters can get when surrounded by a crowd of their own supporters.
If an objection to a change in the landscape or environment is to be legitimate, it must be backed by honest provable facts and presented in a proper manner.
The objections to generating power because it is to be sold to Britain are ludicrous. We happily sell our livestock and other agricultural produce there so why not sell them power?
The most compelling argument against wind farms I have seen to date is found on this video link. It doesn't make for pleasant viewing, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NAAzBArYdw.
I received it from a friend who lives in the midlands and who is uneasy about proposed wind farms in the area. He sent me articles on how bats and birds tend to be drawn to the locations where they are operating.
Apparently there are air pressure fluctuations close to the blades which cause bats lungs to collapse. They also become disorientated and lose their ability to echolocate and thus starve.
Note I have used the word 'apparently' as I have no hard proof of any of this but the video of a large bird being struck by a blade while circling on a thermal is undeniable.
If there are sound scientific-ally provable reasons against wind turbines than let's have them. Otherwise just keep on building.
All this has me wondering if, compared to the alternatives, nuclear power stations could well be the cleanest, greenest means of producing the energy we need for our homes.