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Wind can generate reliable energy, but some Europeans are opposed, not because it isn’t environmentally friendly, but because it mars landscape.

The multinationals AMEC and British Energy plan to erect some 300 outsize wind turbines across a few thousand hectares of moorland and peat bog on Lewis. If the £500 million project goes through, the array will be Europe’s largest wind farm, capable of producing 1% of Britain’s total electrical needs and creating needed jobs.
Enthusiasts around the world call wind a perfect alternative to fossil fuels and nuclear power because it’s clean, safe, and free. This is one of the cheapest ways of reducing our output of greenhouse gases.
For the last seven years the world market for wind turbines has grown by an average of 40% annually. Turbine manufacturers are mass-producing giant rotors which have 65-meter diameter. Currently one turbine can produce at least 1 megawatt of power, twice as much than typical model 20 years ago and it can provide for 800 modern households. Next generation, capable of producing twice as much, is already appearing. The new turbines are bigger and towers are taller. It is possible because light materials have been borrowed from aeronautics industry. They rise up 90 meters above the ground and catch stronger winds. They also don`t disturb people who live nearby because improved design decreased noise to a whisper. However, some nature lovers hate wind power since the turbines make fatal attraction for birds. Moreover, industrial installations of wind farms devastate landscape so environmentalists have some reservations about this kind of power plants. The industry is experimenting with offshore farms because sea breezes are stiff and steady enough to raise output of the turbines at least 20%. In Denmark 20 turbines have been already built on sea. It’s the largest offshore wind farm in the world and it generates enough power for 30.000 city householders. Building and running a farm at sea costs up to 40% more than onshore. Experts predict that in 15 years windmill farms will be becoming a mainstream source of power around the world and in 50 years they will be a mainstay as a source of electricity. To sum up, wind power plants have more advantages than disadvantages but unfortunately it is still too expensive. It is cheaper to put more coal into an existing power station than to build a new wind farm.


The first breakthrough came in 1992 when Ballard Power System of Vancouver, British Columbia, demonstrated the first hydrogen-powered bus, which was precursor to models that will be used in Iceland.

It started from Bragi Arnason`s vision of a society powered by hydrogen and using Iceland’s active volcanoes and rivers to produce pure hydrogen gas on a mass scale. Experts see hydrogen as the most probable replacement for oil in the future. Iceland’s plan is now supported by European Union, which intend to spend tens of millions of euros to create the first social lab test of a hydrogen economy. Soon Iceland will start using three hydrogen-powered buses and begin constructing a filling station where hydrogen gas will be produced. Hydrogen occurs naturally in water, so the source of it is as inexhaustible as the oceans. Leakages wouldn’t be so dangerous because pure hydrogen is a harmless gas, not a toxic liquid as oil. What is more, hydrogen-fuel cells emit only water vapor. This all sounds more like a dream but Iceland is unusually ambitious. Cities from Vancouver to Palm Springs have already started using hydrogen buses, but Iceland is the first country that wants to phase out fossil fuels entirely and eliminate greenhouse emissions. Unfortunately hydrogen will cost probably twice as much as gas, although it would generate twice as many miles per gallon. Iceland will show what the rest of the world should do. However, it would cost at least $19 billion to build hydrogen fuel plants and stations in the United States, $1,5 billion in United Kingdom, $6 billion in Japan and millions of dollars in Iceland. In Iceland people don’t have to wait for the rest of the world developing their infrastructure because they don’t drive their cars off an island. Experts foresee that in 15 years oil and gas will be processed to make hydrogen which will power some cars and other vehicles. In 50 years hydrogen will be produced from water and it will fully replace oil for most uses.

Geothermal Energy

Iceland has another ‘clean’ source of electricity. There are huge reserves of natural geothermal energy, which don’t have equal rivals in Europe. Unfortunately building geothermal power station is very expensive. Five nuclear power plants can be built instead of one of this kind.

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