I live in mid Wales between the Brecon Beacons and the Cambrian Mountains, We have one of the highest rain fall figures in the UK. We have several reservoirs, which incidentally were used to train the dam-busters squadron during the war. These reservoirs are huge, and not only supply most of Wales but also Birmingham. Now you would think that these huge reservoirs would automatically have hydro-electric turbines. They do not! Although there are some hydro-electric power stations in Wales, not as many as there ought to be! In my tiny 24 house village of Tirabad, we have a small river (more of a stream really) that runs through it. Not so many years ago we had a small dam and this had a generator within it. This provided enough limitless electricity for the manor house. This house is large probably the size of 6 modern three/four bedroom homes. What happened? Where did it go? The electricity company of the day removed it and now supply it from the mains grid! Because of course that's the only way they can make money! Incidentally the manor house is now an outward bound centre.
I live at 1000ft above sea level, and even in dry spells we have water seeping from the ground like a jockey trying to sweat off those last few pounds, as the water table is so high. Why are so many towns and villages in Wales called 'Wells'? Llanwrtyd, Builth, Llangammarch, and these are all within a fifteen mile radius of where I live. The reason. We have more water than we know what to do with. So what is the down side to hydroelectricity? Well I guess if it were a summer like 1976 then we could be in trouble, but, if we don't start using renewable energies then we will be in bigger trouble, so it's not much of a contest! There's an old saying "Cut your cloth accordingly". Still holds good today!
During the last winter we had storm after storm. Now I know wind turbines cannot operate above certain wind speeds, but all the same we still have more than enough wind to provide huge amounts of free electricity. Many say they look ugly. Frankly if that is the price to pay then we really should get a grip, as the way we are going using ALL the earth's natural resources then everywhere will look ugly once it's under three feet of water or the oil or coal has polluted the air we breathe beyond repair. We have several dotted around the countryside and to be honest if it wasn't for the fact that they are painted white, then it would be almost impossible to see them.
We have our current government determined to push through licences for Fracking operations. You only have to see the opposition to these operations in the USA to see that it really is not a good idea. Incidentally, why are they so eager?! The following was published as part of an article in the New York Times, By Susan L BRANTLEY and Anna MEYENDORFF, March 13th 2013.
"The fracking cocktail includes acids, detergents and poisons that are not regulated by federal laws but can be problematic if they seep into drinking water. Fracking since the 1990s has used greater volumes of cocktail-laden water, injected at higher pressures. Methane gas can escape into the environment out of any gas well, creating the real though remote possibility of dangerous explosions. Water from all gas wells often returns to the surface containing extremely low but measurable concentrations of radioactive elements and huge concentrations of salt. This brine can be detrimental if not disposed of properly. Injection of brine into deep wells for disposal has in rare cases triggered small earthquakes.
In addition to these local effects, natural gas extraction has global environmental consequences, because the methane gas that is accessed through extraction and the carbon dioxide released during methane burning are both greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change. New fracking technologies allow for the extraction of more gas, thus contributing more to climate change than previous natural gas extraction."
I remember when houses were built pretty much anywhere. Today we have to have a Radon check to be submitted along with all the other checks, when either building or selling your home. You mean to tell me that when you're creating so much disruption below ground, that we are not going to live to regret it in years to come! Many years ago I was a maintenance carpenter for Bristol City Council. One of the council estates was in an area of Bristol, which over more than a hundred fifty years ago was used for mining coal. Many of these houses now have major problems with subsidence and many are near to collapse. That was something as simple and straight forward as coal mining. Fracking. Seriously have we learned nothing from times past? Is the only motivator that of hard cash?
We have targets for cutting our carbon footprint but have made little or no effort to tap into the easiest and most cost effective ways of harvesting this energy. ONLY once we have exhausted all avenues by taking advantage of these resources, should we then explore other forms of energy.