When you are someone who cares about the environment the way I do—Clif and I refer to ourselves as green beans—it is easy to get discouraged. A focus on climate change, resource depletion, and overpopulation can lead to gloomy thoughts. And let’s face it—most of the news we read about the environment is not good, thus adding to the gloom.
Then in The Guardian comes Robin McKie’s piece: How Orkney Leads the Way for Sustainable Energy. (Thanks to Susanne’s Mom’s Blog for featuring this piece as well as providing the link to it.) According to Mckie, Orkney Islands—an archipelago to the northeast of Scotland—produces so much sustainable energy that they can’t use it all.
Holy cats!That news is enough to make this green bean snap with joy.
So how did Orkney Islands do it? First, because they are islands, all of their power came from the mainland, and their energy costs were expensive. Mckie writes, “Orkney was once utterly dependent on power that was produced by burning coal and gas on the Scottish mainland and then transmitted through an undersea cable.”
Second, Orkney Islands have wind and lots of it. “Low-lying and exposed to both the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, Orkney is battered by winds and gales throughout the year.”
Rather than gripe about how wind turbines spoil their view, the way we do here in Maine, the Orcadians decided to embrace the wind and use it to produce energy. How much energy? “Orkney…generates, on average over the year, electricity that fulfils 120% of its own needs.”
That’s right. Orkney Islands now have surplus energy that is clean and affordable. They are actually thinking of exporting that energy back to the mainland.
Anyway, McKie’s piece is well worth reading. On this sunny day where the snow from the last storm still hasn’t melted, Orkney’s success with wind power gave me a much-needed lift.
Correction: I originally wrote that Orkney was between England and France. A couple of my blogging friends corrected that error, letting me know Orkney Islands were to the northeast of Scotland. Many thanks for letting me know.