Dear EarthTalk: I don’t understand why many people oppose wind power just because they have to look at the turbines. If you ask me, wind turbines are much nicer-looking than coal-fired, waste-to-energy or nuclear power plants.
—Michael Hart, via e-mail
Whether it’s a wind farm, a coal-fired power plant, a nuclear reactor or even just a big box store, there are always going to be locals opposed to it, declaring “not in my back yard!” (NIMBY).
As to the attractiveness of wind farms, people do seem to come down on one side or the other rather vehemently. Those in favor of wind development have been known to extol the visual virtues of a horizon full of windmills not only for the turbines” graceful sculptural lines but also for the fact that their very presence advertises the coming of a modern, almost futuristic age of clean, renewable energy.
Writing in the online magazine Contemporary Aesthetics, Yuriko Saito waxes eloquent about the visual appeal of wind farms when created thoughtfully. “[I]t is possible to create an aesthetically pleasing effect by choosing the color, shape and height of the turbines appropriate
to the particular landscape, making them uniform in their appearance and movement, and
arranging them in proportion to the landscape,” he says. “One writer admires the windmills in Sweden as “graceful objects” because “the slender airfoils seem both delicate and powerful
while their gentle motion imparts a living kinetic nature.”