Thursday, 8 January 2009

Was it a cow? Was it a monster with tentacles? It was a UFO...but why target a wind turbine?

It's not every day you get a real sustainability story to get the brain whirring. Today however, The Sun have stepped up to the plate with the shocking news that 'UFO hits wind turbine'. Yes, something and we don't yet know what, has mangled a wind truine in LIncolnshire. A local resident saw lights in the sky, and there's a turbine blade missing: 'A woman motorist told how she saw a UFO zoom towards the wind farm and strike the 290ft turbine.' reports The Sun . Jokes aside 'There's a public safety issue here, whatever you believe about UFOs'  Nick Pope, UFO expert tells The Sun. Nick, his website claims is 'now one of the world's leading experts on the unexplained' - you just can't argue with that. He's also had his picture taken with David Duchovny, so he must know his stuff. I'm in the wrong field, clearly.

Well, the only thing I believe about UFO's is that the crucial term is the 'U' bit - Unidentified. This makes for easy news fodder of course - the term UFO is synonymous with aliens, ET's and flying saucers so you can use it to describe anything hitting something and imply that the planet is being invaded. 'UFOs hit umbrellas across nation' = 'it's raining' and so on.

All that's required to make for the perfect shock story is that nobody is quite sure what they've seen. If somebody's seen strange lights during a 7 day period either side of the event, all the better. In this case, the Guardian have poured jolly hot water all over the UFO claims, with one of their editors admitting that a family fireworks display in the vicinty would account for the lights seen in the sky.

There is, of course, likely to be a more prosaic explanation than the focused efforts of an alien lifeform on destroying our burgeoning renewable generation capacity. Step forward Dale Vince, from Ecotricity, who run the wind farm - he'll know what's going on....not according to the R4 Today Programme to whom Mr Vince reportedly 'says a range of possibilities - from flying cows to monsters with tentacles - are being investigated' .

Anyway, with one turbine down, meeting the UK's renewables obligations is looking even more unlikley than before- so best find that blade, clean off the tentacle goo and get us back on track.

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