David Attenborough on wind turbines and the arts

Sensemaking / David Attenborough on wind turbines and the arts

Anna Simpson speaks to the UK’s best-known naturalist at the launch of Glyndebourne’s wind turbine.

23 Jan 2012

Anna Simpson speaks to the UK’s best-known naturalist at the launch of Glyndebourne’s wind turbine.

Glyndebourne wind turbine, seen from the opera house

The wind was high on Friday at Glyndebourne, where David Attenborough launched its new turbine. The opera house is the first UK arts organisation to generate its own wind power.

David Attenborough has done so much to transform public appreciation of the natural world, and so I asked him what he would say to those who see wind turbines as a blot on the landscape:

“I wonder what they say about pylons; what do they say to motorways, what do they say to aeroplanes? Human beings have transformed the landscape, there’s no getting over that. This is one of the least damaging of the ways in which we can change the landscape.”

Attenborough stressed that preserving the natural world for the next generation is as important a concern for the arts community as it is for any other group.

Glyndebourne’s Executive Chairman, Gus Christie, hopes that the £1.5 million investment in the turbine will be recouped within seven years. The 900kW turbine started turning in December 2011, and generated over 212MWh in its first month – almost double the amount used by Glyndebourne in December 2010.

Glyndebourne has said that it hopes to source 90% of the power required to stage its operas through renewable energy, with the turbine contributing substantially to that total. Data on how much power the turbine does provide, how much is used directly by Glyndebourne, and how much is exported to the grid, will be available to the public on the opera company’s website. - Anna Simpson

Watch Anna Simpson's video interview with David Attenborough here.

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