Nature, as we all know, is a powerful force. And we have learned, as a species, that our best bet is to try to harvest the forces of nature, for our own benefit.
Of all of the forces of nature, man has embraced wind energy to great effect for many thousands of years. From the earliest known sailing boats, around 5000 years ago, to the very first wind wheel, apparently developed by the Greek engineer Heron of Alexandria in the first century AD.
Heron's Wind Wheel
In more recent history, we know that windmills have provided a practical source of power in traditional agriculture. Indeed, the word "windmill" derives from the fact that those familiar wind sails, dotting the European landscape, were primarily used for milling grain, for food production.
The Dutch went on to develop wind technology further, using the power of windmills to pump seawater over levees, and reclaim vast amounts of land from the sea. And to this day, those windmills are a treasured part of the Dutch landscape.
Well, closer to home...
For the last two decades so, the rotating blades of wind turbines have become a familiar sight across the Irish landscape. But whether they are treasured or not by the Irish public is still a matter of some debate.
And that's exactly what we are doing today! Debating the place of wind power in Ireland, and our attitudes to it...
So what about the people who live in close proximity to windfarms? What's their perspective? How do they feel about these giants becoming an inescapable part of their landscape?
Earlier today, Mooney producer Fergus Sweeney travelled to Wexford, to the town of Bunclody, which is earning the nickname "the windy city", because of the increasing prevalence of wind turbines in the local environment. We hear their views on the turbines...
And Derek has a full panel in studio today. In addition to Mooney Goes Wild regulars Eanna ni Lamhna and Dr. Richard Collins, Derek is also joined by Paula Byrne (PRO of Wind Aware Ireland), Kevin O'Rourke (Head of Low Carbon Technologies Unit at the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland), Dr. Michael Connolly (Environmental Consultant and former lecturer who opposes wind farms) and Kenneth Matthews (CEO of the Irish Wind Energy Association).
The two reports that Derek referred to are Dr. Michael Connolly's Yellow River Wind Farm Assessment of Environmental Impact Statement, and SEAI's Quantifying Ireland’s Fuel and CO2 Emissions Savings from Renewable Electricity in 2012.