Qiqi Liu


An ecology study of machinery built environment space base on wind energy

Although the built environment is often considered as an urban issue, built-ups affect both nature and urban dwellings, albeit in different ways. This paper explores the ecological implications of wind energy technology, examining the interconnectedness between materiality, extended urban landscapes, energy systems, human and non-human behaviour. Drawing on qualitative fieldwork, literature, and media coverage of the wind energy sector’s impact on humans and surroundings, this paper illustrates the content and the extractivist efforts on building a more renewable-based energy supply system. Wind farms also reveal that wind energy and turbines can prompt not only the visibility of the ‘monumental machines’ integrated into the landscape, but also the simultaneous disadvantage of birds, and minerals at a local level. We call for a reconceptualization of wind turbines’ architectural ecology beyond utility, finance, and a closer examination of the ecological impact of wind turbines enclosing coastal and mountain lines around the world. We trace the ecological impact of turbines from the changed landscape to the making of turbines. Calling on the ‘invisible’ transmission network that transports turbine and electricity to where it meets demand. A mobile ‘biodiversity’ can be applied to the interconnectedness of wind energy farms, transmission networks, and urban areas, as well as the social experiences of people living in these interconnected landscapes.

Based on a few unexpected encounters the author had with wind turbines in the wild noted in introductory observations. Wind turbines integrated into landscapes are the result of the cumulative socio-ecological drivers and interest and one of the main material consequences of unfettered ‘global urbanisation’. More wind turbines extend the infrastructure powering cities in nature, blurring and re-articulation of urban territories in nature leading to the disintegration of the ‘hinterland’. Also, we noted the complexity of land ownership from state signs leases to wind farm companies. The material metabolism of architectures and machines is considered as part of the socio-ecological built environment system. Turbine blades are typically made of textile composite fibreglasses. Recycling and reuse of wind turbine blades remain a challenge due to their non-metallic components. Khalid et al. stress conventional end-of-life approaches for wind turbine blades (WTBs) cause severe environmental waste and circular economy model needs in practice.
Galparsoro et al. suggest that the operation of offshore wind farms has strong biological disturbance on the movement, migration and fatality of birds. While wind power offers a solution to the climate emergency caused by human activity, it also involves the extraction of non-renewable resources and the disruption of other species. This ‘creative destruction’ circle refers to the continuous cycle in which capitalism creates and eliminates industries, technologies, and ways of life in the pursuit of profit and expansion. Not all communities involved in the wind energy supply chains have a say in determining who bears the social and environmental costs. The expansion of the wind energy industry has destructive sides regarding the impact of carbon emissions from finance, factories, production, transport, and electricity distribution of wind turbines. The taking of natural land disturbs the biological movement of birds and sea-life. The material recycling problem has yet to be addressed after the general life cycle of 25-30 years. The displacement and local disputes in rare earth mines. This essay is not doubting wind energy as mitigation for the decarbonisation of the energy sector, but also suggests taking more ecological steps beyond the shining appearance. The renewable energy industry could prioritise reducing energy consumption and raw material use, addressing end-life recycling problems of turbine material composition, and involving local communities in decision-making processes.

Wind farms with similar appearance move through the landscape and are reconstituted in different places is supported by global capitalism and value chain. Extractivism thinking towards resources extends in the form of clean energy, occupying wilderness, transmission networks in-ground and undersea and disturbing birds. Recognizing how the wind turbine standing on the landscape is intimately and often violently connected to the ecosystem and people beyond our border is essential for considering the material foundation of our lives from a creative destruction perspective. With the proliferation in the investment market, the end-life recycling problem of turbine material composition is still awaiting to be solved. With relational ecology testing and politics of environmental injustice in picture. An alternative route for clean energy could be the wind energy
industry reorganising the production, installation and distribution process to prioritise climate safety, socio-economic equality, and habitat integrity. Stacking more shining and taller tower blades with climate justice and knowing the less energy we consume, the fewer harm we did.


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