Evenin' all. You'll be amazed to know I'm still alive! This is a topic I have taken an interest in for a while. Prepare for more ranting.
It seems to me that the idea of wind farming is well-intentioned but not much help in reducing our carbon emissions. Politicians love this sort of green window dressing, but, much like smug Hollywood actors showing off their benevolence to each other at charity functions, it's all about the gesture rather than the results.
I have it on good authority that if you calculate the amount of energy to make a turbine installation, steel production, transport, 50 ton concrete foundation, assembly and so forth, it will be found that it takes at least 25 years for a typical turbine to produce the same amount of energy, so they need to last a long time to be worth the bother. This means that for at least twenty five years the energy they produce contributes more carbon to the atmosphere than the energy sources they replace. I don't know what life an installation would have, does 50 years sound about right?
Wind can only ever contribute a small proportion of the total energy mix, as it does not blow to order. We could use their energy to produce hydrogen for cars by electrolysing water, or we could use them to drive pumped storage systems, but the massive investments required and the poor efficiency of these arrangements militates against them.
You could argue that energy is still relatively cheap, so that it is worth investing energy now, as the energy in the future is likely to be rather expensive. The IAE only recently admitted that oil production peaked in 2006, so given there are more consumers every year and less oil to go around, unless there's some serious step-change in technology (cold fusion anyone?), there's only one way energy prices will go...
I think it should be a much more effective energy source to justify marring our uplands with turbines, associated power lines and access roads, and that's coming from someone with upland farmland who could stand to gain some income from wind turbines.
I don't know what the answer is. As far as I can gather, we've spent the last 100 years using up half of the world's oil reserves, and given cars, central heating and modern manufacturing industy didn't exist 100 years ago, I can't see the second half lasting that long (particularly when the world population has at least tripled since then). Echoing what Roland says, we are not served well in energy strategy by short-termist, self-serving politicians who never take any responsibility for any decisions.