THE one thing that really put me off moving from London to Brighton was the wind.

I read that while the weather station at Kew recorded on average one gale a year Brighton could muster ten.

Telscombe Cliffs just to the east of Brighton was reckoned to be the windiest place in Britain outside the Orkneys.

I moved in many moons ago but I still haven’t really got used to the wind which has taken me off my feet many times on the seafront.

In winter it can be a lazy wind, going through you rather than around you. In the summer it is seldom still.

While the sun ripens the crops and the rain waters them, the wind seems to serve no useful purpose.

Until now. The Rampion wind farm eight miles off the coast has been officially opened after taking many years to build.

It can power 350,000 homes or half the homes in Sussex. It produces clean, green electricity.

Way out in the sea, it cannot be seen from the shore on many days and even in the sharpest light it does not dominate the view.

Opinion is divided about the appearance of those giant turbines. Many people like me appreciate their grandeur but an equal number find them ugly and alien.

Certainly they do not have the aesthetic appeal of windmills which were prominent in Sussex until a century ago. But then they are not on the land.

They are also far more handsome than most conventional ways of producing power. There are few sights worse than an open cast coal mine. Gasworks like the plant that used to be at Shoreham are hideous.

It was only a few decades later that designers discovered they could make power stations handsome. Battersea was the best example but Brighton B ran it close.

Rampion’s sheer size is hard to take in from the beach. It occupies an area roughly equal to that of the Channel island Guernsey. Each turbine weighs up to 800 tonnes and at full stretch rival the i360 observation tower in Brighton for height.

Because Sussex is so crowded, there is no room for a wind farm on land although lone turbines like the one at Glyndebourne might occasionally be permitted.

The English Channel is wide off West Sussex but it is one of the world’s busiest waterways. There cannot be many if any places where another wind farm on the lines of Rampion could safely be built.

So what now in our ceaseless quest for energy? There is oil beneath the ground in several places and for years there has been a working oil well in West Sussex so unobtrusive that most people do not even know it is there.

Experts reckon there is more oil and perhaps gas in other places and this resulted in the row over fracking at Balcombe. There is always going to be opposition to this method of extracting energy both from neighbours who do not like the traffic it generates and environmentalists who say it contributes to climate change.

Solar power should be a winner in Sussex, the sunniest county in Britain. I know some homeowners who say individual panels keep water warm even on cloudy winter days. But when installed in fields for commercial use, they are undeniably unsightly and detract from the natural beauty of our county.

Although some rivers like the Arun are fast flowing, they do not have the volume of water to produce hydroelectric power.

There is more scope for harnessing the tides – we have in Sussex some of the highest anywhere. Wave power can also be used to good effect. The cost of some green methods of power generation has in the past been prohibitive. But now they are catching up quickly with conventional fuels and in some cases, such as wind turbines, they are already competitive.

Coal mines in Britain have nearly all closed and eventually there will be no more gas to extract at reasonable cost from the North Sea even if it is still permitted on environmental grounds.

Oil suffers from similar disadvantages and there are many who would welcome a drop in consumption to lessen the strength and wealth of some unpleasant regimes which previously have had the world over a barrel.

There have been huge changes in energy over the last half century and more are to come. Sussex was never big in fossil fuels but it is well placed to produce new energy from many different courses.

Of these, wind is by far the most effective as Rampion is already proving. And as I walk into winter gales, I console myself with the thought that they’re helping to keep the lights on.