Saturday, 14 June 2008

Dalswinton Wind Farm - Living with Wind Turbines

Dalswinton Wind Farm

Today there was an Open Day at the new wind farm a few miles away from my home. I decided to make a trip there to check it out.There was a long queue to board buses which took one up the hill to the wind farm. Children were becoming restless, as the wait was about one hour. Eventually I boarded my bus and whilst I was thinking that it was a good distance to the top of the hill, on sighting our first turbine, a young voice piped up from the back of the bus "Are they solar powered?" This put a smile on everyone's face, because we had all been rather fed up having to wait so long to get up the hill to see these famous turbines.

They are giants! The top looks like the fuselage of an aircraft with the tail cut off, and a propeller added. They make little sound for something so large. The sound is like a gentle swoosh, and I found it quite appealing. They had a mesmerising effect on me, as I stood and watched them turning in the wind. Quite graceful, I thought. There is a door at the base of the suporting pillar which provides access to the control mechanisms of each turbine.

Views from the top of the hill are spectactular. It is possible to see all the way over the Solway Firth to Cumbria. The Firth looked very muddy on the day! Perhaps the tide was out.

For those who like Facts & Figures

This windfarm has 15 turbines

Each has a capacity of 30MW

This provides power to 18,000 homes.

CO2 saving is over 60,000 tonnes per annum

The project commenced in March 2007

Was completed in May 2008.

12km of new roads were constructed.

The diameter of each rotor is 82 metres

The base or Hub is 80 metres

Each rotor can turn at 8-19 rpm

Living with Wind Turbines

These Giants can be seen from all areas surrounding Dalswinton. Some say they are a "Blot on the Landscape"

Acres of forest was cleared to make way for them.

The worst part for those living in the area was the Constant Roadworks, with accompanying Traffic Lights, which held us up, even though the part of the road being worked was only a few metres, and was perfectly passable with care. Most thought this was OTT but I reckon it was more to do with the Elf 'n Safety Police enforcing their will on the poor motorist.

As a result of all these road works, the road now is in a disgusting state, full of potholes and patches. It wreaks havoc on the tyres.

We were told that the road would be resurfaced completely, making us feel quite jubilant. However, some things are too good to be true, and we now hear that all that will be done is a spot of cosmetic patching. NOT FAIR is the general opionion here!

As for the acres of cut forest, there is a replanting programme. Many young trees have already been planted, and at the top where the turbines are, 50 hectares of heather will be planted.

The roadworks were a pain. The fact that the road will not be completely resurfaced is also a pain.

My own opinion, for what it is worth, is that the windfarm, all things considered, is beneficial.
The turbines look like graceful dancers on the hilltop.

Although I am not one of the Global Warming Devotees, I do see the need to get away from our dependency on oil. We are currently being held to ransom by oil producing countries, oil traders, and those who have a political agenda. At the time of writing, some filling stations are charging £1.99 per litre for petrol. This is completely out of order!

The windfarm is a step in the right direction. Scotland has many renewable natural energy resources, we should take more advantage of these.

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