New Offshore Developments and Turbine Collapse In Scotland

In Wind Farm News This Week…

World’s First Floating Wind Farm Is A Go

One of the largest oil companies in the world, Statoil, has decided to significantly branch out by announcing a partnership with Masdar.

A renewable energy group based in Abu Dhabi, the company operates with funds totalling well over $500m USD. In an unexpected move, they have offered to take on 25% of the development risk in building the world’s first floating wind farm. Statoil have sold off a quarter off their assets in Hywind Scotland so that the project can go ahead.

Combining project management experience with high tech expertise, this is a positive step in taking wind farms further away from homes for good.

Green Light Is Given To Largest US Offshore Farm

Offshore wind farms have long been considered one of the soundest options for harnessing the power of the wind.

Far from the land, on the continental shelf, the power capacity of individual turbines is greatly increased. Companies can build their wind farms bigger, with little fear of opposition from campaigners.

In the States, local authorities are making the most of this convenience by planning what will be the largest offshore wind farm in the US, 30 km from the southeast of Long Island. Out of sight from those living in Queens and Brooklyn, with the distance also nullifying the noise, this is a wonderful example of smart wind farm planning.

The South Fork Wind Farm should provide enough power to light up 50,000 homes from the construction of only 15 turbines. Construction should begin in 2019, with the option of building more in the future.

Scottish Wind Farm Under Investigation

An investigation has been launched into Scottish Power Renewables after a wind turbine has suffered a critical failure and collapsed at a wind farm in Kilgallioch.

The turbine is part of a massive 96-unity site which is still under construction and due to be hooked up to the grid later this year.

The incident is reported to have occurred early in the morning on Friday 13th January – a spokesperson for the company said that they were currently investigating the collapse but confirmed that no one was near to the turbine at the time.

Once construction is completed and the farm is connected to the grid, it will be come the second largest in the UK and could provide 130,000 homes with power.…

Days of Protests Past: 2000, Denbigh Moors

The turn of the century, the dawn of a new millennium and a time of aggressive wind farm planning.

Seasoned Wind Farm protester, Dan Shankley, recounts to us here one of his first experiences on the picket line…

“My Father was livid that day.

Perhaps it was his stubborn vitriol, a look that I’d never seen on him before, or maybe it was simply the grim determination with which we set about every single task that led to us spending 7 hours on the side of a busy Welsh A-road. It still sticks out in my memory – that long, hot summer’s day – almost 17 years ago now.

I’d never thought of my Father as much of an activist.

There were clues, of course, little signs that fly over the head of a child, but start to merge into a cohesive meaning as I get older. Small things like a faded red sticker, emblazoned with a sickle and hammer, stuck to the boot of his car. Oddly stylised portraits on the walls of his study, of serious looking bearded men in military dress. The clues were always there.

Of all these little memories – that summer’s day in Wales is the one that remains the most potent.

We’d heard about the protest through an old University pal of Dad’s. That Friday, he picked me up from Mum’s, with the back of the car packed full of camping gear. He told my Mum we were going fishing and she seemed happy. As soon as he shut the car door and started the car, he turned to me and whispered:

‘We’re not going fishing, son. We’re going to save Wales.’

It was as simple as that.

It was a sweltering hot, English Summer’s day, the kind that only exists in memory and never seems to occur anymore. I remember my legs sticking to the leather interior of my Dad’s beaten up Anglia. We set off from Leeds, stopping off at Sheffield to pick up a man-cooling fan from Beatson Industrial Fans (a company that still operates to this day).

‘We’ll need this if we’re going to survive the day. Today, son, we’ll make History.”

That’s how he said it. As if that day and only this Father/Son team could possibly ‘save Wales’. I was 10 years old and had very little scope of the world at that point, so that day felt important. In fact – it felt compulsory.

When we arrived at the designated car park, selected by Dad’s old friends, it became clear what kind of group we were joining.

Craggy beards in familiar looking military suits tottered around beneath picket signs, simply drawn crosses through the symbol of a tripod-like fan, much like the one that we’d brought with us. The sickle and hammer that had always puzzled me was stitched on badges and slapped on satchels, the air was alive with, what I thought at the time was passion, but what I realise now was outrage.

We set up position next to the road side and protested the building of a 28-unit wind farm that promised to blight the countryside and fill the peaceful quiet with a constant drone.

That day, we disrupted the tranquillity of that land, for the greater good. And were we successful? It depends on how we judge success. In a time before social media and the sharing of events, we amassed a small crowd and made people aware of the changes that were about to take place in their local area.

The wind farm was still built. But, after our day of protesting, the company in charge of construction decided to cut the number of turbines down to 26 and reduce the height of all of those built by 10m.

We might not have saved Wales that day, but my Father still looks back on that day as one to remember.”

Living Close To A Wind Farm Could Harm You

Close Proximity To A Wind Farm Could Effect You Physically

You may assume that the worst part about living uncomfortably close to a wind-far would be simply seeing it on a daily basis.

A constant blight on the landscape, for some this would be enough to ruin their life wherever they live.

There are, however, more serious implications to living on a farm than you might have been previously expected. Before you blindly accept the installation of a wind farm too close to your farm, consider the possible eventualities that could await you in your new life under the farm:

Your Pre-Existing Health Conditions Could Worsen

There have been reports, over the years since Wind Farms have been installed of the medical conditions, of those living near turbines, worsening. Back in 2012, Aileen Jackson, who had lived in the idyllic village of Uplawmoor, was shocked to discover that her neighbour was choosing to make the most of ‘renewable energy subsidies’ and erect a 64ft-high wind turbine that was effectively in her back garden.

However, the speedy planning and construction of the turbine wasn’t to be the last of her surprises. Diagnosed as a diabetic at the age of 19, Aileen soon discovered that her blood sugar levels began to soar higher than ever before, causing her to take even more insulin. As a result of this she developed a cataract.

This wasn’t to be the last of her family’s problems though. Her son Brian, previously an outgoing student, became reclusive and dropped out of college. To make matters worse, her husband’s blood pressure, which had usually been at a healthy level, began to sky rocket forcing him onto medication for the first time in his life.

Vibroacoustic Disease Could Affect You Mentally

You may have always considered Wind Farms as the silently, spinning friendly giants of the Environmentally friendly world. However, with blades that can rotate between 10 and 20 rotations per minute, the tips of these can move through the air at speeds up to 180 mph.

A common complaint of those living nearby wind farms is of the noise that they make. The noise that a wind turbine emits can vary from around 50 decibels (the sound of mid-sized microwave) all the way up 105 db (the sound of a lawnmower). These might sound like too much to deal with, but imagine dealing with 2 or 3 of these.

There have been medical conditions linked to working in loud environments, research has shown that those working near noises of more or equal to 90 db. Symptoms of the condition known as vibroacoustic disease can be presented clinically in the form of lesions in systems around the body, or mentally, with sufferers showing signs of cognitive impairment and stress-induced pathology.

Headaches and Stress from Shadow Flicker

Shadow flicker, a phenomena first documented in 2011, occurs when the sun is low in the sky causing a shadow to be projected a long distance from the turbine. This phenomenon is often not accounted for by planners of wind farms and can have serious implications on those affected by it.

Although the Department for Energy and Climate Change deemed the effects of shadow flicker to be insignificant, case studies have proven the opposite to be true. Whereas some campaigners have insisted that the effect can cause significant stress and even headaches.

This may sound extreme, but there is a grain of truth within it. A recent report published confirmed that shadow flicker has a significant effect on those living with it. It stated that those who are subjected to more than 30 hours a year should be able successfully apply for mitigation measures.

Before you consider moving closer to a wind farm, or allowing one to be built near you, take a further look into the effects that they can have on your health.