Wind Turbines

Turbine

Wind turbines are massive industrial structures that are appropriate in certain locations especially on brown field industrial sites such as Ford’s Dagenham plant in Essex or Sainsbury’s distribution site in East Kilbride. They are not appropriate in beautiful unspoilt countryside.

Ecotricity plan to construct 2 Enercon E-66 wind turbines in Cucklington, each has the following specification:-

Country of origin

Germany

Designed and built in Germany by Enercon GmbH.

Rated output

2 MW

Achieved at a wind speed of 12m/s (27 mph). Typical average output is 25%-30% of this total i.e. 0.6MW due to lower average wind speed.

Hub height

65m (213 feet)

Height from ground level to the centre of the blades, taller than the Statue Of Liberty!

Blade diameter

70m (230 feet)

Diameter of the circle swept by the rotating blades.

Total height

100m (328 feet)

Ground level to blade tip, twice the height of Alfred’s tower!

Swept area

3848m2 (4602yards2)

Almost an acre!

Cut-in wind speed

2.5m/s (5.6 mph)

Turbine is prevented from turning below this speed.

Cut-out speed

28–34m/s(63-76 mph)

Turbine is prevented from turning above this speed.

Rotation speed

10 – 22 rpm

Tower dia. (base)

4.13m (13.5 feet)

Diameter of tower at ground level – reduces to 8.8 feet at top.

Wind turbines have the following impact:

Visual impact

Self explanatory! Two rotating structures twice the height of Alfred’s tower!

Noise

They generate considerable noise compared to a typical quiet night in Cucklington. Our noise consultants Arup Acoustics are reviewing the likely noise impact.

Shadow effect

When the sun shines through the rotating blades a flicker effect is produced that can cause considerable problems to local residents.

Electromagnetic Effects

Steel towers will have some impact on local TV, radio and mobile phone services.

Nature

The “two towers” will have some impact on local animals, birds and bats.

Local economy

Only the land owner will benefit but by a negligible amount compared to the damage to the local tourist economy etc. Benefits to the Blackmore Vale economy during construction and operating life are minimal. The main financial beneficiaries would be the two shareholders who own Ecotricity’s parent, Nexgen Group Ltd, and Enercon, the German turbine supplier.

House prices

Reputable local estate agents advise that the wind turbines will reduce local house prices by between 5% and over 25%.

Safety

Historic concerns include lightning strike, exposure to high winds, icing of blades and electrical risk.

Archaeology

Cucklington is an area of high archaeological potential – what will be irrevocably lost?

Access

Delivery of materials and the turbines themselves will cause damage to the hedges and trees along the small access lanes. The installation of the interconnecting cable is likely to cause considerable local inconvenience.

Ecotricity turbine number 2 - 70 dpi02

Some further considerations

The Save the Vale Action Association strongly believes that wind turbines are not necessary, particularly not in environmentally sensitive areas like the Blackmore Vale, especially now that the Government has shifted its focus for wind energy to off-shore locations. Furthermore SVA believes that splitting Government targets down to Districts is not sensible.

Recent DTI figures show that in order to achieve the 10% renewable energy by 2010, 3% already exists, and 6% will come from off shore wind power stations. This leaves an on-shore target of only 1%.

It is interesting to point out that the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) who were pro wind energy, have changed their position and actually formally support several action groups such as SVA.

When the first windfarms were originally opened, tourist centres were established. These have now closed down - the novelty has worn off! STOP PRESS: according to an Ecotricity representative, the Swaffham tourist centre has now reopened, but is mostly being used as a business centre.

Safety in the Countryside

According to the Government’s own Planning Policy Guidline 22, wind turbines should be positioned AT LEAST a distance equal to their own height away from any road, bridleway, etc (in the case of Cucklington this is 100 metres). BUT, the British Horse Society guidelines recommend they should be at least three times the height of the turbines away (i.e. in Cucklington this should be 300 metres). They have evidence of accidents that have occurred when horses have been very spooked by the flicker and constantly moving shadow of the huge turbine blades.