So, here we are back in the land of windmills, though the old ones that dot the landscape of the Norfolk Broads are more correctly referred to as wind pumps, their primary purpose being to drain land of water. Norfolk being essentially flat, there is little to hinder any wind so there are, of course, some more modern wind turbines, designed to generate electricity, dotting the land- and seascapes.
Coincidentally, there was an interesting and relevant piece of writing by Christopher Booker in last Sunday’s Telegraph concerning the demolition of Didcot power station and the UK’s power policy. Since I cannot find an on-line reference, I’ll repeat the salient points here.
At the time when the plant’s German owners closed down Didcot A last year – having decided that it was not worth paying hundreds of millions of pounds to modify it to comply with an EU pollution directive – the 2,000 megawatts of electricity it was capable of supplying to the National Grid were only slightly less than the average total of 2,200 megawatts then being unreliably generated by all of Britain’s thousands of subsidised wind turbines put together.
Assuming the figures are true – staggering!
The first thing that made my jaw drop was the “German owners” bit. What on earth have we come to if we let our power generation systems be controlled by foreign interests, for Darwin’s sake? It’s one to address our lamentable shortfall by buying power from the French who, being much more sensible folks than us, invested in nuclear power stations which now create 80% of their output, an output which actually produces a surplus enabling them to sell it abroad. We, by contrast, generate too little to begin with and surrender control of what we do have to foreign interests. The UK has completely lost it!
In the blink of an eye, the foreign interests have lost us the entire output from all the wind turbines, most of them now blighting what used to be various tracts of our so-called “green and pleasant land”. I know Didcot and its cooling towers was never an attractive sight but a power station is a very localized eyesore and there aren’t that many of them. Wind generation risks becoming a national eyesore which will never kick out enough power. I actually think that an individual wind turbine is a reasonably attractive piece of engineering but that opinion changes when dozens of them are scattered across rolling green hills and pasture.
Not all our wind turbines blight the land, it has to be said. A strategy I find less offensive is the placing of wind turbines off the coast, out at sea. There is an example here just off Great Yarmouth. The delightfully named Scroby Sands is home to a wind farm of 20 turbines.
Francine has been training her camera on a few of them. The first is a straight shot, the second is a composite of five shots to get a bit more interest in the rotating turbine blades. The second also seems to do reasonable well in monochrome.