|Entering the Castle Pill Wind Farm|
|Members wait to go inside one of the wind turbine towers at Castle Pill|
Quiet Blows the Wind
On the fine sunny afternoon of Thursday 24th September members of Pembroke South East Energy Group and friends were delighted to be visiting Infinergy headquarters at the Technium, Pembroke Dock and their small wind farm at Castle Pill.
The party totalling over thirty assembled at the Technium at 2pm and were warmly welcomed by Lorraine Dallmeier, Senior Project Manager for Wales and her colleagues. After refreshments Lorraine gave a short presentation on the work of Infinergy whose purpose is to provide clean renewable energy for the national grid. All of their present energy generation in the UK comes from small scale wind farms. Most experts now agree that with the decommissioning of many existing power stations in the next few years, there is a real possibility that by 2016 lights might start to go out unless other generating capacity is brought on-stream. The choice is clear; clean energy from renewables or more traditional power stations emitting large quantities of CO2. The time factor prevents nuclear power providing an answer in the short term.
Sadly the Welsh Assembly Government's target for electricity production by 2010 – 10% of all its electricity from renewable sources - is not going to be met. It is currently 82% behind meeting its goal. More needs to be done.
Lorraine went on explain how extensive and detailed were the preparatory procedures necessary prior to submitting a planning application for such a project. Environmental impact studies have to be undertaken to ensure that the habitats of wildlife, bats, badgers and birds would not be disturbed. Of even greater importance to the company is the avoidance of any adverse impact on surrounding housing and communities. EU directives clearly state that extensive community consultation must be undertaken before such a project can be passed by planning authorities. Infinergy fully embraces this both before planning applications are submitted and throughout the whole life of a wind farm.
Infinergy then provided a bus to take the group to the wind farm site at Castle Pill. Concern was expressed by some of the party that with such light winds the blades of the turbines might not be moving. Their fears were groundless. Though one turbine was immobile, undergoing routine checks, the other two were spinning happily. Some members of the group had previously expressed reservations about turbines. These were totally dispelled. The technical officer of PSEEG had brought along a noise meter. Even standing directly underneath a turbine the highest readings he could get were no greater than normal outdoor noise. It was explained that these machines have no gear box and are thus exceptionally quiet.
No member of the group was aware of any vibration from a turbine even standing directly underneath it. The question of flicker was raised. At Castle Pill wind farm shadow is not an issue. Wind farms are controlled by highly sophisticated computer systems and when shadow flicker is recorded, these occasions can be programmed into the system and the computer simply shuts down the machine when this is known to occur.
Some members of the party had visited previously when Infinergy had held their open day. On that occasion many local people, some living only across the fields from the turbines, had been in attendance. None were heard to express any criticism of the wind farm.
After a few photographs were taken, the party remounted the bus to return to the Technium, happy in the knowledge that humans and wind farms could contently co-exist.
|11th September 2009||Renewable Sustainable Energy: An Energy Survey for South East Pembrokeshire|
|10th July 2009||A talk by Lorraine Dallmeier of Infinergy: Wind Power - Pembrokeshire's Potential|
|12th June 2009||St. Oswald's, Jeffreyston - Pembrokeshire's Beacon of Sustainability|
|24th April 2009||Solar Panels: Three Cheers for Sunny Pembrokeshire|
|13th March 2009||Ashton Hayes Community Energy Reduction & Hot Water From the Sun|
|13th February 2009||Could Pembrokeshire go carbon neutral?|
|14th November 2008||Environment Wales to provide 'Start-Up' Funding for PSEEG|
|17th October 2008||PSEEG to become a Registered Charity|