Wind in the Willows
Searching for the stories behind wind energy in the UK. Updates from the field.
- I am currently in the United Kingdom where I am searching for unique stories in the wind energy industry. This is part of my ongoing Force project. Two weeks ago I was in Poland and last week in Romania. These photo-reportages will be published on the European Wind Energy Association's blog later this year. But, before that happens, included below is the story of the adventures collected in social media from the field.
- I am back in Amsterdam after an easy train ride from London. The adventures were adequately wrapped up in Hackney last night with some amazing reggae music, totally unexpected!This is the end of this series. It has been a pleasure writing it and compiling these three stories from the road. If you enjoyed them please let me know by commenting below. The stories from these travels will all be published soon. Watch my twitter account or my facebook for a heads up. Thanks for following along.
- 9 different stories, 3 different countries. From Poland, to Romania to the United Kingdom, the trip has been exciting, tiring and rewarding. Thank - you for reading along. If you enjoyed this series, please let me know by commenting below.Writing this update from Delabole, site of the first commercial wind farm in the UK. Martin Edwards and his father sold their 150 strong dairy herd over 20 years ago to make a go at wind energy. They successfully installed 10 turbines back in the early 90's. This farm was taken over by Good Energy in 2002. They modernized the farm by taking down the last 10 turbines and installed 4 new, more powerful turbines.The turbines backdrop the massive slate quarry which Delabole has been built around. In this area, mining of slate has been a productive industry for centuries. At the B&B where we are staying the tables, bar and floor are made from beautiful pieces of slate. Even some of the houses in this town are made from slate.One of those houses belongs to Peter Harman, a former finance director at a quarry in Essex and a relatively new full time resident of Delabole. Peter is one of the many people that have bought into the Delabole local tarif scheme, a unique scheme that gives money back to the residents living next to the wind farm. There will be more on that story to come.For now, it is downstairs for one more English breakfast and then back to London. This trip is almost over...
- Woke up this morning in Wales, going to sleep this evening in Cornwall. Yes, after a 5 hour drive, most of which was on the M5 South, I have ended up in Delabole. Delabole is a small town 1 mile from the sea and the site of the first commercial wind farm in the UK. It got its start mining slate and for about the last 400 years they have been digging a bigger and bigger hole here. Other then that, I can say that the salt and pepper squid at the pub is good and the slate bar the beer is served on is exquisite.Earlier this morning I visited Dulas, a renewable energy company based in 'Mac' that was started about 30 years ago by some people at the Centre for Alternative Technology. After a quick tour of their impressive office, I made my way to Meifod, one of the centres for anti wind protests in Wales. The town is decorated with 'No Pylons, No Windmills' signs, the most interesting of which was certainly the one with the Welsh dragon setting fire to a pylon, (photo of that to follow in the blog for EWEA).I am looking forward to discovering more tomorrow about the Delabole community tarif and how the first UK farm has evolved.
- In 'Mac'. At least that was how I am allowed to say it. The real name is Machynlleth and it is in western Wales. I came up her to talk with Ruth Chapman, someone who wrote her masters thesis on the 'why' of objection to wind energy. She had some interesting things to say and I look forward to writing up this article.This is also the home of the Centre for Alternative Technology, (CAT, as it is affectionately and professionally known). CAT has been a leader in this world for many many years. One of the more interesting things they are working on right now is the Zero Carbon Britain plan. A plan that attempts to derive half of the energy mix for the UK from offshore wind energy. That is a huge and significant investment, but doable and necessary.On a more general note, for some reason I have directed this trip back towards the snow, perhaps I missed it from Poland and Romania. The drive up here was beautiful but we are on the border of Snowdonia! However, it is lambing season and in amongst the snow drifts, the lambs are finding their feet and demonstrating that spring really is coming.Tomorrow headed down to Delabole..
- From colleague Colin Cafferty below.
- It was quite a shock to wake up to a beam of sunshine in the hotel room after being tormented by cloudy and snowy weather in Poland and Romania. Who would have thought that I would have to come to the UK to get some vitamin D. I wasn't expecting it, but I will take it.Began the day in Bristol, making a few phone calls, setting up some meetings and having coffee with Justin Woolford from the Change Co. The morning passed quickly and I made my way out of Bristol into Wales, across the big bridge and the Severn River. Destination, St. Briavel (actually in England) to speak with Sue and Andrew Clarke, owners and founders of Resilient Energy. We had a great afternoon chatting about their work and the general landscape of the wind sector from their perspective. This story will be written up in full to join the others soon.A quick trip up to the St. Briavel wind turbine where we met Anthony, the land owner, and then we made our way to the 'local', George. Passing plenty of local pubs in the last couple of days has got me thinking about all the different names. So a quick search and I came up with this bit of entertainment. Take a look, I particularly like 'The Inn Next Door Burnt Down'.Tomorrow we are on the road again....
- It is a Bank Holiday in the UK today. A great time to drive through the center of London, (no congestion charge), a perfect time to make an easy trip to Bristol, but unfortunately not a great time to set up meetings for the week. They will have to wait until tomorrow, after all, we all deserve holidays.Bristol is the home of Banksy and it is hard to walk down the street and not notice the incredible amount of graffiti from an array of people. A lot of it is just noise, but some of it is good. Pet peeve: seeing a tag over a beautiful piece of art on the street. Respect?!But the holiday meant that I had a day off visiting a great friend in the region and just finished a spectacular Indian meal with colleague and assistant on this portion of the trip, Colin Cafferty. Specifics for the rest of the week are being developed and I am sure that I will be able to share more adventures tomorrow. A slow start, but stay tuned.