The destructive winds that wreaked havoc across the UK (and beyond) have demonstrated to everyone just how much energy is there to be harvested.
But the country must get better at making the most of its natural resources.
Wind technology in this country is rooted in an old mindset. To most people (including those in Government) the word “turbine” means an enormous windmill out at sea.
But those giant turbines aren’t a silver bullet.
Last week, as the winds started to pick up, the 40+ turbines that make up The Kentish Flats Offshore Wind Farm were turned off. The same is true of other installations around the UK.
Reasons for wind turbines to be turned off include winds that are too strong (the turbines can be damaged), or because the energy produced won’t reach the regions that need it.
The reasons for this switch-off are immaterial. The high winds of Storm Eunice were there to be harvested, and they weren’t.
For us at Alpha 311, that was glaring.
The UK is in an energy crisis that will only worsen. Millions of households are in fuel poverty. Our country doesn’t have the luxury of squandering these resources.
We wouldn’t have stopped our small, light vertical-axis wind turbines from turning. In fact, we didn’t.
As The O2 Arena in London was ripped apart by Storm Eunice, the turbines we have mounted at the site stayed in place and kept on turning (although footage shows how close they came to getting taken out by a piece of the tent as it blew past).
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The O2 has now reopened, and thankfully nobody was hurt. The same can’t be said for the whole country.
As the nationwide tidy-up gets underway, conversation must turn to how we can spin the unpredictable British weather into something that makes our nation greener, and ends the scourge of fuel poverty.