Monday, 13 June 2011

Green Park wind turbine visit

Last week I went on the Green Drinks visit to the Ecotricity wind turbine at Green Park. It shames me to say this is my first visit to the turbine since it was installed. But I comfort myself by the fact that it is in Wokingham.

The turbine stands 120 m tall, I couldn't hear any sound at all until I was standing underneath it and one side of the tower was very warm -- which was much appreciated on a cold day.

The turbine is one of the worst performing ones in the UK -- because we have such a good wind resource and most turbines are located in windier areas. But when ranked alongside the leader in wind energy -- Germany -- it is in their top 10%.

Another thing that I was interested in was the carbon payback -- how long it took to displace enough non-renewable energy generation and carbon emissions to balance out the carbon emitted in manufacturing and installing the wind turbine. Apparently this was two years.

A lot of these carbon emissions were from the concrete foundations. I was informed that work was under way on reusable foundations.

Unfortunately in the UK we have some way to go with renewables as we only currently generate around 5% of our electricity this way. In Germany it is around 17%.

In Reading we have been pushing for the Council to make use of the new feed in tariff to fund a massive investment in solar panels on Council buildings.

Obviously boosting renewable energy generation is no good if it is being wasted through inefficient housing for example. This is why we have a two pronged approach and are also pushing for Reading's free insulation scheme -- in areas of deprivation -- to be funded for the next financial year and expanded.

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