Turbine operational again

The Nordtank 500 is operational once more following SPEN’s work on the switchgear. Nora started turning again on Weds 29th January.

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Nordtank shut down as DNO seeks to re-energise the site

The Nordtank 500, ‘Nora’, is to be out of operation for another week or so as we await re-energisation of the turbine by the Distribution Network Operator, Scottish Power Manweb. Nora has been down for a week or so already, and our trusty technical advisors John and Rod have been on site attempting to resolve the issue with reps from the DNO. SPEN is having problems with the batteries and charger, part of the switchgear unit, that are preventing SPEN from re-energing the site.

It’s a matter that is largely out of our hands but we’ll do all we can to encourage SPEN to get the site live again and to get Nora turning. We’ll keep you posted.

That said, Nora clocked up a whopping 94,724 kWhr in December – the highest output for the year!

Best wishes to all for 2014.

BDCR committee

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Monitoring bat activity

Exeter University has been monitoring bat activity around the Nordtank over the summer 2013. This is part of an ongoing research project to establish the interactions between bats and turbines and what evidence there is of collision risk and barotrauma. We’re pleased to be able to support the research and hope to publish the results when they come out next year.

Hopefully the research will dampen some of the hysteria around potential collision and barotrauma conjecture currently circulating, although we believe true conclusions may be difficult to come by. Anyway, it’s a complex subject and not one to discuss here. Please see a picture of the anabat detectors on site for evidence, and our thanks to the landowners, the Lloyds, once again for their ongoing support.IMG_5003

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April generation

Nora generated a very healthy 94MWh for April 2013. So remember on those wet westerly days it’s not all glum … our generation does well.

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If you’re not part of the solution …

The following Blog was posted on the Otesha website (http://www.otesha.org.uk) by a daughter of one of our committee members in October 2011. Hope you don’t mind if we indulge ourself by publishing it here but it captures the raging debate on wind energy here in mid Wales and wider afield.

Blowing hot and cold on wind

19th October 2011 by

A normal conversation whilst visiting my parents house in Wales goes thus:

Me: “Where are you off to Dad?”

Dad: “Just up to see Nora, I’ll be back for lunch.”

Me: “Is she alright? This is the third time you’ve been this week!”

Dad (looking slightly perturbed): “I’m not sure, she’s not been moving much lately – I just want to go and check on her.”

Enter Mum, rolling her eyes: “Are you still going on about Nora????”

Now you may be wondering whether Nora may be an ailing neighbour, or even a mystery female. However, Nora, the woman so close to my dad’s heart, is in fact a wind turbine, formally known as the Nordtank 500, which stands proud and tall on the hill opposite my family home in the heart of Wales.

Nora is one of two turbines owned by Bro Ddyfi Community Renewables, one of the first locally owned energy cooperatives in the UK. The co-op is owned by mainly local shareholders – just normal local people – who want to put their money where their mouths are and create renewable energy for the local community, as well as getting a small return from selling the electricity to the grid. The project was also funded by Ecodyfi, a local NGO dedicated to sustainable development, the project from which is used to tackle energy poverty through providing grants to households for energy efficiency measures.

For many, wind turbines are an emblem of the environmental movement, symbolising the essence of sustainability: harvesting clean, renewable and often cheap energy from the natural environment. Many people, me and my dad included, see wind turbines as things of beauty, majestically gracing the hills and mountains of some of the most stunning landscapes in the world. And all over the country normal people are walking the talk, getting involved with community owned wind projects from Scotland to Oxfordshire in a bid to do their bit in the fight against climate change and other global environmental destruction associated with the oil industry.

However, not everyone shares these views and aspirations. As anyone who lives near a planned wind farm site knows, there is often substantial and vocal opposition to wind power. Driving through small villages in mid-Wales you can see fields littered with increasingly humorous placards proclaiming ‘No to wind’.

Paradoxically, opponents of wind also see themselves as stewards of the environment, although with a slightly different mandate to wind supporters. One MP from mid-Wales called proposals to create a new wind farm ‘environmental vandalism’, citing the usual (and often unsubstantiated) criticisms concerning noise pollution, bird deaths and damage to tourist-luring vistas.

So how is it that members of the same community, who are fighting for the same cause of environmental protection, end up in such embittered conflict over wind? It seems to me to depend on depth of environmental worldview.

People who see the environment as a global and long lasting entity tend to see wind turbines as a necessary tool in fighting climate change, and perhaps are willing to overlook small scale distruption to the local environment. Others, who see the environment as limited to what they see in their gardens, are passionately fighting to limit what they see as destruction of the natural landscape and biodiversity in their locality – resulting in what is commonly known as NIMBY (not-in-my-back-yard) syndrome.

It would be naive to say that people accused of NIMBYism do not understand the environmental issues at stake. However, it it boils down to how this information is processed, depending on how you look at the world. Some people will put their hard-earned savings into building a wind turbine of their very own, whilst a neighbour may spend long hours planning campaigns to shut it down.

Obviously one of these viewpoints is going to have to change or be overruled, which is why the issue of wind in many communities is such a touchy subject. Perhaps as climate change comes more to the forefront of people’s minds, and the cost of fossil fuels increase as peak oil looms, then attitudes will change. Perhaps the people who support wind should become as vocal as the often minority anti-wind protesters, to show local support  to counteract the resentment.

Maybe it’s up to people like my dad and his friends to change people’s attitudes and show that wind turbines are the lesser of the evils in the quest for a secure energy supply. All I know, as I follow my dad’s gaze to watch a Nora happily spinning round on her hilltop throne (and I’m sure even the most NIMBYistic of my community would agree), is that I’m glad she’s not a hulking great power station.

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‘Nora’ dealing well with the easterlies

Our Nordtank 500kW turbine has been coping pretty well with the weather of late, and enjoying the stiff, fairly constant easterly winds. She went down over the weekend (23-24th March 2013) with the extreme gusty winds and some grid problems, but she’s up and running again and ‘Nora’ is quite close to generating at full capacity right now. Please see a picture of one of Nora’s nurturer’s, Rod, up there this weekend when she was down for  a bit. Just see the commitment we have!

Whilst the cable to the V17 is largely replaced we are considering options for its future through an options appraisal. We hope to report back more at this year’s AGM.

 

Nora March 23 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nora March 23 2013 2

 

 

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Date for Annual General Meeting

To all shareholders,

please be advised that we expect to host the next annual general meeting at the usual venue of the Panperthog school house, near Machynlleth on Saturday the 18th May, 2013. Notifications have been sent out. Evextahupe The meeting will seek shareholder approval of annual accounts and share interest payments, a resolution on auditing, as well as the management committee seeking a further term and an update on turbine performance.

Papers are available on the Shareholders’ page.

Thanks

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Welcome to the our new website!

Finally we’ve got around to improving the website, through which we hope to offer up more for our members and those interested in community energy schemes. We hope you enjoy the new look and that you’ll stay in touch through the site.

This site is still in development, but anything is an improvement on the last so we thought we would go live. We’ll make improvements and add updates over the next couple of months or so as we get to grips with the software.

The Nordtank has been performing as well as possible recently given the cold weather. Her recent oil check showed up positive and it appears the machine is in good health, though we’re always mindful of keeping an eye on her. We have virtually completing laying of the replacement cable to the V17 which has been down for a couple of years now as we sought a solution. We should be able to go live this year but we need to check the condition of the machine first as it has been idle for a while. We will keep you better updated through the blog on this website.

Best wishes from the BDCR management committee:

John Williams (chair), Sonia Kuznetsov (company secretary), Rod Edwards (treasurer), Duncan Kerridge, Harry Chandler, Michael Phillips, Conrad Trevelyan

 

 

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