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Wind power King’s Lynn energy source a change from tides on Great Ouse

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It was the Egyptians who first used wind power to sail the River Nile and create the first of the great civilisations.

That was 3000BC. Much like our own river here in King’s Lynn that was used by the Hanseatic merchants and great explorers who would arrive in Lynn bearing goods having navigated the tides and sailed on the wind.

The tide would have been used to carry smaller craft south on the Great Ouse through the low-lying flatlands of the Fens.

A single wind turbine generating power in a field in rural Suffolk.
A single wind turbine generating power in a field in rural Suffolk.

Boats carrying wine to the Bishops of Ely and, no doubt, ‘misplacing’ a barrel or two as they sailed past The Crown in St Germans, The Cock in Magdalen or The Heron in Stow Bridge!

The Solar Shed, which is an old fisherman’s shed on the banks of the river in Magdalen, would process the day’s catch that was all caught on the tide.

A boat would drop its nets as the tide raced in and the fish would come to Mr Gagen’s nets out the back of the house. He’d get a net full much quicker on those high spring tides!

Offshore wind turbines.
Offshore wind turbines.

Energy, renewable energy can be harnessed from many sources, tidal and solar power being the most constant of all, with wind being the greatest contributor but also the least reliable to carry a base load.

Thankfully the advancements in the charge and discharge rates in battery technology has allowed us as individuals, as well as whole nations such as Costa Rica, to bridge the gap and live a life where we only use renewable energy.

There are many myths regarding wind power as well and whilst no one likes to see dead birds it is reported that between 10,000 and 100,000 birds are killed each year by wind turbines.

Vattenfall wind turbines in West Norfolk.
Vattenfall wind turbines in West Norfolk.

However, more than 55,000,000 are killed in the UK each year by cats! Domestic cats!! And I don’t see anyone calling for a ban on cats so why object to something that can be negated?

In Denmark there was a reported 74 per cent reduction in bird strikes when one of the turbine blades was painted a darker colour than the other two.

It was a simple measure that dramatically reduced the perceived problem. More birds die each year by car drivers and flying into buildings than from wind turbines.

Work in progress on the QEH King's Lynn Wind Turbine. MLNF-20PM08036
Work in progress on the QEH King's Lynn Wind Turbine. MLNF-20PM08036

And then we hear people say that they don’t like the look of them.

Well, I don’t like to see oil spills, and birds soaked in thick black, crude oil or gas flaring or even young men and women coming back from the Middle East in body bags where they served to the highest order and gave the ultimate sacrifice so we can fill up at £1.50 per litre and really do much prefer a well sighted turbine.

Advancements in wind technology now means that there is a range of turbines that can be used at home.

Not the little spinney things that wobble and vibrate and burn out due to turbulence (traditional turbines need ‘clean air’) but modern ridge mounted turbines, cylindrical turbines, and even bladeless turbines that use vibration – for want of a better word – to generate energy.

Less efficient than the large turbines we see, but much more affordable, less likely to kill birds and it keeps the neighbours happy.

Actually, some of the bladeless turbines may raise an eyebrow thinking about it. Why not ‘Google it’. See for yourself!

The answers really are blowing in the wind, moving with the tides and rising with the sun. And always have been.

Kevin Holland

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