Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wind power

click photo to enlarge
A new wind farm has recently appeared on the Fens of Lincolnshire. I've taken an interest in its construction, making several journeys to watch the turbines being erected. On each occasion I met people doing the same thing. One man had an interest in cranes, and had come to see the particularly large machine that was used to erect the columns, nacelle and blades. Others were fascinated by the size, shape and otherworldliness of the turbines. And quite a few recognised the significance of the appearance of these modern windmills in this flat landscape that once held a multitude of windmills and windpumps.

Perhaps those who went to view the erection of the wind farm were a self-selected group who harbour no ill-feeling towards these giants, but it surprised me to find that everyone I met was favourably disposed towards them. Many commented on their elegance and beauty. Some said they were greatly preferable to the electricity pylons. Quite a few recognised the necessity for more environmental forms of power generation, and the need for the electricity to be controlled entirely by our own national government. There was none of the "not in my backyard" (nimbyism) that often characterises the debate about wind turbines, and, whilst I know that what I heard was not representative of all public opinion, it did give me hope that a change is underway.

Today's photograph shows nine of the thirteen turbines seen across an almost ripe barley field. A strong wind is blowing away the fair-weather clouds, and replacing them with a more threatening sky. Some say that turbines are a visual abomination that spoil the view. Such people are usually condemning change and the loss of the familiar. They forget (if they ever knew) that our beloved, "timeless" English landscape of carefully tended fields, trees and farms would be unrecognisable and probably abhorrent to our forebears of only a century or two ago. In the Fens, and elsewhere, change will and must happen, and even a wind farm can make a positive contribution, if only people cast aside their blinkers and let their eyes see it!

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 20mm (40mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f11
Shutter Speed: 1/320
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On