15 March 2009

An afternoon by the coast - sea, shingle, tea, historic buildings and turbines

Went for an afternoon stroll on the coast at Reculver.


A hazy view of the wind turbines out in the estuary.


A close up shot a row of turbines whose blades have stopped. This answers the question as to what happens to wind turbines when the wind stops blowing - they stop turning and create opportunities to make artistic shots of them.

This wind farm, known as the Kentish Flats scheme. According to the company website, the turbines at Kentish Flats are expected to produce an annual output of 280,000,000 kilowatt-hours. By comparison, the total domestic consumption of electricty here in Lewisham was 440,140,000 kilowatt-hours in 2006.

Clearly the visual impact of these turbines was a significant impact in the decision to grant permission to build it. However neither Drax (or Kingsnorth in the same part of Kent) nor Heysham power stations are pretty. Heysham in particular with its very special location on the North West Coast is groteseque. Further these sources of electricity bring significant and permanent risks with them. If our ingenuity finds a source of energy such as nuclear fission that can literally produce energy 'too cheap to meter' then we can simply remove the wind turbines from the sea bed...can the same be said about radioactive waste from a nuclear power station or carbon dioxide from a coal-powered station? Of course not. Further, some, and me included actually find the turbines to be a pleasant and strangely relaxing addition to the landscape. You can judge (well almost) for yourself what you think about the turbines at Reculver.

On a completely different note - there's a great cycle path from along this part of the North Kent Coast - really recommend it. Close the sea for most of the way, start off with oysters at Whitstable and finish with candy floss at Margate.

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