On Saturday the 15th February 2014, I attended the exhibition for the proposed 4 turbine Wind Farm at Blandford Hill, near Winterbourne Whitechurch, being developed by REG Windpower. The exhibition was held in the Winterbourne Whitechurch village hall and living as I do in nearby Milton Abbas, I had received an invite to the exhibition as we are considered to be within the immediate area (the exhibition was of course open to anyone to attend).
I went to the meeting with my mother and step-father who live near me, also in Milton Abbas, it made sense to travel together.
On arriving at the exhibition we were welcomed at the door by a member of the REG team and were given the option of leaving our details should we want to be kept informed on how the project is proceeding. Then I was quickly introduced to several more members of the REG team and we chatted in detail about the project and wind power in general.
Much to my relief one of the first things the REG people asked was would we like a cup of tea or coffee – a very welcome thing as we in Milton Abbas had experienced a power cut the night before and were still without electricity, and being in an area where there is no gas supply boiling kettles (even with my parents wood burning stove) was proving difficult. Coffee in hand I asked one of the REG engineers whether it might have been possible to keep a local supply of electricity going during a power cut via locally sited wind turbines – he said it would not necessarily be guaranteed and would depend on such factors as where the problem in the supply was, but yes conceivably having a wind farm nearby could provide extra resilience and a continuation of electricity supply during a wider outage – an encouraging thought.
A question the REG team were keen on asking us, was what local projects would we suggest might benefit from the community fund, which they would put in place as and when the turbines were up and running. Not a question one is often asked in these straightened times – where to spend more money to benefit the local area. So unused to this – we asked for more time to consider.
What I was interested to see was how my step-father, who was at the very least disposed to oppose (if not in outright opposition) would respond to the exhibit and the words of the (enthusiastic and very well informed) REG staff. Well rather to my surprise he was gradually persuaded of the merits of wind power (which produces more than all the energy needed to make and site a commercial onshore wind turbine in less than a year) and of the virtues of siting 4 wind turbines in an adjacent village. Success then of a persuasive argument backed up with some excellent graphics, including a Google Earth Mapping of the 4 turbines showing how they would look from any and every angle and distance.
After a couple of hours – which passed very quickly so interesting was the conversation – we decided to leave and return to electricity free (if that`s the right word for it) Milton Abbas. On the way out of the hall we passed the member of the REG team who had been collating the response forms attendees had been asked to fill in if they wanted. It turned out that a majority of people attending the exhibition (over the two days it was held) had been in favor of the project, with a minority against and some don`t knows. A very encouraging response for those of us keen to see renewable energy in Dorset and obviously a boost for the REG team.
I for one am glad I went – and of course getting the cup of coffee during the power cut we were experiencing in Milton Abbas was a much appreciated bonus!
You can download the information we were presented with, here: http://blandfordhill.regwindpower.co.uk/articles/388