Archive for May, 2014


Keith Wheaton-Green says:
Hazelbury Bryan – Charity cycle Ride

Category: Energy Events in Dorset, Uncategorized
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Hazelbury Bryan – Charity cycle Ride

On 9th June I set of with my son Myles and his mates Jeremy and Luke from Hazelbury Bryan on our charity cycle (in support of Help for Heroes and Canine Partners) to Murcia in Spain. I’ve no idea whether I’ll make it but I reckon I have to have a go. The route is Cherbourg, Rennes, Nantes, Bourdeaux, Toulouse, Pyrenees, Barcelona, Alicante, Murcia. More information here –

On 1st June we have the warm up event in Hazelbury Bryan and I hope you will be able to join us. From 12:00 am participants will cycle a set 2 mile circuit around the village starting at the Antelope pub. You register outside the pub and receive your number to pin to your T shirt, put something in the charity box and do as many laps as you can with us.

Hazelbury Bryan Circuit Route

Hazelbury Bryan Circuit Route

You can even pay a small fee (£2 per circuit) to ride an electric bike, provided for the event by the Dorset Ebike Centre (all money to charity.)

A volunteer will be keeping a count of your laps around the circuit. From lunchtime onwards there will be a barbecue run by Luke’s mum (your money for the burger going to charity) and from early evening the live music starts. After much persuasion, Not Made in China (Tiffany Wheaton-Green`s band) have agreed to make the journey up from Bournemouth with all their gear to play. They will be supported by a local band.

The weather is forecast to be overcast with no rain. So good for cycling.

Exercise, food and music. Complete sustenance for mind and body.


Lets Get Energized says:
Verwood Solar Park

Category: Solar Energy
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Verwood Solar Park – Proposal

We have just received information about a proposed Solar Park near Verwood.

We like it, in fact we like it a lot. It seems that the Dorset Wildlife Trust are also offering support – assisting with the developers Solstice Renewables, in the implementation of a biodiversity plan for the site. A further positive aspect is the provision by the developers of an education support fun (of £2,000 p.a) for the nearby schools Verwood First School and Emmanuel Middle School, to use on field trips to the solar park and educational resources to help them learn about renewable energy, climate change and biodiversity.

The planning application can be viewed on the East Dorset District Council website – Here

Anyway, without further ado – below is the official press release for the development

Plans submitted for Verwood solar park

15th May 2014 A planning application for a 20.4 MW solar park at Manor Farm, St. Michael’s Road, Verwood, has been submitted to East Dorset District Council, by Wiltshire-based Solstice Renewables.

The proposed site would cover 113 acres/45.7 ha and have approximately 81,400 panels. It would generate enough renewable electricity to power over 6,000 average households – enough to supply the equivalent of most of the homes in Verwood.

Giovanni Maruca, Director, Solstice Renewables, said: “We want to work closely with the local community, and have taken particular care to ensure the solar park will have a minimal visual impact on the area. The people of Verwood will benefit not only from renewable electricity being generated and used locally, but also from a dedicated community fund, as well as substantial educational and ecological benefits.”

Benefits proposed include:

A programme of ecological improvement: sowing native wild flowers and grasses to create meadows in spring and summer for bees, birds and butterflies; with further enhancements along the field margins including bat boxes, improved water habitats and beehives to benefit from the extra pollen and improved native coarse grasslands.

A community benefit fund of £1,000 per MW installed capacity, rising in line with inflation, for 20 years, in line with a protocol being established by East Dorset County Council. This is likely to amount to £20,000 a year, or over £400,000 for the lifetime of the solar farm.

Additional funding to support educational benefits, of £2,000 each per year for Verwood First School and Emmanuel Middle School to fund field trips to the solar farm and other educational resources.

The land where the solar park would be sited has been farmed by the Dalton family for several generations. It was formerly a dairy farm, but when that became uneconomic the family switched to arable farming – mainly maize, for cattle feed.

Douglas Dalton, one of the landowners said: “It’s poor quality land anyway, and it will continue to be used for agriculture – it will be grazed by sheep in the winter and will become a haven for wildlife in the summer.”

“Like many farmers, we’ve suffered from the extreme weather of the last couple of years, so the income we get from the solar park will help spread our risks and help us become better farmers too.”

A public consultation was held in February at The Hub in Verwood. Around 100 local people attended, and 74% of people who completed a feedback form said they supported the project.

Giovanni Maruca, added: “We were very pleased with the reaction of local people to our plans. One of the things they asked about was community benefit – so we’ll be providing a fund of around £20,000 a year to be spent on projects that bring economic, social and environmental benefits to the area.

“We’ll continue to engage with the local community throughout the planning process, by updating local residents, councillors and community groups on our plans and responding to and questions or concerns people may have.”

Full details of the planning application are available on the East Dorset Council Planning Portal  (reference number 3/14/0457/FUL).

Members of the public are invited to comment on the plans up to June 4th 2014 – follow the link below


Vince Adams says:
EU Elections 2014

Category: Sustainable Living, Uncategorized
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EU Elections 2014 – South West

Didn’t the Greens do well last night.

Some words of encouragement from me and our renewable energy portal

Well done on gaining your seat in the European Parliament, we believe that yours is the biggest potential coalition of all. Everyone has a little Green in their DNA and your challenge is to find a way of teasing it out of the majority.

The opportunities are hugely exciting, build quickly on your vote and secure this bridgehead. From there begin to challenge the next level of people building brick on brick,

BBC news election results:


Paul McIntosh says:
Opportunities in Renewable Energy for Communities

Category: Energy Events in Dorset
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Opportunities in Renewable Energy for Communities

We have been asked by North Dorset District Council to help publicize a free seminar they are holding on the 9th of June – we are happy to assist as the aim of the seminar is to inform and encourage local councils to make more use of renewable energy – Energizing Dorset

See the official press release below for more information:

Renewable Energy Benefits

Find out about the benefits of renewable energy at a seminar organised by North Dorset District Council at the Springhead Trust, Fontmell Magna on Monday 9 June.

This free half-day seminar titled ‘Opportunities in Renewable Energy’ will inform Town and Parish Councillors, Neighborhood Planning Groups and others about how they can benefit from renewable energy technologies.

Renewable technologies can benefit community buildings or schools by providing an income through incentive schemes and cheaper energy. Also, by raising finance locally investors can contribute to the development of their assets whilst getting a good return on their money.

Delegates will learn about commercial schemes and how communities can negotiate with developers. They will also learn about best practice elsewhere in the country.

Presentations will be given by Dorset County Council, local company Community Heat & Power and regional support organisations.

For more information and to book a place, go to: or contact Paul McIntosh, Sustainability Officer at North Dorset District Council on 01258 484019.

The publicity “flyer” for the event can be downloaded here: Opportunities_renewable_energy_2014

1Comments | Post your own comment

  • Vince Adams comments:
    "This initiative by NDDC is most welcomed as a push for those of us interested in creating and opening Community Renewable Projects. Clearly with so much to learn small groups like Stur Valley Energy and its IPS can benefit from help and assistance in insuring that there projects gather momentum and support from planners/authorities and in people in general.
    Clearly communities can benefit greatly from the whole notion of working together and we believe that anything is possible and will eventually ease the burden of rising energy costs and tackle some of the causes of climate change.
    Support Paul and his work at NDDC by attending the Seminar. "

    May 25, 2014 a 9:32 am


Lets Get Energized says:
Sustrans Safer Streets Campaign

Category: Sustainable Living, Uncategorized
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Sustrans Safer Streets Campaign

Cycling is of course a way to reduce car use and so assist the environment – with that in mind we`ve been publicizing and supporting the excellent Safer Streets Campaign organised by Sustrans – and as an indication of how proactive and responsive Sustrans are – here is the email they sent us following our efforts:

Thank you for your support so far for our Campaign for Safer Streets.

As a valued partner I thought it would be timely to update you regarding the campaign.

The launch was a key moment for us and we’ve had a great response so far.

Media coverage on the launch day included Good Morning Britain, The Times, Daily Telegraph, ITV, Sky, BBC Online, Metro, The Scotsman, MSN and as well as local print, online and broadcast and specialist press including, BikeRadar, Surveyor / Transport Network, The Ecologist and EdExec. There is lots more to come in weekly and monthly publications.

We’ve seen 1,861 emails sent to MPs, with 543 MPs having received at least one email. We will be focusing on this campaign action over the coming weeks and it would be great if we could encourage more people to email their MPs. Please do continue to tweet about the campaign:

Suggested tweet: We want to see a safer school run. Let’s make it happen @Sustrans #SafetoSchool

There are lots of activities and events planned for June including:

Bike to School Week 9 – 13 June – Bike to School Week is an opportunity to celebrate all the fantastic things schools have achieved throughout the UK to encourage cycling all year round, through events and activities to get more people switched on to the benefits of using their bikes for the school journey. Our ambition is that every child in the UK will benefit from the direct support of one of our officers, and every week will be a Bike to School Week. We will be providing more suggestions soon on how you can support the week.

Parliamentary Breakfast Meeting- Sustrans is holding a breakfast panel event in parliament on Thursday 19 June, 8.40 – 10.30am on delivering a safe route to school for every child. This event is linked to our Campaign for Safer Streets and is an opportunity for both highlighting the campaign with parliamentarians and discussing how our vision of a safe journey can be delivered.

I’ll be back in touch in early June with further information regarding the above.

Best wishes


Rachel Bromley
Policy Communications Co-ordinator

1Comments | Post your own comment

  • vince adams comments:
    "This is an amazing campaign and opportunity to focus even more attention on local cycling.
    Give your children a chance to take back the Streets with biking to school, they will become fitter and grow their own self confidence overnight. "

    May 24, 2014 a 8:41 am


Guest Energizer says:
How to destabilise the Green Energy Market?

Category: Green Deal, Green Electricity & Gas, Renewable Energy, Uncategorized
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How to destabilise the Green Energy Market?

Sent to us by Sally Cooke. This highly pertinent article might be of interest for Dorset Energized readers.

Written by Dr Philip Webber, a former research physicist and now visiting professor at the University of Leeds working to develop and finance city scale low carbon programmes, his opinion on the government’s recent track record on energy efficiency is :

“If you were trying to deliberately destabilise a market by misinformed intervention it would be hard to beat the last year of home energy efficiency finance.”

The article is available on the Scientists for Global Responsibility Website:


Simon Jonathan Naish Rayson says:
A Haibike ride

Category: Electric Transport, Sustainable Energy Stories
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A Haibike ride

Sometimes love at first sight happens – sometimes the reality does not match that first sight.

Well I experienced something today that brought such things to mind.

I`d gone, with a Dorset Energized colleague (Keith Wheaton-Green) to visit the Dorset Ebike Centre. Keith has been getting Ebike curious and wanted to try one and learn more & also we wanted to talk to the Ebike Centre owner Peter Claxton about him bringing along some Ebikes to a charity cycle ride day in Hazelbury Bryan on the 1st of June (more on that soon).

So I arrived at the Ebike Centre thinking mostly about helping Keith get to grips with the Ebike experience – and then as we walked into the showroom I saw it:

Haibike Xduro FS

Haibike Xduro FS

Peter saw me looking at the bike, and broke off from talking to Keith to say it had just arrived and what a dream it was to ride. Brand new, just out of the box, I didn`t dare ask if I could sit on it leave alone take it for a proper ride – but Peter said do you want to take it for a spin. There was no chance I would say no – so I didn`t.

After a bit more chatting, with Keith learning some more about Ebikes, me and him went of for a ride – me on the Haibike Xduro FS and Keith on a Riese & Muller Ebike. Let`s put it this way – it was love at first sight (with the Haibike) confirmed in the first few minutes of the ride. I was meant to be advising Keith – but my answers to his (sensible) questions were from someone a little distracted by the sheer joy of riding that bike. Yes it has an electric motor (I`m used to that) – but it doesn`t ride like an Ebike at all. Once you`re moving it was as if I was riding a top end Mountain Bike and had the strength and fitness to make the most of such a bike (which I don`t – but the Bosch motor makes up the difference). With no discernible lag in the power supply from the motor and with no evidence, once underway, of this bike weighing more than a non electric bike, it was as if I was floating along the road. But of course this is a fully equipped mountain bike – quality suspension front and rear, high end gears, the whole shebang – so temptation overruled caution and at the first sight of a bridleway, well it had to be done, we went off road (I just hoped Peter wouldn`t mind – and phew he didn`t, it turned out).

Haibike Xduro FS - in it`s element

Haibike Xduro FS – in it`s element

I`ve ridden a lot of bridleways on bicycles, mostly on my own ebikes – and they cope quite well with the rougher surface, the motor providing the power to keep you going in the tricky bits. But this Haibike was doing more than coping – it was thriving, this was its element. Love blossomed further. Eventually we had to turn around and return to the showroom – though another detour was called for, just to extend the fun. But back we got – and I have to admit, I gushed rather, virtues of the Haibike, extolling (it had to be done, truly). Keith – returning to why we`d gone to the Dorset Ebike Centre – was rather impressed as well. He`s thinking of joining his son`s charity ride to Southern Spain and has been wondering about using an Ebike for the ride – and it might well happen. The Riese and Muller he was trying will soon be Vince Adam`s and if Keith can persuade him to lend it – well it could be on the way to Spain (carrying the Dorset Energized message). That bike, with it`s rack and practical mudguards and Nuvinci hub gear – well it would make an excellent long distance tourer, panniers on the rack and you`re away.

Riese & Muller Charger with rack

Riese & Muller Charger with rack

The Haibike though – well it probably wouldn`t be much good touring, no rack (and with full suspension, difficult to fit one), no mudguards, full nobblies for tyres – really not a tourer. But, most definitely a wonderful (and proper) Mountain Bike.

And hey – this Xduro FS is at the cheap end of the Haibike range (£2,850 I think Peter is selling them at) but unless you are a real expert mountain biker, then I cannot see why you would need (or be able to get the best out of), anything even more highly equipped.

If I had the money I`d buy it – for sure! If you want to, it`s here – Dorset Ebike Centre

1Comments | Post your own comment

  • vince adams comments:
    "I took a demo ride 10 miles yesterday and loved it. Up huge Dorset Hills with ease on this groovy bike, great fun and now decision whether to buy , happy days "
    May 24, 2014 a 8:46 am


Guest Energizer says:
Birds & Wind Farms

Category: Renewable Energy, Wind Power
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Birds & Wind Farms

Below is a brief article written by an American friend of Dorset Energized – we have published it as it addresses issues and concerns relevant to the UK and of course Dorset.


There has been a considerable amount of publicity recently about wind farms killing birds. While it is important that new industries do everything possible to keep their footprints small wind farm impact should be considered in comparison to other human impacts. The paragraph below gives some numbers.

Estimates (of wind farm kills) range as high as 880,000, Hutchins said. The number of deaths related to wind farms might seem insignificant when compared with U.S. Fish and Wildlife estimates of other sources of bird mortality. Collisions with buildings might kill 97 million to 976 million birds annually, and collisions with vehicles 60 million, according to the federal agency. As many as 72 million birds might die of pesticide and other poisoning annually, and cats are fierce predators of songbirds, killing an estimated 39 million birds annually in Wisconsin alone, according to one study.

Here’s an article about a new lawsuit against wind farms.

Habitat destruction is also a major concern for birds was well as other animals. Here’s an article from Cornell U. about the threat to 3 billion birds due to development of North America’s boreal forests.

The lawsuit in the first article is being filed because the birds named are golden eagles, an iconic species. But other birds are just as deserving of consideration. I see no lawsuits about finding some way to protect birds from flying into buildings or from well fed fat domestic cats allowed to roam free by thoughtless owners, etc. It is important to hold new industries to strong standards but it would also be nice to see this amount of attention being paid to the many ways we kill far more birds.

John W. Olver

2Comments | Post your own comment

  • Erik Blakeley comments:
    "The elephant in the room is the effect of Climate Change. Whilst human activity such as wind turbines, oil spills, cat ownership or the use of pesticides all pose direct threats to birds and wind turbines are minor offenders compared with the above examples and many others we could cite, migratory birds are extremely endangered by Climate Change as they depend on not just the climate of one environment remaining steady but on two or more sometimes thousands of miles apart. Furthermore the timings of their migrations are finely tuned to the climate dependent emergence of seasonal food sources such as caterpillars. If you fly all the way from Africa to Britain to find that the caterpillars you depend on to feed your chicks have all either been eaten by winter residents or have turned into butterflies you’re a bit stuffed. Whilst most of the other direct threats to birds either have no effect on Climate Change or make it worse like the use of oil, wind turbines are part of the solution to Climate Change and so save lots of bird lives. "
    May 23, 2014 a 11:25 am

  • Anna comments:
    "Something that put my mind at rest about this issue is that the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) actually support wind power and have invested in it at their own HQ, and surely no one cares more about birds than they do? Read my post on it here for more info: "
    May 15, 2014 a 3:12 pm


Lets Get Energized says:
North Dorset Ecohomes Event, 17-18 May

Category: Eco Homes DIY & Tourism, Energy Efficiency, Energy Events in Dorset, Sustainable Living
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North Dorset Ecohomes Event, 17-18 May


North Dorset’s first Open Ecohomes event will take place on the 17th and 18th May. A chance to visit and learn from householders and managers of community buildings who have made environmental improvements to their properties. Thirteen properties are opening. Times vary, and some visits need to be booked in advance.

Lots to see, from sustainable building materials, to renewable energy technologies, to how lifestyle changes can save you money and carbon. One example, where a new owner, enthusiastic for low carbon living, is transforming their home  :”The dwelling dates from 1890 and has transformed its energy efficiency grade from E to a B. “

2014-03-07 16.44.47

The event is organised by North Dorset District Council in conjunction with the Green Open Homes Network.  For full details go to


Erik Blakeley says:
Visit to Oakdale Wind Farm

Category: Wind Power
Tags: , , , ,

Visit to Oakdale Wind farm 10th May 2014

Residents of Winterborne Whitechurch and other interested people were invited on a coach trip to visit the Oakdale Wind Farm near Caerphilly in Wales on the 10th May. Despite over 40 people expressing an interest in coming barely a dozen appeared on the grey morning at 8.30 for the trip to begin. At least the forecast was helpful. There would be little point in showing people a wind farm during a calm day when many of those with concerns are particularly worried about the noise of the turbines running at high load factor. We expected blustery showers – exactly the sort of weather to maximise the noise from the turbines.

Oakdale Wind Farm 1.8MW turbine

After a long drive we finally arrived and the weather did not disappoint. Wind speeds at 7 feet above ground level were 8m/s with gusts into double figures. As we were 100m below the hub height, we could be pretty confident that the turbines were seeing the 13m/s or more needed to generate full 100% capacity factor peak output and the gusty conditions would be testing the gearboxes in such a way that they should be generating as much noise as they ever would. The coach was parked 400-500m from the turbines and the driver turned off the engine. We got out. What could we hear? Well, wind and that was about it. No deafening whooshing sound or explosive thumps just wind noise. The ground did not shake with scary infrasound vibrations and no one swooned with nausea or dizziness. We walked closer and by 300m from the turbines we could just about pick out a slight rythmic undertone to the wind noise but you had to know what you were listening to to know it was there. A skylark took off from the grassland surrounding the turbines and started to sing. It was clearly audible and a pleasure to see even if it failed to ascend much in the high wind.

We reached the turbine base and started to discuss what we could see. No one was shouting and what noise there was, was still as much due to the natural sound of the wind as the turbines. The heavens opened and we all made a run for it back to the coach well soaked for our pains.

Oakdale Wind Farm - up close

So 4 hours in the coach to get there and a damp 4 hours in prospect to get back after 15 minutes on site. What did we learn? Well, I think it was fair to say that many were surprised as to just how quiet the turbines were including myself. I have visited a few wind farms but this was my windiest trip to date and the quietness exceeded even my hopes. Many expressed an admiration of the engineering and architectural qualities of the turbines. Noone seemed to think they were an eyesore in themselves. So everyone was now keen to have wind turbines at Winterborne Whitechurch? Well no. There were two main worries. The most important can be summed up as “Why do they need to be so big?” Some people said they appreciated all the reasons why we needed renewable energy in general and wouldn’t object to hosting wind turbines if only they were say half the size. So why can’t we build them half the size? A suspicion seemed to be lurking beneath the surface of the conversation that this was just about big business maximizing its profits. Unfortunately it is really about the inescapable laws of physics. If you halve the size of a turbine you don’t just halve its output and you certainly don’t halve the costs to build and run it. Because the amount of wind pushing on the turbine depends on the area of the circle traced out by the blades halving the size will quarter the output if this were the only relevant consideration. Unfortunately we are far from finished.

As you go further up from the ground the wind speed (velocity V) increases. This is called wind shear. The amount of power in the wind that the turbine can use is dependent not on the speed of the wind or even the square of the speed of the wind. It is dependent of the cube of the speed of the wind because the energy of any sample of air is equal to ½ mV2 as many might remember from school Physics and the amount of air passing the turbine is dependent on the speed of the air passing so these considerations combined makes the Power dependent on the cube of the speed. Once the mast data from Blandford Hill is available we can work out an equation to model the precise rate at which wind speed varies with height but just for the sake of argument let’s assume that a turbine half the height of those suggested still sees wind speeds three quarters of the speed seen by the full size version. This means that the power available to the small turbine is (0.75)3 times the power of the big one or 0.422 times its value. Therefore overall we can expect the output of a turbine half the size of the one suggested to be about 10.5% of that from the large one or put it another way we will need 10 times as many turbines to produce the same results. Now we know for sure that building and running a half sized turbine (with all the additional costs of cabling, transformers etc) will cost at least half as much as running the big one and will probably cost much more than that but assuming we lose no net cost benefits of scale this still means that the electricity from the small turbine could cost 5 times that from the big one. I suggested to some of my fellow visitors that this might be the case and some seemed sceptical and others said they wouldn’t mind paying more for their electricity if it meant we could make do with smaller turbines. But five times the cost? And the countryside covered in 10 times the number of turbines? It doesn’t make sense to me. I really don’t find the prospect of being able to see say 4-6 large turbines from my house unacceptable and would welcome them but 40-60? Even I would join the ranks of the NIMBYs at that. If there is a big business conspiracy at work in the energy debate today it is the big multinational oil and gas firms desperate to squeeze the last drops of profit out of their diminishing resources even if it means bankrupting our fuel impoverished economy and wrecking the environment in the process not the relatively tiny firms like REG or Good Energy trying to introduce new sustainable technology and challenge the effective cartel of the big energy companies.

The other objection was that it would change the Dorset countryside. Unfortunately the Dorset Countryside has changed, is changing and will continue to change regardless of whether or not we have wind turbines. It is only a few years since our countryside started turning bright yellow every late spring with oil seed rape. This changed the look of the countryside and caused real health worries for allergy sufferers. But oil seed rape seems to be an indispensable part of our modern food economy and also our emerging biofuel economy so we put up with it and, now we are used to it, hardly notice it except for those like myself who curse when we see the bright flash of yellow from our car because we know it will be rapidly followed by a tightening of the chest and a spluttering coughing session (I recognise that my degree of suffering from hay fever is trivial compared to many for whom it is much more of an issue). I tried to point out that even our beloved hedgerows are recent additions to the countryside in many areas and were understandably greeted with loathing by many who lived there because they destroyed the quasi democratic system of three field agriculture and handed the best land to the richest and most powerful land owners. Many suffered real poverty because of them. I was derided for trying to equate a huge industrial object like a wind turbine with lovely natural things like hedgerows. However I say there are parallels. Hedged fields are not natural – acres of monoculture surrounded by bushes forced to lie flat and trimmed to a standardized height? They provide protection for the displaced and threatened nature that colonises them and wind turbines are part of what we must do to protect threatened nature from the effects of climate change and by so doing protect the species we rely on for our food, our natural building materials and the biofuel to cheer our winter grate.

Oakdale Wind Farm -750m away

Finally one of our group mentioned the fact that the wind turbines are a very similar height to Salisbury Cathedral although I think the person was trying to wind me up a bit at that point. This fact is a recurrent favourite of the anti-wind turbine protestors and was mentioned by just about every one of that opinion at the planning meeting I attended a few months ago regarding Silton. I fail to see the relevance of this information as a point against wind turbines unless there is some suggestion that by building something the same height as the cathedral we are committing sacrilege and risk the Wrath of God. Now I know that Dorset can be a bit behind the times but surely this is too medieval even for here. On the other hand what this fact says to me is that for nearly a thousand years we have been prepared to build structures in the Dorset landscape of this size if it is over a matter that is of sufficient importance. I truly believe that Climate Change and our need for sustainable clean energy are two of the most important issues we face as we enter the 21st Century and that although they will bring changes, wind turbines will not ruin the countryside, nature or people’s lives but they will give us a fighting chance of doing something about these important issues whilst there is still time.

If you have read this you might be interested in this item on the Good Energy Blog – someone`s firsthand experience of living next to a wind farm –

3Comments | Post your own comment

  • Erik Blakeley comments:
    "Hi Sally again, Sorry for the confusion. Of course I got Slyers Lane mixed up with Tolpuddle. However I have just checked the map for Slyers Lane and as it is next to the A35 my comments about infrasound and noise from road traffic still apply. Although road noise may be annoying neither the vibrations from the road nor any that might come from the wind turbines (and they will be far less if you are equidistant from the road and the farm) are going to harm you but you are at risk from those who would frighten you with false claims of health risks. The placebo effect is very powerful whether used for good or bad. Being vulnerable to it isn’t a matter of low intelligence or anything negative about the person. In fact it perhaps suggests a good imagination but whether the cause is the imagination or not the effects can be very real which is why I get so angry about those who go around frightening people about wind turbines just because they know that saying that they just don’t like the look of them in their neighbourhood isn’t such a good argument. "
    May 13, 2014 a 9:33 am

  • Erik Blakeley comments:
    "Hi Sally. I hope you enjoy Delabole. Have you seen the piece from the gentleman living near Delabole? The link is at the bottom of my piece. If you live in Tolpuddle then I think it is worth pointing out that any noise or subsonic vibration from the wind farm at Slyers Lane will be dwarfed by those from the road between the farm and the village. Infrasound isn’t unique to wind turbines. It comes from traffic and household appliances. The degree to which people are annoyed by anything is heavily influenced by their mental attitude to the thing. I honestly do not believe there is a plausible scientific reason why vibrations from wind farms pose any significant medical threat to people except through negative suggestion and placebo caused by the scare stories put about by opponents of renewable energy. "
    May 12, 2014 a 5:18 pm

  • Sally Cooke comments:
    "Thanks Erik for sharing your experience. It’s good to know it was so positive. I am very interested to find out more about how people experience turbines, incl. whether there are individual differences between people, and also design factors that are crucial in avoiding problems with noise / subsonic vibration etc. Off to Delabole on Saturday to learn more for myself (I live near the proposed Slyers Lane turbines). "
    May 12, 2014 a 1:42 pm


Lets Get Energized says:
A conversation about coal

Category: Sustainable Energy Stories, Sustainable Living
Tags: , , , ,

A conversation about coal

Among ourselves we have been discussing coal and it`s problems – prompted by a recent news report – here


John W. Oliver said:

Coal is still advertised as an inexpensive fuel but the reality of its true cost is beginning to surface in North Carolina. Duke Energy has dumped the coal ash residue from their power plants along rivers and streams for decades. On Feb.2 of this year one of the dumping sites burst and polluted 70 miles of the Dan River. This finally got North Carolinian’s attention and there is a push for Duke to clean up its dumping grounds. Duke is opposed to the clean up because it would cost $10 billion, take decades and they’d have to lay the whole cost on their customers which would make the energy too expensive. From my point of view proper waste disposal should be counted as part of the true cost of coal which would mean it ain’t so cheap after all.

Erik Blakely replied:

Yes I agree although there is a problem with historic waste issues in that there comes a point when the only fair way is to fund the clean up by central govt. If you don’t then you just bankrupt firms destroying little old ladies life savings etc and end up without the capacity to keep the lights on. Here in Britain we have very expensive ongoing problems with acid minewater treatment and other legacies from our coal industry going back decades or even centuries. If we just billed the current coal producing firms in Britain for the cleanup they would go out of business and all our coal would be imported making the situation worse not better. If the firm in America was acting illegally in dumping then send the directors to prison. If not its best to look at ways that the bill can be paid by the firm in such a way that it is not immediately put out of business. We need to tell people about the true costs of fossil fuels now and in the past so that we make better choices for the future.

Simon Rayson responded:

It`s fascinating how renewables come under enormous scrutiny as to their precise harmfulness, and if they fail at being perfect then they are damned. Meanwhile rarely is such focus (and demand for perfection) placed upon such things as fossil fuel energy and nuclear. How to change that? Well it`s almost a whole shift in consciousness required – and that sort of thing doesn`t happen often (the change from the medieval to the age of enlightenment/science in the 17th century might well have been the last time it happened).

But all we can do is try – and recording our experiences of living a “greener”, more environmentally friendly life – warts and all, might be the best way. Or so it seems to me.

And then Vince Adams mentioned his experience:

As a kid I was brought up in North London. In the 50’s we experienced fog or smog called Pea Soupers when literally people walked in front of buses with lanterns and then amazingly we changed. Coal became smokeless, we began to use electricity and the smog went away. All of it was caused by coal and 60 years we saw the sense in reducing its importance. But slowly and by the back door it has comeback into usage at Power Stations where we don’t see it but it’s causing the same problems.

This time we have another factor the coal instead of being local is shipped from Australia, Canada and the USA causing a double whammy of global warming.

When will we learn ?


Vince Adams says:
Swedish Hot Dogs & Renewable Energy at Ikea!

Category: Electric Transport, Solar Energy, Sustainable Energy Stories
Tags: , , , , ,

The Moral Maze that is IKEA have many millions of people increasingly using their products to increase the lifestyle of their homes and flats throughout the world. I sometimes thought of them in negative terms with their centralisation, huge depots, flat packs, big production suppliers and lorries trundling goods across continents and countries.

However their current move towards supporting renewable energy in all its forms rather excites me and on a recent trip I talked to their local staff in Bristol about the solar installation deals and they are really good quality and economic for every family to make energy savings. In Bristol their stand is well designed good for kids but probably in the wrong place. Not far from the checkout desks at a time when people just want to go home. In Southampton they are better sited within the demonstration areas and a must visit for many families.

I was also able to use the Ecotricity charging points which worked very well, in the well marked and laid out special charging bays.

Ikea Bristol - Ecotricicty charging bays

My other treat was a Swedish Hot Dog with loads of mustard! Go on visit sometime and try one for yourself its today’s living for families of all ages – see Ikea’s Solar Energy page:


Vince Adams says:
Community Energy in practice

Category: Community Energy, Green Electricity & Gas, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy
Tags: , , ,

I recently spent time with the Bristol Power team who have so many good things going for them. Their latest project is putting solar onto 5,000 local homes in Bristol and they have had extensive talks with Ovo Energy to create special community tariffs for the power generated.

This will mean the very best returns for ordinary hard-pressed householders eager to reduce their energy bills.

For more info take a look at

And an interesting related news story – here

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