Mark Gailey believes we all need to “embrace green energy”, and by keeping the turbines spinning at Whitelee wind farm he feels he is doing just that (Neil Johnston writes). Sitting on top of Eaglesham Moor, Whitelee is the UK’s biggest wind farm. Its 215 turbines can generate enough power for 300,000 homes. Alongside a team of 16 engineers, Mr Gailey is one of the few experts running the country’s wind farms who actually works on site. Most wind farms are controlled remotely, often from hundreds of miles away. He finds the popular misconceptions about wind power disheartening. He constantly hears the accusations that turbines often sit idle; that they are forced to shut down when it is too windy; that they are unable to keep up in severe gales. While he admits this may have been the case in the past, today it is “simply not true”, and when the turbines do stop it is often “only a matter of seconds”. “The reality is very different from the myths that are put about,” he says. “The cliche about storms are wrong. In these conditions turbines do turn themselves off, but only briefly and when individual gusts of wind reach over 70 miles per hour.” He says that turbines can generate power while spinning at only 10mph and are at their “most productive” during a light breeze. Restarting is also easy, since the turbines “monitor themselves”.
Times 13th April 2016 read more »