We kicked off our 25th anniversary celebrations recently with two family open days at our local Avonmouth wind farm. The sun shone brightly all day and we were absolutely delighted to welcome so many visitors.
Celebrations began on Friday with the local primary school visiting the site and taking part in an arts workshop. The children learned about wind turbines then got the chance to create some of their own. Art and Energy, an organisation which uses creativity to change the way people view green technology, worked with the children to produce their very own windmills to take home, as well as two pieces of communal art which were displayed at the public open day. The children really enjoyed their day, with comments such as “I wish I could come here every day”, “Amazing”, “Incredible” and “Best trip!”.
In the afternoon, we held a birthday reception to celebrate our 25th anniversary with Board members and staff past and present, business partners and friends. It was very important to us to celebrate with people who have been so integral to Thrive’s journey over the last 25 years.
On Friday afternoon and all-day Saturday, we opened the site up to the public welcoming over 500 visitors to the wind farm, our biggest open day yet. Guests had the opportunity to look inside a real wind turbine, ask questions and find out how a wind turbine works. The Centre for Sustainable Energy provided inspiration and advice on home energy efficiency to visitors, Bristol Open Doors led an engineering workshop for children and The Landmark Practice gave an insight into the ecological aspects of developing and running a wind farm. ExplorerDome brought their interactive renewable energy show in a blow-up planetarium which was popular with children and parents alike.
One of the highlights for us was the fascinating questions from visitors, demonstrating the public’s awareness of and interest in renewable energy.
Here are some of the best questions we were asked over the weekend:
Q/ What is the turbine made of?
A/ The tower of the turbine is made out of steel, whilst the turbine blades are made out of a glass fibre and resin composite making them very strong and lightweight.
Q/ How deep are the foundations of the turbine?
A/ The foundations at Avonmouth are around 25m deep.
Q/ How long does it take for the turbines to repay the energy and emissions invested in building them?
A/ It takes between 3 and 6 months for wind projects to generate energy and save emissions equivalent to the energy and emissions invested in manufacture, transportation and construction. They are then emission and energy positive for their 20-25 year operational life.1
Q/ How do the turbines get started?
A/ A motor, driven by a sensor, turns the turbines to face the wind then it’s just wind power that turns the blades to generate the electricity.
Q/ How do you monitor the turbines?
A/ The turbines have sensors and IT equipment on board, so they operate themselves for the most part and feed data back to the control room. They are monitored by two separate 24-hour control rooms which analyse how they are operating and deploy engineers if necessary.
Q/ What wind speeds do the turbines need?
A/ Typically, wind turbines will generate electricity with wind speeds of between 6 – 55 miles per hour.
We’re always happy to answer your questions on how our renewable energy technology works, get in touch via Linked In, Facebook or Twitter with your questions.
 Common concerns about wind power, CSE, 05/2011.