Friday, July 06, 2007

A change in the wind

Are two middling-sized wind turbines less intrusive than one large one? Apparently so. The new 'Factory of the Future' development at the Advanced Manufacturing Park on the Sheffield/Rotherham border, has secured planning permission for two 56 metre turbines. That should help the development achieve its aim of being the UK's first totally carbon neutral factory building.

As previously noted, the original plan was for a single turbine of around 90 metre. Peel Airports, part-owners of the former Sheffield City Airport nearby, objected to this on the grounds that it could potentially endanger aircraft (extremely low-flying aircraft, that is) heading towards the airport - a curious objection, given that Peel has been busy closing the airport down to redevelop as a business park. Other objections were scarecely less ludicrous - another AMP tenant apparently complained that the turbines would be distracting to its own staff when they ate their butties outside.

The AMP happily avoided serious damage during the recent floods in South Yorkshire (despite Catcliffe, the nearest village, being swamped), thanks to being on the slightly higher ground of the former Orgreave colliery. As climate change is likely to make such extreme weather events more common, one hopes that even Peel Airports can begin to see the point of carbon-neutral development.

Meanwhile, here's a CNN report on the Factory of the Future and the work of the Advanced Manufacturing Reseach Centre, focusing on their work with Boeing. The commentary seems a bit Sesame Street to local ears ("On the site of this nasty coal strike..."), but it's a decent overview of what's going on.

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