More wind farms on the way?
MORE and more wind farms could soon be mushrooming along the Somerset coast. Somerset County Council has announced controversial plans to build up to nine new turbines in the area
MORE and more wind farms could soon be mushrooming along the Somerset coast.Somerset County Council has announced controversial plans to build up to nine new turbines in the area.Potential sites earmarked for wind farms include Weare, Cocklake, Mark, Edithmead, Lympsham, Brean and East Brent.Council officers want to see the turbines built on county farmland in a drive to go green and boost revenues.The turbines will generate up to 12megawatts of power, or enough to power 7,800 homes, but will be limited in height to less than 80m from ground to blade hub.No final decision has been made about where the turbines could go, but tenants in Weare, Cocklake, Mark, Edithmead and Lympsham were among the county farms across Somerset to get letters explaining the authority's plan.Only a small number of sites are expected to show potential as wind farms once factors like wind speed, distance from dwellings, access arrangements, connection to the grid and other criteria are looked at, the letter says.Somerset officers are recommending the executive committee approve the proposal at a meeting on Wednesday.If approved, a tendering process will begin to find a developer which will select the best sites.Windy coastal areas are prime spots for wind farms. Renewable power company Ecotricity, which has applied to build five turbines on land between Brent Knoll and Burnham, only chooses spots which get an average wind speed of six metres per second at a height of 45 metres.A spokesman said: "The big factor is whether a site is windy or not. If blades aren't turning around it's pretty pointless having them there."You tend to get more wind by the coast so they are better sites from that perspective, but there are other factors to look at, such as if one is on a site of special scientific interest or if a turbine will affect aviation."Amateur meteorologist Chris Cudlipp, who has been collecting weather data at his home in Bleadon since the early 70s, said: "Coastal areas are more windy, particularly in summer because of sea breezes. "It's not called windy Weston for nothing and the same applies to the Brean, Berrow and Burnham coast.