Visit to Whitelee Windfarm
On Sunday, 22 April, a handful of Young Professionals of the Energy Institute's North Eastern branch visited Whitelee Windfarm, just outside Glasgow.
Whitelee is the largest wind farm in Europe and, in its short existence, it has already welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors; the dedicated visitor centre, guided bus tours and stunning scenery adding to the experience of being in the presence of so much generation capacity.
The group lunched on the visitor centre veranda to soak up the magnificent panorama. Shortly after, it was time to go out and see these white giants up close on the bus tour. As each of the 140 Siemens SWT-2.3 turbines, standing over 100 metres tall at full extension, cut silently through the air above their heads, the minibus negotiated the curves of the winding trail. Whitelee can power 180,000 homes at full capacity and that the construction of another 75 turbines is almost complete. The group learned that birds of prey actually use the updraft created by turbulence from the turbines to hover for extended periods of time when hunting. They also learned that the windfarm is built upon a peatbog up to nine metres in depth in some places. A farmer had attempted to take a shortcut off the floating paths the previous year and had his tractor taken from underneath him by the marshy ground.
After the tour, the group returned to the visitor centre and, after a short sojourn, set out on foot. They came across an Iron Age fort on the top of a nearby hill from where it was said the whole wind farm and even Glasgow were clearly visible. Atop the hill they marvelled at the sight of the wind farm below them and, soon after, it was time to leave.
The attendees would like to thank the Energy Institute and everyone involved in organising the trip and for their wonderful day out.