I am privileged enough to be able to see the Sussex sea-side from my bedroom window, it’s about a mile away, but it definitely counts. I still congratulate myself every morning as I gaze out towards that wonderful land of the French. Unfortunately, with great view comes great hill, but that’s good for my lungs and calves so it really is win/win.
A few days back, I noticed a mysterious lump of dark on the watery horizon, that’s nothing new, there’s always ferrys and boats jazzing about and enjoying themselves on the open waves. But this lump stayed in the same place for a few days, and lit up like a Christmas tree at night. I got my trusty twitcher’s binoculars out and noticed it was some type of platform with legs. So I got my crack team of research assistants to get down to business and find out the deets.
FINDINGS: It’s actually a meteorological mast that e.on has walloped up there, it was finished on the 17th of this month and is 110m tall. The purpose is to measure some sea related things like wind speeds, wave heights and sea currents in advance of them building a whopping hullabaloo of a wind farm 13km-15km from the beach. It will be called the Rampion Offshore Wind farm, named after the official flower of Sussex, which I did not know even existed.
It’s going to be one of the largest wind farms in the world and will generate enough electricity to supply two thirds of the homes in Sussex. It will consist of between 100 and 195 individual windmills, each of which will stand around 175 m tall, and will span the gap from Selsey Bill to Beachy Head. Quite an operation indeed. It will look like an army of giant Poi wielding pencil warriors marching across the channel.
I’m quite excited about it, I’m not sure why? I suppose it’s always good to see energy being generated from something other than that pricey, acrid, black stuff, and everyone likes a change hey?
Also, like many others, I am a fan of the way those wind turbines look. They’re kind of a bit apocalyptic yet hypnotic at the same time. The gentle Behemoth, stroking our Stratosphere better with it’s massive fingerless arms. Thank you big white spindle in the sky, wash our dirty little faces clean with your transcendental rotary girders.
As with all projects there are always wingers, my favourite wingers are a couple of yachters. This is what one user wrote in a yachting forum (yes I often hang out in yachting forums, I enjoy the light and breezy chat between like minded soles):
“I would like to start a campaign against EON’s proposal to develop the Rampion offshore wind farm because:
1) it lies in one of the most popular leisure sailing areas
2) it lies in path of the main sailing route for vessels to/from the Solent coming from/going to the East
3) due to the amount of leisure sailing it would represent a serious navigational hazard especially in bad weather conditions
4) on top of that what is in for the residents? Absolutely nothing because EON would make profits and we, the residents would have to live with an offshore hazard limiting our freedom to sail!”
Wow, limiting your freedom to sail? I hope he’s going to be alright? Poor little cherub… dry your eyes boat man. I would lay down my life to allow this numpty freedom to sail. That really is an ultra NON-concern for most people, I would say. Posh git. Other than that it seems to have been fairly well received. Chris Tomlinson, E.ON development manager, big wig for the project, said that he has been surprised by the level of response from the public, but double surprised that it was mostly positive. There are some fairer concerns about how the wiring is going to be laid all the way from Brighton to Bolney sub station, running a mole hole underneath the protected Downs and trying to avoid a large number of protected buildings and archaeological hot spots. I’m sure they’ll do fine.
Other hazards along the way include looking out for ship wrecks on the sea floor, the Solent has been a busy little trade route for quite some time and there’s also been a fair amount of military activity over there in the last century or five. Maybe they’ll find some secret magical treasure? Or maybe they will get exploded to bits by a ropy WWII incendiary device? Only time will tell. But for now, I am excited and will watch through my binoculars to mark their progress over the next four years. Unless that yacht plum gets his way….
UPDATE: The first foundations for the wind farm was completed in February 2016. The size has been shrunk from the initial plans of 167 square kilometers down to 72; that’s about 40% of the size of the Isle of Wight. There will 116 wind turbines when the project completes in 2018.
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