King’s Lynn wind power source of energy a change from the tides on Great Ouse

It was the Egyptians who used wind power to navigate the Nile and create the first of the great civilizations.

It was 3000BC. Much like our own river here in King’s Lynn which was used by Hanseatic merchants and great explorers who arrived in Lynn with goods after sailing the tides and sailing the wind.

The tide would have been used to carry smaller craft south on the Great Ouse through the low plains of the Fens.

A single wind turbine generating power in a rural field in Suffolk.

Boats carrying wine to the Bishops of Ely and, no doubt, ‘misplacing’ a barrel or two when passing The Crown at St Germans, The Cock at Magdalen or The Heron at Stow Bridge!

The Solar Shed, which is a former fisherman’s shed on the banks of the Rivière à la Madeleine, would process the day’s catch which was all caught by the tide.

A boat cast its nets as the tide rose and the fish arrived at Mr. Gagen’s nets at the back of the house. He would get a full net much quicker on those high tides!

Wind turbines at sea.
Wind turbines at sea.

Energy, renewable energy can be harnessed from many sources, with tidal and solar power being the most constant of all, wind being the biggest contributor but also the least reliable for carrying a base load.

Fortunately, advances in the charge and discharge rates of battery technology have allowed us, as individuals, and entire nations such as Costa Rica, to bridge the gap and live a life where we We only use renewable energy.

There are also many myths surrounding wind power and although no one likes to see dead birds, it is reported that between 10,000 and 100,000 birds are killed each year by wind turbines.

Vattenfall wind turbines in West Norfolk.
Vattenfall wind turbines in West Norfolk.

However, over 55,000,000 are killed each year in the UK by cats! Domestic cats!! And I don’t see anyone calling for a ban on cats, so why oppose something that can be denied?

In Denmark, a 74% reduction in bird strikes was reported when one of the turbine blades was painted a darker color than the other two.

It was a simple measure that greatly reduced the perceived problem. More birds die each year from motorists and flying into buildings than from wind turbines.

Work in progress on the QEH King's Lynn wind turbine.  MLNF-20PM08036
Work in progress on the QEH King’s Lynn wind turbine. MLNF-20PM08036

And then you hear people say they don’t like their look.

Well, I don’t like to see oil spills and birds drenched in thick black, crude oil or burnt gas or even young men and women returning from the Middle East in body bags where they served in the highest level and gave the ultimate sacrifice so we could fill up at £1.50 a liter and really much prefer a showy turbine.

Advances in wind turbine technology now mean that there is a range of wind turbines that can be used at home.

Not the little spinney things that wobble and vibrate and burn from turbulence (traditional turbines need “clean air”), but the modern ridge-mounted turbines, cylindrical turbines, and even bladeless turbines that use the vibrations – for lack of a better word – to generate energy.

Less efficient than the big turbines we see, but much more affordable, less likely to kill birds and it makes neighbors happy.

In fact, some of the bladeless turbines may raise an eyebrow just thinking about it. Why not “Google it”. See for yourself!

The answers truly blow in the wind, move with the tides, and rise with the sun. And always have been.

Kevin Holland

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