What the Public say
After its competition, the local community complained about the visual appearance of the wind turbines and expressed their disappointment that they stood idle in the landscape. © Jane Coltman, Northumberland Gazette, 12th of January Saturday 11 February, 2012 http://www.windbyte.co.uk/northumberland.html and Northumberland Gazette.
Fig. 6.1 Photomontage of public’s perception on the usefulness of building-integrated wind turbines
‘Much-criticized wind turbines on the edge of Alnwick have been out of action for almost half the time they have been installed, according to figures released following a Freedom of Information Act request by the Gazette. The statistics provided by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) show that the three generators at its flagship Lion House were offline for a total of 494 days since they went live on March 2, 2009. By comparison, they were working for 581 days during the same period’.
‘The problems arose after a worldwide recall by the turbine manufacturer, Proven Energy, which discovered a fault with its P-35 model in 2009. Proven finally went bust last September, but was sold by receiver KPMG to Irish renewables firm Kingspan Wind’.
The photomontage in Fig. 6.1 is the image appearing on the local gazette website suggesting that the wind turbines have as much utility as sandcastles.
Wind turbines standing idle FROM 2005 TO 2010. Finally has been approved with the guarantee they will not interfere with the radar signals in the area.
It took DEFRA two years to find a company to repair the turbines, but interestingly the then town counsellor wrote what reflects the communities sentiment of support for renewables but the lack of trust in the durability and efficiency of the technologies: ‘It seemed absolutely pointless to me to put turbines up then let them stand still’. ‘I am pleased but I still have my doubts about turbines because their efficiency levels are so low’. This building has PV cells and interestingly no evaluation of their performance could be found in the public domain. This reflects how the static aesthetic technology generated less controversy than what was perceived as visually intrusive technologies with its moving parts.
Fig. 6.2 Centre Pompidou with its exposed building services (left), the analogy of a human as a set of building services mechanisms (middle) and the King’s Gate building, Newcastle University (right)