Tuesday 21 May 2024
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Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Letters / Taking the problem seriously because it is serious

Good to see Aaron Priest valiantly defending the Viking project. The fact that he is putting so much energy into it shows he is taking the problem seriously and that the problem is serious.

He is supported by the shadowy Shetland Windfarm Environmental Advisory Group (SWEAG), which holds its meetings in secret and does not seem to be comprised of anyone who might have any expertise in this subject.

SWEAG appears to be getting its advice from the industry (SSE) and Strathclyde University, the publishers of the report that was so strongly criticised by the Norwegians.

Compelling evidence that risk of pollution from wind turbine blades is negligible, says Viking

Aaron Priest is now presumably getting Strathclyde University to produce another report to vindicate his position. He seems to leave no stone unturned as he tries to make this problem go away.

His real problem is not so much getting assurances from the industry or paying Strathclyde University to produce another report – that’s an easy task. The problem is how to satisfy the requirements of the World Health Organisation.

The Norwegian report quotes “On the Material, Characterization of wind turbine-B_2017“, as saying:

“Rain erosion protection coatings have been proposed, tested and validated with particular industrial solutions, but the proposed solutions are still not as reliable as the wind energy industry requires.

“Rain erosion has thus become a scientific challenge for the wind industry since there are no well-defined methodologies to design coatings against rain erosion and it is unclear how to modify their properties depending on the location, weather conditions, etc.”

According to this, there was no reliable way to prevent the shedding of microplastics in 2017. Even if some magic solution had been found at that time, it would have had only four years to be proven reliable. We are being asked to take part in an experiment with our health at stake.

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Nobody seriously denies that some erosion and shedding of microplastics takes place. The big problem is how small that shedding has to be to cause a major, but invisible problem.

The World Health Organisation states that drinking water should contain a maximum of 0.1 micrograms of BPA per litre to be safe. That means that one gram is sufficient to contaminate 10 million litres of water, whether it is drunk by humans or drunk by animals and eaten later by humans – or run off into the sea to pollute the marine environment.

Aaron Priest may be able to show that the turbines can be protected and maintained so as to remain commercially profitable. I have read reports that each turbine blade weighs 60 tonnes. Can he show that it is even possible to measure one gram of loss?

Bearing in mind that all the calculations on rain erosion only allow for pure water, and that sea water could be expected to produce results 40 per cent worse, have a think about what the Shetland weather can chuck at these machines.

Here is a direct question for Aaron Priest: “Can you absolutely guarantee that the turbines will not put human health and the environment at risk?”

Stuart Hill

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