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Joachim Nickel

Top of a Wind Turbine

Ben Nelson

Starfish Hill Wind Farm

Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia, Australia

September 24, 2005 15:49 local time

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© 2005 Ben Nelson, All Rights Reserved.

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Caption

Starfish Hill is South Australia's first wind farm, located at the tip of the Fleurieu Peninsula. There are 23 turbines, each capable of producing 1.5MW in a particularly stiff breeze. These things are quite big — around 68 metres from ground level to the hub and the blade length is 31 metres. If you zoom in on the hills at the base you'll see that the white dots are sheep (not mushrooms). On the rolling hills near Cape Jervis, these turbines make good poster children for green energy.

The blades of the turbines are made of a light grey coloured glass fibre with a matt finish. The theory is that this reduces the amount of reflected light and makes them less conspicuous in most lighting conditions. In practice this just makes it harder to take a decent photo of them on a cloudy day ;)

There is some debate about the threat these blades pose to birds. One one side of the argument is the concern that the turbines are just the wrong height for migratory birds and eagles. The counter to this is that you can do as much damage with a plate glass window and a 'domesticated' cat.

One of the primary goals of wind farms and other renewable energy generators is to reduce the cost to the environment, but one must also keep in mind the fact that these can be highly resource hungry projects to put together in the first place. With the current technology the initial capital cost per watt is still high compared to that of, for example, a natural gas powered generator. Fossil fuels are obviously finite so we'll need to use those resources in smarter ways as well as augment them with other sources of energy like Uranium. This will give the green technology more time to improve.

Research. Cross reference. Make up your own mind. Google is your friend :)
Starfish Hill
Google: birds + "wind farm"
Gas to liquids technology
Fuel cells

Equipment

Nikon D70s
Nikkor 10.5mm fisheye
Custom pano head
PTMac 3.1 www.kekus.com
Adobe Photoshop 7.0

Compressed RAW (12-bit)
1/320 sec - F/8

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