Back Again

Wow, it’s been ages since I’ve posted!  What have you all been up to?

I have been helping out at an amazing week long workshop where eighteen guys were learning to build a wind turbine – how cool is that?  The workshop was organised by a locally based couple, the Leitrim Renewable Energy people Eirbyte.  They invited Hugh Piggot to come and teach people how to build one of the wonderful domestic wind turbines that he designs.

It was a really great week. I have rarely seen 18 people who never met each other before get along so well together.  These were people who probably would have never chosen to spend any significant time together, never mind a week, for any other reason than to build a wind turbine and yet the crack was mighty, I haven’t heard that much laughter in ages.

Although ages ranged from early twenties to late sixties (at a guess) and a wide range of backgrounds and work experiences everyone worked so well together in small groups, in pairs and at times singly but always with humour and a great sharing of skills and knowledge.

Many different sets of skills were used, I saw people learn to carve wood with hand tools to create blades (propellers), some who hadn’t tried it before had a go at welding under the watchful eye of a great welding teacher, everyone had a go at winding coils of copper wire to make the alternator, there was grinding of metal and the setting of things in resin – so much activity over the week and it all culminated in the creation of a wonderful wind turbine at the end of the week.

Hugh was always available to answer questions and give advice, aided and assisted by Jimmy and Miriam, Sean and Niall who all mucked in to make the week what it was.

After all the technical stuff everyone ate together and shared their stories and on some evenings there was great music and storytelling and the telling of jokes and the singing of songs. Some of the food was cooked on an open fire in the garden and no-one went hungry or had to wait for their dinner – not bad when you consider that nearly thirty people with big appetites were being catered for every day.

Best of all the turbine was successfully built and ceremoniously raised on the saturday afternoon and the rain stopped! It is always so exciting to see a new turbine go up into the air and everyone waits for the first breath of wind to spin the blades and excitedly watches the metres to see what energy is being generated.

The energy generated by this turbine will run the lights in the house on the site where the workshop took place, it may also run the lights in the guest cabin. The new owners will learn to observe the weather differently now and be more aware of the wind. They will know where the wind is coming from and how hard it is blowing, they will begin to notice how often the wind does not blow and they will learn what they can expect to power from the turbine and how to look after their battery bank.

At least three new turbines are currently being built now by guys who were on the course and we are also building a new one for ourselves.  We spend quite a bit of time on Sunday deciding where to site the new mast for the new turbine. We have a few new neighbours here recently and so we are moving the mast from where it was because we want to put up a slighlty higher mast, still within the planning permission exempt height but it would place the turbine in the direct path of our new neighbours, who probably bought their holiday houses here based on the view. So we thought it would be a good start to a neighbourly relationship to move the mast to a site where it will still get good wind and not cause any turbulence to the good energy we wish to have with our neighbours as well as the good energy being generated by the turbine.

So at the moment I am enjoying carving the wooden blades for our new turbine and if the weather holds we will get started with the mast installation and dig the new anchor holes for the guys which hold up the mast. Life is good.

How are things with you?

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