Thursday, 23 April 2015

Concrete and Wind Turbines

Someone has put in an application to build a wind turbine at Michaelchurch Escley, a village not far from Hay. I didn't take much notice of the details when I saw it in the local paper, but it did come up in conversation when I went into the new wool shop on Castle Street - the Ewe Tree. The lady there was very worried about wind turbines, and had an objection to them that I'd never heard before. "Up in Anglesey," she said, "the run-off from the concrete that makes the bases is poisoning the fields, but nobody's talking about it."
This sounded a bit strange to me, so I went and did some research - I talked to an engineer. Brian with the Staffies used to build railway bridges out of concrete. "Concrete's inert," he said. "The water that's mixed with the cement becomes chemically bonded to the concrete, so there's no run-off. Besides," he went on, "concrete is mainly sand, and gravel, and cement - which is powdered and baked stone, which are all inert substances."
That's kind of what I thought - after all, concrete is used in dams for reservoirs, and to channel watercourses, and has been for many years. If poisons were known to leach out of it, it wouldn't have been used so close to clean water for so long. In fact, concrete is everywhere - the bridge over the River Wye is concrete, and concrete is used for the bases of barns and kerb stones and road ways and all sorts of other uses.
So, nobody's talking about fields being poisoned because it isn't happening, and livestock are quite safe to graze around the bases of wind turbines.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi there!

Regular concrete may be inert, but there are additives that can be added to concrete to make it stronger, or to "get rid" of unwanted stuff (eg fly ash)that could therotically leach into the surroundng area.

Also I note that toxic sludge produced in China as a result of mining of rare elements for turbines is an environmental concern ... they certainly not be able to graze sheep there!

The lady in the shop may have a point!