On a recent late-October morning, EWEA staff set off early from our offices in Brussels to visit a wind farm. For many of us, it would the first time to get so close to the energy-producing giants that we spend our time promoting. The sun rose and we were confronted with a thick blanket of fog, which did not lift during the two hour drive to the Europarc, near Aachen in Germany. Not the best weather for viewing wind turbines. But we persevered.
Descending from the bus at the Europarc in Vetschau, we suddenly found ourselves at the base of a gigantic turbine, a 1.5 MW Enercon machine with a 66 metre rotor diameter. The blades were spinning silently in the breeze, shrouded by fog. This was an unusual turbine, specially designed for visiting, with a viewing platform on top and a safety ladder on the outside, allowing space for groups to climb the 65 metres to the top on a staircase inside. Within the turbine there were several floor levels off the stairs, for catching your breath on the 300 steps and listening to explanations on the construction of the turbine by our knowledgeable guide, Pieter De Greef from Windvision. The turbine is the same weight as 30 African elephants!