THE GALES lashing Scapegoat Hill proved too strong for a new wind turbine.
The winds reached 65mph yesterday and that meant turbine engineer Dean Staveley had to close it down.
Mr Staveley, of wind and solar engineering company Newgen, took the reading from the brand new wind turbine just installed in the hilltop village.
The windmill – which stands at 25-metres-high – is the tallest in Kirklees, Dean told the Examiner.
He said: “Up here is the perfect place for a turbine and especially if the weather carries on like this.
“Huddersfield is a great location for wind turbines because it’s so high above sea level.
“And I don’t think Huddersfield has a lot of NIMBYs – people say they like the look of turbines and don’t mind them.”
But yesterday’s fierce wind and storms were too much even for the Canadian Endurance E3120 turbine – which has to be shut down for safety reasons if winds reach over 56mph.
Dean, from Netherton, and his men installed the turbine in a farmer’s field at Scapegoat Hill near Golcar just a few days before Christmas.
They had to lay a 450-metre aluminium track to transport the turbine across the muddy field to where it now sits, and use a crane to hoist it into position.
Dean, 36, said: “The weather up here was just like it was now and it was a nightmare, it was horrible.
“We’d booked the crane for two to three days but we ended up having it for five days.
“Christmas was coming and all the lads were getting fed up with how long it was taking.
“The winds were up to 20mph when we were putting it up – but we took a calculated risk and got it done.”
The 50kW turbine is owned by Kirkburton investment company DC21 and will provide the farm-owner with cheap power.
The company will also be able to sell electricity back to the National Grid through the Government’s Feed In Tariff.
The £¼m turbine will produce an estimated 200,000kWh (kilowatt-hours) of electricity a year.
And Dean, who runs his renewable technology business from an office on Huddersfield Road in Holmfirth, said the initial investment would be recouped within five years.
He said: “They are becoming more popular. We’ve installed a couple of these turbines so far and we’re going to be doing about 20 this year.
“Farmers are very interested in them – they’ll either buy the turbine themselves or say someone else can install it on their land for them to benefit from.”
Newgen are due to open a showroom in Shelley. Dean set up the company after working some 17 years in electrical contracting.
For more information visit newgen.uk.net
LAST month saw the strongest westerly winds to batter the UK since December 1974, a climate expert has said.
It also brought more westerly winds than any other December in 139 years of records except for one, according to weather historian Philip Eden.
“Westerly winds blew throughout the month and there were several gales in northern districts, some of which caused structural damage – notably the Christmas Day gale in Orkney and Shetland.
“This was the second most ’westerly’ December in 139 years of records.”
Weather forecasters said this winter had been far stormier than recent winters, with two deep Atlantic depressions – or deep storms – in December and one today.
Severe gale force winds swept over Scotland on December 8 and hit Shetland and northern Scotland on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Northern areas of England were also hit by strong winds on December 25 and 26.
MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said three deep storms were more than usual for the average winter.
Weather forecaster Nick Prebble added: “This December was quite unusual for westerly flow.
“The fact that there have been the most westerly winds since 1974 doesn’t necessarily mean it’s been the stormiest December since 1974 but the two things do go hand in hand because our storms usually originate in the west.”
But despite the gales, last month was also the warmest December for five years, Mr Eden said.