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From Turbines to Kite Surfing: How the wind can power our lives

Updated: May 25, 2023

I grew up in a city in Ontario, Canada that was surrounded by farmland. Windfarms dotted those fields as you drove towards the sleepy border city of Sarnia where I spent a good chunk of my summers thanks to my grandparents’ insistence on having the family together.

The wind turbines were always peaceful to watch as you drove along the highway, moving lazily around in circles no matter what the season. Maybe it’s this engrained childhood memory, the reminder of home, and the feeling of long drives that sparked my interest in this renewable energy, but I don’t think that I took any real notice of it until taking a trip to the Albany windfarm for a unit at Murdoch University. You can walk on beautiful trails (the wind farm walk) that look out over the windswept harbours and the wind farm itself that supplies 80% of Albany’s power! Talk about a sustainable solution that hits all three pillars (environmental, social, economic).

Photo Credits: Consultant, Kirsten Neil & Senior Consultant ,William Westaway

Getting to stand directly under a turbine, in drizzling rain, was one of the happiest experiences. But wind turbines, while they make me happy, are not the whole picture. A couple of co-workers have been taking advantage of the wind conditions to kitesurf which got me thinking, wind isn’t just for energy, it has so many roles in our lives, from transporting us across the water, powering our cities, pumping our water, and providing endless activities of leisure and exercise. But these are just the surface uses. Wind, when harnessed well, can deliver sustainable outcomes across the board.

Photo Credit: Principal Consultant, Patrick Jeannerat

Take the shire of Denmark for example - Denmark, Western Australia that is. This little South-Western town has its own wind farm, one that is completely community owned and operated. This means that not only is it delivering clean energy to the South-Western grid, but it’s also empowering its community, bringing them together for a shared purpose, providing local jobs, and putting money back in the pockets of community members with yearly dividends.

Or, what about the good ol’ Sailboat. A form of transportation, an activity of leisure and sport, and in the not-so-distant past, the main form of transporting people and goods around the globe (well, ships not boats but same power source). Here in Perth, it’s feasible you could sail down the river to work (given you lived and worked in the right places), but for many it is a past-time that connects them to the earth – er the Ocean – and keeps their minds and bodies active. And that long-ago cargo ship powered by wind? Maybe a thing of the future too, with new-age ships such as the Oceanbird being developed by companies turning back the clock and developing exciting new (old?) ways for us to move things over the high seas.

Photo Credits: Principal Consultant, Simon Hooper & Kirsten Neil

How does all this wind power relate to Perspektiv you might ask? Well wind power, as a form of electricity generation, is a part of infrastructure, so as consultants helping companies push for better and more sustainable outcomes, we have the power direct them towards development and utilisation of renewable power sources, including wind. And this isn’t limited to major infrastructure projects now either! Even in the building sector, wind is something we can push for in consultation with our clients – at least in some areas. The City of Wannaroo, in the Greater Perth Region has recently approved homes to have small scale wind turbines! A win for a local household who pushed to get policy action that now has a wide net of impact. NSW also allows for residential wind turbines and has a whole guidebook you can peruse to find the right one for your property!

Needless to say, wind is good for Perspektiv, people, and the planet – so whether for business, energy, fun, or staying active there’s a way to harness the wind for everyone!


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