Not Brockley Central: Stanley - the windy city



If there is one thing guaranteed to irritate a Falkland Islander, it’s saying that their weather is rubbish.

Perhaps the issue is a proxy for all the ways in which their international image has been defined by the 1982 conflict (74 days, nearly 30 years ago), a reputation frozen in time despite all the progress the country has made. The war took place in one of their toughest winters, leaving a legacy of television archive footage and photo libraries showing leaden skies that have been used ever since. Or perhaps, an obsession with weather is a legacy of the British inhabitants from who they descended.

Whatever the case, it is not a grey place. The weather is best described as ‘entertaining’ – changing by the minute. In the week we’ve been here, we’ve managed to get sunburned, drenched, get battered by hail and enjoy glorious crisp skies. But above all, we have been buffeted. For the Falklands are definitely windy.

The country has harnessed this natural resource with a wind farm of just six turbines, which provide more than half of their electricity needs, making Stanley the most wind-powered capital city in the world.

Small communities with relatively low energy demands have a particular problem in exploiting wind power efficiently: The sudden surges produced by strong gusts threaten to overload their grid - a doubling of the windspeed results in a quadrupling of electricity output. The FI solution is to deliberately limit the maximum output of any single turbine and combine them with their old diesel generators to create an integrated system.

By doing this, they regularly manage to generate more than 50% of their power from wind and with some further tinkering and an investment in flywheel storage, aim to get the figure much higher.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice but is there a risk that this community focussed blog is becoming a bit irrelevant and off topic?

Monkeyboy said...

I think that is what is meant by a "smart grid" that you hear about. New infrastructure to enable excess power from one area to be shifted around and visa versa. Renewables will be much more viable with it, there was much talk a while ago, has it been kicked into touch with the recent small difficulty?

Brockley Nick said...

I fly home tonight, so no more falklands videos. I did warn people! ;)

Anonymous said...

ok. how do they get power when it isn't windy?

Anonymous said...

can they store excess energy?

Anonymous said...

do they have lots of wind turbines?

Brockley Nick said...

six turbines. They can't store energy at the moment, but the wind is fairly constant and the diesel engines make up the difference.

There may be some smart technology involved in the regulation of power, but the grid isn't smart.

From what I gather, other island communities are looking at the system to see if they can replicate it.

The turbines have lowered the unit cost of energy and I think they repay the investment cost in a few years and have prevented the need to replace and upgrade the conventional diesel engines.

Anonymous said...

are you doing the PR for the island Nick... 'cos its not exactly the bahamas...

Brockley Nick said...

I'm doing some work for the Falkland Islands Government at the moment, so I've been out here for a week.

Henrietta Mung said...

Casing the place out for Dave. That'll be a good story for the dinner set!

More grissini?

Anonymous said...

I see another oil field has been discovered.

Brockley Kiwi said...

Viva las Malvinas!!

Pub Spy said...

Any decent pubs ?

Anonymous said...

If they have excess capacity they should use it to produce and store Hydrogen. The hydrogen can be used to fuel a generator eliminating the diesel, it could also run their cars and boats one day not too far.

The cycle would not be technically efficient but because of the extra capacity it is free anyway and above all totally clean.

Monkeyboy said...

No wonder it's windy with all those fans going.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but is it organic?

Brockley Nick said...

@Pub Spy - The Victory is probably the best, the Globe is interesting, beer is cheap in all of them, but it's bottles and cans, no draught.

@Henrietta - the Falkland Islands is a country in its own right, with its own government. Nowt to do with Dave thanks!

@BrockleyKiwi - I know you once went on holiday to Argentina and acquired in-depth understanding of the political situation via a five minute chat with an Argentine in the pub, but I don't think you understand what you are talking about.

The Falkland Islands history is not so different from NZ's, except that the British people who arrived in the Falklands hundreds of years ago didn't meet any indigenous people who they had to diddle the land from (I am half-kiwi myself). There are also lots of Kiwi's living on the islands today who would certainly disagree with your sentiments.

If you think the Falkland Islands should belong to Argentina just because they are close-ish to them, then perhaps NZ could become part of Australia and the UK could grab Sweden.

Anonymous said...

The Falklands are not a nation, therefore not comparable with Sweden.

I guess the UK should give up Gibraltar as well!

max said...

The UK is not a nation either.

Brockley Nick said...

There's some ambiguity in the word nation, but The Falkland Islands are a self-determining people with a common identity. They are not ours to give away, as we don't own them.

Brockley Kiwi said...

Nick,

I'm sorry that I've rubbed you up the way on this subject. That said I find some of your comments somewhat disappointing.

I never said the Falkland Islands should belong to Argentina but rather there are complex issues that should be considered on both sides to foster greater understanding. It's also impressed that you managed to deduce where my understanding of Argentine perspective with little to no information. I guess it's the same nack that allowed you to deduce my understanding of my own countries history by the fact I have Kiwi in my name.

Rant over. Sounds like you had a top trip!

Monkeyboy said...

You can't force a people to accept a particular form of government, you can try but it often ends in tears. Self determination, the people there now are clear what they want. If NZ wanted to become republic for example we would look a little silly if we sent the gunboats in, self determination is high-up on the UN list of good ideas.

Brockley Nick said...

You haven't rubbed me up the wrong way, but saying "Viva las Malvinas!!" is a political statement, perhaps you are not aware of that, but it seems an odd thing to say otherwise, particularly in light of your last comments on the subject.

The issues aren't complex at all actually. The Falkland Islands are a country that belongs to the people that live there - the descendants of the first settlers. They people have the right to self-determination. The Argentine government doesn't currently recognise that right.

I didn't try to guess anything about your knowledge of New Zealand.

Brockley Kiwi said...

Surely you could sense the irony of the comment given the context of my previous comments?

cathyarv said...

A lot of people loves traveling but some doesn't have any place where they could stay when they travel to Argentina.

Casa Mara Cartagena

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