Archive | April 2013

Turbine firm under fire for change of plans

Noise restrictions imposed on a controversial and yet-to-be-built wind farm – then approved by a planning inspector and unchanged by the High Court – are to be re-considered by planners.

Permission has already been granted for nine turbines in the Den Brook Valley, near Crediton, but the facility remains on the drawing board due to concerns over noise pollution.

Developers Renewable Energy Systems (RES) have now applied to West Devon Borough Council to vary the conditions.

Mike Hulme, a long-time opponent of the proposal, says RES are “clutching at straws” and is concerned that the council is not qualified to rule on such a complicated issue.

RES says its recent tests show that the condition was “not working properly”, claiming the noise from “blade swoosh” can be detected even in areas with no turbines.

In 2010, Mr Hulme, a leading member of the Den Brook Judicial Review Group, failed to overturn the decision of the Communities and Local Government Secretary to grant permission for the wind farm, consisting of nine 120m (393ft) high turbines, on land near the villages of North Tawton and Bow.

But, Mr Hulme, whose home is less than a mile away from the closest proposed turbine, did succeed in having the consent made subject to certain conditions to control potential noise pollution.

The condition relates to the level of noise during different atmospheric conditions at night, caused when the blades rotate through varying wind speeds, so-called “wind shear”.

Mr Hume says any decision by councillors to amend the “unique” condition would “fly directly in the face” of the decision by three Law Lords.

He added: “It must be remembered that a top Government planning inspector deemed the current noise controls essential for reaching his decision to finally approve the huge industrial scale wind development more than three years ago.

“RES are applying to change something which has been ruled on by the High Court, the second highest court in the land.” The dispute centres on the phenomena known as amplitude modulation (AM), a rhythmic “swooshing” and “thumping” noise which campaigners claim can ruin the lives of those living nearby wind farms.

Since the Court of Appeal ruling, RES says it has spent several months monitoring background noise levels at other rural wind farm sites and running the data through the parameters set by the High Court.

The company says the results of these tests consistently show that excess AM, as defined by the current condition, is present even at locations where there are no wind turbines.

Dan Leahy, RES project manager, said: “We were very concerned when we discovered that the noise condition wasn’t working properly.

“Working with a number of noise experts, we believe we have pinpointed the problem and we know how to fix it. However, we have to follow due process and ask the council’s permission to vary the condition, which is why we have lodged this application.”

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Latest CNC Plasma Cutters in Rustenburg

Companies in Rustenburg can now get their hands on latest technological CNC Plasma Cutters via Advanced Machinery (Pty) Ltd. The company is currently offering wide range of CNC Plasma cutters which are not readily available in South Africa. O.C.T. Engineering based in Rustenburg is one such company that has recently purchased one of the elite CNC machines the CNC Hypertherm Powermax 105 and has seen a significant improvement in efficiency of their work.

Advanced Machinery (Pty) Ltd has already gained attention for providing latest CNC machines at affordable pricing. The company informed that they are providing high quality machines that are manufactured in China and their after sales service makes sure that the machines are still top-notch once they are in use. The variety of CNC machines has also been admired by the customers who state that there are CNC plasma cutters that are suitable for every type of metal cutting needs.

O.C.T. Engineering is currently using the company’s large size CNC plasma cutter, the gantry plasma CNC cutter with a powerful high ampere Hypertherm plasma cutting system Powermax 105. The machine was assembled at O.C.T. Engineering in Rustenburg by Advanced Machinery (Pty) Ltd and specific personal requirements were also taken care of by the company.

With limited number of providers of affordable and latest technological CNC machines, the company is now offering its CNC plasma cutter in Rustenburg as well. Advanced Machinery (Pty) Ltd informed that many Rustenburg companies like O.C.T. Engineering have purchased their products and that they have taken care of all assembling and ensured that the machines are fully functional and operate according to the personal requirements. The company also provides initial training on all of their machines by experienced engineers and offers after sales service to make sure the machines always produce optimum results.

If customers are not sure which product is most suitable for them, then the company’s website also has extensive details regarding each and every product and informative articles to act as a guide when making a decision. One such article published on the site is the evaluation of the plasma cutting capacity. The article discusses general cutting thickness calculations and important things to consider before purchasing a suitable CNC machine. The company informed that they can be contacted for any queries and if there is uncertainty about which products are suitable then they are happy to oblige and explain all the details.

The CNC Powermax Plasma cutter has become one of the preferred CNC machines in the world, mainly due to its exceptional precision and improved cutting speed. There are certain variations to this machine as well, which are all currently offered by Advanced Machinery (Pty) Ltd.

 

Lobbyist for wind power apologizes

A lobbyist for an industry group supporting wind power apologized to a Vermont Senate committee on Wednesday after a witness she brought in called health concerns connected with wind power “hoo-hah,” nonsense and propaganda.

Gabrielle Stebbins, executive director of Renewable Energy Vermont, called the remarks of acoustics expert Geoff Levanthall unhelpful and offered an apology to the Senate Health and Welfare Committee after Leventhall testified at the hearing by phone from England.

“There’s no scientific evidence behind what they (critics of wind power) say,” Leventhall said. “It’s all made-up, make-believe, trying to find something to object to, and trying to find something that will be difficult to disprove. It’s a technique, a propaganda technique, and they’ve been very, very effective.”

Afterward, Stebbins said she regretted Leventhall’s comments. “I don’t think that’s helpful for the debate and, for the record, I do apologize for that.”

Stebbins’ comments came at the end of the hearing in which two Vermont doctors — one of them critical of a wind power project near his home in Ira and of the industry generally — testified about what they said were ill health effects connected with wind power among people living near the turbines.

Leventhall did describe for the committee low-frequency, inaudible “infrasound,” that some blame on problems connected with wind turbines but that he said have less of an impact on people than sounds generated within the body, like the heartbeat.

The committee also heard from Luann Therrien, a Sheffield resident who said she and her husband have suffered severe sleep loss leading to depression since 16 turbines operated by First Wind began operating within about two miles of their home, with the closest being about a half mile away.

“We did not oppose the project, not until it was up and running and creating noise,” Therrien said. “I have constant ringing in my ears that can be very distracting. My husband has been feeling so bad that he is currently unable to work. His doctor has pulled him from his job.”

Discussion centered on sleep loss due to audible sounds from the turbines and on infrasound, the low-frequency noise inaudible to human ears but which some doctors have linked to ill health effects — sometimes called wind turbine syndrome.

Dr. Sandy Reider, a primary care provider practicing in Lyndonville, told the committee he had seen “a half dozen or so patients who are suffering from living in proximity to these turbines.” He told of one particularly tough case of a 33-year-old, healthy man who developed problems after a wind turbine began operation on Burke Mountain near his home.

The man “began to experience increasingly severe insomnia, waking multiple times at night with severe anxiety and heart palpitations, and experiencing during the daytime pressure headaches, nausea, ringing in his ears and difficulty concentrating,” Reider said.

NextFab Studio hosts prototyping how-to during Philly Tech Week

NextFab Studio in South Philadelphia hosted “Product Prototyping in 60 Minutes”  for 30 engineers, entrepreneurs and artists interested in creating products using the advanced technology available at the studio.

NextFab staffers presented participants with the prototyping steps using a digital house number design, then demonstrated how the product was constructed using the studio’s equipment, including various software programs, a wood-carving ShopBot, a stone cutting Waterjet machine and the Arduino microcontroller.

The event was NextFab’s first prototyping demo and part of Philly Tech Week.

NextFab’s president and founder Evan Malone worries about the loss of manufacturing in the US and wants to show that advanced computer-controlled machines can spur innovation. He said he hopes that the event will show people interested in these technologies the thought process behind turning an idea into a product, and also a few of the pitfalls they are likely to encounter along the way.

“People get excited about an idea and rush in without considering whether the direction they’re headed in is a good one for their ends goal,” said Malone, who explained paying attention to excitement-killers like financing, legal issues and marketability early on can mean success for product creators.

The studio operates like a fitness gym. Members can use NextFab’s equipment, take classes or receive assistance from trained staff members. Biomedical engineering student Melissa Stagnl joined NextFab to learn more about electronic and mechanical programming. “I’m interested in creating a sleep mask that will help with lucid dreaming,” said Stagnl.

Software programmer George Alexander is considering membership and was impressed with the studio’s 3D printing machines and laser cutters.  The prototyping presentation gave Alexander a concrete idea of how the South Philadelphia studio could assist him in creating the jewelry he hopes to make. “The amount of activity that there is in the rapid prototyping and 3D printing area, lots going on in the world, and Philadelphia, this is really where it’s at.”

Today, the pressures faced by PPM center largely on customers seeking offshore solutions, typically from China, Malaysia, and other low-cost areas of the world. As a result, the company has created a niche for machining high-end medical components that, “no one else wants to cut, because it is just not profitable for them,” John says.

He goes on and describes PPM’s manufacturing style as probably a little different, positively attacking CAD models in Pro-Engineer, and then generating our machine code in the same CAD package, returning seamlessly what the client ordered from solid geometry to the reality of actual products manufactured exactly to specification.

“Using Haas technology, we get greedy,” John notes. “We utilize a fourth-axis rotary head to machine four sides of the workpiece with one fixture, and then we flip it, and we are done in two operations, before it goes into our finishing department for deburring.”

Typical materials processed on the Haas machines include 17/4 stainless steel, 400- and 300-series stainless steel, titanium, cobalt chrome, and PEEK (polyether ether ketone). In terms of the latter, PPM has just secured its first order for PEEK, and production of these parts will be on Haas technology.

“We are a no-debt operation – we buy our equipment, pay it off, and move on,” John explains. “The Haas machines are particularly good for us, as is the price structure. The machines we acquired were not $500,000, as some makes; they were a lot less, so we had the means to bring them in as needed, and we could own them outright. In addition, for the size of product that we manufacture, the machining envelopes and tables are just the right size, and the machines have no problem holding the close tolerances our parts require.”

John and his family understand fully the importance of the parts they are making, the difference they can make to a recipient’s life, and the need to pay close attention to specifications and quality.

FenRATS protest against wind turbine plan

Some 30 to 40 members of protest group FenRATS gathered outside the Boathouse, Wisbech, today to campaign against Wind Ventures Ltd who wants to build six 126-metre high turbines between Gorefield and Sutton St James.

Wind Ventures lodged an appeal after both Fenland District Council and South Holland District Council rejected their application last year.

“We believe we have a very strong case. This was turned down unanimously by both Fenland and South Holland councils.

“Their main reason was the effect it’s going to have on properties close to the turbines, which will be dwarfed by them.

“They will have a devastating effect on the landscape and change Fenland’s character forever.“We support renewable energy and have done our bit. We just think enough is enough.”

FenRATS have engaged the services of a barrister and experts to represent their interests, at an estimated cost of 30,000.

Mr Coleman said: “Our campaign is costing a huge amount. We have got a barrister representing us and a team of expert witnesses fighting our corner.

“We are basically just a small community of ordinary people who don’t have a lot of money but have pulled together.

“People are literally in tears about this. It will cause a huge amount of damage to the fabric of our community.” Residents in St Dogmaels are concerned over the wind turbine being visible on the skyline from the village.

At a meeting of St Dogmaels Community Council on Friday six members of the public spoke against the installation of the turbine, pointing out that it would have a detrimental effect on the beauty of the area.

Among those giving evidence at the inquiry will be NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay, South Holland MP John Hayes and East Midlands MEP Roger Helmer.

The inquiry will end on May 3 and a visit to the site, which crosses the boundaries of Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire, will take place the following week.

A final decision will be announced by the Planning Inspectorate on June 17. FenRATS is a group of local community members driving a campaign to stop the proposed Treadings Bank Wind Farm development.

Their campaign literature says that “we feel that establishing a wind farm at the Treading Bank site, with turbines higher than Coldham Wind Farm, would have an adverse affect on the immediate area, most notably the parishes of Tydd St Giles, Sutton St Edmund, Gorefield, Newton and Parson Drove.”

Councillor Steve Tierney, who spoke at a recent public meeting organised by FenRATs, said “The turnout for the meeting was very good – particularly since we’ve been doing these for years now.

“You could almost wonder if the long time-span on such things were deliberately set to try and bleed the strength of resolve out of local people. Or perhaps that’s overly paranoid. “Anyway, it hasn’t worked. Local people remain furious. Fingers crossed for a good result.”

Residents in Wrightington set to fight 90m wind turbine plans

The application to build the development on land near Toogood Lane, Wrightington, was submitted to West Lancashire council earlier this month and has already attracted concern from people living nearby who claim the turbine will have a detrimental effect on the area’s green belt landscape.

Karen Collins, a member of the Wrat Pack (Wrightington Residents Against Turbines), said that residents were worried that they would have to live with the effects of the development for years to come.

She said: “At 90m – almost 300ft – the turbine will be twice the height of the Mormon church spire in Chorley. It will have significant impact on the landscape character.

“The size and scale of this wind turbine is totally inappropriate for a small village. This is commercialisation of the country’s green belt.”

The council’s policy on renewable energy supports the installation of renewable schemes providing there is no negative effect to the local area.

The policy also states that planning permission on green belt land would only be granted in very special circumstances and a planning statement from Freshfields explains that “consideration should be given to the whether the development constitutes” this.

Janet Watt, who has lived in Church Lane, for more than 25 years, is just one of the residents who has objected to the plans.

Among her concerns were the impact of the turbine on the visual amenity for residents and visitors, noise and vibration disturbance, the flicker shadow – the flicker effect from the sunlight shining through the moving blades – and the effect the development could have on the area’s wildlife.

An environment report from the applicant, Freshfield, stated that there are no records of protected or notable species held within the survey area. It also said that although the turbine will be a noticeable feature it is not considered to be out of scale in relation to its surroundings.

If you’ve driven by the University of Guam campus recently, you may have noticed a new feature at Dean’s Circle. UOG director of integrated marketing communications Jonas Macapinlac says the college’s first wind turbine has been up and running since March.

“It is a 65′ tower and a one-kilowatt wind turbine and it’s at Dean’s Circle House 32, the Center for Island Sustainability Model Home, and within the next couple of weeks as we make sure all the settings are correct and the calibrations are correct then we’re going to start collecting data” he said.

The turbine will be used to charge an electric car as well as pump water from water encatchments to the site’s sustainable garden. Macapinlac adds that this turbine complies with requests from the Guam Land Use Commission as neighbors expressed concerns about a 100′ tower’s effects, including noise pollution and how it would fall in the event of a typhoon.

The benefits of being Christian

It is not unusual for large companies to offer great perks. Among the common is a great insurance benefit package with little or no cost to the employee.

Then there are the typical perks of employee discounts on phones, rental cars, dry cleaners, hotel lodging, apartment rentals, computer purchases, auto repair and discounts on tax preparation.

If you are one of the lucky people to have landed a position in the Silicon Valley in California, the perks are out of this world.

A company with 250 employees provides every full-time worker the option to have their homes cleaned twice a month — for free.

Another business in the Silicon Valley offers free take-home dinners and helps find last minute babysitters when your child is too sick to attend school.

A consulting firm offers back-up assistance for the care of an elderly parent or grandparent. They also offer personal trainers, nutritionists and counseling services free to their employees.

One high-tech company offers free food in their impressive food court, dry cleaning services and an added bonus of $500 for new parents and fresh fish delivered to the office every day for the employees to take home.

Some of these companies allow families to come during the evening hours and eat free in their food court when employees work late. They also provide a $3,000-per-year child care benefit.

Other major companies offer free health club memberships for employees and their families. Their outlook is the healthier the employee, the less they will use their medical benefits.

Being a Christian has marvelous benefits. The first is eternal life. Then there’s the added benefit of spending eternity in a mansion prepared just for you and streets paved with gold. Awesome.

While here on earth, you have the benefit of going to Our Heavenly Father in prayer any time of the day or night, knowing He hears and will answer your prayer.

You have the confidence that you are never alone; that He is always with you. No one else can offer that promise.

Then there’s the promise of peace, joy and happiness, no matter what situation you face.

The Great Physician is standing ready to provide healing whenever you need it, at no extra charge.

Unconditional love, even when you don’t deserve it, and a friend who will stick by you to the end.Of all the perks big companies have to offer, they can’t begin to compare.