Blair Caldow recently returned from Greenland following the install of a second turbine on a remote site for telecoms company Tusass. Here is his write up from the trip.
"Something weird happened when I got off my flight from Greenland. As I left the terminal at Glasgow, I realised I could taste my home city.
Just 2 weeks working 500 feet up a mountain in Greenland had cleared my lungs and woken up my taste buds. Identifying my home city through the taste of the air rather than the fine flavours of a post-pub kebab was pretty disconcerting!
I’d been installing a 3kW SD Wind Turbine for Greenland’s communications company Tusass on a mountain top 500 feet above sea level, accessible only by helicopter.
Greenland is an incredible place and the people are so welcoming. My contacts at Tusass made me feel right at home and I even got to taste some local delicacies including reindeer (thumbs up) and seal… (I’ll stick to my kebabs...).
This is the second installation we’ve carried out for Tusass, with our first 3kW turbine still going strong after two years. Its success is testament to our robust, unique design – in the same location, all of the other manufacturers turbines that were tested proved unable to cope with the harsh arctic conditions.
The install was challenging and we were at the mercy of the weather. Fog often descended and brought work to a standstill, to a chorus of “Weather is boss,” from the old hands.
On paper the job should have taken a couple of days, but we were on site for almost a week. We lost full days to weather conditions but there’s no point grumbling when it’s those very elements we were harnessing to power the remote telecoms site.
Sometimes we made it off site before the weather set in, other times some of the engineers didn’t and found themselves having to bed down in the mountain cabin for days on end. It sounds relaxing but there really was nothing to do but hunker down and ration food till the weather eased. With no phone signal we had to make our own entertainment – the guys repurposed an old plank of wood and carved five perfect dice and played Yahtzee for days.
My daily commute was by helicopter so I got unforgettable views of the cast arctic ocean and the glaciers. Of course I took pictures but it’s impossible to relay their magnitude.
These great mountains of ice look imposing but the fragility of them is terrifying. It hit me like the minus six degree wind coming off the mountain that human behaviour is destroying the very thing that protects the planet.
Our actions are heating the globe and melting the ice caps at an unprecedented rate. As I type we have 7 years, 267 days, 9 hours, 3 minutes and 23 seconds to reach the zero emissions deadline.
The clock’s ticking and, as always, weather is boss."
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