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Last Updated: Wednesday June 03 2009 15:58 GMT

Maddy visits offshore wind farm


Scotland's first offshore wind farm is being built out at sea.

The scientists behind it reckon it's a great way to make electricity without damaging the environment.

Maddy went on a sky-high adventure to take a closer look.

"Just an hour after scoffing down eggs on toast for breakfast I was being strapped into a helicopter, ready to fly seven miles to reach one of the biggest offshore wind farms in the UK.

Our pilot told me another reporter had spent her entire journey huddled over a sick bag! So I started to regret the eggs, and braced myself for an exciting but scary journey.

Clear weather

In fact, I had nothing to worry about. We had perfect flying conditions so the ride was as smooth as it could be.

It was windy - of course - but everyone on board had to wear special earphones to block out the noise from the wind and the helicopter's propellers.

It wasn't long before we spotted the wind farm in the distance - 37 turbines popping out of the sea and glistening in the sunlight. When the farm is finished, there will be 60 altogether.

Really tall

Each turbine is as tall as 30 double-decker buses piled on top of each other, and each blade's longer than two swimming pools.

Darryl the cameraman
Darryl the cameraman hangs out the helicopter

The turbines are pushed deep into the seabed to stop them moving around and the parts closest to the water are painted yellow, so ships can spot them.

It's a really tricky process building the turbines out at sea. We watched workmen using boats to drag materials between them.

Some of them even live on a special platform on the water while they're working on the project. It can take at least 14 hours to finish a single turbine.

Legs dangling

While I was sat safely next to our pilot in the front, Newsround's cameraman Darryl had a much trickier job.

He had to open the helicopter's side door and dangle his legs out in order to get the best shots for our TV report!

Even though he was wearing a special harness I was still a bit worried.

The wind was so powerful he said he thought it might pull his shoes off. But he managed to keep them on and do a brilliant job!

Some campaigners reckon wind turbines are really ugly, but I think they look futuristic and cool - especially when you're hovering right next to them!"


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