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Page last updated at 15:20 GMT, Sunday, 16 January 2011
Goonhilly's old wind turbines shipped to Latvia
Former Goonhilly wind turbines being loaded on to the Dutch Runner for shipping to Latvia at Falmouth Docks
Former Goonhilly wind turbines being loaded on to the Dutch Runner for shipping to Latvia at Falmouth Docks

Fourteen old turbines removed from Goonhilly wind farm have begun their journey to eastern Europe.

The turbines have already been loaded on to trucks and taken to Falmouth.

The two ships transporting them are the Natalie, which loaded 10 of the turbines on Thursday 13 January, and the Dutch Runner loaded the remaining four turbines on Friday 14 January.

They are then sailing to Riga in Latvia.

Wind turbine
The nacelle contains the generator and holds the blades

From there they will be transported to Lithuania for refurbishment and then back to Latvia where they will form two wind farms.

The Truro-based renewable energy company wanted to make sure the old machines were recycled as they were still worth tens of thousands of pounds and still had some life in them.

REG Windpower has replaced the 25m (82ft) high wind turbines at Goonhilly Downs site, on the Lizard, with six 350ft (107m) high machines.

The 14 machines were originally installed in Goonhilly in 1993 and were said to have a 20-year lifespan.

It is estimated that there have been a total of 240 million revolutions per turbine and over 3 billion revolutions for the whole wind farm since it became operational in 1993.

Unloading the nacelle
A crane driver's view as the Goonhilly nacelle is unloaded at Falmouth

Estimated average annual output from the old turbines was approximately 9000 megawatt hours (MWh).

Using an example of a house with four energy saving 11W light bulbs, on for six hours a day, that's enough to light over 90,000 households with an estimated saving of nearly 4,000 tonnes of CO2.

"As an environmentally focussed green energy company, we naturally have a great interest in recycling and reuse, so from the outset we have been looking for opportunities to have the old turbines refurbished to extend their working life for as long as possible," said Neil Harris, CEO of Truro based REG Windpower.

"The 14 turbines are like old friends to many people on the Lizard and there has been great interest in their future use," said Mr Harris.

"For 17 years they have produced enough electricity to power around 2,300 homes and although now surpassed by new technology that has enabled us to triple electricity output from Goonhilly, their 25-year design life means they can still play an important role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions by replacing fossil fuels with green power from the wind."

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