Cecelia writes stories & tutors English. Her ONLINE POETRY COURSE is available on openlearning, and she has several books in print.
Cecelia's articles are illustrated with photos by Allan who enjoys photography.
Published May 1st 2017
Be dwarfed beside the big blade
Australia has been home to its "big" statues and tourist icons for many years, the "Big Merino" at Goulburn, the "Big lobster" at Kingston, SE, and the "Big Banana" at Coff's Harbour. (Some of the big attractions, like the "Big Orange" at Renmark, are sadly no longer open to the public.) Most of the big attractions commemorate our agricultural heritage, but the "Big Blade" at Snowtown represents the advancement of modern technology and Australia's commitment to the generation of ecologically friendly energy.
According to signage at the site, in 2008 90% of Australia's energy production was from coal, a non-renewable source. Construction of the Snowtown Windfarm commenced in 2007, through Trust Power and Suzion energy. The Barunga ranges around Snowtown were selected because they enjoyed wind speeds of 30 km/hour off the southern ocean. Snowtown is also close to the main power lines serving the state.
The "Big Blade" represents an actual blade on one of the wind turbines which can be seen in the distance spinning on the hills. According to Wind Watch (wind-watch.org) The popular GE 1.5-megawatt model has 116 foot (35.35 meter) blades mounted on 212 foot (64.62 meter) poles. The 1.8 and 2 megawatt models are even larger! The turbines stand on ridges in the Barunga-Hummocks Ranges, stretching for almost 30 kilometers. They begin about 5 km out of Snowtown and can be seen as you drive along the Port Augusta Highway, or the inland road to Port Pirie.
According to (power-technology.com) the Snowtown wind farms were extended in 2014 by two developments, known as "Snowtown II North" and "Snowtown II South" farms. The North farm has 48 turbines, while the South farm has 42 wind turbines. These developments were placed alongside the original Snowtown wind farm.
While wind generated electricity is a developing technology, the use of wind power is ancient and traditional, seen in sailing boats and windmills that pump water or grind grain. Windmills have been erected in paddocks throughout Australia since the 1800s.
The "Big Blade" monument is located on the northern end of the main street (called Railway Terrace East) in Snowtown. Alongside the Big Blade is an attractive picnic area and public conveniences, which feature beautifully painted rural murals. Opposite the Big Blade is the Soldiers' Memorial Hall, rose garden and historic hotel.