Wind industry gets cultural in Hull


January 10, 2017

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Worship the blade! You could argue that, as editor of A Word About Wind, I should take an unhealthy interest in the wind sector – and I do. That is the only explanation for the shrine of wind turbines I keep in the corner of the room. God bless free gifts at industry shows.

But I am not alone. Now people in UK city Hull can make their own pilgrimage to worship at the altar of the mighty blade after German manufacturer Siemens installed one in the city. The idea is to give everyone the chance to bow down and praise clean energy.

Okay, okay… that’s not quite true. Siemens has indeed installed a 75m-long turbine blade in the city’s Queen Victoria Square but the reason is not to be some new religion. It is cultural.

The blade is part of an artwork by Nayan Kulkarni, and is the first installation in the city in its Look Up series. It is part of the celebration of Hull as UK City of Culture 2017. The blade has been mounted on a diagonal slant on specially-constructed supports, which means double-decker buses can still pass under the tip of the blade. It looks like an impressive sight.

Kulkarni chose the blade to celebrate the engineering and manufacturing future of the city, where Siemens opened a factory in November that has created a 1,000 new jobs. And this blade itself is one of the first of hundreds that Siemens is set to produce at the Green Port Hull facility each year for its 7MW and 8MW offshore turbines. It had to be moved three-and-a-half miles from the factory to the city centre at night to minimise disruption.

It is a great idea. It is very hard for landlubbers like us, who rarely venture offshore, to feel a connection with these vast sea-based wind arrays. Putting a blade like this in the heart of the city centre can help to raise awareness of the contribution that wind is making in the UK energy mix, and also raises awareness of the jobs it creates and the investment it brings.

Juergen Maier, chief executive at Siemens UK says the installation would help to make that “engineering and manufacturing excellence… tangible for the people of Hull and visitors to the city”. Anything that seeks to raise awareness of wind gets our vote.

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