Where the wind blows!

Where the wind blows!

On the horizon 14 large wind turbines are revolving – the rotor blades of the Dorn-Dürkheim, Dittelsheim-Heßloch and Alsheim inter-municipal wind farm in the vicinity of Worms that generate clean power for 20,000 households per year. Just a few kilometres away is the “Windland” playground designed by the Wiesbaden-based wind farm developer ABO Wind. Here, children themselves can play the role of the wind and discover how a wind turbine generates power and what people use this energy for in their everyday lives.

With the conception and implementation of the “Windland” project ABO Wind thanked Alsheim and the neighbouring districts for the successful collaboration. “The acceptance of local people is crucial for the meaningful and successful execution of wind energy projects. The energy transition can only succeed with the backing of the general public,” explains Lena Fritsche, press spokesperson for ABO Wind. This is why at the outset of every project ABO Wind’s planners furnish information to interested citizens and answer their questions – for example, on tours of the construction site and at info evenings in town halls and schools.

Around Alsheim, in the district of Alzey-Worms, the energy transition is in full swing and wind turbines – as in many places in Germany – have already become part of the landscape. With the “Windland” project ABO Wind set out to demonstrate, on a small scale, how the large turbines in the local area work. How is wind transformed into power? What components does a wind turbine contain? And how does the energy reach people in their homes? Drawing on all her imaginative powers and with selfless dedication, the Wiesbaden-based communication designer Claudia Tollkühn designed play equipment that arouses the curiosity of visitors and explains technical and physical connections in a playful manner. “When planning the Windland project I looked for symbols and images that remain in children’s heads and which they associate with wind energy. I also tried to convey the technical contexts as clearly as possible,” she says, explaining her approach.

The “Windland” project works as follows: the children’s playground is based on a village, a suitable solution for the hilly riverside site. In the middle of the site is a 3.5-metre-high wind turbine. Here children can turn a crank which sets the rotor blades in motion and generates electricity. This power then flows into two play cabins and illuminates a mock hob and a TV. However, rather than displaying pre-produced images the TV provides an opportunity for creative play: the screen is open in the manner of a puppet theatre. In addition, the company’s own comic character “Erni Wind” explains on two large information boards how the turbine transforms wind into energy and how this energy is then transported to people’s homes. “We are delighted with this fantastic new addition to the leisure offering for children in Alsheim,” says town mayor Wolfgang Hoffmann. “The Windland playground introduces the key theme of the energy transition even to the very youngest children and generates enthusiasm.”

ABO Wind has been striving to generate the interest of the general public in wind energy for some time with accompanying leisure and education initiatives including presentations, workshops and a wind experiment set for nursery and primary school children developed specifically for the Windland playground. As a result, audiences and visitors gain insights into how wind is transformed into clean energy.

Two years ago ABO Wind demonstrated for the first time that wind energy projects can also help boost a region’s appeal to tourists when the planning company opened the “Hunsrück Wind Trail” in the municipality of Thalfang in Hunsrück region. Over the course of this five-kilometre trail eleven information points offer information on wind turbine technology, while photos attached to the exterior of one turbine provide an “insight” into its interior workings. Visitors also have the opportunity to test their strength against the wind on an item of play equipment designed by and produced for ABO Wind: a stylised rotor must be set in motion – using the precise force the wind must exert to set a turbine in motion. Also on display is a 38-metre rotor blade – an original that until just a few years was still turning on a turbine. Now – lying on the ground – it provides an opportunity to take a look at one of these giant blades at close quarters. The mayor of the municipality of Berglicht, where most of the wind farm’s turbines are located, is very excited about the wind educational trail: “The trail has been very well received because it is exceptionally informative. At weekends in particular it attracts visitors from all over the Rhineland Palatinate along with holidaymakers travelling along the Mosel.”

More and more municipalities are coming to appreciate the value of such facilities – and ABO Wind is dealing with an ever increasing number of enquiries. Whether such a project should be developed, and how to proceed, is decided on an individual basis: “We ask ourselves: are there already similar offerings in the region? Is there an appropriate site for the implementation of the project?” On this basis, talks are then held with the local authorities and original ideas are sought. In the case of the “Windland” project we managed to create precisely what the municipality was looking for. And the outcome is a source of pride not just for the ABO Wind team but also for the local mayor, Wolfgang Hoffmann, who says: “This initiative is completely unique in Rhineland Palatinate.”


Photos: ABO Wind

 

About ABO Wind
Established in 1996, ABO Wind initiates wind farm projects, acquires site locations, organizes all technical and business planning, arranges international bank financing and delivers turnkey wind farms. ABO Wind has put 460 wind farms and seven biogas plants with a nameplate capacity of around 900 megawatts on grid. Around 300 professionals work on projects with a yearly investment volume of some EUR 200 million. The company’s shares (WKN 576002) are listed on the open market of the Düsseldorf Stock Exchange.

 

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