In 2017 the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd (BOWL) project will prepare for the installation of 84 turbines near the Beatrice oil field off Caithness which, once in operation, is expected to power approximately 450,000 homes. A few years ago I was given access to capture the people and places at the cutting edge of the deep-water renewables industry, visiting fabrication plants in Denmark, Germany and Scotland.
“It was a special moment looking up at the lift from our small boat as Dusty manoeuvred Imagen in close. It was eighty-five metres to the top of the turbine. The scale and the dramatic imagery were almost too much to take in. My camera and my visual memory were my tools for capturing those moments. I could see men being lifted in baskets onto the turbine by the track crane from Rambis’ deck and we waved to men whom we recognised."- Sue Jane Taylor, Beatrice diary, April 2007
I was particularly fascinated by the Pelamis wave machine which I found visually very exciting to draw. It was bright red and yellow in colour, like an exotic corn snake, gliding and riding the waves. Sadly the Pelamis project, owned by an Edinburgh based company, ran out of funding to further develop this machine.
On the test site close by, I drew the Wello Penguin wave energy converter machine. This surreal boat-like machine was more like a pop art installation than a sophisticated engineering device. With its weirdly shaped triangular hull, it had fascinating sculptural contraptions on its deck.