Work with the north pole indicates that a possible delay in the delivery of toys on the 25th December has been averted thanks to the close cooperation of the North pole`s logistics and operations team at one of Scottish power`s wind farms.
Around the 20th December each year the logistics and delivery teams at the North pole review the load, route and the health of reindeers available to deliver 0.4 billion tonnes of presents starting in New Zealand at 11pm local time, and finishing in Alaska at 4am local time (30 hours later!). Jon Elf delivery manager at the North Pole said that various factors were making the 4am finishing time slot harder to meet this year, these included a 1% increase in the number of children in the world this year (or 20 million more children on the good list), and the jet stream working against along some of the densest drop off locations all the way from Northern Europe and the East Coast of the USA. There has been a surge in good behaviour meaning the sledge is heavier than usual. To save the reindeers legs, we will be flying over where the winds are not so strong, and we are considering a new route which takes the reindeers the shortest route between major toy delivery conurbations of Liverpool and Belfast, and then over to Scotland. This takes the reindeers over West of Duddon Sands wind farm.
As part of the wind farm planning process engineers and environment specialists have to laisse with air traffic control, shipping and study animal migration patterns, to ensure that the 170m turbines do not cause any disruption to activities in the area. In our 2010 study Santa`s team raised no objections as he normally flies at a higher altitude and at a different route far to the north. Wind turbines are carefully spaced and illuminated red so they are visible to air craft. Unfortunately Reindeer are red blue colour blind so will be unable to see the navigation lights. The team at West of Duddon sands have been given strict instructions to deploy guard vessels and to listen carefully for Santa’s sleigh, and when they hear the bells to illuminate the turbines with ultra violet light which Reindeer can see very well, they will also be on hand to guide Santa using HF radio if necessary. Turbines are also illuminated in infra-red so they care visible to the Military, and reindeer. Carrots and mince pies will also be left at the offshore substation to ensure enough calories to get across the Irish sea to the Isle of Man and onto Ireland and Scotland.
David Mc Donald at ScottishPower Renewables Whitelee operations centre which runs all ScottishPower`s wind farms said when he got the unexpected call from Santa he initially though he was on the naughty list - but the team was excited to help once they heard the problem, and were relieved to inform Santa about their infrared lights.
Santa’s travel route is highly weather dependent and the naughty and good list is constantly updated, which means that the route could change at short notice.