Residential wind turbine education

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house_wind_turbinesDespite the public reaction to wind farms, there is still a need to explore residential wind turbines as an energy resource. A residential turbine can add considerably to a home’s electricity generation particularly in coastal areas, or areas known to be windy.

What’s missing is decent public education on the benefits of wind turbine power generation as a viable alternative to solar panels, or as a tandem offering to solar panels.

Is there anyone willing to talk publicly on the subject?

WDTE will be pushing residential wind turbine stories over the next few months to get the message across. It would be good to hear from wind turbine manufacturers what upgrades or new designs they are making.

4 Responses to Residential wind turbine education

  1. MalHay August 7, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    I have been involved in domestic wind turbines since around 2007 when there was an upsurge of interest due to fuel/energy prices etc. At that time the smaller turbines 1-2kW were very sought after and their prices were reasonably affordable £700-£1500 and easily self installable, whilst the bigger 3-6kW+ turbines tended to need professional installation, this made them substantially more expensive than their smaller counterparts.

    With the sudden surge in public interest came the problem that a lot of people had unrealistic expectations of what a turbine could actually produce over an extended period, which led to some bad press at the time which has dogged wind turbines both large & small ever since. At the time there was a growing investment in turbine manufacturing startups, which was extremely healthy for the small UK companies designing and producing new turbines for the growing market. – Then the Government stepped in with MCS….. At a stroke they killed a lot of small developing companies that were at the forefront of research and design, which had the effect of only permitting those older established companies that had been already been selling expensive turbines into the market to consolidate their grip. This was due to the very expensive MCS testing procedures (£80-100K) that registered turbines had to pass in order to qualify for Feed in Tariffs.

    As you can guess the cost of this had to be passed on somewhere…, so now we have a divided market where the smaller turbines are still relatively cheap as the smaller companies involved could not afford to put their models through MCS and the very much more expensive larger turbines that can claim FITs.

    However after all that there is still a very healthy market for the smaller self installed turbine with a solar array that works exceptionally well as a belt & braces approach to domestic renewable energy production. I have supplied many off-grid systems that happily survive on renewable energy with the occasional generator top up.

    As with all things there is some adjustment to be made if you expect to live from renewable energy, one of the major considerations when looking at renewable energy as a power source is the need to completely review your use of energy and to admit that you are never going to have the unlimited access to energy that you have been used to. Having thrown that bucket of water over you, it is not all bad. By following a few simple common sense recommendations you can be totally self sufficient and have a very comfortable life with most of the facilities that we have become accustomed to. One of the major changes is to stop using electricity for heating anything, water, air etc. Find an alternative energy source or a more efficient way of producing heat, using heat pumps or similar, all it takes is a little thought and forward planning, ask yourself how you could survive if the grid went down…….

  2. WDTE August 8, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Thanks for the update. I particularly like the sentence “One of the major changes is to stop using electricity for heating anything, water, air etc” – although partial domestic generation of electricity is always an option – there are many other ways to achieve a combined 100% self-reliance. The article “67 Homes in Renewable Energy Pilot” gives a broad picture of what is currently achievable.

    But self-reliance education is the key to creating a shift, and changing hearts and minds is key to people seeking out that education for themselves. That’s why we believe there are too few educators out there and we are very committed to support them through this website when we find them. We also need more courses to educate the educators … again. we are happy to support those.

  3. MalHay August 9, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Thank you for your comments, I personally feel that retro-fitting ASHP’s to a bunch of 70’s houses (even though they are going to upgrade their insulation), with all 67 of them apparently in Spanners Close is fraught with possible future problems, especially regarding required output when needed and not to mention the possible noise nuisance created by some many so close together….. Rather them than me! I get the distinct impression of band wagons rolling…..

  4. WDTE August 10, 2013 at 8:52 am

    I agree partially to what you say. While I can applaud the initiative and the drive to have this project happen it will always be open to criticism about the prescribed methodolgy and the quality of informed advice being levied – in this case by the firm of architects hired to analyse and recommend, who we can assume are professional and up to date with their ecological knowledge base and credentials. The prescription does seem to tick all the right ecological boxes but is lacking in imagination.

    We are in an emerging knowledge environment where last Tuesday’s ideas for best practice energy-saving for residential homes is possibly out of date today, and where hindsight hasn’t yet filtered through to the upper levels of our professional advisory bodies. So I agree with the band wagons rolling comment …

    My original point – about the lack of public education viz a viz resdential wind turbines – still holds. Even more so on the isle of wight which has a naturally windy disposition. (You only have to see the roadside treetops bending in the same direction to get my point).

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