Wind turbines

I have recently had solar panels installed and was wondering about a wind turbine too. I think these are also eligible for FIT - anyone got one or know anything about them such as rough idea of cost? Would be great to produce energy at night too.....
«13456711

Replies

  • I looked at this a couple of years back. It depends what sort of thing you're after but to give a rough idea a small 1kw was in the region of £1,000 whereas a mast-mounted 5kw would set you back nearer £20,000. I'm afraid I'm not sure about the costs when you set off FIT against it, as FIT didn't exist when I looked at having one installed.
  • stoozeystoozey Forumite
    97 Posts
    very bad for the environment. Much worse that coal smoke belching power stations.
  • edited 10 May 2011 at 4:07PM
    celeritycelerity Forumite
    311 Posts
    edited 10 May 2011 at 4:07PM
    I've also been researching this for a few years now.
    I'm sure you already know, but the main problem with turbines not delivering on their expected efficiencies is the site itself and ground turbulence. That is to say, even if you have, for example, a windy, rural, open location, if the turbine isn't high enough then ground turbulence can mean it doesn't generate what is should.

    So, for any kind of useful power (and therefore FiT payments) you need a really quite high turbine (in my opinion anyway). I would guess 5m would be a minimum.

    I'd also want a mast that can be lowered when needed for maintenance, as otherwise you have to pay for a lifting platform every time something goes wrong - and sadly I would expect that to happen a fair bit over 20 years (or however long the FiT period is).

    The maths of wind generation mean that the benefits you get by scaling up are much better than linear, which is why wind farms with truly massive turbines make a lot of sense. The corollary of this is that the output and cost efficiency of domestic grade units is far less :(.

    So, personally I'm sitting on the fence for now. I've invested in solar PV but am not prepared to invest in wind power until there is more public data available for small turbines in my area.

    /\dam
  • celeritycelerity Forumite
    311 Posts
    stoozey wrote: »
    very bad for the environment. Much worse that coal smoke belching power stations.

    Please substantiate this claim :)

    So my position is clear, I am highly in favour of government-backed wind farms across the British countryside, and have little sympathy with the NIMBY crowd that inevitably object (provided the planning is done responsibly of course, and there is budget to landscape the area around the turbines after they are put up)

    /\
  • moonrakerzmoonrakerz Forumite
    8.7K Posts
    1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    ✭✭✭✭
    celerity wrote: »
    and there is budget to landscape the area around the turbines after they are put up)

    ........you are joking - of course ? 200 ft high Leyland Cypress ?
  • MankysteveMankysteve Forumite
    4.3K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    ✭✭✭✭
    Small wind turbines are pointless especially if your in urban enviroment , only worth it if your off grid.
  • Ben84Ben84 Forumite
    3.1K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    ✭✭✭✭
    Feeding energy from wind turbines directly in to the grid works in the sense the electrons go in to the grid, but the environmental success of doing this is another matter as greatly less fossil fuel is replaced than many people believe. Unfortunately the explanation is a little involved, but if anyone is interested this is the situation as I understand it.

    At any moment in time large amounts of excess electric are being passed through the national grid. The excess is simply dumped to ground to get rid of it. The excess is important however. The moment you switch something on a small fraction of the available excess instead flows through your appliance on its way to ground (the final destination of the neutral wire), meaning to you the user it works instantly and also importantly everyone else using appliances on the grid do not suffer from a shortage of energy for their appliance that would make it malfunction. The key point is that the national grid does not store energy or even deliver it like parcels to consumers, it's a constant flow that we divert as needed through our appliances, it flows if we use it or not and the flow must always exceed consumption by an acceptable margin to ensure everything works as we expect it to.

    Now if we want to replace fossil fuels we need to supply the grid with a source of energy from other green source and turn down the output from a fossil fuel generating source. Coal plants adjust output slowly, they take hours/days even, while gas and oil take maybe 20 minutes if they're good fast ones - such plants are used to ramp up and down the grid's flow in anticipation to demand, such as for the advert intervals between popular TV programs when tens of thousands of kettles are switched on at the same time.

    Now consider a wind turbine. The rate at which its output ramps up and down is very fast, none of the other generating sources on the grid can match it, not even gas/oil and the behaviour is hard to predict. We simply cannot plan ahead and we cannot modulate the other generating sources fast enough for any of the turbine output to replace other sources, it is just peaks and spikes being added to the already large excess that goes to ground.

    Of course if there are very large numbers of wind turbines, including in multiple locations, we can benefit from averaging and finally assume a generally predictable minimum output from them combined. Utilities do this already, but the actual amount they can count on at any time with high probability, high enough to turn down other generating sources, is in fact very, very small. Absurdly small really. I've seen figures from official sources indicating maybe a few percent of installed capacity.

    Personal opinion is that we either need to find a way to store the turbine's energy or to spend the money on something else. Direct grid connected turbines do not replace as much fossil fuel as people often believe. Assuming the energy they put in to the grid has replaced other sources in full or even to a high percentage is mistaken.
  • celeritycelerity Forumite
    311 Posts
    moonrakerz wrote: »
    ........you are joking - of course ? 200 ft high Leyland Cypress ?

    Heh, allow me to clarify :).
    I simply meant that the bases of the towers and site access roads etc should be tidied up once work was finished. People who object to wind farms have been known to cite the tonnage of concrete that will be a "blot on the landscape" but provided most of this concrete is covered up again afterwards with turf etc I would have no problem.

    The only other grounds I would agree with objecting would be if the area restricted long established walking routes for the locals, but again, with reasonable planning this should not ever have to be the case.

    Hope that makes sense ;).

    /\
  • edited 10 May 2011 at 7:49PM
    celeritycelerity Forumite
    311 Posts
    edited 10 May 2011 at 7:49PM
    @ Ben84 : can you post some references please?
    It would seem to me that your argument applies fairly equally to solar PV on a cloudy (but not fully overcast) day?

    /\
  • moonrakerzmoonrakerz Forumite
    8.7K Posts
    1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    ✭✭✭✭
    celerity wrote: »
    Hope that makes sense ;).

    Your explanation does - but I am afraid the logic of wind turbines doesn't.

    They are a totally pointless and hugely expensive way of producing electricity. Their efficiency is very low, they will always require some sort of "conventional" power station back-up for when the winds fails AND they really are the most dreadful eyesore.

    I used to travel Germany a lot, the road from Hamburg to Kiel passes a lot of wind turbines. I really defy anyone to say this things are not a "blot on the landscape" - and Northern Germany isn't the most scenic of areas, unlike the British coast, the Lakes, the Highlands...........

    As for the economics ! The latest off shore wind farms are producing electricity at 3 times the cost of land based wind farms which are, themselves, several times more than the cost of conventional generation. The developers are now trying to get more direct subsidies from the German Government (the taxpayer!) so that the "headline" price can be kept down.

    Complete and utter gold plated madness !!
This discussion has been closed.
Latest News and Guides

£10-£50 London theatre tickets

For over 45 shows in January and February

MSE Deal

Join the 1p Savings Challenge 2022!

It should help you save £667.95

MSE Forum