Thursday, November 30, 2006

Micro turbines: mis-selling likely

I've been waiting on tenterhooks for Newsnight's Ethical Man to get his micro turbine. Rather than say anything about them, this being television, you have to buy one and film it and see what happens. Well, it's off. Windsave have changed their mind about the suitability of his property.

Justing by Justin's description, the property seems typical to good for wind, so what is going on? It appears that Windsave have realised that this would be bad publicity for them, so they pulled out. Even worse publicity than backing out at this stage.

I blogged about this before., saying that the Jury was out. Well it's not looking good now.

As Justin says, a turbine rated 1kW at 12 m/s is only going to produce 120W at 6 m/s, barely useful. But 6 is still above the usual average windspeed. Turbulence will reduce gains further, so it would appear that there are very few domestic sites suitable for this kind of turbine. A larger turbine could be useful, but there would be structural issues to contend with.

If you buy a turbine from B&Q, they will survey your site and tell you if it is unsuitable. But I do wonder how little power they will expect before they declare a site unsuitable and lose the sale: 200W? 100W? 50W? 50W on windy days? Who knows. But at all these levels the turbine is not going to save a third of your electricity bill or pay for itself within its lifetime. And it certainly doesn't justify any kind of government grant.


1 comment:

Matt Sellwood said...

Uh-oh...I agree with you. DANGER, DANGER!

Micro-wind is a red herring, in my opinion.