Library filed under Technology from UK

Home Wind Turbines 'Are Fool's Errand'

PUTTING a wind turbine on the roof of your house - like Tory leader David Cameron - is a waste of time, according to experts. The turbines, which cost at least £1,500, are next to useless in cities because there's not enough wind to make them work. Dr Luke Myers, of the Sustainable Energy Group, said: "Putting them in places where there's no wind is a fool's errand really. "No one wants to spend £1,500 on a turbine which doesn't work." Wind speeds at house roof level in a city like London, where Cameron lives, are only around 4.6 metres a second. But turbines sold by stores such as B&Q are designed to work at 12.5 metres a second. Brain Mark, on the Department of Trade and Industry Renewables Advisory Board, said the benefits had been "oversold" by green campaigners. He added: "It would be wonderful - if it worked." Home solar roof panels used to heat water are often a better bet and recoup costs in 10 years.
6 Mar 2007

Wind farms shut down as storm bashes Britain

Several of Britain’s growing fleet of wind farms ground to a halt on Thursday as severe gales battered the country. The storms, which caused transport chaos and left hundreds of thousands without electricity, proved too much for some wind farms. Most turbines, which are intentionally sited in some of the windiest parts of the country, automatically stop spinning for safety reasons when wind speeds exceed 25 meters per second, or about 55 miles per hour.
18 Jan 2007

Wind power stability problem

Pete Russell believes we need windpower and that opposition is simply nimbyism (Letters, December 19). He is wrong on both counts. As the contribution by wind increases to only a small proportion of total supply, it will cause serious stability problems unless supported by online conventional generation. E.ON Netz, the operator of the largest assemblage of wind turbines in Europe has specifically warned of this.
9 Jan 2007

Research brings clarity to UK renewables sector

Campbell Dunford, CEO of REF, said: “This important modelling exercise shows that even with best efforts a large wind carpet in the UK would have a low capacity credit, and be a real handful to manage. This isn’t the best way to encourage China and India to move towards the low-carbon economy. As a matter of urgency, for the planet’s sake, we need to bring forward a much broader range of low carbon generating technologies, including the full sweep of renewables. Wind has a place, but it must not be allowed to squeeze out other technologies that have more to offer.”
9 Dec 2006

Wind farms ‘are failing to generate the predicted amount of electricity’

The claimed benefits of wind energy are called into question today by a study that finds few wind farms in England and Wales produce as much electricity as the Government has forecast. The first independent study to rate farms according to how much electricity they produce shows that wind farms south of the Scottish border are not generating as much as the Government assumed when it set the target of producing a tenth of Britain’s energy from renewables by 2010 and 15 per cent by 2015. Despite millions being spent on wind turbines, the study by the Renewable Energy Foundation shows that England and Wales are not windy enough to allow large turbines to work at the rates claimed for them. The foundation, a charity that aims to evaluate wind and other forms of renewable energy on an equal basis, based its study of more than 500 turbines now in operation on data supplied by companies to Ofgem, the energy regulator.
9 Dec 2006

Windfarms ‘wide of generating targets’

Some onshore windfarms are falling woefully short of their electricity generating targets, throwing into doubt Government targets of having about 15% of the nation’s energy coming from wind by 2020. Research by the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF) found onshore windfarms in remote locations only are generating above expectation - typically in the north of Scotland where the cost of linking to the National Grid is far greater.
8 Dec 2006

UK Renewable Energy Data: Issue 1 (08.12.06): Vol. 5: Wind

Uk_renewable_energy_data_thumb Editor's Note: The following are selected excerpts from the Renewable Energy Foundation press release describing this research. The full press release is available via the link below. Using the new research it is now possible to assess how renewable generators up and down the country are performing. This data, published in five online files; Biomass, Hydro, Landfill Gas, Sewage Gas and Windpower, shows that firm generators are producing high load factors with carefully designed resource use and load following. However in the wind sector, far and away the most active of all the technologies at present, results vary enormously due to location. The capacities offshore are encouraging, whilst those onshore are generally only superior in locations very distant from the populations requiring the electrical energy. Although most sites were built on expected capacity factors of around 30%, results include; 19% (approx) capacity factor for the wind turbines at Dagenham, Essex. 9% (approx) capacity factor at the Barnard Castle plant, County Durham. The best performing wind sites are in the north of Scotland, and on Shetland the wind turbines are producing capacity factors of over 50%. Using this analysis of the Ofgem data, researchers have also calibrated a model predicting how a large installed capacity of wind power built across the UK would actually perform. The project used Meteorological Office data to model output for every hour of every January from 1994-2006. The startling results show that, even when distributed UK wide, the output is still highly volatile. The average January power variation over the last 12 years is 94% of installed capacity. It is an uncontrolled variation decided by the weather. The average minimum output is only 3.7% or 0.9GW in a 25GW system. Power swings of 70% in 30 hours are the norm in January. The governments’ expectation is that three quarters of the 2010 renewables target, and the lion’s share of the ‘20% by 2020’ target will be made up of windpower.[2] However, the new research offers predictions which are in keeping with Danish and German empirical experience and demonstrate the need for a broader spread of investment in the renewable sector. The report was commissioned from Oswald Consultancy Limited and funded by donation from the green entrepreneur Vincent Tchenguiz. Campbell Dunford, CEO of REF, said: “This important modelling exercise shows that even with best efforts a large wind carpet in the UK would have a low capacity credit, and be a real handful to manage. This isn’t the best way to encourage China and India to move towards the low-carbon economy. As a matter of urgency, for the planet’s sake, we need to bring forward a much broader range of low carbon generating technologies, including the full sweep of renewables. Wind has a place, but it must not be allowed to squeeze out other technologies that have more to offer.”
8 Dec 2006

Clipper delays turbine deliveries

Wind turbine manufacturer Clipper Windpower tumbled from recent highs today after it announced an issue relating to machining tolerances in its gearboxes and a short delay in turbine deliveries. As a result of the issue, the group said it has decided to introduce an additional measurement process during machining to ensure gearbox tolerances are met.
17 Nov 2006

Home wind turbines ‘may actually do more harm than good’

Home wind turbines have become the must-have home improvement among people eager to help save the planet and flaunt their green credentials. Dubbed ‘the ultimate green fashion statement’, are selling in their thousands amid claims they can cut household electricity bills by 30 per cent. But now environmental campaigners say the windmills are not quite what they claim to be - and may actually do more harm than good. As well as being noisy and unsightly, they barely produce enough electricity to power a hairdryer in many houses.
13 Nov 2006

Power giant plans 'cleanest' coal plant

A 'clean coal' plant that would capture and bury most of its carbon emissions could become the first coal-fuelled power station to be built in the UK since the seventies, under plans announced by British Gas owner Centrica. Carbon from the Teesside plant would be pumped for storage under the North Sea Although not the first 'clean coal' project in the UK, the £1bn plant would produce almost zero emissions and would be the first with built-in carbon capture and storage (CCS), a spokesman for Centrica told edie.
9 Nov 2006

HIE to turn island into test area for green technology

HIGHLANDS and Islands Enterprise is planning to turn an entire island such as Islay or Mull into a testing ground for environmental technology. Willie Roe, HIE's chairman, said the development agency would attempt to slash carbon consumption on a selected island by more than half in order to demonstrate the latest green technology. Click to learn more... Under the scheme, which should start next year, renewable energy, efficient heating systems and environmentally friendly transport would be combined on a scale which has yet to be tried in the UK.
5 Nov 2006

Power plant lowers carbon levels

power plant labelled one of the worst in the UK for pollution is to supply energy generated from wood shavings. The Didcot A station will now provide electricity for 100,000 homes created with the use of carbon-neutral fuels, as well as coal-fired power production. A new facility will use bio-mass fuels which absorb as much carbon dioxide when growing as they create when burnt.
13 Oct 2006

Home wind turbines turn fashionable

LONDON (Reuters) - A mere breath of a breeze disturbs the quiet of autumn in south London and the wind turbine on the gable of Donnachadh McCarthy's home turns lazily. The morning sun casts shadows from solar panels onto the walls of the house and filters through the windows into his living room. "I'm in surplus. I am now providing money to the grid," he said with a grin, gesturing at a red light winking on the wall that marks the progress of his domestic power station. "I have exported 20 percent more electricity than I've imported this year ... the average carbon footprint is 8.5 tonnes in the EU, whereas mine is less than half a tonne."
11 Oct 2006

Plan for eco-house welcomed

FOR most people, building a new home can be a bit of a challenge. With construction work to oversee, bathroom suites to choose and gardens to landscape, the work can seem never ending. But one Suffolk woman has much more than paint schemes at the top of her list of priorities. Virginia Neild, from Cowlinge, near Newmarket, is planning to create a house that is a friend to the environment, as well as her bank balance. Not only will it be so heavily insulated that there will be no need for central heating, Mrs Neild hopes to win permission from council planners to erect a 12-metre wind turbine to power most, or all, of her electricity.
4 Oct 2006

Is wind power just hot air?

The harsh truth is that money, rather than worries over global warming, is the only thing that will tempt the British to use alternative fuels en masse. And for the most part, the sums do not add up. Wind energy is a good example. Even the respected Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in Wales does not recommend roof-mounted wind turbines, such as that embraced by Mr Cameron. Wind speeds around many houses are low and erratic, while a turbine is noisy and can damage a building, it points out.
30 Sep 2006

Storing wind power

A new study is under way to ascertain and quantify the potential economic benefits of coupling vanadium redox batteries with wind farms in Ireland. Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) and Tapbury Management are funding the study, which will be carried out in collaboration with VRB Power Systems. VRB is a Canadian electrochemical energy storage company that patented and brought to market the Vanadium Redox Battery Energy Storage System.
29 Sep 2006

Green energy hope

A NORTH Devon man has criticised the Government for failing to help a project he believes would provide renewable energy solutions and a real alternative to wind turbines. Engineer Paul Hewitt of Bideford has spent the last two-and-a-half years developing a self-sufficient system driven by the principles of perpetual motion. Using only air and water, the Hydro Gravitizer would produce carbon-emission-free electricity 24-hours a day, seven days a week. It could replace coal and gas fired boilers in power stations, generate low noise levels and could even be installed underground. "This is the only renewable energy system that is continuous and relies on its own environment rather than external sources such as tidal flow or wind," Mr Hewitt told the Gazette.
14 Sep 2006

Off-shore 5M Wind Turbine Premier

For the first time, a five-megawatt wind turbine by REpower Systems AG (Prime Standard, WKN 617703) has been set up for the first time on the open sea. The first of a total of two turbines for the "Beatrice" demonstrator wind farm has just been set up on a lattice-like jacket structure, piled to the seabed at a depth of 44 metres in the Scottish North Sea, in the Moray Firth.
1 Sep 2006
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