Blowing in the Wind?
Last week I saw a presentation from a representative of the New and Renewable Energy Centre, NaREC. They’ve been testing a Windsave micro-wind turbine on the roof of their building in Blyth, Northumberland. The results were not good.
The turbine was rated at 1.5kW, but the operational curve showed that this output would only be achieved in a Force 6 wind. Typical windspeeds in Blyth were about a third of this, meaning the output was closer to 300W. This isn’t great, but not as bad as it might sound – according to my meter, our house consumes about this or less when we’re not using the oven, toaster or anything else with an element.
The problem is that the operational curve is based on ideal laminar wind conditions. Being low down in a built up area, the turbine in Blyth was achieving less than half of what it should be as turbulence caused by other roofs caused it to oscillate from side to side on its vertical mounting, spilling the wind.
Apparently the manufacturer is adding some extra damping to reduce this effect, but I can’t help thinking it would probably be better leaving wind power to the big guys for the time being.