Most wind turbines being produced today are of the horizontal-axis type, HAWT's as they are known, have blades much the same as a propeller upon an aircraft. Turbine blades, are very strong and manufactured to high tolerances to allow them to withstand extreme conditions both in terms of wind forces and temperatures.
The turbines are usually mounted well in front of the supporting pole to allow safe clearance and a degree of flexing during operation. Most HAWT's are usually three bladed in design, as this is perceived as the optimum design performance. Some turbines face into the prevailing wind with a tail to guide the rotor blades, while others such as the Proven Energy units have the rotors behind the leading head.
Many of the wind turbine manufacturers are based in Scandinavia or Holland, where the governments actively support and encourage investment in renewable technologies. This factor, coupled with the lack of access to cheap fossil fuels,and high electricity prices, along with a passionate belief in utilising renewable energy' have driven the market forward at an incredible rate. Some say that these countries are now the world leaders in wind turbine design and construction.
The latest generation of three bladed horizontal wind turbines have incredibly high tip speeds of up to six times the wind speed, high efficiency, and low torque ripple, which contributes to high reliability. This design of wind turbine is the favoured option for all medium to large scale wind turbines, and all of the commercial wind farms use this style of unit.
A typical horizontal wind turbine located on a wind farm would have a height similar to a 25 storey building and have three blades that span 60 metres across, it alone could provide power for a entire town.
For domestic purposes, it is more common to have wind turbine units that stand between 9 and 12 metres in height, and have blades 6 metres across. Units such as the WES5 Tulip, are of high quality, and fit more easily into the local environment. They are easily installed by trained engineers and can produce a significant amount of electricity at low wind speeds.
The complete package of design and installation for a good quality wind turbine installation that will provide a meaningful amount of power and cover the annual base load of your building is surprisingly affordable, prices range from between £17,000 to £24,000 installed, commissioned and working.
Any surplus "spillage" power generated but not consumed can be fed back into the local grid and sold back to the power provider, the rates received are dependant upon your local providers terms and conditions.
To extract the absolute maximum benefit from home generation installation, we at The Low Carbon Company advocate it be coupled with heat pump technology. When used in conjunction with wind power or photovoltaic electricity, the benefits are considerable. Rather than simply using the generated power to provide light and small power, if used to heat or cool the building through a GSHP or ASHP significant cost savings upon the total energy consumption of the building will be achieved.
Whether, it be the highly efficient ground source geothermal heat-pump that can offer both heating and or cooling simultaneously, or the more basic air source heat pump a COP (coefficient of performance) of between 5.03 to 2.8 respectively, can be expected. Thus every Kilowatt (Kw) of home produced electrical energy, provided by the wind turbine and used by the heat pumps can generate between 3 and 5 times worth of usable heat. Therefore a 5Kwp wind turbine supplying home generated power could be capable of running a 23kw GSHP.
If you would like more information please contact us.