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Get your own wind turbine

(25 Posts)
Notquitesotiredmum Mon 22-May-06 12:34:10

You and Yours has an article on how to obtain your own wind turbine for your own house! Don't know how to do links, but it should be on their website. There is not yet "Permitted Development Rights" ie blanket planning permission for a particular area, so they need to be approved individually.

They say that many areas will provide blanket planning permission within their area within the year, and that the cost of turbines - currently £3,000 - £5,000 - is likely to halve in the next year too.

I'd have one! Would you?

Katymac Mon 22-May-06 12:42:06

I want one - but I can't see me being allowed to have one

JackieNo Mon 22-May-06 12:45:41

And you might be able to get a grant for it - you can search on the energy saving trust website to see what's available in your area.

nikkie Mon 22-May-06 14:15:20

I want one , we have a lot of wind here and there must be somewhere it fits on my house

theinvisiblegirl Mon 22-May-06 18:11:17

I definately want one! With the amount of wind I have where I live it would be great!!

Twiglett Mon 22-May-06 18:12:48

they are very noisy btw

NomDePlume Mon 22-May-06 18:14:46

I read somewhere that the small ones that you attach to your house are a) very expensive for what they are and b) they don't generate enough electricity to be viable.

The big ones are very expensive and a pig to get through planning if you have neighbours, also it takes decades for them to pay for themselves.

Notquitesotiredmum Tue 23-May-06 09:33:09

It's good news that the planning permission is getting easier then. The turbines they featured yesterday were almost completely silent, and paid for themselves in 4 to 5 years. I guess as technology becomes more efficient then they will get better. We're seriously going to explore getting one next year perhaps, if the planning laws do change.

DominiConnor Tue 23-May-06 21:33:59

To that cost you need to budget serious upgrades to the structure of your house.
Windmills are by their nature things that catch a lot of the force of the wind (hey that's a surprise).
Houses are simply not built to take that sort of strain, and also a useful windmill will adjust it's direction with the wind. Repeatedly changing the angle of the force. A useful windmill will often exert more force than a human can pull.

So we have a mildly strong force, pulling back and forth.
This is how you break things.
You don't want that to be your roof, trust me on this.

This may not be a quick process. However, if you're lucky it may just break off a small piece quite quickly. If you're not, you may screw the structure big time.

Some parts of some houses can take this.
You reckon you know which.
Do you feel lucky punk ?
Do ya ?
Do ya ?

I shouldn't be telling you this. My family make good money from fixing houses. But you won't believe me so I still will get Xmas presents.

FillyjonktheSnibbet Tue 23-May-06 21:39:34

why is it you can't get little portable ones, like solar panels? I've seen models on ecotopia but don't think they work.

anyone know? they'd be great for camping.

Katymac Tue 23-May-06 21:42:17

How about a freestanding one on an electric pylon (sort of thingie) concreted in to the ground (a bit away from the house)

Can I have one ....please?

FillyjonktheSnibbet Tue 23-May-06 21:44:18

i've seen smallisj ones on the abergavenney road near hear. sure its possible.

jamiesam Tue 23-May-06 21:46:35

also one of the problems with wind turbines is (sorry, can't remember proper names) flicker, as the sunlight passes through the turning blades - can cause epilepsy I THINK. Similar problem happens in reverse with the sun reflecting off the turning blades. Not so familiar with recent developments in the technology to know if/how this problem could be resolved...

Would be interested to know more detail about the 'many areas will provide blanket planning permission within their area within the year' (sorry, Planner alert!)

Oh, and I'm not clear why turbine would be attached to your house and not just put up in the garden (err, ignorance alert...)

Fillyjonk, I think portable ones would have to be unbelievably heavy if they weren't going to fall over..

FillyjonktheSnibbet Tue 23-May-06 21:51:07

am wondering here, maybe some sort of alumiunm...

might email CAT...

FillyjonktheSnibbet Tue 23-May-06 21:51:08

am wondering here, maybe some sort of alumiunm...

might email CAT...

jamiesam Tue 23-May-06 21:54:14

Do you mean aluminium so that it's lightweight?

But the pressures/forces that it would be under when it's windy are why it either needs fixing very securely to the ground - or an unbelievably heavy base (think of the weight of those things that you slot your table parasol/umbrella into - oh dear, power of speech really left me tonight.!)

FillyjonktheSnibbet Tue 23-May-06 22:05:24

i do see what you mean, but am wondering here...

ok, if it were really light to turn, that wouldn't actually effect the energy generated, would it?

so it then becomes a question of stabilising it. now if it were light, it would require less stabilising...i'm thinking a child's beach windmill...

hmmmmmmmm

FillyjonktheSnibbet Tue 23-May-06 22:17:52

affect not effect. That is my least favourite grammatical error!

Tortington Tue 23-May-06 22:51:12

my dh runs on a wheel in teh garden

rosiesmumof4 Tue 23-May-06 22:57:33

I really really want one, free standing, up the garden away from house, we've no neighbours. Sadly however no spare money either and DH not keen

DominiConnor Wed 24-May-06 00:59:19

There's no structural reason why you couldn't build one in your garden. Would be a pretty lawn ornament (I like windmills), what would it be for ?

The usefulness of huge, industrial sized ones on top of hills in specially selected places is arguable.
Putting one in a garden is the stuff of the Good Life (am I showing my age here ?)

Unless you have a big garden (like one you can't see the end of), houses, trees etc are going to reduce the air flow a lot.
Also, although I said in another posting that their noise wasn't that bad except close up, I did mean a few hundred metres, not next to your bedroom. Triple glazing however will keep out most of the noise, and of course save energy.

Although you may get planning permission from some daft artsgrad in the local council, doesn't mean that your neighbours will take well to it.

Also these things aren't safe. At all.
They are energy sources. All energy sources are dangerous.
In this case you have a huge whirling blade that is constantly out in bad weather.
You will need liability insurance for when the damn thing breaks down and some poor soul has to climb up and fix it. You've got a dynamo up a long pole. You want to fix that ?
What if he falls down and sues ?

Oh yes, and you will need to store the oil. Oh did the nice empathetic holistic man from the local greens not tell you about lubrication ?
Hint: Homeopathy doesn't work on anything that isn't capable of enjoying a placebo effect. So you need a lot mroe than a tiny drop.

It is not hard at all to anchor this in the ground, with a lump of concrete. Of course it's also easy to get this wrong (how would an untrained person know ?do you know any trained windmill installers ?)
If that fell over, you really don't want it near you.
Oh yes, and now we come to the hard bits.
Housing electrics aren't hard, with dilligent study and this here internet thingie, 6 months from now you can safely be let loose with this.
Of course that's 6 months full time, but you didn't want a job did you ?

Also it doesn't blow all the time. You going to store the electricity ?
Welcome to the world of lead and acid. straight away 50% of your energy is going to be wasted, but it's free right (aside from the cost of equipment, insurance, and training, oh yes and the big hole full of concrete).
There's very little better for storing electricity than lead/acid batteries. Relatively cheap, the set you'll need is not likely to cost more than a thousand quid.
Sadly they have issues that you organic vegan friend didn't know about. (hint: Chakras don't work on suplphate ions).
First is that if you have a fire, these are things that scare firemen. Depending upon their mood they emit various gaseous acids, liquid acids, or just explode for the sheer hell of it. If they're feeling really mean they won't do any of these things. You can't turn batteries off, so if some fireman tries to put it out with water, it doesn't end well. Hint for greens who've struggled this far, water with acid in iit is a good conductor of electricity. Given it's home (or rather the burned out shell of one) you're lucky, in that it's very unlikely that the current passing through water will produce enough hydrogen concentration to create a really cool explosion.
So it's not all gloom and doom.

Oh yes, and lead acid batteries don't really last all that long when used for this sort of application, but they can be recycled quite efficiently.

I could go on, but that's why you don't see any techies like me on the BBC when green issues get discussed. It's all "representatives of the paleeo green alliance who are trying to build awareness"

Buiding mains electrcity in your garden is like building a helicopter there.
Actually a friend of mine did that. No one would go up in it with him though.

FillyjonktheSnibbet Wed 24-May-06 08:29:16

CAT leafet on windpwer

They are real technical experts IMO, they've been doing this sort of thing for years.

DominiConnor Wed 24-May-06 10:07:45

And they seem to say much the same stuff as me, except with a slightly more positive spin. Being experts, they spot a couple of problems I didn't, not only are batteries expensive, but I'd forgotten about cabling costs. In a garden you need armoured cable, not cheap mains flex.

I am a little surprised by the assertion that "Britain" is the windiest country in Europe. Would have thought Iceland and Ireland would beat it hollow. I suspect by "Britain", he means Scotland, which is not quite the same, given that more than 80% of people live in England, and most of those live in the South East which is not really that windy at all.
If I lived in northern Scotland, I'd seriously consider wind, though for reasons people around here wouldn't agree with.

zippitippitoes Wed 24-May-06 10:13:56

go on then clarify your Scotland point..as it's the second time you've made it!

DominiConnor Wed 24-May-06 13:46:45

Not so much a Scotland point made twice, more why I think that fault tolerant infrastructure is a good idea.

Scotland is a bit more viable for some forms of low grade energy, and is both more likely to suffer a serious outage, and being colder it's that much worse if you don't have energy.

Really bad things happen every so often. I don't mean plane crashes or even bird flu, but serious breakdowns in society. Many people assumed that would happen in WWII, and the London County Council made contingency plans for more casualties in the first month of war than the whole British naiton suffered in the entire war. The only big failure was Holland, which was one of the first "modern" famines, was caused by the Germans denying them food.
Even the bombing of Coventry and Dresden didn't make for much knock on effects.
Many believed that serious bombing would destroy the seage system, and plagues would hit Europe big time, and combine with large forced population moves to kill serious numbers.
Didn't happen, so much so, that those who study this stuff aren't 100% sure why.

Thus people under-weight the chances of systemic failure. Lots of possible causes, which are rarely seen outside SciFi yet all of which we know have happened. Tsunami are known to have hit Britain, not often but it happens. Bloody great rocks falling out of the sky, civil war, and failure of infrastructure. We have too few data points to assess probability but there are known observed types of weather that would take an entire country who relied upon wind. The worst case seems not to be the obvious strong winds, but freezing rain. Windmills can't take much extra weight.

We also know that an ice age can start very quickly. Also there are highly credible models that the Gulf Stream may simply shut down soon. That would be very bad in Scotland, it is far warmer that it would be without it. Scots can of course cope with a bit more cold, but too much of the electricity supply is on cables, and it does not have an obvious way of dramatically increasing energy supply in bad times.
Thinly spread populations might well be abandoned.
Think a cold version of New Orleans.

Also sabotage. Not just terrorism. Look at the actions of London Undergound drivers, a few people can bring a city into an awful mess. Before Thatcher took out the unions they had plans to bring down the government by in effect shutting down the tax system. At that point only a few dozen staff need be removed.
I know some details of a variety of critical bits of infrastructure's computer systems. I don't like what I see. The recent dysfunction in the Home Office is mostly IT. Reckon the things that stop people dying are any better ? Really ?

So far we've been lucky. Most terrorists are uneducated or only have arts degrees. They fail to plan, or to attack the most critical aspects of critical infrastructure. I don't mean hospitals.
Hospitals are quite resilient, and altough it would be bad, there would be very little knock on effects. Take out the water supply, and in a crowded island, would get very bad very quickly.

You're probably smiling at this point. Each of these events is quite low probability, and even if happened there's a good chance of damping them down with relatively little chaos.
But before you get too smug, look at the Foot & Mouth debacle. Terrible mess. Imagine that was sick people. Cows are of course the easy case. They will not riot, or try to get their families out of the places you want them to stay.

There aren't plans for the fat tail events. Suggest them (as I have) and you will get laughed at. At one point I suggested plans for dealing with a serious event where the bad guys got their hands on very important resource. I was laughed at. "Bizarre", "never happen" were some of the comments.
Actually it had happened two weeks earlier, and the only reason we got away with it was the ignorance of arty types, who could have done really quite bad thing, if they'd only known.

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