Wind Turbine Systems - Installation & Maintenance
It is generally appreciated how windy the British Isles are. In fact it has been estimated that the North of England and Scotland combined have 40% of the wind resource of Europe! By any standards that is a massive potential.
It is a potential that, up until now, has gone largely untapped. However, with recent developments in renewable energy technology, e.g. high efficiency domestic sized wind turbines and water turbines, together with the latest generation of sine wave inverters there is now every reason for individual households and communities to generate their own power from this limitless resource.
The systems installed by Border Hydro are custom-designed and can be "stand-alone" or grid connected, allowing excess power to be sold to the local utility.
Wind Turbine Systems explained...
There are three main types of wind turbine system:
1) A battery / diesel generator system is a wind turbine charging a bank of batteries which, in calm periods, can be charged by the diesel generator. This battery bank is then used to supply power to a house/building through an inverter. Batteries are expensive so this type of system is generally only used in remote locations where the national grid is not accessible, or in systems that have regular/unacceptable power cuts.
2) Grid-tie systems are only implemented where there is access to the national grid (or an island grid system). This is where any power produced by the wind turbine is used in your house/building first and excess power is automatically exported. The user of this system would not know if the power being consumed was being produced by the wind turbine or imported from the national grid as transfers are seamless and automatic.
- e.g.1 - if your grid-tie wind turbine was producing 6kW of power and you had the equivalent of 4kW of electrical load turned on in the house, you would be using power produced by the wind turbine and you would also be exporting 2kW to the national grid.
- e.g.2 - if your grid-tie wind turbine was producing 5kW and you were using 6kW in the house/building then you would be importing 1kW from the national grid.
There are energy brokers that will pay you for the power you export.
The down side to a grid-tie system is that if there is a power cut on the national grid, your wind turbine must, by law, disconnect from the grid and stop producing power (this is done automatically). This is a safety feature for technicians repairing the line. When the national grid is restored, your turbine will automatically connect once more and continue its exporting/energy production.
3) Heating-only systems are a way of producing heat from the wind. They are a simple and relatively cheap way of using the power from the wind to heat your house. It should be noted that electrical heaters are the greediest users of electricity out of all the electrical appliances in a home and as such require a sizable turbine to produce a noticeable amount of heat. For instance, an electrical heater bar (on an electric heater) is approx. 1kW so a 2.5kW Kingspan turbine could only supply heating for 2.5 of these heater bars when in full production.
For each system you can be paid for the power you produce even if you use it yourself!! Selling Feed In Tariff or FITs can provide a small reward for producing power by renewable means.
Using a kWh meter it is possible to keep track of every kWh (Kilo Watt Hour), produced by your renewable energy source (wind turbine, water turbine, solar etc..). You can then be paid for your FITs out of the money others pay in green levies in ordinary electricity bills.
The good thing about FITs is that you can be paid for energy you produce and use yourself!! Because of this it is possible to receive FITs payments for any of the above systems (grid connected or not).