As my regulars readers (yup, there are some masochistic freaks out there) will be aware, I aspire to be green. Environmentally rather than actually. I don’t really think being the colour green would be desirable. Now I looked at grid linked solar a while back. Despite it looking good initially, after some research it appeared that even with government grants the initial cost would be 10 grand minimum. Now over 10 years you would recover that, but if you don’t have a spare 10k knocking around that doesn’t matter. And I don’t. More worryingly, the various companies I rang up did not inspire confidence. ‘Dai’s out on the tractor at the moment, can he call you back?’. ‘how big is your roof, man? Does it face south, man? Yeah, we can probably work with that, man’. Ok, nothing wrong with weed soaked smelly bearded hippy freaks per se, but do I want to hand over ten thousand pounds to one on the off chance I might get a solar electric system? Hmm, So no Solar PV for a while.
But you can now buy a windsave
mini turbine from B&Q for £1500 fully installed. According to the bumf this little baby will pay for is self in 5 years, will last 10 years and, if we all get one, hugely reduce carbon emissions. Now a bit of internet digging paints a slightly less rosy picture. The comments on some of the figures range from ‘best case scenario’, through ‘wildly optimistic’ to ‘these numbers clearly contravene the laws of physics’. Basically, if you allow for the interest you could get on your £1500 this device may possibly pay for itself in 10 years, but it may well not. Of course, given the way power prices are soaring at the moment it probably will. But that’s not really the point is it? So you’re a few quid out of pocket. If you’ve reduced your carbon footprint by a lot that’s money well spent, right? Right. But did you see the ‘If’. You see the turbine has no power storage or sell back facility. So if you don’t actually need the power when the wind is blowing your not saving anything. Now, if you have a fridge & freezer going, use an electric emersion heater rather than your gas boiler in the summer & run a couple of greenhouse heaters in the winter, and only run the washing machine on windy days, your base load is probably going to ensure that your benefiting from having a turbine. So lets run out and buy one. Hmm. See there are a couple of other issues. Firstly, its ugly. Ok, so is a TV ariel, satellite dish, stone cladding, etc. We can live with that. Secondly its noisy. 35-50 Db. How noisy is that? I have no idea. See that’s the trouble with numbers, they don’t mean a lot. But given that the pigeons can wake me, do I need a 35Db hum outside my window whenever the wind blows? Ah, what the hell, its saving the planet, I can live with that. But then there is number 3. The manufacturers claim a life expectancy of 10 years. And give a two year warranty. As one site puts it, if this thing contains a standard gearbox and accumulator it will require regular maintenance. Well bugger that.
Now allegedly, there is another device on the market. The swift turbine
. This has the advantages that it is silent, delivers more power and forecasts a 20 year shelf life. However, I can find no price information on it. I have emailed the manufacturers but had no response as yet. My guess is that it’s a lot more.
Still, I think I will probably give a wind turbine a go in the new year. Unless the Swift people get back with some surprisingly good news it will likely be a windsave turbine from B&Q. Because its low effort on my part. And its all to easy to knock these things but that doesn’t actually help solve anything. You have to try, don’t you?