Friday, November 07, 2008

Wind Turbine at Tesco

Tesco are going all green by wanting to install a wind turbine at their store in Kidderminster, nothing to do with wanting to save money and everything to do with the environment in that the turbine will "act as a landmark for the area and will encourage people to think about green-issues such as renewable energy, recycling and energy saving measures."*

I, like Mr Oliver, wonder why they don't deck the roof in solar panels. A cynical soul might suggest it was to do with the fact that solar panels tend to be more expensive and require greater maintenance, of course I'm not one of those so I'm sure it's more to do with the fact that they wouldn't be as visible and thus set such a good example to the area.

Now to be blunt I'm all for a wind turbine, I just have some minor queries. First up they're using an Italian Ropatec Double Vertical WindRotor (incidentally not featured anywhere on the manufacturer's website) and my first impression is urgh; it's blocky and horrible. To contrast here's a photo of the English QuietRevolution which looks more like a art piece then a turbine.

Next this is a 6kW wind turbine, but if you take a closer look they'll only be getting that sort of output with a wind-speed of 14m/s, the average for our area appears to be around 5m/s which from their graph would appear to produce less then 500W. I'd also like to take this time to point out that not one single piece of supporting documentation provided with this application supplies a wind-speed, average or singularly measured, for this site. One would think that in an application for a wind-turbine a measurement of wind-speed would be a pre-requisite.

So yet another blot on the landscape in the name of green, producing on average very little of use. So why?


Anonymous said...

Could it be for — I don't know — p-p-publicity?


FlipC said...

Trying to avoid libellous territory, one might suggest that a prominent wind-turbine could influence shoppers into wanting some of that green-ness rubbing of on them.

It doesn't matter that given our wind speeds it'll only be powering about fifteen 35W tubes on average it'll be green; All Hail the Green!

To put it another way their roof has an area of ~5000m² a 62W solar panel takes up around 1.25m²; in theory covering the entire roof could generate ~240kW. However the cost of doing so would be over £1m so backing down to the 6kW range, buying 100, would cost ~£28k. Backing down even further to the expected 500W, buying 10, would cost ~£2,800.

The cost of the turbine alone is roughly £13k, but probably requires less maintenance.