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Wind Turbine Considerations for an Irish climate

Even though I am only in the early stages of gathering wind data for my house I decided to do some research into wind turbines and the practical considerations one must keep in mind.
Mike Sagrillo in the 2002 August September issue of Homepower 2002 wrote an article titled “Apples and oranges – choosing a home-sized wind generator”. Mike made some good suggestions about selecting a wind turbine. They are:
1 – The KW rating is not enough of an indicator for its performance, you need to find out at what wind speed the turbine generates that amount of energy.
2 – Look at the power curves, if your average wind speed is 5 m/s then that is what you should make your decision on, not on peak values which rarely occur. Different manufacturers will rate their peak power at different wind speeds so try and pick a speed that reflects your site and ascertain the power output for that wind speed.
3 – Lower rpm turbines are usually quieter turbines. In order to run at lower rpms they use a large rotor diameter which gives them a larger wind swept area i.e. can use more of the wind. Several of the lower rpm turbines can operate at lower wind speeds and generate decent power.
4 – Heavier turbines are more rugged and will usually last longer. In Ireland we have significant gusts etc so a rugged turbine is more preferable.
5 – 3 bladed turbines wind generators avoid yaw chatter, which happens when a two-bladed machine yaws. The term “Yaw” refers to a wind generator pivoting on its bearings around the tower top to follow the continually changing wind. Some two bladed turbines do use a spring plate mechanism so as to absorb some of the yawing vibration so as to mitigate the yawing chatter
5 – Warranties etc, a turbine may need to be lowered and greased once a year, how much will that cost etc
6 – Proper blade and rotor balancing is critical so as to have smooth operation. Mike notes that a unbalanced rotor will display tail wagging symptoms.
Urban-wind.org have a catalogue which list the European Urban Wind Turbine Manufacturers.
Using the above criteria I reviewed the turbines with a view to quiet operation and power ratings around 5 – 6 m/s.
The following turbines met my initial criteria
Iskra 5 kW turbine, 200 rpm, 1.284 kW at 6 m/s. Rotor diameter 5.4 meters, 3 blades (page 23), Power and rpm rated at 11 m/s
Travere Industries 2.1 kW, 440 rpm, 1.120 kW at 5 m/s. Rotor diameter 6 meters, 2 blades (page 45), Power and rpm rated at 8 m/s
Tulipower HAWT, 2.5 kW, 0.958 kW at 6 m/s, Rotor diameter, 5 meters, 3 blades (page 47), Power and rpm rated at 10 m/s
Wind Energy Solutions, 2.5 kW, 0.958 kW at 6 m/s, Rotor diameter, 5 meters, 3 blades (page 53), Power and rpm rated at 8.5 m/s