Frequently Asked Questions and The Answers
1. Can I have my own wind turbine?
Aeolos small wind turbines are ideal for householders, communities and small businesses to use for on-site energy generation. Your individual site specifics (such as location, wind speed and local landscape) will eventually determine the best turbine type and size for your case.
2. How does a wind turbine make electricity?
Most wind turbines have three blades which face into the wind; the wind turns the blades round, this spins the shaft, which connects to a generator. A generator produces electricalenergy from mechanical energy. See more information here.
3. How tall are small wind turbines?
Tower height varies according to wind turbine models, but generally range from 6 to 30 meters. In general, the higher the tower, the higher the average wind speed that the turbine will experience and the smoother the wind. The rotor diameter of small wind turbines ranges from 2.0 to 12 meters depending on the type of a model.
4. How much space do I need for a turbine?
Ideally, stand-alone turbines should be sited as far away as possible from buildings or trees, which may block the wind and cause turbulence. As a guide, the wind turbine should be about twice the height of obstructions in the immediate front of it (for at least the prevailing wind direction). In general, the turbine should be above the height of nearby obstructions that are within a distance of 10 to 20 meters of the tower heights. Rooftop-mounting turbines is not something we generally recommend. It is fairly difficult finding a place on a roof that is strong enough to withstand the forces and has a good wind. Local turbulent airflow around the building, which causes reduction in generated output and could damage the turbine, must be considered as well. In general, the less turbulent and varying the wind, the better the wind power generation.
5. Do I need planning permission?
Small wind energy installations may require planning permission and you should always consult the planning officials, preferably confirmed in writing if this is needed. It is clearly good manners to discuss your plans and aspirations neighbours. Relevant factors include environmental impact, access to the site, noise and visual effects. Overall, national planning policies support the development of small scale wind energy.
6. Are wind turbines noisy?
Aeolos small wind turbines have been designed to be very quiet, for instance by having direct drive systems to avoid gear box noise and to increase efficiency. In general, the wind itself makes more noise than a wind turbine. It is most unlikely that any noise from small wind turbines will be heard at more than 30 m.
7. Do wind turbines affect radar systems or TV reception?
Small wind turbines are unlikely to have any detrimental effects on aviation and associated radar or navigation systems. In general, turbines with small diameters are unlikely to have effects on television and radio reception. If this occurs it is likely to be highly localised and technically easy to overcome.
8. Will small wind turbines have a 'flicker' from the turbine blades?
Potentially, sunlight passing through moving blades can cause a flickering effect in 'line of sight' directions. The possibility of the shadow from the wind turbine causing flicker should be considered at the site selection stage. It is normally possible to avoid this problem. Reflections from the blades are unlikely, especially as the coatings used on modern turbines have been selected to minimise reflection.
9. What about lightning strikes?
In Aeolos over 23 years of manufacturing wind turbines, we have had one occasion of a turbines which was damaged by lightning. Considering the costs of protecting the turbines against strikes, we prefer not to do so.
10. Can I use my turbine for heating?
The simple answer is yes, small wind turbines can be used for direct heating, e.g water heating as well as for battery charging and they are also ideal in remote off-grid locations. However, the energy required to heat a building is usually significantly more than the energy used in electricity, so a much larger turbine would be needed for building heat. Direct heating is only done with excess energy, for example when the batteries (is used) are full. Small wind turbines are very effective for powering a heat pump, which can heat your house.
11. Can I connect my turbine to the grid?
Small wind turbines can be connected to the local electricity network and the total electricity they generate is eligible for Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) under the Renewables Obligation (i.e ROC income can be obtained from both the electricity you use on site and that you export). The value of a ROC is now (2006) about 4.5 p/kWh. When a wind turbine connection to the mains supply is made, it has to be approved by your local electricity distribution utility. This company will require the connection to be of a satisfactory technical standard. Therefore the cost of incorporating power import and export metering and approved electrical protection equipment may be a significant proportion of the total cost, i.e. perhaps about 10% or more. The company may also limit the electrical capacity of the wind turbine that may be connected to a particular distribution line, depending on the loading of the electrical distribution system in the vicinity.
12. What happens when the wind stops blowing?
When the wind stops blowing, electricity continues to be provided by other forms of generation in an isolated system (e.g. batteries, diesel generator), and by the grid in a grid-connected system. UK electricity generation is now overwhelmingly from large power stations, and so the system has to cope when one of these large plants goes out of action. Consequently, it is possible to have at least 10% to 20% of the country's electrical demand met by intermittent energy sources such as wind energy, without having to make any significant changes to the way the system operates.
13. Isn't it cheaper to save electricity?
Since most of us are not fully efficient in using energy, it is almost certainly cheaper to reduce electricity consumption than to buy it or generate oneself. The latest information on how much it costs to save electricity is available from the Energy Savings Trust. Nevertheless, electricity generation is necessary. Therefore, to combat climate change and to have security, it is essential both to increase the proportion of renewable energy and also to have energy efficiency.
14. How do I look after my wind turbine?
The maintenance required for small wind turbines is likely to be minimal. Our turbines are designed for a 30 years life time. Bearings are greased for life and sealed so you will not have to have they greased annually.
15. How long do wind turbines last?
Aeolos wind turbines typically lasts around 25-30 years. This is not theory, because Aeolos wind turbine is already in business for over 23 years and the first wind turbine has been working 23 years.
The FAQ of Aeolos is based on the British Wind Energy Association Version.