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    Please note the wind turbines in question are not for space heating, but to actually run our glass melting equipment. Our living accommodation is already insulated, converted 6 years ago from a derelict chapel (we live in the back and our workshop is in the front), with the help of a mortgage from the Ecology Building Society.
    It features a condensing combi boiler, Lindab guttering, woooden double glazed windows, eco paints and varnishes, low-flush WC, energy saving bulbs, etc. etc.
    This is what we propose for our business:

    Elaine Sheldon and Dominic Cooney have submitted plans to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council to install2 x 15kW Proven wind turbines in the field next to our live/work space, in Cellarhead. The idea is to convert our glass-melting furnace to electricity, it currently runs on natural gas and although it is highly efficient, this project will save approximately 40 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.
    The proposed turbines will be grid connected and on average, over the year, provide enough energy for us to run the studio.
    This is an opportunity for us to make a genuine difference to our small business' sustainability.
    We have been approved 50% funding of the project costs from the Dti (total costs £90,000) but obviously we cannot proceed unless we get planning permission.

    If you would like to know more about our business click on this link:

    Before I ask you to support our application, please be aware of the issues surrounding the application:

    Just inside the Green Belt & Special Landscape area - although right next to main trunk A-road (A520)
    The 15kW proven wind turbine is the largest of the domestic/light industrial size at 15metres mast and 9m diameter rotor

    Our average wind speed is 6.2m/s (14mph)
    at this speed 2 x 15kW turbines will generate 86,000kWh annually which should be enough for our business.
    The turbines are quiet as they do not have a gearbox like the massive wind farm turbines.
    We are suggesting white turbine head & blades to blend in with the sky.
    There is a history of wind-harvesting in the area, with windmill bases at nearby Werrington and at Meir Heath
    This project also makes financial sense as the payback time is less than 10 years.

    If you would like to support our planning application, please click on the link below:

    We need to get all letters of support to the council by the end of April. There is no obligation for you to support this application.
    If you need any more information, or would like us to e-mail you plans or documents, just e-mail us on info@sheldoncooney.com

    Thank you for your time
    Kind Regards
    Elaine Sheldon & Dominic Cooney.:peace:
    • CommentAuthorSolar bore
    • CommentTimeApr 17th 2007
    good luck, I just hope you have got your sums right,

    unlike a Windsave unit I saw recently which is supposed to be in a windy spot not far from Chester on the river Dee

    It has generated 130kw since last Oct to say the least the owners are disappointed.

    i am trying to find out how I measure how many kilowatts of heat my solar panel is producing, especially now that the sun is shinning.
    I hope I have got other peoples sums right too, otherwise we are scuppered.
    Is the Windsave unit mounted on a building? As I understand it, wind turbines are affected by the turbulence caused by buildings, trees, etc. they need a good 30metres clearance after an obstruction to allow the windspeed to pick up again.
    Did they find out their average wind speed before investing? (you can search your postcode on the Dti website)
    Are they in a valley?
    We did look into PV but the roof area of our building wasn't big enough to generate enough electricity to melt glass.
    • CommentTimeApr 17th 2007

    Are you relying on the dti windspeeds or have you carried out your own monitoring?

    I hope its the latter winds speeds are very site specific.
    We are basing it on the Dti windspeeds, but the site is good - it's at the top of a hill with no obstructions, and it's always windy which can be a problem when carrying paperwork/opening car doors/sporting a new hairdo
    Local nick-name for our area? The Four Winds
    265m above sea level + 15m for the mast
    Cellarhead is often the coldest place in England because of this!
    • CommentAuthorJane Smith
    • CommentTimeApr 18th 2007
    I'm wary of the 15kW Proven: it was introduced a few years ago, then withdrawn from sale, and has only recently become available again. When we put up our 6kW Proven nearly two years ago we were told that there were lots of problems with the 15kW machine.

    It's cheaper to buy three 6kW turbines than one 15kW, by the way. Not that you'd want to have six of them, as you'd be bristling with turbines, but still.
    Nice to hear from someone who has a Proven turbine installed, is it performing as you expected? does it produce as much electricity as predicted from your wind speed?
    Sorry for all the questions but i would like to know as much as possible about it.
    Who did the installation for you?

    I wouldn't object to 6 but i don't think the council will let us! (although thinking about it there probably wouldn't be enough space between them to not affect each other regarding turbulence.)
    • CommentAuthorJane Smith
    • CommentTimeApr 18th 2007
    Our average windspeed is 8.4 m/s and we get a lot of power out of it--it powers the house and, via the storage heaters we've installed as our dumploads (we're off-grid) it heats it too, for half to a third of the time. It's a wonderful thing. However, we did have two system fires in the first 8 months of its life, both of which were due to faulty wiring from Proven. Nothing to do with the installer, who was Bob Robarts of Sustainergy, who I'd recommend wholeheartedly if you can get him. Oh, and it routinely put out 9kW when the wind was blowing hard, but as that would have killed the inverters eventually we had to have it adjusted to do less. Shame.

    Do make sure you do a lot of homework on the 15kW model before you commit to it. As far as I know it's only been available for a very short while, and there could still be some issues with its performance.
    Yes I have had a lengthy conversation today with Andrew Farr of Rotary Engineering (they will be our installers) about the problem with the 15kW it was a problem with the 'damper pad' which apparently is the bit where the blades are attached on springs to the rotor enabling them to 'cone' out of the wind, the fault caused the blades to move by unequal amounts, affecting the performance output and the noise level.
    They have re-designed the attachment mechanism for the 15kW blades, to something more akin to a shock absorber but in reverse, this replaces the springs. They are currently approaching the end of a 6 month working trial in order to make sure they still conform to approval for grant funding.
    I have also spoken to a very nice lady at Kirklees Borough Council, where they have 3 of the 15kW windmills in their area, who said that Proven have replaced the blades on theirs with the blades off a 6kW (but still the same turbine head) as a safety measure until the trial is complete.

    Please note all this information is third hand so I can't be held responsible for technical accuracy!
    • CommentAuthorJane Smith
    • CommentTimeApr 19th 2007
    The rotor blades on the 6kW model are a lot smaller than the 15kW, I think, so that'll have reduced the output considerably. The Kirklees ones must be the old model, as the blades probably wouldn't fit onto the new design, without the springs. I wonder what Proven will do for people who have the older type 15kW machines: will they all get new damper pad/rotor assembleys, do you think? And I wonder why the blades were moving unequally? If they are all attached in the same manner, using the same springs, why would some move more than others? Hm.

    Our turbine is belting round today: three of our four dumploads are on, which I normally wouldn't like in this weather but our older son had pretty major surgery last week (he has talipes, and had an Ilizarov frame fitted) so the warmth is very helpful right now.
    Best wishes to him for a speedy recovery.
    Whereabouts in the country are you by the way with that superb wind speed?
    What happened with the system fires? did they cause a lot of damage?
    and do you need batteries if you are off-grid?
    Sorry for more questions!
    • CommentAuthorJane Smith
    • CommentTimeApr 22nd 2007
    Thanks--Tom's getting on with things OK. Pain control is pretty difficult at present but we're managing.

    We're west of Sheffield, on moorland in the Peak Park.

    The first system fire was in the tower of the turbine, and caused by Proven sending us a turbine wired for grid-connect: once it started to generate the wiring provided was too fragile, and burned out inside the tower. All cabling there had to be replaced.

    Second system fire was when our old inverter (a Trace SW3524 which up to then worked fine, if anyone's interested in taking it away) caught fire for no apparent reason. Luckily, it was when David switched over from the new to the old system, just to see how it was going, so he was there to switch it off and extinguish it.

    Third system fire was when the turbine control box caught fire because Proven had wired up the dump-loads incorrectly. We'd had trouble with the dump-load relays since installation, but had managed to keep on top of the problem with careful application of the washing machine to use up extra power: once I went away for a few days, the dump-loads failed one by one, the relays burned out, and eventually caught fire. This one could have been very serious, as the fire was right next to our inverters and our battery bank. Again, David was right there, by luck rather than design. The whole house could have gone up if he hadn't been. The only damage, in the end, was to the control box, the board it was bolted to, and to David's shirt which he used to smother the flames.

    And yes, we do have a battery bank. Two, in fact, as we still have our old one, which is also available free to a good home.
    You did well to get Planning permission for a wind turbine in the park! they're tight as the proverbial. There's a load of stuff in our local paper at the moment, I think they are holding a public meeting somewhere soon to discuss the Peak Park planning situation.
    • CommentAuthorfuncrusher
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2007
    Dominic: I doubt if your sums are correct. You are forecasting output of 33% capacity. Even much larger , taller,and more efficient turbines on far windier sites do not achieve this. My opinion is that you will be lucky to achieve 25%.

    Remember that 'average windspeed' is a misleading indicator, as energy harvest increases roughly as the cube of the windspeed. Another factor, noted by another contributor, is that met service predictions are unreliable because local factors are critical, including such esoteric matters as 'ground roughness' . Experience by other users elsewhere is helpful in some respects, but is no substitute for accurate data on your site - which of course would take several years to accumulate before being statistically meaningful.

    See if you can find out what capacity utilisation other users are achieving in the Midlands - not in the windy West or North !
    What I could really do with knowing is how the actual amount of electricity generated from a given installation compared to the predicted amount from the Dti website for that installation.
    As discussed previously, it's a good site in terms of layout and position.
    The figures came from Rotary Engineering as 86,000kWh per annum based on average windspeed of 6.2m/s for 2 x 15kW Proven turbines on 15m masts. I don't know how they work out these figures?
    (I just checked again on the dti windspeed and it came up as 6.3m/s at 10m above ground level, rising to 6.9m/s at 25m agl so i guess it could be slightly more for a 15m mast?, although the tip of the blade at the bottom of the diameter of the swept area will only be about 10.5m off the ground)
    Anyhow, I think there is a wind turbine installed at a school somewhere in Stoke city so I could try and find out how they are getting on with theirs (not far away, however down in a dip)
    Jane said earlier that her 6kw would routinely put out 9kW when the wind was blowing hard?
    All this may be irrelevant if the council say no.....
    • CommentAuthorJane Smith
    • CommentTimeApr 25th 2007
    An average of 30-40% of rated output is the usual projected output for most decent domestic wind turbines, Proven included. We were told to expect the higher end of that, as we're in such a good location for the wind (Nick Parsons drools over our wind resource!).

    I'll see if I can find our records, and let you know exactly what ours has put out in the last year. That might be a help.
    • CommentAuthorfuncrusher
    • CommentTimeApr 25th 2007
    There was an authorative pro-green energy report issued recently covering actual operational data for commercial installations in the Uk - its on the web too but can't remember where off-hand. From memory the max was 38% in the Shetlands, with progressively lower figures working south on the west coast to about 24% in Cornwall; and considerabley less inland. I don't know whether these include downtime for repairs etc. I think it is very unlikely that a small turbine would be as efficient at harvested wind energy as these large machines.

    Remember that 'windiness' varies considerably year to year; amateurs probably keep inadequate records; and they tend to be biassed - so for starters check any data against the met data for the period versus long term average.
    • CommentAuthorJane Smith
    • CommentTimeApr 25th 2007
    I thought that domestic turbines were more efficient than the big commercial ones, but could very well be wrong. Domestic ones tend to keep going in high winds, while commercial ones stop; and domestic ones don't consume power, which the commercial ones do, so while the overall output might be lower, the real output works out to be higher.

    The records that we have are simple, and can't be biased: we have a meter which records our turbine's output, and we have receipts for all the oil we used to buy. Easy. You're right, though, that windiness tends to be overestimated: also the usefulness of the available wind. If it's very turbulent it's not going to do well for a turbine.
    • CommentAuthorfuncrusher
    • CommentTimeApr 25th 2007
    you may be right about domestic turbines continuing to operate a very high wind speeds when commercial ones stop for safety reasons. The general problem is that the cube law ensures that the bulk of the annual energy is generated on a low proportion of windy days, so 'average wind speed' is an imprecise guide to predicting output. Wind conditions are not favourable in the Midlands and southern England, save a few coastal sites, which is why these locations are shunned. The fact is that most strong winds in the UK are generated by Atlantic depressions which track SW to NE at a latitude which is seasonal : a route from Cornwall/SW Ireland to Newcastle in winter and off NW Ireland to Caithness in summer. That's why most windfarms are located north of a line from Cornwall to Newcastle, with added preference for coastal / mountain sites where exposure is greatest.
    Dominic, I got a letter from your District Council saying the application has been refused. What happened?
    Well, here goes. I will try to get it all down in one hit because it still makes me shake and my stomach starts to churn when I go over it all again.
    It was awful. We turned up at the planning committee meeting and our neighbour opposite (who hates us for some reason?) was there to speak against our project. First things first, the committee members declare any personal or prejudicial interests, and Cllr. John Fisher (Lib Dem) who has supported the project from the start and written a letter of support declares he is biased and leaves the room. All well and good, nice and professional. Next comes the declaration from the comittee members of any "lobbying" either for or against the application. Our local councillor says we have lobbied him, as does another councillor who happens to be our county councillor as well as being on the planning committee. What they both fail to mention is that we wrote to them both back in January asking for support for our LCBP grant application from the Dti, and not for planning support!
    Then it comes to lobbying against, and all but one or two of the committee admit that they have received letters against from our neighbour opposite. It comes to the speakers for and against the application, against goes first. Our neighbour gets up and openly admits to having sent letters and photos (I dread to think what of!?) to each and every one of them. In spite of this being expressly forbidden, he is allowed to continue to speak, about how the "people of Cellarhead don't want these turbines" and spouts all the usual claptrap (probably in fear of the large-scale wind farm turbines) and how we have posted the application on the WORLD WIDE WEB!
    Now to set the record straight, the council sent out 40 letters of neighbour consultations (quite which 40 houses are to be affected by this i have no idea?) and received 9 letters of objection, mostly concerened about house prices or fears that can be attributed to the large-scale wind farm turbines. All the others weren't in the slightest bit bothered and did not reply. What happened to majority rule?
    More later.
    I trust you are going to appeal.
    Oh yes.
    But the experience of the planning committee meeting was enough to knock us sideways for a week, and go about our business in fear of the mob bearing flaming torches!
    The planning officer recommended refusal on the grounds that it was "inappropriate development in the green belt" and that the potential benefits do not outweight the harm caused by the visual intrusion, mainly due to scale (in spite of the 2 turbines being the same height as the mature trees on the road side?).
    We were basically arguing that we are being treated unfairly or with prejudice, as there is a haulage works next door that has been granted Planning permission to extend its hardstanding by 30% in two directions, as well as a new quarry just down the road, in the same bit of green belt.
    Also, the Planning Officer and her superiors/managers above her have repeatedly refused to meet with us, or our Architect, to discuss the project. How arrogant is that!
    We also had 27 letters of support - which they rubbished by saying that most of them were from outside the area. In answer to my neighbour, yes I did post the application on several discussion websites, including one called www.coolstoke.co.uk which is government funded to raise awareness of climate change in the North Staffordshire area. Also on this one and AECB (i am a member) and a BBC one for local people to try and raise a bit of interest locally. I got into some really interesting discussions around the subject, with a wide range of people from renewable energy specialists to students at CAT and all the green builders in between (special thanks to Jane for being inspirational) all of whom
    - Questioned my maths
    - Questioned my figures
    - Questioned the rationale behind the project
    - while we questioned our sanity!
    and it was all great preparation for the big day. The committee tried to trip me up on several points, but I had answers to their questions. It was clear from the start they had already made their minds up. The final vote, 9 against and 2 in favour (at least someone is getting the message)

    Anyway a lot of our neighbours have rallied round and been really supportive, including offering to write letters of support for the appeal process.
    Don't give up!

    Some friends of mine here in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park were originally refused permission for a turbine on a 30 foot tower, but won an appeal recently. Read about it here:

    • CommentAuthorJane Smith
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2007
    Dominic, have you read your planning department's Local Plan? It would be useful if you knew of their opinion on turbines and such. For example, according to the local plan, the Peak Park is officially in favour of domestic wind turbines but doesn't want the big, commercial ones; however, it appeared that some of the people on the planning committee weren't aware of this.

    The Peak Park is now using a photo of our turbine on the front of a brochure to promote renewable development in the Park, in which you can barely see our turbine against the trees behind it. Would a copy of that be useful to you?

    Would a copy of our planning application help you at all? I'd be happy to email it over. My husband is a chartered surveyor, and has worked extensively on difficult proposals (he usually wins his cases, and our turbine application went through on first attempt).

    If you think it might be of any help, email me on olchet at hotmail dot com--I'm having a lot of trouble with spam on my usual address.
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