Borders homes test new rooftop wind turbines
Berwickshire Housing Association [BHA] has teamed up with Renewable Devices, a company which aims to market turbines for individual houses once pilot schemes and research projects are completed.
A two-year monitoring programme has demonstrated the two-metre long turbine blades are capable of supplying up to 50 per cent of a household’s power supply needs, and now planning permission is being sought to erect turbines on dozens of homes throughout the Borders and the Lothians.
It will cost 10,000 for each of the turbines to be fitted to new properties being constructed by the housing association in the village of Whitsome, near Duns.
But as Alan Stuart, BHA’s development manager, explained: "We will receive 40 per cent grants as pioneers in using this kind of technology. Eventually the equipment will be available for a fraction of that figure.
"In our view the turbines represent very good value for money, and we hope to obtain permission to incorporate them into 18 more new properties."
Until recently, wind generators for single houses or businesses have had to be sited some distance from the buildings because of noise and vibration from the blades.
But now a number of companies claim to have overcome those problems by designing silent turbines which do not give off vibrations.
Mr Stuart said: "The equipment being used on the houses at Whitsome generates around 4,500Kw hours of electricity per year compared to the average annual requirement per house of 10,000Kw hours."
BHA is already involved in a number of other energy efficiency projects, including the use of solar power as part of a scheme backed by a 250,000 grant from the Department of Trade and Industry.
Results from the monitoring of solar panels, solar slates and rainwater recycling in Berwickshire are being used to formulate national energy policy by government agencies.
Charlie Silverton, of Penicuik-based Renewable Devices, said: "The homes at Whitsome will be the first to have our wind turbines fitted to them. We have already carried out many hours of monitoring, mainly on the roof of our own offices here on the Bush Estate."Mr Silverton said the company was confident it would be able to offer its turbines for sale at 1,500 each once they set up mass production.
"We have calculated pay-back time for the equipment will be as little as two years when grant aid is taken into account," he said.