14 April 2009

Ampair reveals Award Winning new 6kW wind turbine

Ampair, the Berkshire, UK based company, has just revealed photographs of its sleek new 6000W x 5.5m turbine, the latest in a long line of reliable, rugged and quiet wind generators. This impressive turbine recently won the prestigious Rushlight Windpower Award 2008 and the company is now accepting orders via its distributors.

The new machine has a rotor diameter of 5.5 m and is ideal for supplying power to remote farms or rural houses, telecoms systems, public buildings, schools or industrial infrastructure, either offshore or onshore, for 230V grid connection or for 48V battery charging.

Photograph shows:
Ampair 6000w x 5.5m on 10m mast supplying a farmhouse in Berkshire, UK

Like all Ampair turbines, it is manufactured from high quality marine grade materials making it particularly suited to remote, coastal or cold-weather applications and in keeping with the company’s quality ethos is designed to be compliant with the IEC 61400-2 standard for a Class I turbine, which means it can be easily and safely installed worldwide. It is a fully sealed unit that does not require costly annual servicing.

A range of mast options is available. As with all turbines, more height gives greater power because of the increase in wind speed so Ampair can supply masts from 10m to 30m in a variety of styles including monopole or lattice; guyed or unguyed.

The price for the grid connected 230V system on a 10m mast is just £13,500+VAT. As Ampair’s managing director David Sharman says “We have always worked on an unsubsidised commercial basis and see no reason to charge the high prices that are the norm in the 6kW market. In my opinion, the current grant subsidies from Westminster and Scotland to favoured manufacturers are propping up this practice and are a distortion of the market and should be withdrawn immediately.”

Since 1973 Ampair has been recognised as a leader in small wind turbine technology with over twenty thousand units installed worldwide. There are Ampair turbines from the Antarctic to Alaska, and the Solent to the Sahara including some of the harshest environments known to man. The lessons learned from this continuous history are always incorporated into every generation of the company’s products, ensuring an extremely high “return for investment” level due to reliability and longevity.

The family-owned Ampair is Britain’s oldest wind turbine manufacturer and is proud to be an independent and thriving manufacturer with strong export sales through its network of global distributors. Additionally, the company prides itself on its after sales service and boasts that it can still service and maintain units going back over many years, often by the same experienced technicians who manufactured them decades ago.

The new Ampair 6000 fits neatly into a slot in the market which Ampair has been working to fill for several years to satisfy the rising demand for a turbine of this size made to Ampair’s high standards.

T: 0845 3890660
F: 01344 303312
E: sales@ampair.com
W: www ampair.com

Ampair product range, 2009
Ampair 6000 specification sheet
Ampair 6000 drawings
Rushlight awards logo

Ampair photo for print use

Ampair press release text as .doc
Ampair press release text as .pdf

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13 April 2009

French hill farmers and British feed in tariffs

On my way back from the European Wind Energy Conference in Marseille a few weeks ago I called in to see an old neighbour of mine who runs a farm in the Pyrenees. After convincing the sheepdogs that they knew me (these are the genuine sheep guard dog variety) I found him and his daughter with their flock of a few hundred sheep who were busy lambing. They thrust a litre Coke bottle full of warm goats milk in my hands and we got on with feeding the lambs. They keep a few dozen goats and use the spare milk for the rejected lambs or the runts.

After an hour of this we went out into the yard and he gesticulated at the conifers behind the barns and told me he was about to cut them down. His explanation was that he had just leased out the south facing roofs of all his barns to a solar company. He is at about a 1000m altitude and his roofs have no obstructions on them and face nicely south at 30 degrees slope which makes them almost as perfect as one can get for solar. The leasing company is going to pay him a annual rent provided he files all the paperwork and keeps the roofs clean and unshaded – hence no pine needles. The leasing company is going to sell the power back to the grid under the new French feed-in-tariff laws and then they are going to securitise the future energy sales in the financial markets. The feed-in-tariff in France is about 40 cents/kWh or so (I forget the exact number). Feed in tariffs are one of the types of microgeneration tariffs I have described in previous blog entries.

Since electricity in France usually costs 10-15 cents/kWh someone is subsidising this deal. Basically that someone is the average person in France who is subsidising the few who have the opportunity to put solar on their roofs. These are normally affluent middle class people along with quite a few farmers with handy roofs, most of whom are pretty poor in the area I know (these are not the grain baron variety). The same thing has happened in Germany and Spain. So most (poor) folk are subsidising a few (rich) folk make more money.

And it gets even more eye watering – because of the way any guaranteed income stream can be securitised the finance community get mega rich setting up all these deals. Don’t get any silly ideas that there will be serious job creation going on in France because all the factories churning out these solar panels already exist. They’re all in Germany, Spain, California, and Japan who were the first to put in feed-in tariffs and who have spare capacity, oh and China. So there has been a real first-mover advantage for those countries who got their industry moving and from here on in poor local taxpayers subsidise middle class property owners and rich financiers.

Actually in France they have ways of making sure that some solar factories will get built to provide some local employment. The same feed-in-tariff legislation will be introduced in the UK next year (2010). The difference in the UK is that the UK is so far behind in the solar manufacturing game, and has governments who couldn’t organise building a factory if their salaries depended on it (which they do, but don’t realise) and so there will be precious few solar jobs created apart from the first flush of installation work.

However in the UK we do have a small wind turbine industry. If we were German we would introduce a feed-in-tariff for wind turbines but not for solar. In fact that’s why the Germans introduced a feed-in-tariff for solar (which they make) but not for small wind turbines (which they don't make). After all they had no intention of playing fair – nor did the Spanish, or the Japanese. Common sense would dictate that we would set a modest feed-in-tariff. Just enough to encourage sensible growth in the domestic small wind industry without fostering the sort of solar roof-leasing by imported solar I’ve described above, and certainly not enough to set off a boom and bust boondoggle. And if we do decide to be generous and give some tariff to solar then surely we would be sensible and set it at a lower level than for small wind.
It would be nice to think this wouldn’t it ? So obviously sensible to build up British manufacturing industry ? Let’s see.

A couple of weeks ago we got a call from a company called Datamonitor (http://www.datamonitor.com/) who were reading our blog entries about microgeneration tariffs and wondering if they could quote it. They rang back later to say that they’ve decided to redo the work from scratch which I think is a backhanded way of saying that they intend to sell the report they are going to write. When folk like Datamonitor start covering the tariff space that indicates they think there’s money to be made.

It's going to be fun the next few years isn't it.

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10 April 2009

Delta / Zeeland trial - results update April 2009

The April update from the Delta / Zeeland trial has arrived, with the March data.


The energy consumption figures have been updated and some quite drastic downwards revisions have occurred. This is odd and I do not know why it has happened but it does not affect the trends.

The mystery of the zero power output from the Windwalker has been somewhat clarified with the note "the Windwalker was installed in January 2008 but has not operated".

The trend remains that the Ampair, Skystream, and Fortis are the good performing economic turbines with the Zephyr AirDolphin working well but being expensive.

The Ropatec 3kW seems to have gained a dramatic improvement and is now outperforming the Ropatec 6kW which is most odd. As an aside the planning permission request for a 6kW Ropatec at our local Tesco supermarket has just been withdrawn.

The Turby has now been repaired.

Sander Mertens of Ingenious has done some analysis of the site layout in the figure above (supplied by Fortis, courtesy Sander Mertens) in which the red line is the row of turbines which runs from NW to SE. It has been confirmed that in the spreadsheet the turbines are listed from NW to SE, so the 6kW Ropatec is at the North and the Windwalker is at the South. Since the wind direction is generally from the SW it might be thought that this slightly favours the most southerly turbines. However because of the housing estates to the SW and a belt of trees to the NE it turns out that the most northerly three turbines are the best located. Sanders has indicated the areas of wind obstruction in orange dots on the image.

Sander Mertens is speaking at the forthcoming International Small Wind Conference organised by the BWEA and BRE which is on 22, 23 April 2009 in Watford, London. It will be interesting to hear more about this trial.

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