Poultry producers impressed by “instant” wind turbine on Norfolk farm

An 'instant' wind turbine was erected at Uphouse Farm to demonstrate the speed of installation.

It took less than a day to put up the 15m turbine, said Richard Moody, of specialists Windcrop, based at Honingham, near Norwich.

He said that the firm, which only puts up smallscale 5kW wind turbines, was currently installing at a rate of 50 each month across eastern England.

Although these 15m turbines would obviously not power everything, they were a rewarding option in the right location for farms and rural businesses.

Windcrop, which has also seen the price of turbines fall in the two and a half years since the business was started, said that installed costs were now about £20,000 – it had been closer to £30,000, said Mr Moody, who is general manager for the firm's Yorkshire region.

'We're trying to come out with a sustainable business with the feed-in tariff and we've have got 500 installed throughout the east of England,' he added.

There was a further advantage: no concrete was needed as a base for the 15m turbines. 'It is based on a tripod system using helical piling. The mast is then raised which is all done in one easy operation,' said Mr Moody.

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Also, the lack of a tailfin further reduced eye clutter because Windcrop also used a 'backward' wind turbine.

This second-generation wind turbine did not need gears. 'When it is running, it is very quiet because it picks up the wind from the back. As it gets faster and faster it does not need to slow down,' said Mr Moody.

There were two options – Windcrop would install, manage and maintain the turbine for its 20-year life at no cost to the landowner, who would receive the free electricity. 'About 95pc have taken the free turbine option,' he said.

'If you're going to invest in smallscale wind in addition to other energy providers, now is the time to start looking at it. On a site with good wind speed, it's a payback of between six and eight years. It is a really good time to dip your toe in,' he added.

'And if you're going to buy a system, we offer a buy-back guarantee. If your turbine doesn't generate 4,000 kW hours a year within the first five years, which would be a 20-year payback, we'll offer to buy the whole system back,' said Mr Moody.