Monday, 30 November 2009

Can't afford a new wind turbine? Buy secondhand...

I must confess i've not spotted one in the local charity shops (but then again unlikely to as they don't take electrical goods normally do they?). Neither have I seen any on Ebay - Give it time on that one I say.

We're talking about used Wind Turbines. Used? But surely they're not old enough to be a used commodity? Well that's what I thought until I read this piece in Renewable Energy Magazine.

Apparently, there's a booming market with the economics of cost savings and availability meaning many projects - particularly in developing countries where the cost of new turbines makes a scheme prohibitive or reduces the number of turbines and power output.

With savings of up to 40% per kW against new turbines, it's easy to see why second hand is popular.

"According to Repowering Solutions, a company involved in this market, second-hand turbines offer the following advantages: capital costs are lower because the turbines are up to 40% cheaper than new ones; project lead times are shortened because developers do not need to wait for new turbines to be manufactured, therefore financial risk is reduced; as second-hand turbines tend to be smaller (150 to 600 kW), they can be transported more easily; and older turbines can be maintained and repaired with lower levels of technical know-how because they are not as complex as modern machines. Furthermore, their typically smaller size makes it easier to get local approval for their installation."

And it's not just developing countries that are taking advantage of all the above. Renewable Energy Magazine gives us this example of the potential of second hand turbines, that is much closer to home...

"Back in 2004, the inhabitants of the Isle of Gigha, off the west coast of Scotland, invested in three second-hand Vestas wind turbines, becoming among the first to tap into Europe's rising market for used wind turbines. The 675-kilowatt wind farm on which these turbines were installed now churns out enough power to meet almost all of Gigha's annual electricity needs.

The success of Gigha's reconditioned turbines – known locally as the Dancing Ladies –highlights a fast-growing new market coming off the back of the global boom in wind power."

How cool is that? The means to create renewable energy is actually part of the recycled materials chain. Sorry Shakin' Stevens - It doesn't get much greener than that.

photo credit: elsie

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