Dean Gregory won met de door hem ontwikkelde RidgeBlade de PostcodeLoterij Green Challenge. Het RidgeBlade-systeem van kleine windturbines is te plaatsen op daken en neemt bezwaren als geluidsoverlast, uitzichtbederf en lange terugverdientijd weg.
Voor gemeenten betekent dat wellicht een slimme investering die kan bijdragen aan de eigen groene stroomvoorziening. Maar bovendien wieing problemen bij verlening van vergunning tot plaatsing als inwoners of bedrijven het RidgeBlade-systeem zouden willen plaatsen. Voor de website duurzamegemeente.nl had ik een kort interview met Dean Gregory, ik plaats het hier ook.
RidgeBlade is interessant vanwege genoemde redenen en het lijkt behoorlijk haalbaar.
1. In The Netherlands we see local governments struggling with permits to place wind turbines, would your invention solve these problems?
We have much the same problem in the UK. I am not up to speed with the details of the planning requirements in Holland, but I suspect that they are similar to the UK. In the UK planners have been reluctant to allow urban wind turbines for a number of reasons:
Visual intrusion – a “propeller on a stick” is something that is often seen as objectionable by neighbours, and in the UK there are many areas that have even stricter planning guidelines due to the natural beauty of the area. The RidgeBlade adds only 30cm to the height of a roof line, so is very unobtrusive. For new-build houses, the unit can be integrated into the roof making it virtually invisible. In addition the turbine housing can be colour-matched to the existing roof (take a look at our website – www.thepowercollective.com for a visualization). It’s for this reason that we have been supported by the North York Moors National Park (www.northyorkmoors.org.uk) in undertaking a feasibility study, installing 3 RidgeBlades in one of the most protected environments in the UK.
Noise – there is a worry (often false) that wind turbines will be noisy, and that this will disturb neighbours. The RidgeBlade is very quiet – much of the work in research and development was to make the units quiet and vibration free – much of our patent addresses these issues.
Structural Damage – many planning authorities in the UK have found that attaching standard turbines to the end of a building can cause structural damage – in effect, the mounting pole becomes a long lever, pushing and pulling at the brickwork mounting point in a variety of directions. The RidgeBlade causes no such problems.
Damage to Wildlife – again, objections have been made to wind turbines because of the imagined damage to wildlife; birds and bats etc. This is probably a little spurious – there is little evidence of small turbines causing such damage, but the RidgeBlade’s design means that birds and bats cannot fly into the turbine.
2. How much does it actually yield?
Good Question! If we were to rate the Ridgeblade operating in perfect conditions, current data suggests that it would be rated at 3kwh. However, we are more interested in how much electricity the RidgeBlade will produce in a real life scenario over an average year. As a reference point, average wind speed in the UK is 20kph. Our units are optimised for between 7 kph and 60 kph meaning it is suitable for use in many locations. At these speeds, the RidgeBlade will realistically be expected to generate an average of over 20 kwh per day. By the way – all of these figures are VERY conservative – we do not want to make claims for output until the units have been independently tested, but if you were to ask our Technical Director what the output figure will be, he would probably give you a higher figure!
3. Should municipalities use these small turbines themselves or stimulate inhabitants or compinies to use them? What are your thoughts in this?
We have already been in contact with local Councils here in the UK regarding the RidgeBlade. In the UK all local government has been given challenging targets for carbon reduction, and they seem to be very interested! In addition, we have a held talks with a large Credit Union which means that small communities or groups of people will be able to “club together” to buy a larger RidgeBlade installation (for example on a local warehouse or farm) and using a soft loan from the credit union, buy a share of a RidgeBlade. This would be suitable for people who live in flats (without pitched roofs) or who for other reasons cannot have a RidgeBlade on their own home.