Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Wind  (Read 2072 times)


  • Joined Mar 2023
« on: March 28, 2023, 11:29:13 am »
Hi All,

Does anybody have any experience with ground mounted wind turbines? I'm trying to weigh up if they're worth having if they aren't 9ft up. The wind speeds we have on our farm are high and we are relatively exposed so it feels daft not to harness some of that.

Thanks in advance,


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Wind
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2023, 11:00:30 am »
Absolutely no experience but I think the reason they mostly are high up is that you get a lot of turbulence nearer the ground.

A few years ago, we were hoping to be a pilot site for a wind fence, which is a different approach to absorbing the energy of wind nearer to the ground.  But I think the company found other sites which were easier for them to use for trials, and better suited to being demonstration sites (we are a looooong way from anywhere, even from more populated parts of Cornwall, and more than half an hour from a rail connection too) - and also possibly more likely to spend more money on production versions once the tech was proven ;)

(Edited to add that a regular turbine isn't an option for us as we're in the North Cornwall AONB, which has a blanket ban on them.)

Might be worth exploring where wind fence tech has got to? 
« Last Edit: April 26, 2023, 11:02:28 am by SallyintNorth »
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
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Re: Wind
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2023, 01:07:51 pm »
About 15 years ago my neighbours built a new house on their land and put up a turbine - it was a 20 meter eyesore but it worked, and being at the top of the hamlet and out of the sight of most of us.  The house was carbon neutral even then

I'm very much is favour of anything that helps stop using fossil fuels so good luck!
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age


  • Joined Mar 2009
  • carmarthenshire
Re: Wind
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2023, 02:27:27 pm »
Ideally, a wind turbine should be 20m (70') above any obstructions to keep it clear of any turbulence, but will work with less.

If you have a very exposed hilltop location with no obstructions you would likely get useable power with quite a short mast (although 9ft would be very short indeed). And the shorter the mast, the more likely it is that the mill only works with a stiff breeze from a particular direction, and spends the rest of the time doing nothing very much.

Windmills are one of those things that benefit from economies of scale, hence the tendency for commercial mills to get bigger - i think the largest currently available are 15MW, with blades over 700' in diammeter.

I think in wales, you can have a windmill under permitted development if it's overall height is less than 11.1m (there are other conditions too), so if i were having one, I'd try and be as high as i could within that to avoid the hassle of planning.

What i opted for instead is to buy shares in a commercial scale cooperative wind installation. (Google ripple energy), but then i don't really have a good site for a wind turbine anyway.

As to 'are they worth having'? well it depends on what your motivation is. If your looking to save on energy bills you might be better off with something like ripple energy cooperative. Or solar panels.  If you're wanting energy independence from the grid, or you just fancy the challenge of building your own windmill then go for it. If you think your location is good for reliable, stiff breezes from several directions then it may well be worth it, but I'd still try and get it up as high as you can.


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Wind
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2023, 06:14:56 pm »
When we had a lump sum to spend, we considered a wind turbine as we are in a very windy location.  Several factors stopped us going down that road.  The first is our ages - we would be long dead before the thing paid for itself. Second - flicker. If anyone in your family or amongst your neighbours suffers from flicker related problems, be careful.  It would be unfair to dump that on anyone as flicker can cause migraines and epileptic fits.  Then there's the hum - you either notice it or you don't. (In the end we went for draught controlling measures in the house and insulation, new roof, repointing etc which worked to reduce our bills.  Also our home grown woods are coming into production so we can produce some of our own fuel)

Just across the Valley from us is a goats cheese farm.  They wanted to do everything greenly so when they finally got permission for the dairy, they put up 2 x 3-wing turbines.  That's where their troubles began as one or the other was always 'down' and being worked on.  Eventually they ran out of guarantee, the wings were taken off one and the second was intermittent.  I think they must have had Court battles as nothing was done for a long time but there was clearly a whole lot of dissatisfaction around the turbines. Suddenly this spring, the wings went back on and both turbines are now functioning as they should.

Our next door neighbour also had a small turbine fitted a few years ago and it has rarely worked and has been the bane of their lives. I think perhaps they believed the sales folk and didn't do enough of their own research.  They are just moving out so the problem will be for the new owner.

We are in an area in Scotland where we are surrounded by turbines, a mix of wind farms and private turbines.  They are on every horizon but the closer ones are fairly far off too.  I love them although where wind turbines are concerned I'm a NYMBY because of the flicker problem.

My advice is to do some VERY thorough research  :D
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