Blackshaw Turbine – July 2019 update

Update 13th July 2019

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Our engineers were able to safely remove the turbine, to ensure that the noise from it’s failing alternator cease. We hope to have to repaired turbine back up in time for the winter winds.

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Update Weds 3 July 2019

The engineer inspected the Blackshaw community wind turbine today as wind conditions were safe. He attempted three methods of braking the turbine, with live technical support from the manufacturers at Bergey HQ in America,  but unfortunately each type still caused a significant risk that wind could cause the blades irreparable damage that would put the turbine completely out of use.

PCP has had to take the decision that the turbine cannot be braked in this way, as the risk is too great.

The engineer is coming back in the next two weeks – ideally on Monday 8 July, weather permitting, and he is now building a lifting rig and booking the teleloader. He will remove the entire turbine blades and all.

This will stop the noise.

The turbine will then be replaced and repaired later on.

We are really sorry that if it’s windy our neighbours may continue to suffer disturbance. Wind speed forecasts over the weekend are very light, so we hope that there will not be a noise, and that you can enjoy peaceful time in your gardens.

We will keep you updated as we receive more information. We are doing our utmost to get this problem sorted out.

With kind regards,

PCP directors.

Update 1st July 2019

Our engineers will attempt a temporary fix, to prevent the turbine from free-wheeling, on Weds. 3rd July, when the winds look to drop enough to attempt it.

Original post

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In February 2019 the alternator in the turbine experienced a fault and stopped generating electricity. Our engineers, Enviromental, inspected the turbine and since then we have been liaising with Bergey, the manufacturers in the US, our insurance company and the engineers to secure a replacement alternator under warranty which has had to be delivered from America; this has now been delivered.

Due to the complexity of operating on a turbine at heights on an uneven field, our engineers are now working on the technical and safety methods of removing the turbine blades, the broken alternator, and installing the new one, reinstalling the blades, reconnecting, testing and re-commissioning the turbine.

The engineers are trialling a removal and replacement of a similar turbine in Lincolnshire in mid-July and then will come and mend our turbine, which is more complex because of its location. We anticipate this taking place depending on weather (wind, ground conditions etc) in late July/August.

Meanwhile, we are afraid that when there are high winds neighbours may hear some turbine noise.

We apologise profusely for this and do understand the inconvenience. We can’t get the engineers up to do anything until they can take the top off and replace it… But we hope that knowing that it is in hand and that we are moving ahead with getting it repaired, will make any disturbance a little less annoying.

We will keep neighbours updated, and we hope that the turbine will soon be back to generating the zero carbon, green electricity which it was installed to do.

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PCP helps local primary school go Solar

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In Calderdale, Colden Junior & Infant School’s pupils have started the new school term with solar panels providing clean, green, renewable electricity to power their learning.

The panels have been provided to the school by Pennine Community Power (PCP), with grant funding of £16,000 provided by the players of the Postcode Lottery Trust. Additional grant funding was provided by the Community Foundation for Calderdale, Friends of Colden School and Blackshaw Environmental Action Team (BEAT).

Local installer EcoHeat & Power Ltd installed the system over the summer holidays in time for the return to school.

The 10.71kW system has 42 REC panels and a display monitor in the hall so pupils can see how much electricity is being generated, this will also link to a display on the school website. The estimated annual generation is 9,489kWh saving 4,080kg of CO2.

PCP has also provided teaching resources and solar models for the pupils to use in class to learn about renewable energy, climate change and technology.

In October a Green Fair will be held to celebrate the launch of the PV panels.

Head Teacher, Ms Peberdy said, “Our new solar PV system is a fantastic addition to the school, both as a teaching resource for our pupils to learn about energy and how it is generated and used, and also to provide a valuable on-site asset to help release funds that would otherwise be spent on our electricity bill. PCP also provided teaching resources to help us communicate the sometimes complex issues of energy, climate change and resource use to our pupils in an exciting and engaging way.”

Postcode Local Trust exists to fund community groups and charitable organisations through a variety of grant giving programmes. To do so, the Trust relies solely on funding from the proceeds of tickets sales from People’s Postcode Lottery. When you sign up to play People’s Postcode Lottery, your postcode is your ticket. It costs £10 for 10 draws paid monthly in advance with prizes every day. A minimum of 27.5% goes directly to charities across Great Britain and internationally.

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New blades for old

DSCF3826After several months wait for conditions of zero wind, we were finally able to change the community wind turbine blades in July.

The old blades were found to be seriously worn on the leading edges and we believe that it was this that was the cause of a chopping noise that was audible in very high winds.

The new blades were supplied by Bergey and are a new design with stainless steel leading edges, which are far more resistant to wear.

TheDSCF3829 new blades appear to be quieter already and the tail end of Hurricane Bertha that passed through on Sunday 10th August saw very high winds without the nuisance noise. We are continuing to plan additional measures that will increase the efficiency of the turbine, including looking at using surplus energy to heat nearby houses when local grid conditions do not allow all the electricity, which can be generated, to enter the grid.

Please note also that the monitoring site for the turbine has now changed to: http://mybergey.aprsworld.com/A3684

Community Energy Social in Hebden Bridge

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Fuelling North
Community Energy social

6-9pm Thursday 17th April
FREE, Fox and Goose Pub, Hebden Bridge


After four years of Fuelling Manchester we’re branching out, collaborating with friends in Calderdale to run a Fuelling North social for community energy organisations inGreater Manchester, Leeds, Calderdale and beyond!

RSVP here: http://www.meetup.com/Fuelling-Manchester-meetup/events/173952702/

As always, the evening is without structure or agenda, simply a chance to meet like-minded individuals working and volunteering in the community energy sector – everything from solar, wind and hydro to energy efficient retrofit and smart grids.

Whatever the technology, a community angle is required to attend.

So come along, it’s totally free and we’ll be there all evening.
NB there’s no food at the pub so think ahead.

Trains run regularly from Manchester and Leeds.

Fox and Goose is 10 mins walk from Hebden Bridge Station, we will be in one of the big rooms in the pub: http://www.foxandgoose.org/

Update on Feed in Tariff

As Pennine Community Power was in receipt of grant funding (State Aid) towards part of the installation of our community wind turbine, our Feed in Tariff payments have been suspended by OfGem, for the last few months, until this grant funding was repaid.

This situation was contrary to the advice we received at the time of installation ie that Lottery Funding was not State Aid and that even if it was then it was below a de minimis threshold. Both pieces of advice were proved to be wrong. As a result the Directors have had no choice but to negotiate with OfGem as to how much of our grant funding would need to be repaid to the Lottery. We arrived at a figure of just over £8,800 and this money, which has been raised by issuing additional share capital to existing members, has been paid to the Lottery.

We now anticipate our FIT payments being reinstated.

Unfortunately, it is likely now that the community benefit will be slightly reduced as the income of the turbine now has to service a slightly larger share capital.

For more information on FITs and State Aid, please refer to the DECC guidance which can be downloaded as a PDF here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/48582/5282-feedin-tariffs-fits-and-grants.pdf

On a brighter note, the turbine itself is producing at or slightly above our predictions.

The Directors are also still pursuing modifications to the turbine with the manufacturer and installer to address the noise issues at very high wind speeds.