Wind turbine course in Kildare 22nd August

For bookings and further information please contact:
Grangebeg Camphill Community
Park Lane
Near Dunlavin
Co. Kildare
Phone: 045 406050
Mobile: 087 9285140

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Battery storage on the grid

My friend Ian Woofenden has this to say about using batteries on the grid:

Tesla Battery Perspective

There’s been a lot of buzz recently about the Tesla battery. My attitude and ideas toward it are tempered by 30+ years of living off-grid with renewable energy technology and watching the industry progress. There’s plenty to say – my summary looks like this:

* It’s just a battery. Off-grid folks have been living with batteries for decades. They are not magic, and in fact they are often the biggest problem components in renewable energy systems. If you can avoid batteries, I advise you to do it!

* Batteries are actually a load on a system, since they are not 100% efficient and they have a standing loss. Adding more battery adds more load (and more cost). If you can grid tie without batteries, you’ll have the most efficient and environmentally friendly renewable energy system. If you need batteries (off-grid or utility back-up), I suggest you keep your battery relatively small, and invest in more generating capacity instead of more heavy metals that need care and replacement.

* It’s not a real product until it has a price tag, a warranty, and a track record.

* Early specs on the product make me scratch my head about whether the engineers even looked at the current renewable energy technology and how their product might interface with existing systems and gear.

* If the grid needs more storage, it is not your problem. Let the utilities solve that issue; they have a sweetheart deal with a profit-guaranteed monopoly – they can figure out any real storage problems. If you think you need storage personally, ask yourself the hard questions — how often and how long do you actually have utility outages, and do you really have critical loads?

* Perhaps the biggest drawback of the media focus on this prospective product is that people will get distracted from a true star of the renewable energy show — photovoltaics. Solar-electric modules are warranted for 25 years of energy production, and just sit on your roof or in your yard making electricity for you. They are ultra reliable, almost maintenance free, and will last longer than many of you reading this will live. My first modules went on the roof above me in 1984 and are still making clean electricity for my homestead.

* Perhaps the biggest benefit of the Tesla hoopla is that people will start thinking harder about renewable energy. Once they realize that this product is not magic, is expensive, and in itself really does very little for the average homeowner, they might start to ask smarter questions and make better energy decisions. Reputable and experienced renewable energy dealers and consultants are getting plenty of inquiries due to the Tesla hype; the wise ones are using the opportunity to help people understand the practical and cost-effective ways to achieve their energy goals. There is no silver bullet that can solve your energy problems quickly, easily, or cheaply.

Ian’s website is here.

In the United States (where Ian lives) they often have a Net Metering arrangement where the electricity they export to the grid is credited at the same value as what they use.  This reduces the incentive for storage.  But even when the exports are “lost”, as in “not credited to the householder”, there is not a big financial case for using a battery.  The latest new battery announced in the UK for example (article here) stores only a couple of kW hours.  Even if used to the full every day this would earn less than £100 over a whole year.  Batteries are expensive and they only last a few years.  Let’s focus on making renewable energy and investing in the equipment that makes the energy.

Posted in People, products/technical, wind systems tutorial | 5 Comments

Estonia workshop

Here are some photos of a recent workshop in Estonia.  They built a 3.6 metre grid tied machine from the Recipes. More galleries are here: ONE  TWO  THREE

“We are happy to report that we have successfully finished another course here in Estonia. Over the last 4 years this was now the 3rd course. This time, however, the project was not only aiming to educate the students to build a turbine, but also the final prouct was important as we had financing also for the tower, cabling and all electronics required for feed-in.

“It was installed in Ruhnu island harbour, on the South coast…primarily open to winds from E to SW. The tower is 12 meters high plus the height of the seawall (approx. 2 meters). We are expecting to see average winds from 5-6 m/s.

“An interesting fact is that the island is offgrid from the mainland in Estonia as it is quite far off. it has 2x150kW diesel generators providing power….and no other means (not even a single solar panel) – until now….now hopefully we can get at least 3000 kWh/year from the new wind trubine.

“Unfortunately, as it is sort of a one-off project, we can not really talk about a reasonable payback period (this is also because, diesel-generated electricity is sold to the islanders at a price which is equal to the price on the mainland). Even if the material cost for the turbine was about 700 euros, the cost of the tower (approx. 2200EUR), cabling and electronics (1500 EUR) and foundation (2000 EUR) costs make the project quite expensive (especially if compared with the price of a solar system).

“All the best Hugh and many thanks for the inspiration that continues to thrive across the globe,

“Madis and Criss from Estonia”

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Secondhand Proven 6kW turbines

Sangster Electrical in Fearn have a number of secondhand Proven 6kW wind turbines available.  Call 01862 832683 for details.


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Scoraig wind turbine workshop 2015


We built a 2F machine last week here at Scoraig.  There were 6 guys in the crew plus me.

Ghalib, Hugh, Brian, Svend, Brian, Laurence and Lukas.

Some photos of the sunny week.   Thanks to the guys for sharing photos….


Brian Davison,  Brian Falster,  Lukas Myl 

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2.4m machine on test in Greece

Kostas sent me a power curve and a video of a 2.4m machine constructed from my 2005 publication “How to Build a Wind turbine”from the NTUA test site in Rafina . It’s similar to the same size model in my Recipe Book.

“At a point during the measurement campaign, we had some extreme weather conditions and I thought we would not brake the turbine to see what happens. It operated continuously for as long as the extreme wind lasted, which was for more than 48 hours, operating in average wind speeds of 90km/h. The highest wind speed recorded by the anemometer on the meteorological mast during this period was 31m/s.”


I hope soon to be able to publish more performance data from the tests that Jon Leary and I did in 2013.

Posted in performance, power curve data, Video links | 1 Comment

Nepal Turbine Documentary

Dear Mr. Piggot,

I am the director for a feature documentary about Tashi Bista and his dream to install a wind turbine in Namdok, a remote village nestled in Upper Mustang, Nepal. Tashi used your recipe book throughout the entire process. We have been filming with Tashi in Upper Mustang for about three years now and we are happy to announce that the film is complete.

The film really captures a moment in which Namdok is on the cusp of change. Tashi learned about wind turbines through a man named Jorge Ayaraza who currently lives in India. He’s been working with wind turbines for years now. We just wanted to share with you Tashi’s project and information about the film. We have attached a trailer below. We can not thank you enough for all your work and for all this information to be open source. It is amazing and has really transformed lives! So thank you very much!

We would be honored to communicate with you in the future. Thank you for your time.


Tashi’s Turbine Trailer from Amitabh Joshi on Vimeo.


Amitabh Joshi & Erik Spink

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Courses are busy

My course in April is nearly fully booked now.  Just one place left maybe.  But there are a lot of other courses happening in the near future.

Tripalium in France are always busy with one course after another.

Los Portales in Spain

Dan Bartmann of Otherpower is teaching one at the end of April at Driftless Folk School, Viroqua, WI 54665, USA

500rpm are busy in Argentina.

Paddy Atkinson is teaching in Poland 12-17 May

V3 Power are teaching two courses in the UK in May also.

I try to keep an up-to-date calendar of course activity teaching how to build wind turbines using my recipes under the link for “courses” above.

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maintenance sur une petite éolienne

Maintenance sur la petite éolienne Colibri sur l’ecosite d’Eurre. Projet fait en co-opération avec le Greta sur le projet RET.


This Colibri machine design is based on my approach, using an axial flux alternator.  You can see some details of the fabrication here.

New Tripalium website

Posted in France, Video links | Leave a comment is back online

My old homepage at is back up, after falling over a couple of weeks back. Thanks to the guys at Otherpower for hosting it for me over the last ten years. Thanks also to Irishsolar (eirbyte) for hosting this site.  I am bringing both sites together at Irishsolar now.  I can recommend Irishsolar for domains, hosting and wordpress sites powered by renewables.

The old site dates back to the 1990s and is frankly a bit of a mess, which is why all the new stuff tends to be on this wordpress site instead.  But there are some good galleries of pictures of courses over the last 15 years and various other miscellaneous gems.  See the contents link for an over-view.  And somehow Google still likes to point people to my old site.

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