The installation of the turbine at Out Rawcliffe Village Hall is the culmination of an idea that first came to light two years ago.
At that time the Village Hall committee were thinking about how to raise money in order to meet the new 'Access for All' legislation
when the name of Fred Attwater, the then leading figure of Garstang & District Partnership, was raised. Contact was made and wheels
(not yet blades) were set in motion.
With Fred's assistance we were able to successfully apply to Garstang & District Partnership for a grant to install a disabled toilet and access ramp. Not content with this, Fred suggested the circulation of a village-wide questionnaire in order to determine what people wanted from the Village Hall. The results from this questionnaire enabled the successful turbine funding applications.
In April 2005 the Village Hall was contacted by representatives from Claren (Cumbria and Lancashire Renewables) who suggested the idea of installing a wind turbine and mentioned that substantial grants were available. To determine the general consensus of such an idea the Village Hall held an open evening in May 2005 where people were invited to come and hear about alternative energy sources and discuss the option of a turbine being erected. The feedback from the evening was that it was a good idea (as long as it didn't bankrupt the Village Hall) and we should forge ahead.
Cue Fred. Armed with the village questionnaire results and various other census statistics we applied for grants from a number of organisations. After a mountain of paperwork and many months of ups and downs we finally secured grants from Garstang & District Partnership, Clear Skies, Leader+ and Lancashire Environmental Fund (LEF).
The joy was short-lived however as the turbine manufacturer had decided to redesign certain components which needed prolonged testing. So prolonged in fact that the grant offers would have expired long before a turbine was available. In this respect our funders must be thanked for extending their offers months beyond their original deadlines.
Work finally began in December 2006 with the installation of the turbine foundations. Three days, two big holes, 18 cubic metres of concrete and lots of head scratching later the foundations were ready. Finally, on 30th January and almost two years after the idea was first mooted, a Proven 15kW turbine and 15m mast arrived. Compared to events of the previous two years the day passed faultlessly and was almost an anti-climax!
All was not rosy however because in order to have the turbine delivered we had to agree to leave it with the brake on until the component redesign was fully tested. This caused much consternation and mutterings in the village as passers-by noticed that, no matter how strong the wind, the turbine never turned.
In May 2007 Proven wrote to all their 15kW turbine customers saying that the new components would be at least six months before they were ready for installation and in the meantime they would re-fit the turbines with 6kW blades. The ones at the Village Hall were changed on 11th September and connection to the grid finalised on 24th September.
Now all that needs to be completed is a mountain of accreditation paperwork and we should start receiving some payback.
The first question everyone asks is "What does it all cost?"
The answer is £54,000 with funding allocated as follows:
Clear Skies (£27,000),
Garstang & District Partnership (£9,000),
The Village Hall (£4,000).
A further £7,500 was secured from the Lancashire Environmental Fund to re-roof the main hall and replace half of the windows as part of the overall energy efficiency plan.
The next question is usually "How much power does it generate?"
The amount of power generated is dependent upon wind speed, i.e. the faster the wind the more power is generated. An average wind speed of 4 m/s (the Village Hall site is supposed to be 5 m/s) should generate about 17,000 units of electricity. Obviously it is more cost effective if all the electricity the Village Hall uses is created by the turbine but at least any surplus energy generated whilst the Village Hall is not in use can be sold back to the grid. The intention is to reduce the Village Hallís electricity bill and hopefully earn some money from surplus energy exports.
Thanks to: Michael Gardner, Fred Attwater, Elizabeth Bruce (Claren), Joanne Golton (Garstang & District Partnership), Turbine Services Wind-Hydro Ltd (Miles, Glenis, David & Co.), Andrea Stewart, Monica Munzinger (Clear Skies), Heather Halstead & Karen Crolla-Barker (Leader+), Andy Rowett (LEF), Mark Shorrock, Jim Gardner, Basil Lawrenson, Edward Foster, Iain Collinson, Nick Cowell, Kevin Swarbrick and Ian Davies.
The turbine is fixed to this baseplate ...
... in this hole ...
It comes in a number of sections ...
The mast sections are pushed together ...
... and the generator is put on top ...
It is raised a little so that the blades can be attached ...
Finally it is fully raised into position with a bit of extra pulling power ...
... and after ...