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Who makes wind turbines in the UK?

Posted by Matthew Rhodes on 6 February 2009 at 11:55 am

One of the nicer things about the wind industry, especially the small wind industry, is that there are still only a relatively small number of manufacturers and distributors in the UK, so you can get a good feel for the market quite quickly.

In the sub 10kW range, the most successful companies are probably Proven and Iskra , based in Scotland and the Midlands respectively. Fortis is a Dutch company with a similar heritage, and Westwind are based in Ireland – both make slightly larger machines as well.

At the smaller end of the market, Ampair and Marlec are long-established suppliers to the marine and off-grid market – Ampair has engaged in the grid-connected market as well in the last three years, but Marlec chose to stick to their roots and keep well away from the controversies of the building-mounted market – perhaps wisely. Both these companies make turbines from about 100W up to around 6-700W.

All the above companies are, as far as I know, privately run by committed and good engineers, and I would recommend any of their products in the right applications.

I also have a soft spot for Quiet Revolution, who are seeking to develop and deploy a seductive 5kW vertical axis machine, with triple-helical looks that turn eyes. Vertical axis machines have somewhat different responses to variable wind conditions than the traditional horizontal axis turbines, and I’ll write about this another time – at the moment they are also quite difficult to manufacture cheaply, and consequently among the most expensive systems on the market

The UK badly needs mass market innovation and a more radical approach to the energy system. However, in my view, some recent entrants to the wind market have been handicapped by the need to deliver short-term financial returns to impatient backers, and in these circumstances it tends to be the customers who risk losing out. In wind, more than most technologies, customers need to be very careful when they select a system.

Photo: quietrevolution qr5

About the author:

Matthew Rhodes is chief executive of Encraft

If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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