The Strata Tower at Elephant & Castle featured heavily in the news last week. The developers are clearly very proud of their clever solution to addressing the London Plan’s requirement that 10% of a building’s energy be generated from on-site renewables. The building is to feature 3 turbines of 9m diameter for the princely cost of £1,300,000. However due to the small size and fixed direction these turbines are only expected to generate some 50MWh per year or just 8% of the building’s demand.
Let’s look at the alternatives:
The well established Proven 15kW turbine has a rotor diameter of 9m and a single one of these costs about £50,000 to erect in a field. If sited in a suitably windy field you can expect to generate around 30MWh per year, but installations have been recorded that generate in excess of 50MWh. The same generation capacity as Strata for 4% of the cost!
On the other hand let’s consider Ecotricity’s turbine at the Ecotech centre in Norfolk.
The first MW+ rated turbine in the UK this one weighs in at 1.5MW, and would cost about the same to install in today’s money as the Strata turbines. According to Ecotricity’s website this machine is generating 3,500MWh per year, 70 times as much as Strata is predicted to do!
This fad amongst local government to demand on-site renewable energy must stop; it’s eco-correctness gone mad! Rules like this force developers to waste money on eco-bling rather than investing in basic energy conservation and large scale renewables which can make a real difference.