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Blow to wind turbines after Leamington trial

A hammer blow has been dealt to the idea wind turbines work in all urban areas following an extensive trial in Leamington.
Five years ago the government backed the idea of installing wind turbines on homes after campaigners claimed it would drastically reduce carbon footprints by providing as much as 20 per cent of a family’s annual electricity needs.
Turbines were subsequently on the market being sold to individuals by several manufacturers at about £2,000 a time.
But environmentalists insisted a “shocking lack of research” had been carried out as to their actual effectiveness in built up urban areas.
It prompted Leamington-based company Encraft to launch the Warwick Wind Trials in 2006, in which a total of 23 home owners who had paid for a turbine had their energy producing levels monitored.
Leamington green campaigner Janet Alty had one installed on her Lillington Road at the time but five years on shethis week had it removed – to be replaced by solar panels – because it had generated just a tiny amount of energy.
She told the paper: “We went into this with our eyes wide open but felt it was worth taking a chance on it working.
“There is just not enough wind in some areas to generate much energy.
“But it has been a worthwhile exercise as it has made people aware they need to do their homework before shelling out money on renewable energy products.”
The trials overall identified a massive irregularity between results, with most properties generating significantly less energy than government ministers and members of the public had been led to believe, and some, like Mrs Alty’s home, generating very little energy except on exceptionally windy days.
Matthew Rhodes managing director of Encraft, said: “Wind power is a fantastic free resource that can be harnessed to generate ‘clean’ energy on the right sites.
“However, you can’t take a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to renewable energy, as the conditions have to be right for it to work properly.
“Today marks the final chapter in the Warwick Wind Trials and acts as a poignant reminder to homeowners to do their homework before investing in renewable energy technology.”
The trial was supported by Ampair, a well-established UK-based turbine manufacturer, who managing director David Sharman admitted this week: “We were never proponents of urban micro-wind and hesitated to enter this trial because of the reputational risk involved in doing something we did not ourselves promote.
“We are very grateful to Encraft and people like Janet for working in partnership with us to put the facts on the table for all consumers to see.”