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Alternative Energy & Renewable Energy Generators

Solar Power, Water Energy and Wind Energy (Page 2c).

This sub-section deals with some of the most important renewable sources of energy.
Solar energy is best harnessed in sunny climes, for example witness the ubiquitous solar water heaters in the Mediterranean countries, however, even in the UK there are possibilities.
Water energy can be harnessed in many ways and we feel that this source is capable of producing energy on a large scale. The existing and envisaged technologies require development to realise their potential but surely they deserve substantial investment to achieve that goal.
Wind turbines are devices with a proven track record. Onshore wind farm growth is usually subject to resistance from local residents and some nature lovers (often with good reason) but they are being developed nevertheless. Together with offshore plants a modest amount of power is already being generated with significant, if not enormous, potential in the long term.

Distant Wind Turbines in Lanzarote River Boats in the US
Distant Wind Turbines in Lanzarote River Boats in the US (© Martin)

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Alternative Energy Sources Index
Down Are you wondering what you can do and would like some help and information?
Down to Overview of energy sources An Overview Down Biomass and Biofuels Down CHP (Cogeneration)
Down Condensing Boilers Down Fuel Cells Down Geothermal and Air-source
Down Incineration Down Liquefied Petroleum Gas Down Nuclear Power
Down Solar Energy Down Water Power Down Wind Power

If your interest is green energy suppliers (eg domestic electricity), see Page 3, 'Energy Conservation'.

If your interest is motor vehicles see the dedicated section under Energy & Ecology.
You may also find some relevant information below under Liquefied Gas.

Click to read our main Reference page on Renewable Energy and other 'Clean' Energy sources.

Quote of the Year, 2004: (Ref: IEE Review, Careers, Mid-September 2004)
EA Technology's Distributed Generation Sector Leader said:
"The oil and gas industry has created a vast infrastructure of offshore engineering, logistics, services and expertise, which is in exactly the right place to support the development of wet renewables"
"The potential benefits to regions that have resigned themselves to losing jobs and investment as oil and gas wind down would clearly be enormous"

Solar Energy
  There are three recognised ways of producing energy directly from the sun in the UK. But do we really get enough sun here? Apparently the answer is yes, and there is a practical future for harvesting the sun's rays. For an explanation, see our Reference page on Solar Energy. For more detail and other specifics see the links below.
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    The UK Government Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) scheme for renewable electricity from Solar PV came into effect on 1 April 2010. The aim is to encourage additional generation of small-scale, low-carbon electricity, particularly by individuals, householders, organisations, businesses and communities who have not traditionally been involved in the electricity market.
    The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a UK government payment scheme designed to encourage people to invest in systems which generate heat from renewable sources including Solar thermal (not the same as Solar PV). The RHI will pay a subsidy to people installing these types of heating systems. RHIs are expected to come into force in summer 2013.
    The DECC site, see below, gives up to date information on FITs and RHIs and the CSE publish useful energy advice leaflets on their site.
Heated garden shower in Käl, Sweden. Click to enlarge image
Click to enlarge
  On the left is an innovative low-tech Swedish invention.
Water is piped from a stream at a point well above the garden and finds its way to the shower through a long pipe curled up on the lawn (aka a heat exchanger). Although situated in northern latitudes the summer months provide plenty of sun which gives a warm shower. Click to enlarge the pic.
    Bright Green Energy Ltd (was WireFreeDirect) is an online store selling a wide range of solar and wind energy products, systems, accessories and services, including Solar Panels, Wind Turbines, Batteries and Inverters. They also offer an off-grid solar and wind power design service.
    The Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) publish Energy Advice leaflets including 'Feed-in tariffs: how they work', 'A beginner’s guide to the Renewable Heat Incentive' and other interesting ones.
    The DECC site describes FITs and RHIs here. These will cover Wind, Solar photovoltaics (PV), Solar Thermal, Hydro, Anaerobic digestion, small scale micro-CHP. Tariffs for Biomass have been removed. FITs will guarantee a price for a fixed period and the site gives Tables of Tariffs.
    Feed-In Tariffs is a useful site giving lots of information about the FIT scheme: how it works, what systems are eligible, what changes are being contemplated, Tariff tables, how to register for FITs and much more.
    Green Dragon Energy design and supply and/or install small, medium and large scale solar, wind and hydro systems. They offer design, consultancy and training services and design and supply digital environmental tools.
    Heat My Home are independent solar experts specialising in PV Solar Panels and Solar Tubes. They claim to showcase only the best in solar technology to ensure quality, longevity and peace of mind.
    Jayhawk International Ltd encourages human self-reliance through sustainable energy technologies. They have a wide portfolio of solar thermal and related technologies and supply renewable energy providers worldwide.
    The Renewable Energy Association, (incorporates the former PV-UK, British Photovoltaic Association), represents British renewable energy producers and promotes the use of sustainable energy in the UK. They also provide a public enquiry service to connect consumers to system suppliers.
    Renewable Heat Incentive is an information site about the guaranteed payments for renewable heat, telling you about the RHIs: how it works, what systems are eligible, a tariff table, how to register and a lot more.
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Solar Energy continued
  Solarfeedintariff web site was established in 2008 by a group of Renewable Energy specialists, especially in photovoltaic technology, keen to create a focal point for green issues, particularly government feed-in tariffs.
    Solar Fusion is a government accredited company specialising in supply and installation of the latest solar hot water and solar PV electricity systems, with a commitment to customer service, quality products and clean energy.
    Solartwin provide a solar panel system for hot water heating for washing and bathing, which they claim works on cold, dull days.
    Solar Century specialise in building integrated solar thermal and photovoltaic technology, including solar roofs and roof tiles for residential properties and public and commercial buildings.
    Solar Hot (was SolarSense, also b9nrg), supply Solar Hot Water systems and cylinders intended for the trade, self build or self installer.
    SUNDOG Renewable Energy Systems specialise in stand-alone wind and PV systems, grid connected and building integrated PV, hybrid schemes, equipment sales, DIY kits, system design, installation.
    Techfor Energy, an independent MCS accredited PV and thermal installer, designs and installs all types of Solar PV and thermal systems for commercial and residential customers, giving access to the financial incentives offered by the RHI and FIT schemes.
    Wind & Sun design, supply, install solar and wind systems to customers' requirements. They provide power supplies for remote situations and larger installations for electricity generation in an environmentally benign way.
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Water Power
'LIMPET' Wave Energy Collector, Click to enlarge
  Water from seas and inland waterways can provide large amounts of clean energy, mainly in three ways: Wave power, Tidal power and Hydro power. Although water gets the credit, the sun is the main benefactor indirectly, with some contribution from the moon. In 2005, in the UK the future is looking much brighter, For more info see our Reference page on Water Power.
    DECC states that with the UK's excellent wave and tidal resources, and expertise in oil and gas exploration, the UK is in a unique position to benefit from this type of renewable energy, and to develop related wave and tidal services. They explain about Wave and Tidal energies.
    The Energy Saving Trust (EST), provide a Guide to Hydroelectricity; you can download it from this link as a pdf.
    European Marine Energy Centre Ltd (EMEC), develop marine-based renewable energy; technologies that generate electricity by harnessing the power of waves and tidal streams. They state they offer developers the opportunity to test full scale grid connected prototype devices in unrivalled wave and tidal conditions.
    Hales Turbines, in East Sussex, are promoters of renewable energy concepts. Their site shows sketches of new designs for ultra-low speed, tidal and ocean current generators. They feel that these devices offer a vast potential for simple local energy extraction.
    Marine Current Turbines Ltd was set up to pioneer the technical and commercial development of tidal stream turbines. The company works in partnership with a major industrial consortium which is receiving significant financial support from the UK government, and the European Commission.
Swedish hydro station, Click to enlarge
  Voith Hydro Wavegen Limited are based in Inverness. The adjacent photo is of a "LIMPET" shoreline wave energy collector based on the oscillating water column principle. A 500 kW unit is installed on the isle of Islay, Scotland and started to generate power in 2000. Picture: courtesy of Wavegen, downloaded from the DTI site in 2004. Click to enlarge (not designed as a Background).
    NEF Renewables state hydropower technology turns potential or kinetic energy of water into energy via a turbine, using water "dropped" from behind a dam or from natural "run of the river" with no water storage reservoir. They give details of small scale and micro hydropower schemes.
The image on the left is of a hydro generating barrier in Näsåker, in the county of Ångermanland, Northern Sweden. Click to enlarge.
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Wind Power

Wind Turbines: Lanzarote
Wind turbines in the "Parque Eólico", Lanzarote
  The UK has the best potential in Europe for generating power from wind. When nuclear power was favoured, wind was neglected, but policies keep changing and the future for wind turbines in the UK looks better. Unfortunately the UK's manufacturing base for turbines is still in the amateur leagues. For a brief resume of this topic see our Reference page on Wind Power.
By comparison, Denmark heads the Premier league. It has an outstanding record for energy efficiency, according to Roger Dettmer writing in the IEE Review ("All at Sea", May 2003), inter alia, official support for wind generation has created an installed base greater than 2,600 MW which represents about 21% of their electricity demand. They have more or less exhausted the physical coverage of onshore sites and are developing sites offshore (on top of this, the onshore sites can be upgraded with far higher performance turbines).
For more detail of wind-power you might like to try the National Geographic link; for other interesting links, see below.
  AMEC were involved in the Blyth Offshore Wind Farm, the first in UK waters, built by a consortium including AMEC, Powergen Renewables, Shell Renewables and Nuon. This wind farm is described in IEE Review March 2001 'Beyond the harbour wall', pp13-17.
  Baywind Energy Co-operative Ltd states it is the first UK co-operative to own wind turbines. It is an Industrial & Provident Society, aiming to promote the generation of renewable energy and energy conservation.
    The Danish Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association (DWTMA) was founded in 1981, being a non-profit organisation with the purpose of promoting wind energy in Denmark and internationally.
  EcoGen are Renewable Energy Specialists who develop and support clean energy projects. EcoGen Consultants Ltd offer support services for Renewable Energy initiatives in two areas, wind energy and biomass.
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Wind Power continued
  Marlec developed the Rutland Windcharger a simple, reliable, efficient wind driven battery charging generator, used mainly in remote sites (eg yachts, caravans, telecoms sites); it has extended its range of windchargers.
  Oy Windside Production Ltd publicise an energy solution for extreme conditions with soundless and effective special Wind Turbines for battery charging, aimed at professionals.
  Proven Energy Ltd design, produce and implement renewable energy systems, including wind turbines, aiming to provide reliable, non polluting electricity to help build a sustainable future.
  RenewableUK is the professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries; it states it is the leading renewable energy trade association in the UK.
  Scoraig Wind Electric is run by Hugh Piggott who states his Web site aims to help those who plan to build their own wind turbine. He gives workshop courses in wind generator construction in Scotland and the US.
  Wind & Sun design, supply, install wind and solar systems to customers' requirements. They provide power supplies for remote situations and larger installations for electricity generation in an environmentally benign way. is an international Internet market place for the wind energy industry. The site, launched in January 2000, followed their survey into renewable energy industries to investigate Internet communication.
  Windsave is a company planning to market innovative Mini-turbines, small enough for domestic installations. Reported on 24 November (John Vidal, Guardian) we visited their site but did not find all the information we wanted. They specify 750W and 1200W versions with a claimed payback of c 30 months. We wait with eager anticipation. Visit their site for more info. is a social network for the wind energy community, set up to help promote the growth of wind turbines as an alternative energy source, where the public and the wind energy profession can come together to get advice, share ideas and network.
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Page Originated: 21 July, 2001  Last amended: 3 May, 2013