Memorandum submitted by Dr Garry Jenkins,
Gazelle Wind Turbines Ltd
1. I have been involved in wind energy since
1986. I have been involved in renewable energy since 1977, and
some of this work has been funded through the UK's R&D programme
renewable energy. I have long observed the UK's R&D programmes
on renewable energy.
2. At Gazelle Wind Turbines Ltd we have
been developing a small grid connected wind turbine since 1996.
It is a 20kW rated power turbine with a rotor diameter of 11 metres
and a hub height of 13.5 metres. A leaflet is attached.
3. The original development of this product
was carried out under the DTI Smart and Spur awards for innovation.
The only direct funding received from the UK wind energy R&D
budget was £3,000 in 1996 to carry out some initial market
4. The initial Smart funding enabled North
Energy Associates Ltd, a small consultancy company of which I
am a director, to employ two engineers to draw up a prototype
5. The Spur funding enabled the prototype
turbine to be built. To do this we had to set up a company Gazelle
Wind Turbines Ltd, at the time 51% owned by a local SME engineering
company MKW Engineering Ltd of Ryton on Tyneside. They have been
manufacturing partners ever since. MKW have put a lot of money
into the project, as have various "friends and family"
6. Product development has been slow and
difficult, as is the nature of R&D. We have built five turbines
to date, and a sixth will be on order in two or three weeks. Turbines
have been installed at an innovation centre, a private house,
an ethical cosmetics factory, a primary school and a dairy farm
7. I believe that, world-wide, this is an
excellent niche market to attempt to break in to. There is a strong
initial demand for this size of turbine, with us receiving hundreds
of enquiries. 800 to date, many from overseas.
8. We have had no support from the official
UK renewables R&D programme since the original £3,000
for a market survey. Funding for development is on an ad-hoc/shoestring
9. I have approached the UK renewable energy
R&D programme for funding on a number of occasions. Our projects
never seem to quite fit into the current call, and so I have effectively
given up ever sourcing funds from there.
10. The price of the turbine is rather high
for widespread competitive use without grant or subsidy. We make
them one at a time, to order. They are craftsman made rather like
Morgan sports cars rather than mass produced like Nissan Micras
or Enercon wind turbines.
11. Cost of electricity from our turbines
is roughly the same as that from offshore wind farms, or roughly
a third of that from PV.
12. Areas of development funding which would
help to make this product competitive and world class are:
(a) aerodynamic modelling and finite element
analysis building on work done by CREST at Loughborough University.
(b) Design for manufacture and development
of castings and lean manufacture.
(c) Thorough in-field testing, type testing
to IEC 61400, certification to GL standards.
(d) Low noise design, noise measurements
to IEC standards.
(e) Development of own blade building capability
(blades currently bought from France).
(f) Development of microprocessor based control
panel to replace Mitsubishi PLC controller.
(g) Development of direct drive/variable
13. Other support which I believe would
help to boost sales:
(a) Capital grants for small/medium wind
(b) Enhanced capital allowances for small/medium
(c) Reduction of the need for G59 power quality
tests from the DNOs.
(d) Simple procedure to claim ROCs and LECs.
14 The R&D which we are able to carry
out is done using student projects, particularly the MSc students
at CREST, Loughborough University. Other development consultants
for tower design have been 50% funded through the Knowledge House
scheme run locally for small and medium enterprises by the North
15. The renewable energy R&D programme
seems to me to be "fashion" driven. I was involved initially
in wave energy R&D in the early 1980s. Then the fashion moved
on to geothermal hot rock R&D, then biomass gasifiers and
now offshore wind and PV. The late Professor Bob Hill, a world
renowned PV expert and friend, would have been overjoyed to have
received some of the current £20 Million PV funding back
in the 1980's when the UK PV industry could have been carrying
out ground breaking R&D.
16. I believe that the UK consistently miss
the boat by focussing too far ahead on "the next thing"
and then not paying for "development" but leaving that
to the market, which then will not support such development. "Too
close to market" is the phrase often used to avoid having
to commit funds at exactly the stage they are required.
17. I suggest that SME's be able to obtain
75% funding for RD&D projects. When cash flow is tight, there
is little spare for "matching" money.
18. A simple two page application for sums
under £10,000 and a four pager for sums under £50,000
would give the energy efficiency R&D sector a big boost.
19. The DTI's SMART programme should be
used as an exemplar as it is very transparent and efficient.
20. There are bound to be winners and losers,
but it is not possible to pick these before the initial funding
has been spent.
4 September 2002