Wind Turbine


Have a look at the Energy Audit section to see how much power you might need to generate.

How does a wind turbine work?

Birds and Bats - Wildlife and your wind generator

Birds don't seem to have much of a problem with small wind generators - many seem to enjoy surfing off the turbulence they cause. Unfortunately there have been a few reports of bats being killed by the blades. The Bat Conservation Trust say that little is known about why bats should be vulnerable to wind turbines. They suggest that when you are moored up in a place where bats may be around that you stop or tether your turbine between dusk and dawn from the end of March to the end of September

If you do find a dead bat (whether or not you suspect it's been hit by your wind turbine) then keep it and contact the Bat Conservation Trust. They are very interested in finding out more about bats and wind turbines - and how we can avoid deaths and injuries. They also have a bat and mini turbine questionnaire for you to fill in if you have a wind turbine and are aware of bats nearby.

Which wind turbine should i get?

Wind turbines come in a variety of shapes, prices and sizes. The main problems they pose for narrow boaters are noise and mast mounting. The other problem of course is knowing wether there is enough wind in your location for one.

I will start with the wind issue because that is the what you will base you decisions on. Wind turbines will have different "start up" and "cut in" wind speed ratings detailed in the technical specifications available from the manufacturer or distributor. "Start up" means the the wind speed at which the blades begin to rotate and "cut in" is the wind speed at which the turbine begins to produce usable electricity.

The other thing you will find on the technical Specifications are the rated outputs at different wind speeds and a peak rating a at a particular windspeed. Sadly technical sheets are not usually written for the lay person. Wind turbine manufacturers more often than not will use meters per second (m/s) as a measure for wind speed. A measurement most people are not familiar with. It is a very precise and technical way of measuring winspeed only used by a few people in the industry and meteorologists. Most small wind turbines with a blade diameter up to 1.5m seem to have their peak output rated at around 12m/s (metersper second).

12m/s is 26.84324 Miles/hour or 43.2 Kilometers/hour or 23.32615 Knots. A 27 Miles/hour wind is brisk, the sort you get at the end of a hot day on the coast. Finding out what sort of windspeeds you have in your area can be done in a number of ways, The British Wind Energy Association has mapped mean windspeeds for the UK, these are stated at 25m above ground level so beware. The only accurate way to measure wether your site is suitable is to buy a hand held anemometer which cost around £50-300 depending on the sophistcation of the unit. Then get measuring and keeping a record.

Feedback on various wind turbines

Rutland 510


Rutland 913

The 913 deas wih turbulence quite well and you can get some power out of it even with trees/buildings close by - so long as the wind is still blowing between them and not getting caught by trees/buildings behind you.

You can expect 0.5A to 10A of power - it needs to be fairly breezy to start producing, and an averagly windy day in a good position will give you 1 - 2 amps. 10A is very stormy (although the 913 can deal with a lot more storm you're not likely to get much worse on the inland waterways.




The marine mounting kits available from Rutland cost about £100 for a 2m pole: you'll need to find rigging yourself. It's much cheaper to find yourself a pole from your local scaffolding merchant or fabricator (make sure you get the right size)! We paid £60 for a 5m pole - enough for two of us!

Noise and vibration reduction

1) I got hold of 2 discarded scaff poles and cut a hole in my roof and stuck one pole through. I then tied it to an internal pole in my boat (that just happened to be there). I put two pieces of thick foam sandwhiched around a piece of wood and packed the space between the poles and tied them all together with lots of rope. I don't feel or hear any vibrations at all from the turbine. The turbine was on a shorter pole outside attached to the top of the pole that sticks through my roof. They overlap by at least a couple of feet. I dont have it on a pivit pole as some boats do. To go under bridges I would have to take the top pole off.

2) mini exhaust bobbinWe mounted our Rutland 913 on custom made plates (2 x L-shaped bits of steel with holes in to bolt to the roof and holes in the side to pass a bolt through the pole). The plates are bolted to the roof with Mini exhaust bobbins (see left) - 80p each from the local motor factor. The guy cables still seem to transmit a lot of vibration so we put those through fuel (diesel) or LPG hose where they go around the eyebolts on the roof, but this didn't seem to make much (any?) difference. NB: watch out that you don't get any solvents on the LPG hose or the mini exhaust bobbins! Because these both contain natural rubber they will just dissolve if you get something like paint on them - could be dangerous!


  • (used to be Sustainable Systems) are recommended because they don't buy from China or any other dictatorship; dont have dealings with the oil industry or defence companies. Their regulators come from Steca (Germany), inverters from Studer (Swiss made) and Wind turbines from Finland, UK, Europe and the USA. (Steca and Studer use lead free solder and have waste recovery systems in their circuite board manufacuring plant. Both manufacturers repair their units).
  • Renewable Energy UK - ideas and guides on building your own solar and wind systems - including some circuit diagrams and a shop. Very interesting!
  • Solar and Wind Energy Co-op
  • Hugh Piggot - the Man in DIY wind turbines. Lots of information on his site, and great courses on building your own turbine from bits and pieces.
  • - more DIY wind turbine fun.
  • Renewable Energy UK - ideas and guides on building your own solar and wind systems - including some circuit diagrams and a shop. Very interesting!


thank you for thi post .... great ideas... مهد نيوتن