Niall McMahon

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International Small Wind Conference 2010


Niall McMahon

What can be said about ISWC 2010 in Glasgow? In summary, it was useful. Our talk went well, I think, and we'll be happy to hear from anybody with questions or suggestions. It was a very busy event with plenty of attendees over both days. Many people were new to the industry but there were also plenty of experienced workers including Mike Bergey and Hugh Piggott. Some nice machines were on display. There was a Gaia 11kW turbine with a neat blade tilt mechanism, the elegant Evoco Energy 10kW machine and an Evance Iskra 5kW machine which has an unusual passive pitch control system.

Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT) technology was quite prominent; this is interesting since VAWT machines are fundamentally less efficient than HAWT (Horizontal Axis ...) machines. There may be some technical advantages, mostly to do with how turbulence is handled, but these are probably small. This is why utility-scale VAWTs are almost never used. Mostly, it is the aesthetics of the VAWT devices that please.

Using slightly arbitrary clasification, the exhibitors consisted of companies involved in: HAWT Manufacture (11); Electrical and Control Equipment (5); General Consultancy (4); Distributors and Installers (3); VAWT Manufacture (2); Solar (2); Resource Assessment (1); Biomass System Manufacture (1); Mine Clearance (1); Other Organisations (4). Market predictions are almost exponential and overall the mood was pretty optimistic; perhaps it is something like the veterans experienced in California during the 1980s! We'll see.