Wind turbines and 3-phase power

Solar energy, wind turbines whatever it is then here is your place to talk about it.
rcoe
margo - newbie
margo - newbie
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 8:12 pm
Location: Stirlingshire, Scotland

Wind turbines and 3-phase power

Post: #233959 rcoe
Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:51 pm

Hi all,

Hoping someone will be able to help me with a bit of confusion. I have been looking into wind turbines in a fairly unfocussed way. We seem to have a pretty ideal site with good predicted wind speed (although I would plan to put up an anemometer for a while before taking the plunge). One installer that I have discussed with says that the key "deal-breaker" is the status of our electricity connection to the grid. If it isn't 3-phase (according to him) then we could not install anything bigger than a 5kW turbine. I would be extremely surprised if we did have 3-phase power but he has said that some farms do have it if they had milking machines etc.
I have tried to get Scottish Power to tell me if I have 3-phase power but it doesn't seem to be possible.

Can anyone flesh out any detail on the issue of grid connection for larger turbines? And does anyone know how I would go about finding out whether I have a 3-phase connection or not?

Thanks very much,

Richard

User avatar
MKG
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 5010
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:15 pm
Location: North Notts.

Re: Wind turbines and 3-phase power

Post: #233967 MKG
Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:33 pm

Hi rcoe. It would have helped a bit if you'd told us what kind of building we're talking about - domestic, commercial, industrial, etc.

However, if it's domestic, I'd say the chances of you having a 3-phase supply are virtually nil.

Mike

EDIT: Your distribution board will look very different depending upon whether it's 3-phase or single phase. Basically, you'll have three live feeds or a single live feed (plus neutral). If you have 3-phase, please be careful. The voltage across any live feed to neutral is always 230/240 VAC. From phase to phase, though, it's nearer 400 VAC.
The secret of life is to aim below the head (With thanks to MMM)

rcoe
margo - newbie
margo - newbie
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 8:12 pm
Location: Stirlingshire, Scotland

Re: Wind turbines and 3-phase power

Post: #233979 rcoe
Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:15 pm

Hi MKG thanks for your reply. We live in a farmhouse which has 2 outbuildings attached to it. To my highly untrained eye our board looks "normal" so like you I think the chances of there being 3-phase are nil.

dave45
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 683
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:20 pm
Location: Lancashire

Re: Wind turbines and 3-phase power

Post: #233981 dave45
Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:38 pm

At work our 3 phase supply has three separate meters, marked up with red, blue and yellow stickers. Different things are attached to each phase/meter.

User avatar
KathyLauren
Living the good life
Living the good life
Posts: 396
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:57 pm
latitude: 44.5
longitude: -66
Location: East Coast of Canada

Re: Wind turbines and 3-phase power

Post: #234504 KathyLauren
Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:27 pm

An easy way to see if you have three-phase power is to look up at the wires feeding the house. Typically, up the power pole you have some thin high-tension wires at the top, feeding a transformer (like a big metal bucket at the top of the pole), and some fat wires coming from that to the house.

If there is only one high-tension wire connected to the transformer, you have one-phase power. If there are three high-tension wires connected to the transformer, you have three-phase power. It would be really unusual for a house to have three-phase power. Even if the power lines outside are three-phase (there are three high-tension wires running from pole to pole), there is usually only one of them connected to each transformer.

User avatar
MKG
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 5010
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:15 pm
Location: North Notts.

Re: Wind turbines and 3-phase power

Post: #234506 MKG
Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:19 pm

Unfortunately, Keith, most mains supplies after sub-stations in the UK are underground. There's certainly a three-phase feed under the street somewhere (at least in a built-up area) such that block 1 is fed from phase 1, block two from phase two, and so on, to ensure phase balancing. And the local transformer is usually some distance away, hidden behind large fences. So the only clue most of us get is that distribution board. The social situation at the moment is that if anyone strung up a copper wire supply in the air, it wouldn't be two minutes before someone nicked it (they've even tried the aluminium high-tension cabling at the top of pylons :roll: )

See - life can be easier if you're stuck out in the wilds :iconbiggrin:

Mike
The secret of life is to aim below the head (With thanks to MMM)

User avatar
KathyLauren
Living the good life
Living the good life
Posts: 396
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 11:57 pm
latitude: 44.5
longitude: -66
Location: East Coast of Canada

Re: Wind turbines and 3-phase power

Post: #234507 KathyLauren
Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:02 am

MKG wrote:See - life can be easier if you're stuck out in the wilds :iconbiggrin:
Sure is. :)

User avatar
The Riff-Raff Element
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1650
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2008 8:27 pm
Location: South Vendée, France
Contact:

Re: Wind turbines and 3-phase power

Post: #234508 The Riff-Raff Element
Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:53 am

KeithBC wrote:
MKG wrote:See - life can be easier if you're stuck out in the wilds :iconbiggrin:
Sure is. :)



That's why I do it, certainly.

I'm surprised Scottish Power can't tell you: for a start they'd normally be able to charge you more money for a three-phase supply :mrgreen:

Are there no clues on the meter? A house we bought came with three-phase and the meter was specific for that and labelled as such. Tri-phase is not at all uncommon here.
Last edited by The Riff-Raff Element on Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Green Aura
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 8326
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:16 pm
latitude: 58.569279
longitude: -4.762620
Location: North West Highlands

Re: Wind turbines and 3-phase power

Post: #234518 Green Aura
Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:28 am

Yes, we've got a 3-phase meter, not connected up to anything now, labelled as such. Our predecessor was a potter and used it for her big kiln. A lot of catering equipment runs off 3-phase too so if you know what your house etc was used for before it might give you a clue.

But I thought I'd read that 3-phase was cheaper for high consumption items, maybe not. :dontknow:
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

User avatar
The Riff-Raff Element
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1650
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2008 8:27 pm
Location: South Vendée, France
Contact:

Re: Wind turbines and 3-phase power

Post: #234552 The Riff-Raff Element
Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:46 pm

Green Aura wrote:But I thought I'd read that 3-phase was cheaper for high consumption items, maybe not. :dontknow:


The price per kWh is lower, often, but the standing charges are much higher. I think it makes sense for the heavy user, but not for us mere mortals :iconbiggrin:


Return to “Alternative Energy”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests