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laws and restrictions

PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:25 pm
by northwest
Hi Guys,
I am in the process of gathering imformation regarding the errection of a nine meter tower for a 3 Kw wind turbine. I have approached Plumsted municpality/ building inspectors who inturn put me on to enviromental/town planners who inturn put me in contact with Cape town Renewable energy offices.No one to date has been able to throw some light on the do's and don'ts.The tower would be errected in a residential area and as it is we live in a valley the Turbine would be visable from the mountain side.Has any one out there had practical experience regarding noise created by these Turbines(4,5m diameter)Manufacturers state 10-24 Db (is this loud?)
Hope you all can help

Re: laws and restrictions

PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 3:47 pm
by windgat
My first impression is that 4.5m diameter is too big for a suburban environment, especially with Cape Town winds. I would say about 2m diameter is a good size.

There are two approaches to installing turbine.

The fully legal: For this you have detailed drawings done of the planned installation, and get a structural engineer to sign it off. Then you approach your council, and see what they say. Bear in mind its much easier for a lazy civil servant to say 'No', than to engage and finally approve. They might ask you to do an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment), which is a very tedious process. Thats what happended to a friend of mine in Milnerton. The good side of that, is that anyone in the same area can refer to that EIA (which was passed), and I have heard that council (which covers Milnerton) does not now object to domestic wind turbines, up to 9m in height.

The other approach is more Zen, 'just do it'. This has a few advantages: It less hassle, delay, paperwork and expense. Also, the more people who go this route, the more of a precedent is set, and the more likely future applications for approval will be approved. Of course there is the risk that some obnoxious soul lodges a complaint, and that the council instructs you to take it down.

If so, that would be a wonderful story for all the papers, and you will become famous: "Local householder tries to help planet; council objects". With the ReFIT for microscale generation planned to come in soon, any council which objects to local generation is on a collision course with City and National policy.

Also remember that its much easier for a lazy civil servant to do nothing, than to notice a turbine and lodge an objection.

There are a few things to bear in mind whichever route you go:
    - Avoid hanging over the boundary line. If your pole is in the centre of your property, its likely to be less noticable, and won't "loom" over your neighbours.
    -Think about where the shadow will fall in all seasons. Even the most reasonable neighbour will object if there is a flickering shadow on their bedroom curtains every morning at dawn!
    -Two bladed designs tend to spin faster, and so can be noisier. Although a three blader can be very quiet, in general the more blades a turbine has, the slower it is designed to spin, and the quieter it will be.

I hope that's helpful for you!

Re: laws and restrictions

PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:43 pm
by maghanee
windgat and all interested parties,
I've just joined this forum and am facing the same problem: should I just erect my homebuilt turbine without following proper planing procedures or find a structural engineer to certify a building plan and submit it to the local council in the Parow district where I live.
I manafactured my own blades using Modified PVC pipe and am using a 5 blade rotor with 1:3 ratio on my input shaft. On testing I found the noise level to be very low.
I initially considered following Hugh Piggots recomendation of 14m but subsequently discovered that the local council by laws allows a maximum height of 11m (is this Correct?) I therefore planned to rig up my unit with a total blade tip height of 10.5m ( the Blade diameter is 1680mm) giving me a tower height of 9660mm. Would this be OK! or should I stick to a total blade tip height of 9m?
I'll appreciate any comments

Re: laws and restrictions

PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 1:26 pm
by windgat
Hi there. I believe the height restriction for a Ham radio mast is 9m, so perhaps best to stick to that, including the blade height. That makes for quite a tall pole - I would be interested to see how you intend to erect it, and what stays you plan on using. The force in a high wind can be very surprising - you need to make it strong!