Establishing a Highly Windy AWES test site

A few teams at AWEC 2019 mentioned wishing to test with me on the Isle of Lewis.
Let me know if you are interested in joining in or testing on this rock in the Atlantic.

We have a fantastic high wind resource and a lot of open space.
The local Uni meteorologist is establishing a 1.66km WRF model for the Western Isles and Minch.

You’ve seen the videos… I can even make those dumb things fly here.

How much data link, dump or real load, space & privacy, field & tech support, LIDAR coverage, permissioning support, deployment assistance, … will you want before coming?
It would be great to have some of your details before approaching local authorities.


I’ll send you a paper windmill or something for testing :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

If you’re prepared to send something here …
26m/s wind on the North end of the Island this week.
Just sayin… It better be £*&%n bomb proof

1 Like

Damn. Do you guys n gals wear lead shoes up there?

1 Like

Environmental assessment of the location…

Geez way too long to read thru Roddy. Got an excerpt for us?
I recently completed moving a 26-foot-tall freestanding tower, weighing many many hundreds of pounds, back to its original laying down position it had been in before a windstorm strong enough to roll it across the yard. It has very little surface area, and normally requires two vehicles to roll or tilt it up or down, so it’s really hard to grasp how mere moving air, at any speed, could have gotten sufficient traction to roll it cross the yard, given its hard-to-roll square cross-section. Also, when in running position, it has a shelf along the upwind bottom edge, that holds many concrete chunks for ballast, and it never tipped over, even in the strongest storms, even with a wind turbine running on top. But it rolled multiple turns from a laying down position. Amazing gust it must have been. Anyway here is one more windy location where testing can be undertaken most days. We’re in the Mojave desert near the Cajon Pass. The “Santa Ana Winds” you hear about on the news every time we have another giant Southern California wildfire originate up here in the high desert, accelerating and heating as they descend down to civilization, where they are so hot and dry they could almost start a fire all by themselves, Funny thing is, they start out up here as a cool, light breeze. Our strong winds usually are coming UP from the populated area below, at which point we have a windfarm-class wind resource that routinely blows concrete tiles from roofs, topples small buildings, and generates so much dust you sometimes cannot see across the street!
I do not think most people have ever experienced truly strong winds, that tend to blow your feet out from under you, when you lift each foot, just trying to walk, outside. How do you know when it’s windy around here? When you keep having to spit out small stones that you keep mysteriously finding in your mouth!

Most wannabe wind energy solutions won’t survive exposure to even a true productive wind, let alone a ridiculously strong wind.

The TLDR is
We have plenty special wildlife, nice views and 9000 year old architecture to protect.
Not sure it even mentions wind.

Hi Rod - haven’t had anything much to say on the forum recently though I have been plodding away in my own inept fashion. Noticed your invitation today (probably aimed at more serious people!): seems attractive as I’m pretty much confined to a field in the Tyne Vally which is really only useful when the wind is in the westerly quadrant - and it can be pretty tempermental even then (the surrounding hills are either heavily populated with livestock, crossed by power lines or guarded by officious gamekeepers who keep records of their pheasants who have have suffered physical or emotional harm from kites and turbines.) However, for the time being I’ll put up with what I’ve got here (still better than Hampstead Heath which was my previous open space!) Anyway - I’ve been toying with daisy-like transmission - as well as going from a 2 to 3 bladed version - which has obvious advantages but is more difficult to set up. (I daresay one create something which would deploy in an umbrella-like fashion) – but at the moment I’m sticking tubes into each other. Ideally I’m still hoping to get flying angles of over 45 deg with a vertical axis configuration - but this is as far as I’ve gotten to date. (The straps fluttering uselessly at the blade ends are there to secure the vertical blades between the horizontal axis starter set and a second set of 3 shafts ). I was pleased to see that the disc separation of about twice the diameter seemed to be ok - though I’m not sure how much torque can be transmitted for a given diameter/separation ratio (you or someone else have probably worked this out). I’ll spend the winter making more discs so I can get rid of most of the tube transmission and hopefully the kite might then be able to hoist a full turbine. Anyway…for what it’s worth…
Best wishes,


Sooo cool @philip
Of course, I have a few questions & ideas…
We should probably discuss your work on a separate thread.

I’ll be discussing a test site with more local interested parties today…
Being an island… Everyone is interested in what you’re doing.

Hi - thanks again for the kind/encouraging words…of course I’d be happy to share thoughts with anyone (on a more appropriate thread!), and maybe come up your way at some point.

1 Like

Reasons why I’m not into the idea of establishing a large scale, highly organised test site for AWES here - YET.

The transitory, portable nature of the AWES machines likely implies more work for a test centre per device. With shorter term deployments and cheaper devices… the ratio of initiation per work hour would go up… so rent of site would be less and initial work load certifying would be more frequent.

Smaller, early-stage, devices wouldn’t need the same level of permissioning as the likes of the Orkney EMEC site. (They will also consider establishing an AWES test site offshoot)

AWES wouldn’t need the integrity levels for reporting, nor safety inspection or the verification levels provided by EMEC. So we couldn’t charge so much for infrastructure and expertise per device.

We do have great environmental advantages which can accelerate testing to verification here.
Folks here are keen on setting up a test site, so cooperations may yet come this way. Especially as the scale of the proposed systems and the need for extreme testing grows. And with so little infrastructure to install, a future test centre could be set up as rapidly as bureaucracy allows.

This may sound like a cop out…
But of course, I’m flat out on my own kite turbine development which, although it has safety and scaling advantages, it isn’t yet at the level which needs this scale of test site. Might not be long though.
We are planning to further prove the scalability of rotary network transmission soon.
As such, I’m still planning for test site needs. But I think a large invitational test site would be premature for me to tackle now.

Let’s maintain the idea and if any AWES developer with a small scale system visits, I’ll help them try get small scale tests done.

1 Like