Niall McMahon

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New IEA Wind Task on Wind Turbine Noise - Update


Back in December and March I wrote about the proposal for a new IEA Task on Quiet Wind Turbine Technology. It was approved by the IEA Wind ExCo at ExCo 78 in Brussels on December 1st 2016. The new task has several confirmed participants from leading organisations with others in discussions to join.

The approved proposal can be found here.

Since the last update, John McCann of SEAI has taken on the job of leading this task. If you are interested in participating, please contact him directly. You can find his contact details - listed for Ireland - in the IEA Wind ExCo directory.

I'm no longer directly involved but you can email me if you need help.

New IEA Wind Task - Update


Back in December, I wrote about the proposal for a new IEA Task on Quiet Wind Turbine Technology. It was approved by the IEA Wind ExCo at ExCo 78 in Brussels on December 1st 2016. The new task has several confirmed participants from leading organisations with others in discussions to join.

The approved proposal can be found here.

The task has not yet started; we had been seeking funds and resources to put behind the work at Trinity. I will post a further update. In the meantime, please contact your local IEA Wind ExCo representative. You can also email me.

Solar Energy Works: More Numbers ...


Here are some more numbers that I put together about a year ago around solar energy in Ireland, following on from my 2015 post. The usual cautions apply. The conclusions were: (i) that it seems possible to build a solar plant selling wholesale electricity in Ireland though the margin is slim; (ii) it seems that there may be an immediate business opportunity for private use, i.e. offsetting grid power; (iii) if panel installed prices can be pushed down further, if a feed-in tariff is introduced or if power prices increase, a further opportunity opens up.

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Competition in the Energy Market


This is a sketch I made in my notebook back in Autumn - a recent, similar, situation reminded me of the apparent strategy followed by some oil producing nations in 2014: use your cash to put the competition out of business ...

I guess that you can stall change for a while when you have the money. Revolutions come - one way or another ...

New IEA Wind Task


Our proposal for a new IEA Task on Quiet Wind Turbine Technology was approved by the IEA Wind ExCo at ExCo 78 in Brussels on December 1st 2016. As of December 2016, the new task has several confirmed participants from leading organisations in Ireland, Denmark and Sweden, with many others in discussions to join. The aim is to start work in early 2017.

To get involved, first of all read:

And then please get in touch with me, your local IEA Wind delegate or the IEA Wind Secretariat directly. The more countries involved, the lower the cost to each and the more representative the resulting work.

We will follow up in early January with potential participants. The next step is to create a more detailed work plan for the first year and arrange a kick-off meeting to formally start the project.

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Small Wind Turbines 2016


My presentations about an AI-inspired control system and, at the Vienna Chamber of Commerce, about the future of small-scale wind energy are both online at the conference website. Thanks again to Kurt and the organisers at Technikum Wien.

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IEA Wind in Lisbon - May 11th 2016


I’ll be in Lisbon on May 11th to update the IEA Wind executive committee about progress towards establishing a new task around quiet wind turbine technology. We plan to pull together an international expert panel to:

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Wind Turbine Performance Look-up Tables


At a talk I gave a few weeks back about new tools for the Irish wind map, much of the great discussion afterwards was about whether or not it’s a good idea to install a small wind turbine. Inspired by the interest, I’ve put together a small booklet with some performance look-up tables for a typical small machine, with the usual cautions. I’ll turn it into a web page sometime soon. You can download a PDF version of the booklet here:

Small Wind Turbine Energy and Payback Estimates

It works well on a single A4 sheet as an A5 booklet for printing.

Tools for SEAI Wind Mapping System


A couple of weeks back, I gave a talk at the Irish Energy Show about a Python-based toolset that we’ve been developing for the Irish wind map. The system’s nicknamed WindRosie, after its first function, to draw wind roses based on the wind map data.

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SEAI Energy Show - April 6th/7th 2016


I’m speaking at this year’s SEAI Energy Show. There will be a session on Ireland’s contribution to the work of the International Energy Agency (IEA); this will feature presentations about Irish contributions to the IEA’s wind energy research work. On April 7th at 3.45pm, I’ll give a talk on some of the new tools that we’re developing for the Irish Wind Atlas, including our Python-based wind rose generator (Windrosie). Some of these are at beta stage. More information at the Energy Show website.

Solar Vs. Wind Update


In the few months since Discon #7: Can Medium Wind Compete With Solar PV?, I’ve had some useful feedback and learned more about the state of the art. It turns out that I was conservative with the cost of solar installed. It’s closer to 1.50 euro per watt installed at small scales – I had assumed almost twice this. The average insolation in Dublin is something close to 2.75 kWh m-2 day-1.

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Tesla vs. Water


There was a lot of coverage of Tesla’s new home battery earlier in the year and Powerwalls will start shipping soon.

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Can Medium Wind Compete With Solar PV?


A question that I was asked recently was this: when is a wind turbine a better investment than solar photovoltaic panels?

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Does Electrodynamic Braking Work?


I recently had a paper about electrodynamic braking accepted by Wind Engineering. Electrodynamic braking is a fancy term for stopping a wind turbine by short-circuiting the generator, usually with some simple resistance across the terminals. The work was inspired by a system failure back in 2010. I realised that although some people in the industry knew something about why this often doesn't work as expected, many manufacturers had a poor understanding of the limitations of the technique.

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Do Balloon Mounted Wind Turbines Work?


The idea of a balloon mounted wind turbine is a nice. There is always a need for power in remote places and where people face the exceptional circumstances that happen around the world each day, e.g. natural disasters and war. Sometimes there is no grid and getting a line to the nearest connection is impractical or impossible.

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Are Larger Wind Turbines Paid for Faster?


And what is the financial pay-back period for large wind turbines? Common questions!

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Are Solar PV Farms Viable in Ireland?


Somebody asked me what I thought about this: the short answer is that they almost are!

NPR had an interesting 3-minute slot last week, reporting on the relative merits of purchasing a domestic solar electric system versus leasing one. The programme focused on two neighbours in New Jersey. One had bought panels, the other had leased them.

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Is Germany In a Mess Because of Renewables?


Is Germany in a mess because of renewables? Taking a long view, the opposite seems probable - it will be in good shape. This question is topical because recently it's been argued that Germany really is in a mess because of renewables and that Ireland had best pay heed and stick with gas. Well, to take it from from the top ...

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How Does a Wind Turbine Fall Down?


This hardly ever happens. However ...

Last Friday, a Nordex N80 collapsed on Murley Mountain in County Tyrone. Images apparently show the tower buckled close to the base. The foundations and foundation bolts appear to be intact: there was a tower failure.

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List of posts ...

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