The weekend of September 30 to 1 October, I was welcomed at VAL (Valence Atelier Libre). It’s a free craft workshop hosting the Ti’éole company that learn you how to make small wind turbines. You also find there a metal workshop, an automobile garage, an electronic workshop (3D printer, milling machine, electronics design), a sewing workshop and many other initiatives.

With Samuel we were welcomed by Aurelie, who performed his internship of end of studies (engineering school) and civic service in order to develop an educational program on the wind turbine operation.

Talking about small wind turbine, you do not already have one at home? For my part I am already convinced of his interest and I even thought to put one on my bike (this remained at the stage of the idea).

The principle is simple, it’s the wind that passes quickly through your garden that will allow you to provide electricity. More concretely the wind turbine is composed of wooden blades, a generator, electronics and batteries according to the installation.

Ti’éole offers one-week training workshops to learn how to build one Piggott wind turbines, this model is approved worldwide for twenty years. But they are not alone !! In France you can find Tripalium network (www.tripalium.org) which includes all the self-building training workshops, with more than 150 wind turbines in operation !! And for my international readers, there are also the Wind Empowerment Network (http://windempowerment.org/).

The wind turbines are based on the manual written by Hugh Piggott. They produce 200W to 3000W, enough to illuminate a hut to a full household. They can of course be used in combination with photovoltaic panels to supply electricity for a farm for example.

I’m a big supporter of “do it yourself”! What better than to manufacture its wind turbine to be sure to know the operating and maintaining. Do not worry you will be taught by experts who will guide you through every step of manufacturing. And perhaps, if it interests you, you can become a trainer!

Training workshops, how does it work?

The training workshops take one week, in groups of 10 to 15 people. During the week it is produced one or two turbines. The training course costs about 400 euros per person. And if you want to make your own wind turbine, it cost between 4,000 and 8,000 € all inclusive. This price varies depending on the desired power of the wind turbine. The single wind turbine can produce your energy and mainly you will be aware of carbon footprint associated to the production of electricity.

In France the majority of electricity is generated by nuclear power plants and the rest from fossil fuels and renewable energy (14%).

How does electricity pollutes
  • Extraction of fossil fuels (gas, coal), use of chemicals and high pressure water
  • Combustion of fossil fuels (gas, coal), CO² emissions and fine particles
  • Manufacturing and maintaining facilities and networks
  • Warming of river water due to nuclear power plants
  • Non-recyclable nuclear waste
  • And other crap: Gas Schist
Your electric car therefore is not carbon neutral according to how his energy was produced!

So the small wind is one solution among others. To mention a few other clean energy sources; hydro, photovoltaic and large terrestrial and marine wind turbines.

A single turbine is not playing in the same scale !! However a big wind turbine is manufactured to power 300 homes while a single turbine meets your own needs. So do not see the individual turbines as an answer to energy needs worldwide, but it is very interesting for isolated sites and this is an empowering approach!

In Valencia there was talk of horizontal development, the inverse of the vertical, you know the fact we do not control anything because everything comes from “the top”. Well Tripalium aims through its wind turbines to bring more transparency in electricity production. Build its wind turbine allow to understand how it works, appropriating the science of wind to avoid bad installations. It is through this transparency that Piggott wind turbines show more robust over time that many small industrial wind turbines. In Valencia, Aurélie told me “Having worked for 5 days to manufacture its wind turbine, we understand the value of 2000W.”

And you know what; state makes us almost impossible to produce and consume our own energy, thank you EDF …

Because the state wants to have visibility on our energy production and forces us (if we want to be in order) to buy a very expensive housing. As Tripalium trying to change things, I believe the individual approaches then becoming collaborative will change the world!

Finally, the VAL (Valencia Workshop Libre) has the same objective of sharing and reappropriation of our expertise! For all handymen living in apartments and / or without garage, for beginners who want to learn, for those who wish to share their expertise, even those who can not tinker, go to VAL, you’ll find your happiness …