Student story: Grant on studying on the REBE course and installing an 11kW wind turbine

Home » Student story: Grant on studying on the REBE course and installing an 11kW wind turbine


Grant has been establishing a business in Cornwall and came to CAT to study on the Renewable Energy and the Built Environment MSc course to help him incorporate renewable energy and efficient building techniques in the project. Here he briefly summarises the installation of a wind turbine as part of the project, and talks of his experiences on the REBE course at CAT. He wrote an in-depth feasibility and appraisal report on this installation for his Wind Power module work.

For more information on our masters courses, go to The next open day for REBE will be on the 22nd of June – click here for more info.

Candor is an idyllic 5 acres in Cornwall where the conversion of three traditional cob barns will create a facility for a yoga and meditation residential retreat. A condition of the planning application approved in 2007 involved a requirement to install a number of renewable technologies designed to ensure that the site was a net producer of renewable energy.

I had always had an interest in CAT and this seemed like the ideal opportunity to become involved with CAT, join the REBE course and learn both the theory and practical aspects of renewable technologies to support the development at Candor.

Being on the REBE course has enhanced my knowledge of the technologies and also increased my enthusiasm for the subject due to the unique nature of the course: there are eight attendances lasting 5 days each of complete immersion at CAT; learning, eating, drinking and sleeping renewables in the exemplary WISE building.

The latest addition to the Candor development is an 11kW Gaia wind turbine. This entailed 6 months hard slog from planning application to commissioning. Many of the learning experiences on the REBE course helped me along the way. The installation was well worth the effort and due to pre-emptory and “seat of the pants” project planning (with the cable and foundation already in place!) and some terse words with the local planning department we received our planning consent at 10:30 a.m. on Wed 28th March. The turbine was erected and commissioned just 55 hours later at 5:00pm on Friday 30th March. By Saturday 31st March – a mere 24 hours later – it had already produced 180kWh and our FIT application was in and registered to meet the 2011/12 FIT deadline!

We look forward to 20+ years of renewable energy which will power the site with electricity and space heating via the ground source heat pump. We expect an output of between 30-40MWh per year (equivalent on average to the consumption of about 10-12 houses) and with a capital cost of just on £90k, a simple financial payback period of 10-12 years will be achieved.