Wind turbine may fan local industry

Standing below a wind turbine installed on the roof of Otago Polytechnic's D block are (from left...
Standing below a wind turbine installed on the roof of Otago Polytechnic's D block are (from left) polytechnic innovation workSpace manager Eva Gluyas, product design engineers Jess Dobson and William Early and Powerhouse Wind Ltd director Bill Currie. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
The installation of a wind turbine on the roof of an Otago Polytechnic building this week marks a step towards what its creator hopes will lead to a booming Dunedin industry.

After about five years of development, Powerhouse Wind Ltd's single-blade turbine went into production three months ago from its base of operations at the polytechnic.

Company director Bill Currie said bringing the turbine into ''pilot production'' and installing one on the roof of the polytechnic was the start of a journey which he hoped would lead to the creation of a prospering Dunedin industry.

''I'm not saying it's going to be easy ... but there is a potential to create an industry in Dunedin that employs people and makes a meaningful contribution,'' Mr Currie said.

The firm had about 10 orders for the product and hoped to fulfil about 40 in the first year of production.

''Obviously, we need to find a factory premises and we need to scale up some of the stuff we are doing.''

One of the best things about the product was that its components - many using revolutionary materials and production techniques - were produced by Dunedin companies.

''It really is a solidly Dunedin project.''

Mr Currie said the turbine generated enough to power a ''normal household'' on a ''good day''.

He would not reveal the cost of the turbine, but said it produced enough power to pay for itself, through energy savings, within about four years.

He wished to thank Otago Polytechnic for helping develop the product over the previous 18 months.

Otago Polytechnic innovation workSpace manager Eva Gluyas said she had so much faith in the product she had ordered one for her Orokonui house.

Installing one on the polytechnic was about extending the institution's ''sustainable campus'' initiative and showing off its links with the project, Ms Gluyas said.

The polytechnic's innovation workSpace - which helps develop commercial products - had worked on the development of the turbine and on marketing it, she said.

The product, which was a third of the weight of its nearest competitor, had great potential.

''It has the potential to become an iconic Dunedin brand.''

- vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

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