Another Small VAWT with Big Ambitions Bankrupt: X-Wind Power

By Paul Gipe

Small Vertical-Axis Wind Turbines (VAWTs) come and go so fast no one can keep track of them before they become history.

Take the British company X-Wind Power. Here today, gone tomorrow. Apparently the company had been developing what looks like a knock off of Quiet Revolution’s QR6 since 2010.

X-Wind produced one, what I call a proof-of-concept, unit on a stub tower. Photos of the same turbine from different angles are all I could find in a quick search. The company won a grant from Britain’s Department for Energy and Climate Change to develop an 80 kW version of this presumably 6 kW design for use along rail lines in England for Network Rail.

The company’s promotional material includes this gem: “X-Wind vision is to deliver best-in-class cost of energy supported by second-to-none yield and reliability in the form of an aesthetic and quiet renewable energy solution.”

In another bit of over-the-top hype David Thorpe at Energy Collective extols the wonder of this soon to be top-selling new wind turbine in 2013. He repeated the company’s claims that “The technology, with its exceptional efficiency, low cost of energy, and near-silent operation, has been described as “potentially game changing” by major wind player Dong Energy.”

I could not find any publicly accessible statement by Dong Energy confirming that claim. It reminds me of the claims by RWE, a German utility, about the wonders of Quiet Revolution. The utility was an investor in Quiet Revolution.

In 2013 X-Wind Power moved to the County of Kent, receiving a public loan to do so. The company said it would create 106 jobs in Kent in return for the loan. At the time it went into receivership it had only seven employees. See X-Wind Power in Sandwich in administration three years after receiving £1m loan from Kent County Council.

It appears that the British government and the County of Kent have invested in a chimera. A little more due diligence would have prevented another waste of public funds that could have been applied to something more useful.

An example of a company that could have used the money more productively is Scotland’s Gaia. They produce a wind turbine that has the highest specific area of any successful small wind turbine.

That’s the tragedy of such failures as X-Wind. They suck up money that could have been used more productively elsewhere. The whole effort does nothing to further the advance of wind energy.