Environmentalist who installed first domestic turbine in London dismisses wind as efficient technology

The man who installed the first domestic wind turbine in London has dismissed his system as “an experiment that’s not working”.

Donnachadh McCarthy, who wrote the book Saving the Planet Without Costing the Earth, said he thought the technology was not mature enough as yet. “It’s not there for urban wind at the moment,” he said.

McCarthy was happier with the other renewable technologies, such as solar thermal, photovoltaics, a wood-burner and a rain-harvester, he has installed at his house, a Victorian terrace two-bedroom property in Peckham, south London.

The use of these has led him to declare the house “climate positive”. “I am in negative equity in terms of carbon dioxide by 115 kilograms.

McCarthy called for the Government to make two main changes to encourage microgeneration amongst other householders:

  • Make all new building have a south facing roof, which are ideal for photovoltaics. “That’s crucially important,” he said
  • Offer better incentives for householders to sell power back to the grid. “I’m getting 6p a unit for mine which is half the national grid price. In germany they pay five times the price. There are a lot of disincentives to do this sort of thing right now. We have not even got to the starting line in the UK yet.”

McCarthy’s house was on show at the Open House event held in London last weekend as part of an eco-trail organised by the Sponge network. It will feature in Building's video diary on the Open House event, appearing on our new sustainability channel this Friday.

Building's new sustainability channel

Click here for more news, case studies and data