Posts filed under ‘wind power’

Green Power Technology Update for June 23, 2009

Just when you think that the various green, alternative power types are getting going we have a whole slew of bad news. There are serious potential issues affecting both wind and solar power’s affordability and overall return on investment.

The easiest to fix is the problem built into California’s net metering law that sunsets it once the amount being generated from alternative sources reaches 2.5% of the system peak grid load. The story on Cleantechnica (http://cleantechnica.com/2009/06/23/sunset-clause-to-dim-solar-in-california/) makes the point that we are already alomost there and we are just getting started. This problem is easily fixed but will probably get lost in my state’s annual budget fiasco.

Excerpt: “One of the key ways that solar is economical is through net metering. Because our utilities pay more for afternoon electrons, you can send electricity to the grid that sells for 40 cents in the afternoon, and use that generation as a credit towards the electricity you get back from the grid for 11 cents at night.

This lowering of utility bills is key to increasing home values. If a home saves $1,000 in a  year with solar then the value of the home goes up $20,000. This improvement is essential to getting mortgage financing for solar; so it’s all circular. Net metering down; savings down; bankers frown = energy brown.”

Next we have an unusual enemy for solar power, at least the solar tower/ heliostat type, the US Air Force.  Apparently these folks are not in favor of large areas near there installations that can potentially blind their pilots. The story is on Ecogeek (http://ecogeek.org/solar-power/2820-new-enemy-for-solar-tower-plants-the-air-force) has what details have been realeased.

Excerpt: “The Air Force, in fact, is not saying precisely why they don’t want the power plant. They say it could interfere with radar systems, but, more importantly, there are other reasons…all of which are classified. Col. Howard D. Belote, installation commander at Nellis said, “Because of the sensitivity [of information], I can’t tell them why. Unfortunately for them and us, there’s stuff on the Nevada testing range we don’t tell anyone about.”

We assume it has something to do with the aliens.

Too bad as this is prime area for installations such as these…..

Next there is concern over the problems Spain is having regarding wind power that might tarnish the technology’s reputation for affordability. Some think that the country’s investments in wind generation are causing potential insolvency issues.  The story is on Leonardo Energy (http://www.leonardo-energy.org/wind-energy-really-affordable) is from mu perspective brings up some very valid points.

Lastly tonight we have a little good news, if tightening or belts can be called that.  A new report put forth by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) says that by reducing unnecessary demand by up to 20% through demand use technologies.  The story is on Sustainable Business (http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/18422) and it has all of the details if you are interested.

Personally I am more interested in continued development of alternative power generation as a means to get us out of our current mess, but I suppose that efficiency will always have its place.
As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

Social Bookmarks:

Add to Technorati Favorites

Advertisements

June 23, 2009 at 9:23 pm 1 comment

Wind Power Update for Jan. 14, 2009

There have been a few very interesting developments on the wind power front over the last few days.

The most disturbing  is a study potentially taking the wind out fo the small turbine market sails so to speak.  We begin the story at Clean Technica ( http://cleantechnica.com/2009/01/15/study-says-home-wind-turbines-are-often-useless/).

Excerpt: “Before buying a small wind turbine for your roof, consider this: a recent British study claims that many home turbines generate only a fraction of what manufacturers promise, and some don’t even generate enough power to run their own electronics. The study, which was funded by the British Wind Energy Association, looked at turbines in four rural, 10 suburban, and 12 urban sites over the course of a year.”

I have considered several times about buying one of these but I have done considerable research that has shown me I would be wasting my money as the area I live in does not have enough sustained wind to make it pay.

The original story is here on Physorg (http://www.physorg.com/news151066592.html) and it provides a few more details as well as some hope.

Excerpt: “Reacting to the report Alex Murley of the British Wind Energy Association said. sited correctly, small and micro wind turbines have the capability to provide more than 10% of Britain’s electricity needs.

“Although this may be the first trial to look at micro-wind turbines within urban environments, low samples sizes, extremely poor sighting and patchy data renders the trial unrepresentative of the wider sector.

It appears that most of the small wind turbines in this study were “poorly sited”, meaning that the owners were sold a bill of goods by some unscrupulous installer.  Just what the green technology needs scam artists and incompetents that may burn enough folks to stall the market.  I hope that the folks in the study can sue the installers who promised them the moon.

In  a promising story about a good trend the courts are keeping small towns and cities in line when they try to regulate wind projects.  The story via Wind Power Law Blog (Http://windpowerlaw.wordpress.com/2009/01/14/town-of-hamlin-wind-zoning-law-invalidated/) tells of how a town’s zoning law which would have required herculean efforts by any developer of a wind project was struck down for not following state laws concerning these processes.

Lastly tonight we have notice of funding from the Department of Energy for research into wind technologies. The story is on Sustainable Business (http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/17473) for those of you interested.

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

Social Bookmarks:

Add to Technorati Favorites

January 14, 2009 at 10:42 pm Leave a comment

Wind Power Update – November 3, 2008

On the night before the national election what better subject to talk about the wind….Certainly if we harnessed all of the energy put forth by all of the speeches given just over the last month, well just imagine!

Seriously, there continue to be advancements in wind power technology as is certainly evidenced by the Swift Wind Turbine (http://www.swiftwindturbine.com/).  This micro sized wind turbine may be just the thing for your home or business.  Ecogeek.org (http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/2252/86/) wrote a good article on this device and unfortunately like him I am in a class 1 wind potential area.  On the Swift website there is an option to find out what the potential payback might be for your location.

However if you are industrious enough you can get in to wind power much cheaper than the some other options by building your own wind turbine. Ecofriend.org (http://www.ecofriend.org/entry/eco-diys-vertical-axis-wind-turbine-made-from-pvc-pipes/) has discovered a great DYI on the Instructable.com website (http://www.instructables.com/id/V8_4quot_vawtsavoniusvertical_axiswind_turbin/).

I am very proud also tonight of a group of protesters who are taking on Pacific Gas and Electric over a ballot proposition that makes it easier to install alternative energy equipment in the San Fransisco area.  A great photo set can be found here: http://planetsave.com/blog/2008/10/29/prop-h-protesters-construct-wind-turbines-at-pge-offices/ where they are setting up wind turbines in front of the PG&E offices.

Lastly I want to remind all of you that Congress did include a $4000 investment tax credit on the omnibus bank bailout for qualified small wind turbines.  A good write up of the possibilities is to be found here on ecopolitology.org (http://ecopolitology.org/2008/10/22/congress-passes-new-small-wind-tax-credit/).

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

Social Bookmarks:

Add to Technorati Favorites

November 3, 2008 at 8:49 pm 1 comment

Wind Turbines – Small enough for your house?

I have been looking for some time into ways to reduce my utility bills.  I have of course looked a solar power in its various forms and have decided to wait a little longer.  However if I can find a wind turbine small enough and with a low enough start up speed I may be a buyer.

I am especially interested in the vertical axis models.  All reports of these suggest that they are more effcient and generate more power at lower startup speeds.  A recent article covering the American Wind Power Associations’s recent conference suggests much promise very soon.

http://cleantechnica.com/2008/06/20/vertical-axis-turbines-the-future-of-micro-wind-energ/

I mentioned in an earlier post about Jay Leno, the Tonight Show host installing one of these on his private garage.  The maufacturer of that particular unit is here: http://www.pacwind.net/

My problem is that most of the micro sized units need a start speed of around 8 mph and of course a fairly constant wind.  Now I live some what near the beach in Southern California and get a fairly constant breeze every afternoon and early evening.  The wind I get on this regular basis does not provide enough for the current crop of equipment to generate any useful amount of power on a regular basis.

A good listing of these are to be found here: http://cleantechnica.com/2008/03/21/the-five-best-micro-wind-turbines/

This is where my interest in the vertical and horizontal units comes in. In many cases these configurations have a lower start speed ( as low as 4 mph), require less overall space and are more friendly to local birds.

The two most interesting sites on these types of turbines that I have found are:

BroadStar, an English firm: http://www.broadstarwindsystems.com/home.php

And Windside, a Finnish firm: http://www.windside.com/products.html

Lastly I have a recommendation for a book on the subject that I have ordered:

Wind Energy Basics by Paul Gipe: http://store.sundancesolar.com/wienbagutosm.html

This is subject I am continuing to follow and hope along with you that it advances significantly soon and becomes affordable to the masses.

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

Social Bookmarks:

Add to Technorati Favorites

June 22, 2008 at 9:34 pm 2 comments

Wind Power gets a facelift

Solar power usually gets all of the headlines but there have been several stories lately showcasing the advances in wind power technology.

The most spectacular is the giant wind farm being created in Texas, land of all things large…. First publicized over a year ago T. Boone Pickens of oil fame proposed a 200,000 acre wind farm that cover s parts of 4 counties and could generate enough power for 1 million homes. Well on May 20, 2008 the company Mr. Pickens founded for this endeavor, Mesa Power placed an order for the first phase of 2 billion dollars worth of wind turbines from GE. The initial order is for 667 1.5 megawatt turbines.

Full Story at Ecogeek.org: http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/1656/1/

Several other recent stories concern making the wind turbines smaller, better looking and more accessible to the average homeowner. One product is the Small Wind turbine being marketed by Quiet Revolution (http://www.quietrevolution.co.uk/). Another is the trend toward making these smaller turbines architecturally compatible with the building. (http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/1747/86/)

The next item I found was one mention in Popular Science Magazine (http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2008-05/ten-times-turbine) This is where an inventor went against the common wisdom where a bigger rotor is better and instead he has figured out how to use a lot of smaller rotors to generate more power. The design is a little scary looking to me as it is this line of madly spinning rotors on a cable supported on one end by a balloon.

Lastly we have 2 concepts to talk about. The first by Magenn Power Inc. (http://www.magenn.com/)

This is the Magenn Air Rotor System (MARS) and it is a tethered balloon structure. Excerpt for the company web site: “MARS is a lighter-than-air tethered wind turbine that rotates about a horizontal axis in response to wind, generating electrical energy. This electrical energy is transferred down the 1000-foot tether for immediate use, or to a set of batteries for later use, or to the power grid. Helium sustains MARS and allows it to ascend to a higher altitude than traditional wind turbines. MARS captures the energy available in the 600 to 1000-foot low level and nocturnal jet streams that exist almost everywhere. MARS rotation also generates the “Magnus effect” which provides additional lift, keeps the MARS stabilized, and positions it within a very controlled and restricted location to adhere to FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) & Transport Canada guidelines.”

Very interesting concept which would allow power generation in remote areas with small amounts of infrastructure. Lastly there is the MAGLEV, a magnetically levitated wind turbine. In the story via Inhabitat.com (http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/11/26/super-powered-magnetic-wind-turbine-maglev/) this device is supposed to power 750,000 homes and the pictures scale it as a very large device. I am somewhat skeptical that there will be a consistent market for such large devices. However I have been surprised before.

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

Social Bookmarks:

Add to Technorati Favorites

June 11, 2008 at 9:26 pm 1 comment


Categories

Feeds