Posts Tagged ‘residential wind turbine’
» posted on Wednesday, November 10th, 2010 at 10:41 am by Woody Wilson viewed 395 times
A Canadian-made turbine designed to fit on roofs and help power homes and small businesses will go on sale in December.
It is being manufactured at a new factory in Windsor, Ont.
Reg Adams, president of manufacturer WindTronics, told CBC News the turbines will appeal to commercial and agricultural operations, as well as homeowners who are environmentally conscious, or need emergency backup power.
“We are complete emergency home standby systems,” he said in an interview. “It’s like the replacement of a home standby generator. We can build a battery support, and if the power outage is because of a storm, it will have wind. If not, we have charged batteries.”
Each turbine comes with a computerized smart box and inverter that will allow the unit to feed directly into the ac power system of a home or business, or feed the energy back into the electricity grid.
‘The Honeywell turbine makes wind technology affordable and accessible.’—Reg Adams, WindTronics
The design is intended to maximize power output while minimizing noise and vibration. The unit differs from industrial wind turbines in that it looks more like a fan than windmill and generates power through the tips of the blades rather than turning a generator.
“The Honeywell turbine makes wind technology affordable and accessible to the vast majority of Canadian homeowners, who have great wind resources,” said Adams.
24 years to payback
When its installed in an area with high winds, the turbine can produce up to 2,700 kilowatt hours a year. Based on Ontario’s peak power rate of 9.9 cents per kWh, a turbine could save $272 in power costs each year.
However, at a cost of $6,500, with an additional $3,000 for installation, it would take 24 years for it to pay for itself.
Adams says the company is currently negotiating with the Ontario government to have the turbines included in the Feed-in Tariff Program, which pays a premium for green-power energy.
He said if the Ontario government agrees to pay 50 to 55 cents per kilowatt-hour, it will make the turbines far more appealing to everyday homeowners.
If Ontario residents were able to feed power back into the grid under such an arrangement, the turbine would earn about $1,500 per year and be paid for in 4½ years.
The turbines will be sold at Home Depot and other major retailers across Canada.
By Mike Rose | Austin Daily Herald
Published Tuesday, May 18, 2010
With plenty of controversy surrounding the idea of allowing wind turbine construction in residential areas, City Council took a step forward Monday with a compromise.
During a work session, council motioned to have Craig Hoium, the city’s planning director, rewrite a proposed turbine ordinance with language that would prohibit construction in residential areas. However, schools within these areas would be exempt from this restriction and would be able to apply for turbine construction permits.
This all comes on the heels of nearly a year of debate on the wind turbine ordinance issue. During that time, the proposed law has gone through a number of changes — initially, a draft would have prohibited the structures in residential areas but permitted them elsewhere in Austin. However, council ultimately decided that the issue warranted more discussion, and the ordinance went back to the drawing board.
That was late last year, and in the months since, the city’s planning commission put out a proposal that would have allowed the structures in residential areas, though all projects would have required individual permits and would have been subject to a list of restrictions. The restrictions would have included a limit on height — 75 feet in residential areas — and blade size, as well as a stipulation that a tower be set back from a property line at a minimum distance of 1.1 times a tower’s height.
Earlier this month, that proposal lost on a 3-3 tie vote, with councilman John Martin absent. Voting against the ordinance were Brian McAlister, Steve King and Marian Clennon, with McAlister and King both making it very clear that they had reservations about allowing wind turbines in neighborhoods.
“I think allowing them in residential areas is a bad idea,” McAlister said at the May 3 meeting. “You can be quite sure if one does pop up, (council) is going to hear about it.”
On Monday, McAlister added to that by saying that among constituents to call him on the issue he didn’t, “recall even one being in favor of allowing them in residential areas.”
Mayor Tom Stiehm echoed that sentiment.
“I haven’t talked to one person who wants them in their neighborhood,” he said.
The compromise discussed Monday could appease those worried about having the structures in their backyards, but could also satisfy wind energy proponents. One, retired Austin pastor Marvin Repinski, said turbines are an essential part of a clean-energy future. But he also said he could understand not having them in neighborhoods and said he liked the most recent proposal.
Whatever direction council heads, they’d like to do so soon — on June 28, a moratorium on turbine construction expires. Because that would mark 180 days — specifically, three, 60-day periods — with the restriction in place, the city by law would not be able to enact another moratorium. And that would mean an open season of sorts for those interested in building wind turbines, provided other established building codes were met and only until a specific ordinance was established.
Council has two scheduled meetings before that date — one on June 7, another on June 21.
Councilwoman Janet Anderson said the city would be well served to enact the ordinance in the timeframe but to keep an open mind to future changes.
“As the energy evolves, we can revisit (the ordinance),” she said. “I think it’s a really good compromise at this point.”
- How and Why to Permit for Small Wind Systems (AWEA) pdf 36 pages 5.4MB
“Good zoning for small wind [turbine] is important, achievable, and good public policy. Planners and zoning officials are in a unique and powerful position to help renewable energy and those who rely on it. Of all the challenges consumers and the industry face to deliver the benefits of clean, on-site power generation, the permitting process can be the most severe. But fortunately, a remedy is available and implementing it can come at a net benefit to the community at large. By understanding the issues and identifying a variety of potential solutions, renewable energy will be able to play a more vibrant part in American communities.”
ELGIN — The display at Randall and Binnie roads north of here features the top of a wind turbine with a sign to call a guy named Joe for more details about renewable energy.
If you call Joe Galvin, he’ll explain the concept behind the buzz words “renewable energy” or “wind energy.”
Galvin, an agent with Monarch Renewable Energy, put up the display a few months ago to generate sales leads and pique interest among the roughly 45,000 motorists who use Randall Road daily. His idea has worked. Galvin has been receiving lots of phone calls.
“We get a lot of phone calls every day,” he said. “People are kind of curious. We have people interested in buying, but we get people asking what is that thing.”
Monarch, based in Elgin, is bringing small wind turbines to a new market — residential use — co-owner Casey Panichi said. Panichi had one built as a demonstration at his home near Campton Hills last fall, when the company announced it was broadening its portfolio of products and services to offer wind power options geared toward smaller residential use and larger commercial applications.
Wind energy is a topic of conversation everywhere, with federal tax credits encouraging the technology. Last week, Evanston officials announced an idea to put wind turbines in Lake Michigan. Late last year, a wind farm opened in DeKalb and Lee counties, causing consternation among neighbors. And local school districts such as Community Unit School District 300 are looking to invest in wind energy.
Elgin, coincidentally, is becoming the site of a cottage industry of sorts for wind energy. Monarch and the largest manufacture of wind turbines — Winergy Drive Systems Corp., a subsidiary of Siemens Drive Technologies — are headquartered here.
The problem is that Elgin, like a lot of communities, doesn’t have an ordinance allowing wind turbines, either residential or commercial. That’s about to change, and supporters of the wind energy hope it will open the door to a greener city.
Monarch is an authorized dealer and installer for the Skystream 3.7 “grid-connected” wind turbine for commercial and residential use. The company’s customer base ranges from residential and agriculture to estate homes and nonprofits, Panichi said. It is installing several of those wind turbines for D300′s Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville. Monarch also is planning to expand to provide thermal solar technology and energy-efficient lighting systems.Panichi and his business partner, Scott Crompton, started the business a year and a half ago. Since then, there’s been a growing interest in small wind turbines.
What has helped fuel the interest is the deals on small wind turbines, Panichi said. President Barack Obama’s administration is focused on encouraging renewable energy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and last year it lifted a $2,000 cap on a tax credit. The 30 percent tax credit from the federal government and a 30 percent rebate from the Illinois Commerce Commission both go toward the purchase of a small wind turbine, he said.
Panichi’s company fields calls from people with questions ranging from what is a small wind turbine to the cost — between $15,000 and $20,000 — and how long it takes to recoup the initial investment.
Galvin has been surprised at how well-received the idea has been, even the cost, he said. The tax credit and rebate help, he said.
“No one says that’s absolutely insane,” he said. “It’s all about savings, I think more people are trying to save money as it relates to not being reliant on the electrical-supplying entities in the area.”
The market in small, residential wind turbines is relatively new — so new that some governmental entities don’t have zoning ordinances addressing the installation of the units. That’s changing, however. Kane County is considering an ordinance to regulate the use of turbines for residential, non-commercial use. It would require homeowners have at least two acres of land to install small wind turbines or a single turbine up to 76 feet tall on their property. The board is expecting to have a draft ordinance by June.
The city of Elgin is working on an ordinance covering commercial wind turbines, Monarch is working with the city on the draft, he said. The ordinance should be helpful and may be the first step toward an ordinance dealing with residential uses, he said.
“There were a lot of things I never thought about that you need to look at,” Elgin Councilman David Kaptain said. He is a member of the city’s Sustainable Master Plan committee, which is working to amend or introduce new ordinances that would make Elgin greener.An example of a potential problem: shadow flicker. This is when a turbine spins and momentarily blocks the sun, causing an irritating flicker, he said. Another issue is having enough acreage for a small wind turbine, he said. Kaptain himself researched the possibility of installing one but finds it would be hard to do so in his neighborhood. He is not sure whether such turbines will work in Elgin’s established neighborhoods but believes they may be feasible in Elgin’s far-west neighborhoods, he said.
City staff has finished a first draft of an ordinance dealing with commercial wind turbines, not residential — which will be trickier, Kaptain said. The draft will be sent to the council soon, although he did not yet not have details about the ordinance. Other ordinances in the works deal with solar energy and building energy efficient homes.
Kaptain supports the idea of using commercial wind turbines in the city, such as to power Elgin’s new fire station or portions of The Centre. He also would like to see a wind turbine incorporated in the city’s new far-west park along with using solar and geothermal energy.