Posts Tagged ‘Wind Power’
» posted on Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010 at 12:01 pm by Woody Wilson viewed 67 times
By Vicki Terwilliger (staff writer email@example.com)
Published: October 31, 2010
vicki terwilliger/staff photo At the Wasilus home, a wind turbine, left, overlooks a ground-mounted solar thermal panel hot water system and rooftop photovoltaic PV solar panels.
Some Schuylkill County homeowners are giving their neighbors something to talk about.
As a partner and installer with Control Alt Energy, Auburn, Andy Wollyung said he’s seen inquiries about solar and alternative energy sources soar among local residents. Often, referral is by word-of-mouth.
“We’re still seeing a growing number of people interested. It’s the talk of the town. People say, ‘I’ve seen this installed,’ and it strikes a big interest in a lot of people’s eyes,” Wollyung said.
Two Barry Township families have had their alternative electricity systems in place and say they’re happy with the investments and savings. Ted and Marie Reinoehl and Mike and Karen Wasilus, all of the Ashland area, shared details about their experiences.
The state’s decision to remove the rate caps on what electric companies can charge is what prompted Mike Wasilus to start looking into alternative energy.
“I was looking to get ahead of the rate cap removal. I contacted Control Alt Energy and things took off from there. We started with the solar/thermal water heat, then the wind turbine and finally the solar panels.”
“Also, the federal and state tax credit and rebate programs played a major role in our decision-making. Without those programs, the projects would not have been good business decisions,” Wasilus said.
Their home is heated and cooled by a heat pump and is entirely electric.
The ground-mounted solar/thermal water heater, a Sunda brand system, was installed in September 2008. It immediately cut 15 to 20 percent from their electric usage, they said.
The Skystream Wind Turbine made by Southwest Windpower was installed in March 2009.
“It has had less of an impact on our electricity savings. I’d say about 10 percent savings,” Wasilus said.
Sharp brand solar photovoltaic PV panels were installed on the rooftop with a Fronius inverter in October 2009.
“They are awesome and have had the biggest impact on our electricity savings. They easily cut 30 to 40 percent from our electric usage. For comparison’s sake, the solar panels have been installed six months less than the wind turbine, yet the solar panels have already surpassed the amount of electricity generated by the wind turbine by 75 percent.”
“Knowing what I know now, I would double the capacity of the solar panel system and bypass putting up the wind turbine,” he said.
Wasilus said he doesn’t regret installing the wind turbine, it just may take a bit longer to recoup his initial investment.
The initial investment cost for all systems, he said, was offset by the federal tax credits offered, at about 30 percent. The solar-panel cost was also offset by the state’s Sunshine program that offered about a 30 percent rebate on the installed cost of the system.
“The payback period is a tough question to answer, because the tax credits and rebates are constantly changing. For me, both solar projects will have a much faster payback than the wind project. I’m looking at about eight years on the payback for the solar projects and probably at least 12 years on the wind project. As far as savings, I would say as a percentage, I’m saving about 60 percent off my electricity bill with these projects. Obviously, for someone who has other forms of heating or cooling, the saving percentage would be much greater,” Wasilus said.
The kilowatt hours generated by the PV panels in almost a year were 4,100 KWH, Wasilus said, and the wind turbine generated 2,100 KWH in a year and a half.
The Reinoehls, meanwhile, had their solar array panels installed in October 2009 by Maximus Solar, Sacramento. There are 33 panels on the south-facing roof of their 3,200-square-foot home.
“We were trying to look into the future,” Ted Reinoehl said. “We figured electric rates would go up and deregulation was happening, and we were getting closer to retirement and were looking for ways to save money down the road.”
Their home is also an electric-run house. They initially installed a geothermal system, with tubing running beneath their yard, when the home was built 19 years ago.
Over the past 11 months, Reinoehl said they’ve saved about $1,200 in electricity costs.
On average, if the sun is out, the solar panels generate about 40 KWH per day, according to Ted Reinoehl. In checking his records, their panels did generate less kilowatts during the winter and more in the spring and summer months. By comparison, there was 397 KWH generated in the month of November, 64 KWH in December, 400 KWH in January and 1,200 KWH in March.
“I’m so glad we did this, and there were incentives to do so.” Marie Reinoehl said. With five adults living in the home, the system provides the electricity needed to heat and cool the home and for daily usage.
“One of the biggest holdbacks is the initial costs, which can make it prohibitive,” said Ted Reinoehl. “I feel confident within a five-year period of time, it’s paid for.”
June 29, 2010
To the editor:
Still, for the past two years I have been working to improve the insulation of my home, changing windows, chinking logs, replacing doors, adding compact fluorescent lamps and changing the furnace for more high efficiency. Soon I will insulate under portions of the house and replace the roof insulation. Not because I hate GVEA, but because I think my level of personal consumption of energy is appalling.
Plus, my electricity will cost even more in the future, given the additional $95 million the Healy Clean Coal Plant will take to license and the expenditure of vast amount of additional energy to make the changes required. The old design Healy Clean Coal Plant has been very, very clean for many years, in that it hasn’t worked.
Clean coal is an oxymoron. And I think, with apologies to the Usibellis, that the plant should now serve as a great monument to the end of the construction of coal plants and visited by lots of green tourists (not the Martians). In this mode it will contribute to the economy of Healy, which could use some help — have you ever directed anyone to Healy as a great tourist site? Now you will have the chance!
So I, but unfortunately apparently not GVEA, will continue to reduce consumption of energy in whichever way I can become more responsible. I hope GVEA can become more responsible, too. Think wind power!
» posted on Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 at 10:36 pm by Woody Wilson viewed 73 times
By STEVEN HILL Published: June 8, 2010
With toxic black ooze spreading throughout the Gulf of Mexico, it may be time for the Obama administration to think seriously about national energy policy. It could learn plenty by looking across the Atlantic.
The average European today emits half the carbon of an average American and uses far less electricity. It takes 40 percent more fuel for an American car to drive a mile than a European car. Europe overall has managed to reduce its ecological footprint to half that of the United States for the same standard of living.
How has Europe managed this? Through smart, strategic government policy, working closely with the private sector, to advance incentives and regulations that encourage the necessary behavior from consumers, households and businesses.
While the U.S. has resorted to ill-fated strategies to secure more oil — including recent calls for more offshore drilling — the European landscape has been slowly transformed. Picture windmills, tidal turbines and solar panels on rooftops dotting the European landscape, and vast solar arrays with tens of thousands of panels that have tracking technology to follow the sun.
Then add “smart” energy-efficient buildings that monitor the temperature and sunlight to open and close window panels and blinds automatically. Imagine harnessing the body warmth of 250,000 daily commuters to produce heat for a nearby office block, with high-speed trains circling it all, linking major cities, whisking passengers in carbon-friendly efficiency. All of these inventions and more are becoming reality in Europe.
Europe leads the world in the production of wind power — the U.S. has less than half of Europe’s wind capacity and China barely a third. Solar power has also surged, with photovoltaic capacity in the European Union growing at an annual rate of 70 percent.
Other energy forms are being developed, including geothermal, biomass and small-scale hydro. Captain Nemo’s dream of power from the sea has taken the form of large cylindrical “sea snakes” bobbing in the ocean, transforming wave motion into electric power, as well as underwater “seamills” — turbines churning in the currents, producing carbon-free power.
Renewable energy technologies have proliferated in Europe. Energy companies are required to pay producers of wind and solar power three times more per kilowatt than they pay for conventional power. That has created economies of scale allowing renewable technologies to expand.
Most European advances result from just better ways of boosting conservation. Since the mid-1990s, all new construction has had to meet requirements for energy efficiency, incorporating green principles into everything from building design to urban planning to low-flush toilets.
Buildings account for 50 to 70 percent of total energy use in today’s cities, so E.U. directives pushing widespread use of low wattage light bulbs, motion sensors that automatically turn off lights and reductions in “standby power” used by household appliances, have been important tools in the battle to reduce energy use.
Europe also has been pioneering what is known as “cogeneration,” which recaptures the vast amounts of wasted heat belched up a power plant’s smokestack. Millions of homes and buildings are warmed by recycled heat transported in insulated pipes from power plants. Recycled energy from cogeneration amounts to 40-50 percent of all energy used in Denmark, the Netherlands and Finland, and 20 percent in Germany and Poland — but only 8 percent in the United States.
The average American building uses roughly a third more energy than its German counterpart. Improving energy efficiency in buildings would translate to a whopping 25 percent reduction in America’s carbon emissions.
In the transportation sector, Europe is leading in the development of mass public transit, high-speed trains and fuel-efficient autos (including vehicles such as electric plug-ins and hydrogen-fueled cars). It also encourages bicycling and walking with thousands of kilometers of bike and pedestrian paths.
For all these reasons, while the U.S. has seen a 21 percent rise in oil consumption since 1980, most European countries have seen significant drops. Oil consumption in Denmark and Sweden declined by a third, in Germany by 20 percent, in France by 14 percent. If the United States matched Europe’s energy productivity, Americans’ demand for oil would be cut by nearly 20 percent — a huge amount given that the U.S. consumes about a quarter of the world’s total.
Europe has created hundreds of thousands of new “green jobs,” and green exports to global markets have increased, showing that sound environmental policy does not have to hurt the economy. Europe has set a course outlined by its ambitious 20-20-20 Plan, with its goals of reducing carbon emissions by 20 percent and increasing use of renewables to 20 percent of the overall energy mix by 2020 (the U.S. generates only 6 percent of electricity from renewables).
Certainly Europe has its energy challenges, many of them stemming from the instability of Middle Eastern and Russian energy sources. The current economic crisis adds an additional trial.
But Europeans have discovered what a previous generation of American leaders once knew: that investment in infrastructure pays dividends in multiple ways that pave the way for the future.
» posted on Saturday, June 5th, 2010 at 10:31 pm by Woody Wilson viewed 79 times
Solar power is great – when the sun shines. Wind power is a champ when the wind blows. But what happens on a dark night with calm winds to those two forms of alternative energy?
That’s the purpose of a bill approved this week by the California Assembly.
It mandates that the state’s energy grid must develop forms of energy storage by 2015. It doesn’t say how the energy might be stored, but some proposals include so-called “ultracapacitors” to store energy in an electrical field instead of traditional batteries.
Bill author Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, who is chairman of the Assembly Rules Committee, says the storage of electricity will create thousands of permanent new green-collar jobs in California.
“Energy storage improves the overall efficiency of our electric power system which will lower costs for consumers,” says Ms. Skinner.