Issue No. 37, April 29, 2009
Welcome to the May 2009 issue of the Small Wind Newsletter. If you have trouble with the links in this e-mail message, click here to view the web version of the newsletter. See details on subscribing at the end of the newsletter.
TEXAS: Turbine Installed at LCRA’s McKinney Roughs Park
The Lower Colorado River Authority worked closely with the Texas State Energy Conservation Office (SECO), the Alternative Energy Institute at West Texas A&M University, and Meridian Energy Systems to install a residential-sized wind system at McKinney Roughs Nature Park near Bastrop, Texas. The education staff at McKinney Roughs is working to integrate SECO’s renewable energy curriculum with its own newly developed education programs.
MASSACHUSETTS: Multiple Installations in Massachusetts!
The Bay State is a busy state for small wind installers. Wind turbines were installed recently in Charlton, as well as on Martha’s Vineyard and a farm on Nantucket. A six-day workshop for installers is planned for May.
A Conversation with Mick Sagrillo
Jane Pulaski interviews a dedicated small wind advocate.
CALIFORNIA: Small Wind Permitting Reports
The California Wind Energy Collaborative conducted two studies meant to identify some of the permitting issues and to shed light on the wide-range of permitting fees. The first study involved surveying small wind turbine installers in California, to document the common challenges faced by many of the installers as they attempt to acquire permits from local jurisdictions. The second study reviewed the permitting fees for small wind turbines in California counties.
NREL Releases Preliminary Test Data on Four Small Wind Turbines
The National Renewable Energy Lab posted preliminary test results for four small wind turbines in April. Through a competitive solicitation, NREL selected four commercially available small wind turbine systems to test in 2008/2009.
Small Wind and the National Electrical Code
For the past year, a committee from the small wind industry has been working on a new article for the U.S. National Electrical Code (the NEC). The proposed new article for small wind electric systems is modeled after one for photovoltaics, and applies to systems up to 100 kW rated power output.
MASSACHUSETTS: Small Renewables Initiative Guidelines Updated
Based on feedback from the January stakeholder meeting, The Small Renewables Initiative has issued updated guidelines for the micro wind projects they fund. The $35,000 per project cap has been removed, and an additional $1,000 is now built into the initial rebate for all projects, regardless of system size.
Upcoming Wind Events
For a full listing of upcoming wind energy events,
INTERCONNECTION AND NET METERING
Check the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc.’s Connecting to the Grid web site for the latest interconnection and net metering news.
NORTH CAROLINA: Utilities Commission Expands Net Metering Rules
The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) issued an order amending the state’s net metering rules. The NCUC ordered that renewable generators up to one MW may net meter with no aggregate limits on customer participation. The Commission also removed the previous requirement that net metering customers take service under Time of Use (TOU)-Demand rates, thereby allowing for full retail rate choice.
UTAH: PSC Improves Rocky Mountain Power’s Net Metering Tariff
The Utah Public Service Commission (PSC) issued an order, that significantly improves Rocky Mountain Power’s (RMP) net metering tariff. Notably, in this order the PSC increased the net metering program cap from 0.1% to 20% of RMP’s peak demand for 2007. The decision allows for a kWh credit for excess generation from residential and small commercial customers’ net metered systems. Previously, if a customer generated net excess kWhs during a billing period, the utility credited the customer’s NEG at a rate equal to the utility’s avoided cost or higher, which would rollover each month for up to a year.
NEW YORK: PSC Approves Net Metering Tariffs, Adopts Changes to SIR
The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) issued an order revising and approving changes to net metering tariffs for the six investor-owned utilities in New York. The PSC also issued an order , adopting changes to the state’s Standard Interconnection Requirements (SIR). The incorporated changes, as required by energy bills passed in 2008, provide for an expedited application process, an update to UL 1741 (November 2005 revision), and elimination of the external disconnect switch for systems 25 kW and under.
New Incentives reported by the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE) , a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and selected federal incentives that promote renewable energy. To access state-by-state incentives and policies that promote wind energy technologies, click here and select “wind (all)” or “wind (residential)” from the drop-down menu.
NEVADA – RenewableGenerations Rebate Program
In January 2008, the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) issued ruling R175-07, which established rebate levels for the RenewableGenerations program through 2013, and added incentives for small wind and hydroelectric systems. NV Energy is still accepting applications for the 2009-2010 application period for wind and small hydro systems. Funds are limited and applications will be reviewed in the order they are received. To be eligible, wind systems need to be operational as of September 4, 2008 or later.
TVA – Green Power Switch Generation Partners Program
TVA purchases the entire output of a qualifying system at $0.12 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) above the retail rate for solar and $0.03/kWh above the retail rate for all other eligible renewables. The power is purchased through a participating power distributor and the customer receives a credit on their utility bill for the power generated. If a system produces more electricity than it consumes, then the customer will receive a check for the excess generation.
New Report: Potential for Mid-Scale Distributed Wind
An Analysis of the Technical and Economic Potential for Mid-Scale Distributed Wind by R. Kwartin, A. Wolfrum, K. Granfield, A. Kagel
This report examines the development potential of mid-scale distributed wind projects. Its purpose is to analyze why this segment of the wind market has not enjoyed the same growth as central-station wind, and to assess the market potential for this technology under current market and policy conditions.
SMALL WIND IN THE NEWS
These articles from around the U.S. (and even the U.K.!) give examples of how small wind is covered today‚ good or bad.
NEVADA: Las Vegas Residents Push for Wind Turbines on Small Acreage
Las Vegas Sun, April 2, 2009
If renewable energy is the wave of the future, then the city of Las Vegas needs to get on board by changing some of its codes, says Terry Buis, a small business owner. He would like to install a 42-foot wind turbine at his business. The problem: His city lot is 1 1/2 acres. According to city code, wind turbines are only allowed on residential farms two acres or larger.
WISCONSIN: Ellsworth Area Couple Harnesses Wind for Power
Pierce County Herald, April 23, 2009
A couple in the Town of Salem, Wisconsin installed a 120-foot turbine at their home, high atop a hill, above treeline. After having a wind assessment done, the turbine was installed by Freier’s Electric and Heating in nearby Ellsworth. Conservation measures were done and solar panels were installed, as part of their energy remodel.
ILLINOIS: Homeowners and Small Businesses Install Turbines
Chicago Tribune, April 24, 2009
A couple in Harvard, Illinois is installing a small wind turbine on their property — a 34-foot-tall turbine that they say will make them a bit more energy self-reliant and they hope will save them money. Residential wind turbines are becoming a larger part of the renewable energy picture in Illinois. The small turbines also are being purchased by some small businesses and schools.
UK: Small Wind Manufacturers “must co-operate to survive”
New Energy Focus.com, April 24, 2009
Small wind manufacturers must co-operate and work together to develop a full system of standards and certification, if the industry is to survive. That was the view of a number of companies currently battling to compete against the solar photovoltaic industry to provide “human-scale” renewable electricity for households and businesses. Speaking at a key gathering of the industry in the UK on April 23rd, manufacturers were warned that both customers and investors are being “burned” by devices that do not generate the power claimed by their makers.
VERMONT: Planning Board Makes Way for Wind Turbine
Bennington Banner, April 23, 2009
The Hoosick Planning Board ruled that a local homeowner does not have to seek approval for a proposed 100-foot wind turbine he intends to build on his property. In April, the board determined that the wind tower is permitted under the town’s Land Use Law, which passed in early March.
TEXAS: Man Arrested in Wind Turbine Con
Abilene Reporter News, April 22, 2009
Taylor County sheriff’s deputies arrested a Texas man in connection with unfinished work on residential wind turbines. According to Sgt. John Cummins with the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office, seven people have reported giving this man large down payments for work not completed. In the contract, the man said he was selling a certain brand of wind turbine, but he was not an authorized dealer.
CALIFORNIA: Turbine May Be Terminated
Contra Costa Times, April 21, 2009
Rancho Palos Verdes resident Bill Ramirez is into green energy and conservation so installing a wind turbine to generate energy on his property seemed like a good idea. He is now in trouble with the city. He is not alone as others in RPV have run afoul of city codes in an attempt to install green energy devices.
MINNESOTA: City Council Plans for Growth of Wind Energy
South Washington County Bulletin, April 20, 2009
City council members in Cottage Grove, Minnesota recently approved amendments to the town’s two decades-old zoning ordinances that cover wind turbines, establishing more stringent permitting and adding a public hearing requirement for businesses and homeowners interested in harnessing wind power for electricity. The ordinance amendments are “more precautionary, if you will,” said community development director Howard Blin, “because we anticipate there will be greater demand” for wind turbines in the future.
MASSACHUSETTS: Museum of Science Wind Turbines Debut
Wicked Local Cambridge.com, April 24, 2009
Boston’s Museum of Science currently has two functional wind turbines connected to its electrical grid, and aims to construct a total of six, all smaller “residential turbines,” with the largest one holding a capacity of six kilowatts and featuring a 20 foot rotor diameter. Although the project’s initial goal was to “generate a lot of clean electrical power,” studies conducted over the past year yielded some discouraging data, indicating that the cost of constructing the turbines undercuts their economic viability.
MASSACHUSETTS: Farmers Seed Plans to Sell Wind Power with Produce
Vineyard Gazette, April 24, 2009
Imagine a future in which you join a farm share program and receive, along with your in-season fruit, vegetables and flowers, cheap electricity. It’s a creative idea thought out by smart, creative people. But the fact is, Martha’s Vineyard is knee-deep in wind power concepts and proposals right now, many of them running way out in front of current regulatory regimes, and in some cases, ahead of environmental realities.
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