Issue No. 39, August 31, 2009
Welcome to the September 2009 issue of the Small Wind Newsletter. See details on subscribing at the end of the newsletter.
DELAWARE: Legislature prohibits unreasonable restrictions on small wind installations
In July, the Delaware legislature enacted a law prohibiting unreasonable public and private restrictions on the installation of wind energy systems on single-family residential properties. The prohibition includes restrictions put in place by county and local governments; homeowner’s associations; and organizations formed for the management of commonly owned properties. The provisions apply only to wind energy systems that qualify for support under the state Green Energy Fund or similar programs administered by the State Energy Office.
NEW YORK: Toolkit to help communities with wind energy planning and regulation
The New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) created a wind energy toolkit to provide information on various aspects of wind energy development and to help communities that are interested in wind energy development prepare for the issues that they might encounter. This toolkit includes several documents related to wind energy siting and the different methods that communities may use to integrate provisions for wind development into their existing laws. Separate documents address comprehensive planning for wind, options for wind energy ordinances, and examples of existing local wind energy ordinances.
NORTH CAROLINA: Madison County Wind for Schools
“It was a breeze,” said Grayson Newell, Project Manager for the installation of the Skystream 3.7 wind turbine at Madison High School. While tilting the 34 foot monopole tower up and watching the turbine catch the wind on May 26 certainly went smoothly, it was the result of months of planning and coordination between many partners who are committed to bringing clean and renewable energy to the region. Two other schools, Hot Springs Elementary and Madison Middle, will be receiving similar systems this summer.
The vision for the Madison County Wind for Schools project came from Russell Blevins, Coordinator for Mountain Valleys Resource Conservation & Development, who procured a grant for the educational initiative from the Appalachian Regional Commission. Russell’s son, Brandon, who works as the Wind Coordinator for The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, provided much of the technical expertise for the proposal. While the main purpose for the project is to serve as a functioning educational demonstration, the process established the protocol for small wind systems in Madison County. From obtaining the required permits to interconnecting with utilities, the cooperation was strong. Both French Broad Electric Membership Corporation and Progress Energy have been supportive of the project and will be receiving the electricity that is generated by the systems.
Another significant partner in the project is the Madison County School System, which is excited about the educational opportunities that this initiative offers to its students. The Western North Carolina Renewable Energy Initiative at Appalachian State University has been contracted with for curriculum support, and according to Mike Uchal, wind power education will be included into the curriculum at the elementary, middle, and high school grade levels, and will focus on the basics of wind energy as well as the science and application of the technology, along with an introduction to the growing industry of wind power and its benefits to the region. Quint David, the Outreach and Training Coordinator for WNCREI, adds, “Our purpose here is to help promote renewable energy technology and education as a viable solution to our climate and economic crisis…. We need to learn about Energy. The Madison County wind for schools project does just that.” But in saying “these small wind turbines will inspire students, teachers, parents, folks at Ingles, people at the football game, and the local electric coop to pursue more locally-produced clean energy,” Brent Summerville, a long-time wind educator from ASU, brings to mind the fact that these turbines will have a deep and positive impact on the entire community as well as the region.
The turbine chosen for this project, the Skystream 3.7, is a residential scale system, with a rated capacity of 1.8 kW. It has a rotor diameter of 12 feet, with a swept area of 115.7 square feet. It is recommended that the site where these turbines are installed receives at least an average wind speed of 10 miles per hour, which will not always be found at the schools, but there certainly will be times when the blades will be spinning. The prime areas for wind energy in this region are the ridge tops above 3,000 feet, and there is a lot of research currently going on about how wind energy will be developed in this region, much of it being led by the Small Wind Initiative at ASU. Perhaps some of this work will be taken up by students at Madison High who will see opportunities when the wind blows on their hill.
Source: SunDance Power
NEW YORK: Upcoming Small Wind Installation Workshops
Those interested in becoming certified small wind installers in New York state may want to look into taking one of several upcoming workshops led by Master Trainer Roy Butler (of Four Winds Renewable Energy). Mr. Butler serves as the lead technical expert on certification for SUNYGREENSNY and works with the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners towards the long-term goal of increasing the number of master trainers available in the state. He will be leading these workshops on installation of small wind turbines at several different locations around the state this fall. The first day of each workshop is typically an overview for those wanting basic information on wind turbines. The full five-day courses are geared towards those wanting to fulfill the classroom requirement for the NYSERDA Eligible Installer process.
September 28 – October 2
Small Wind Turbine Installation Workshop, hosted by Sullivan County Community College in Loch Sheldrake, NY. For course and registration info please contact Sullivan County Community College 845-434-5750 ext. 4398
Small Wind Turbine Installation Workshop, hosted by SUNY College of Technology in Alfred, NY Hands on work will include the installation of a Proven 2.5 wind turbine. For course and registration info please visit: Alfred State College wind course info 607-587-4015 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Instructors: Roy Butler and Glenn Brubaker
Small Wind Turbine Installation Workshop, hosted by Rockland County Community College in Suffern, NY. For course and registration info please contact Rockland County Community College at 845-574-4151.
Source: Four Winds Energy
MASSACHUSETTS: Turbine Installed on Martha’s Vineyard
Great Rock Windpower installed and commissioned the first Endurance model S-343 on Martha’s Vineyard this August. This turbine is designed to capture more energy and produce more power at lower wind speeds than previous models. A beta version has shown promising results so far — an average 57% increase in energy output during 3 very low wind summer months.
Source: Great Rock Windpower
NEW YORK: Ample funding but customer acceptance still an issue
Since 2004, New York state (NYS) has had a small wind incentive program, and a good one at that.
According to DSIRE, funding is available for systems between 800W-250kW, up to $150,000 per site. “We still have just over $1 million left in this year’s budget,” said Mark Mayhew, Project Manager for NYSERDA‘s Small Wind Incentive Program. “We’ve funded 13 installations so far this year, and another ten are in the process.”
With small wind now able to take advantage of the federal investment tax credit, has New York, like other states, seen fit to curb or cut back its small wind incentive? “It didn’t make any sense to reduce the incentive level,” said Mayhew, “in part because we’ve not spent our budgets down. In fact, our PSC is currently reviewing NYS’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, and is considering increasing funding for small wind energy systems. We hope to be seeing more money for small wind energy systems.”
Though funding is ample, small wind installations can still be a hard sell.
“Truth is,” said Mayhew, “wind energy systems–large or small–still generate a lot of controversy. People either really love them or hate them. Even though small wind energy systems are usually a single turbine, people associate them with large, utility-scale wind farms”
Roy Butler with Four Winds Renewable Energy, in Arkport, NY, and a NYSERDA-eligible wind installer, agrees. “There are a lot of misconceptions in people’s minds about wind power,” said Butler, “and one of them is that there’s no difference between small and large wind when it comes to bird kills, stray voltage, noise, decreased property values, increased property taxes. Those of us in the small wind field have to defend what we do against the fallout caused by large wind. Add to this a lack of reliable, efficient, cost-effective turbines and you’ve got a problem.”
Still, rural applications are the largest user group for small wind turbines in NYS, according to Mayhew, for a variety of reasons.
“NYSERDA’s program is really geared toward 10 kW, grid-connected systems. That’s the size that the incentive makes the most economical sense for the homeowner, and that’s where the vast majority of applications fall. Additionally, the program requires a minimum lot size of one acre and typically the tower location must be 100 feet away from any property line. By the way, the program doesn’t support building-mounted systems. Add them up, and those requirements pretty much take away the opportunities for urban applications of small wind energy systems.”
What if a consumer needs more than 10kW? Can the NYSERDA incentive work for this? “Yes,” said Mayhew, “but the incentive amount is reduced to 40% for the second machine.”
So what options are available for the consumer who wants a system larger than 10kW? “The market will have to dictate what the manufacturers develop for turbines in the 15kW and up range. Several are under development now, but it will take quite a while to go from concept to tried and true equipment,” says Butler. Enter the Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC), an independent certification body that will certify small wind turbines. “SWCC will certainly help weed out the inferior small wind turbines by giving the consumers a handy way to compare machines,” said Butler.
Though net metering and interconnection issues don’t plague small wind energy systems the way they do for photovoltaics, the cap on net metering in NYS is an issue. “For small commercial installations without a demand meter,” said Mayhew, “the system size caps are all over the place; one utility is at 12 kW, another is 5kW. Both are lower than the residential cap of 25kW. Sites with a demand meter are capped at their historic demand, which is also limiting, especially if a consumer is looking to generate most of their electricity with a turbine.” According to Butler, about 85% of owners of small wind energy systems connect to the grid with the intent of lowering their electric bills. “The remainder install them for off-grid homes and cabin systems.”
NYSERDA’s current incentives program for eligible wind installers is designed to increase the network of small wind energy installers in New York State, which currently number about 20. With this program, incentives are provided for eligible installers who install approved, grid-connected wind generation systems. Requirements include experience, customer references, training and education, and $1 million in general liability insurance and auto insurance. Incentives are passed on to the customer.
“There’s a definite lack of skilled workers to perform site assessments and install systems,” said Butler. “But consumers are taking advantage of the state and federal tax incentives. They’re seeing rising electricity costs, and re-prioritizing. None of us can keep up with the demand now.”
Despite the generous funding and support, small wind energy systems’ biggest challenges are still local acceptance. “The home or business owner must get local approval,” said Mayhew. “We had one town that no matter what anyone did, the installation just wasn’t going to be approved. Other communities love them. Mostly, it’s trying to educate people about the technology, and correct misinformation.”
“In fact,” says Mayhew, “one of our installers says the easiest part of installing a wind turbine, is installing the small wind turbine. The hardest part is getting permission to do so.”
OREGON: Oregon Adopts Temporary Wind Turbine Certification
Oregon adopted a temporary rule creating a small wind turbine certification process. In Oregon, electrical equipment must be certified prior to installation. The temporary rule, enacted in July 2009, creates an expedited and streamlined process for small wind turbine certification to reduce cost and delays created by individual certification of turbines.
CANADA: Ontario Seeks Small Wind Vendors
Ontario recently set aside an initial $120 million to implement renewable energy projects in schools and social housing. This funding is expected to be just the start of a concerted plan to jumpstart adoption of renewable energy technologies throughout all public sector infrastructure in the province, and to spur burgeoning private sector interest as well. Planned infrastructure stimulus funding will be available for small scale renewable projects including small wind.
Through this investment, Ontario hopes:
1. To help create green investment, manufacturing and job creation opportunities in Ontario; and
2. To lower future energy operating costs in the public sector facilities by financially assisting in the installation of renewable energy technologies for heating, cooling or generating electricity.
There are sales and manufacturing opportunities for renewable energy technology manufacturers and suppliers. Ontario is particularly interested in hearing from companies interested in establishing new or expanding existing manufacturing and service facilities in the province. As a first step, they are seeking interested companies to respond to a Request for Information.
More information on the request for information is available at the government procurement website: www.merx.com. In order to respond to the Request for Information, and to receive any additional information companies need to sign up to Merx. The deadline for submissions is Friday, September 11th, 2009.
SWCC Receives Federal Grant
The Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC) (http://www.smallwindcertification.org) announced the receipt of a federal grant to help fund the launching of the small wind turbine certification program. SWCC is an independent certification body that certifies that small wind turbines meet or exceed the performance, durability, and safety requirements of the Small Wind Turbine Performance and Safety Standard. This certification will provide a common North American standard for reporting turbine energy and sound performance, and help small wind technology gain mainstream acceptance. SWCC expects to begin accepting certification applications in January 2010.
CANADA: CanWEA Hires Small Wind Advocate
Emilie Moorhouse joined the Canadian Wind Energy Association team on in July 2009 as Small Wind Advocate. In this position, she will be working with the Canadian Provinces and Territories to promote policies and incentives for small wind (under 300 kW). She has a B.A. in Political Science from McGill University and a Master’s in Land Use Planning from the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, France. Ms. Moorhouse spent the last four years working to make climate change and renewable energy a priority for Canadians. As Atmosphere and Energy Campaigner with the Sierra Club of Canada she worked to promote conservation, energy efficiency and renewables as alternatives to coal and nuclear power in Ontario.
OREGON: Rural Wind Workshops
Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development will host a workshop for rural landowners, public officials and community members interested in learning more about wind energy development. The workshops will be offered on September 23rd in La Grande and September 24th in the Dalles, Oregon. Workshop attendees will come away with the knowledge and tools they need to ensure wind developments, large and small, result in the greatest local benefit. Read on.
The workshops will include an introduction to modern wind technology, the various scales of wind development and state incentives and policies effecting wind energy projects. Afternoon break-out sessions with subject matter experts focused on small/community wind projects and landowner participation in large-scale wind projects will also be offered.
All workshops are open to the public with a registration fee of $35.00. A light lunch will be provided. Registration will close on September 9th, 2009. Exhibitor options are available. Please follow this link for more information.
Source: Northwest SEED
ILLINOIS: Four Week Wind Basics Class in Chicago area
The Alliance for Lifelong Learning and Oakton Community College, Skokie, Illinois are sponsoring an introductory wind power class this fall. This challenging course will give a basic understanding of wind power generation. Topics include how a wind turbine works; knowledge of wind resources; how to estimate the production at a given site; making economic calculations; understanding the issues on siting and installing a wind power system.
Register online at www.oakton.edu/all or in person at either Oakton campus, Des Plaines or Skokie. The class is $75.00 plus a $7 processing fee. All registrations must be in advance; there will be no day-of-class registration.
The course Wind Power Basics CRN 60897 will be held at the Oakton Community College’s Harstein Campus located at 7701 N. Lincoln in Skokie, Illinois starting Thursday October 8, 2009 at 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM.
Source: Matt Overeem
OKLAHOMA: Wind Turbine Powers Eco Car Wash
A wind turbine is now powering the first Eco Express Car Wash in Oklahoma, an eco-friendly car wash that promises to have a smaller environmental impact than traditional car washes. The Windspire was installed on July 13th and will provide clean energy to the new car wash.
In addition to creating their own clean energy, Eco Express Car Wash uses environmentally friendly chemicals and reclaimed water to wash cars. Solar panels will also be installed at the Oklahoma City car wash, the first of many Eco Express Car Wash locations planned throughout Oklahoma.
Eco Express Wash co-owners, Garland Bell and Brad Peak, also expect the 30-foot tall vertical design of the wind turbine to attract people to his new business venture. “We think the unique design of the Windspire spinning out front is going to make people notice our new car wash,”; said Bell. “It’s going to generate electricity and business for us.”
Source: Mariah Power
Upcoming Wind Events
For a full listing of upcoming wind energy events, click here.
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.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Adopts Net Metering Modifications
The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission adopted final rules for net metering, which were certified and effective on July 18. The new rule raises the system cap to 100 kW, opens net metering up to all renewable and increases the participation cap to 1.0% of a utility’s annual peak energy demand. The rules also remove the previous requirement for a Utility External Disconnect Switch but allow customers to voluntarily install one if they so choose. Read on.
MASSACHUSETTS: DPU issues net metering order (including rules for neighborhood systems)
On June 26, the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities issued an order, which contains provisions for both net metering and neighborhood net metering. Neighborhood net metered customers must serve a minimum of 10 residential customers, but may serve additional residential and commercial customers beyond that. However, all customers served must be within the same municipality, ISO-NE load zone, and service territory of one distribution company. Read on
MISSOURI: PSC issues order on liability insurance requirements
On June 19, the Missouri Public Service Commission issued a final order regarding the liability insurance requirement debate that has been ongoing since the original net metering order was issued in October 2008. This order provides that customer-generators installing systems of 10 kW or less will not be required to purchase additional liability insurance, and customer-generators with systems of greater than 10 kW will be required to obtain $100,000 of additional liability insurance. Read on.
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.
PENNSYLVANIA: Alternative Energy Production Tax Credit
Pennsylvania now offers a tax credit of 15% on investments in alternative energy production projects located within the state of Pennsylvania with an expected useful life of 4 years or longer. The term “alternative energy production project” is broadly defined and includes wind. Read on.
MAINE: Community Based Renewable Energy Production Incentive
In June 2009, Maine established the Community-based Renewable Energy Pilot Program. Qualifying projects receive either a long-term electricity payment or a renewable energy credit multiplier. Read on.
Planning tool available for evaluating and comparing possible wind turbine locations
Virginia Renewables Siting Scoring System (VRS3) by Dr. Maria Papadakis and Dr. Jonathan Miles, James Madison University
The VRS3 scoring system is a land use planning tool that enables communities to systematically evaluate and compare different locations as to their degree of suitability for wind turbines. It guides users through a variety of factors, including technical feasibility, land use considerations, natural resource and wildlife impacts, and community development criteria. The VRS3 workbook and resources may be downloaded at http://vrs3.cisat.jmu.edu. The GIS files are also available for no charge on CD or DVD upon request to the authors. Read on.
SMALL WIND IN THE NEWS
These articles from around the U.S. give examples of how small wind is covered today– good or bad.
OREGON: Innovative wind turbines to top new downtown Portland high-rise
Oregon Live.com, August 13, 2009
Photo courtesy of ZPG
Portland’s distinctive skyline has a dramatic addition.
By the end of today, the graceful blades of four 45-foot-tall wine turbines are expected to begin spinning above the glossy new Twelve West Building, one of a handful of urban high-rises nationally that capture wind for electricity. The project, built downtown at Southwest 12th Avenue and Washington Street by sustainability leader Gerding Edlen Development Co., already has piqued international interest.
No one claims the turbines will shrink Portland’s carbon footprint. They will produce about 9,000 kilowatt hours yearly – 1 percent of the building’s electricity needs. Read on.
CONNECTICUT: Clean energy taking root in Connecticut
Associated Press, August 22, 2009
From the grounds of a working dairy farm in Torrington, where an innovative wind turbine is going up this fall, to a new mixed-use manufacturing and retail building in Ashford, which will be powered by photovoltaic solar panels, the skyscape of Connecticut is rapidly being altered by the rush toward renewable energy.. Read on.
MARYLAND: Baltimore roof turbine denied
Baltimore Sun, August 3, 2009
Looking to lower her carbon footprint, and offset the rising cost of her BGE bill, Marsha Vitow is endeavoring to become the first Baltimore City resident to install a wind turbine on her roof.
It may seem like a logical next step in a city whose mayor has pushed a “cleaner, greener” agenda. But as eco-friendly as Baltimore is striving to become with extra tree plantings and recycling pickups, Vitow has run into some old-fashioned problems: decades old zoning laws don’t account for a wind turbine and some of her Federal Hill neighbors don’t want to look at it. Read on.
TEXAS: Area users of small wind turbines say they’re happy with return on their investment
Star-Telegram.com, July 10, 2009
Whether they’re running a ranch or powering a lakeside vacation home, more North Texans are looking at wind turbines to offset their electric bills. Even with retail electric prices lower now because of sliding natural gas prices, many homeowners on the outskirts of the Metroplex find that wind power is cost-effective, thanks partly to a federal tax credit offsetting 30 percent of the cost and installation of a small wind-energy system. Read on.
NEW YORK: Wind turbine highlights green goals at fairgrounds
Poughkeepsie Journal, August 24, 2009
The Green Initiative, which began a year ago, was easy to miss at last year’s Dutchess County Fair. It was located inside a small tent that could be lost amid the swirl of activity at the fair’s 4-H pavilion.
This year, officials said the Green Initiative will be bigger and better when the fair opens Tuesday. If anyone wants evidence of this, all they need to do is look upward at the 35-foot-tall wind turbine installed on the fairgrounds Saturday. The turbine is part of a yearlong study into the feasibility of wind energy at the fairgrounds. Read on.
OREGON: Incentive programs give a boost to the small wind industry
Statesman Journal, August 10, 2009
An Independence company is hoping to make wind turbines a more common feature of the Willamette Valley landscape. WindEnergy expects to have a handful of small-scale installations on residential properties by October.
“We expect once one goes up in a neighborhood, others will consider it,” said Jason Bruggeman, project manager for WindEnergy. “We expect a ripple effect, but we don’t know how far it will go.”
It has got to go farther than what it has — fewer than 100 small-scale wind turbines are in the entire state, estimated Carel DeWinkel, a senior policy analyst with the Oregon Department of Energy. Read on.
MAINE: Shoals Marine Lab keeps getting greener
seacoastonline.com, August 24, 2009
A 7.5 kilowatt wind turbine was installed on Appledore Island, Maine, home of The Shoals Marine Laboratory — a first-class summer marine sciences program run by Cornell University and the University of New Hampshire. Specially designed for the often ferocious offshore winter storms, the 80-foot turbine “protects itself,” said Hanson, by turning tail into the winds when they’re too strong.
Interestingly, because the island is known worldwide for its bird population — not only native gulls, but migratory birds who find respite there on their astounding trips from Canada to South America — one of the blades is painted black. This wards birds off from crashing into the turbine and in two years, said Hansen, they’ve never lost a bird to the blades. The $95,000 turbine powers UNH’s scientific instruments, and was paid for through a federal grant.. Read on.
MAINE: PUC gets funds for Aroostook wind projects
Bangor Daily News, August 14, 2009
Windmills, both for personal and business use, are becoming familiar sights in Aroostook County. A grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program could lead to still more of the structures, as the funds will be used in part to support the development of new small wind-power related businesses in the region. Read on.
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