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Who has wind turbine experience?  RSS feed

 
jonathan white
Posts: 22
Location: Brooklyn
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I'm shopping around for property and researching various technologies. I'm having very little success in finding folks who have real world experience using windmills to create electricity to use and sell.
 
Ryan Harp
Posts: 97
hugelkultur urban woodworking
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Jonathan,

I'm more involved with utility scale wind but may have some tips for small scale for you. What scale are you trying to reach?
 
jonathan white
Posts: 22
Location: Brooklyn
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Hi Ryan,
I'm still on the fence about it. I'd ideally be able to generate power for my own usage and also sell back to power company. The latter is obviously quite a perk. That said, a utility scale wind turbine is quite a sizable investment. The bulk of the properties I've been shopping are between Owensboro, Kentucky and Nashville, Tennessee. Are there folks who've installed utility scale turbines out that way? If so, are they privately purchasing equipment or are they leasing ground to the power company?
 
Ryan Harp
Posts: 97
hugelkultur urban woodworking
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Not the best states for wind but it's not impossible. I'd recommend you spend some time on the Windustry.org site. They have great resources for working through the logistics. Every power company is different in how they integrate with renewable power. Start here...

http://windustry.org/home-and-farm-scale-wind/planning-small-wind-project

Something else to think about is an Energy CoOp for solar and/or wind. I'm planning on getting one going in my area if life ever slows down.

http://www.universityparksolar.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7ye1HYkGpM

Fun Stuff!
 
jonathan white
Posts: 22
Location: Brooklyn
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Ryan, I sure do thank you for your advice.
 
Josh Johann
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I can tell you my own personal experience with wind turbines for personal power.
I use Delco Remy 10SI alternators converted to permanant magnet.
I use these because they are the biggest a 'one man or one woman' team could handle setting up.
They produce about 10 amps.
When I say 10 amps, that is a 35-40 MPH wind which most areas don't get all the time.
In my area, wind is usually 5-15 MPH typically.
I use low speed, low start up vanes.
The start up is around 6 MPH.
The thinner 'sword' type vanes are for high wind/high speed so they would be almost useless in my area.
The turbines are used to suppliment my solar system.
Which brings up how I use them.
They typically produce 1-3 amps at night when I get wind in my area, so they act as a 'trickle' charge' to my battery bank.
The body is made from 1/4"X 1 1/4" metal strap..the tail was cut from an old washing machine.
The mount is made from 2" pipe welded to angle iron and the tail assembly bolts on.
The tower is a 'tilt down' tower concreted in the ground 3' deep.
The short of the story is, unless you have regular wind in your area, you would probably get more watts per dollar with solar and use the wind turbine as a suppliment to the solar system.
Just my humble opinion.
Good luck.


 
jonathan white
Posts: 22
Location: Brooklyn
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That is fantastic, Josh! At what height are these contraptions mounted? If you have pictures I sure would like to see some.
 
Theo Brauch
Posts: 3
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I have worked with all forms of alternative energy systems and have designed systems, when you are looking for property with wind power generation in mind look for trees on the property that have flagging. What that means is the branches on one side of the tree are all blown permanently to one side. This is truly how much wind you will need to generate enough power to live almost as good as on grid. As for storage I would recommend 48 volt system and depending on you tools you can have 120/240 I have done 3 phase 440. The sky is the limit if you have deep pockets. I do warn people that wind some times sucks not blows so the property best suited for wind is some were you want to stay in doors because out side the wind will blow you over. Look for water cheaper most systems need little maintenance and are quit wind turbines for private use tend to be extremely loud. I call them the screaming *****.
 
Rebecca Norman
gardener
Posts: 1269
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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food preservation greening the desert solar trees
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Thanks Theo, that advice to look for "flagging" sounds great, and is exactly the kind of practical low-tech advice I like. We've been discussing the possibility of installing a turbine here for years. Sometimes the wind is so strong that you have to turn your back to it and just wait, but most of the time there isn't much wind.

Our trees are fairly symmetrical with only a very slight tendency to grow leaning downwind, so according to your tip, we are not likely to get significant power from wind at this location, right?

If the turbine was cheap and an educational / fun project to install anyway, would it be more practical to use it to pump water up 100 feet into a large existing storage pond, rather than try to charge our existing solar batteries?
 
Theo Brauch
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Rebecca Norman wrote:Thanks Theo, that advice to look for "flagging" sounds great, and is exactly the kind of practical low-tech advice I like. We've been discussing the possibility of installing a turbine here for years. Sometimes the wind is so strong that you have to turn your back to it and just wait, but most of the time there isn't much wind.

Our trees are fairly symmetrical with only a very slight tendency to grow leaning downwind, so according to your tip, we are not likely to get significant power from wind at this location, right?

If the turbine was cheap and an educational / fun project to install anyway, would it be more practical to use it to pump water up 100 feet into a large existing storage pond, rather than try to charge our existing solar batteries?


Hi Rebecca
Yes it sounds like the wind there doesn’t have what you need, as for pumping water with wind power it once again comes down to wind speeds. But here is one that will work 1 small 80 watt solar panel on Sureflow water pump and a float system to control it and a tank to use as a reservoir. With a system like this there is no battery’s pumps when the sun is up. Ranchers like them for watering animals on fields that running power lines to would cost more the property is worth.
If you want to learn about alternative energy go to this link www.ipwr.net if you read the info from there catalogs you many know more than some people who do it for a living. This is where I used to work the owner Lars is a walking talking alternative energy Guru. He builds some of the best systems out there today. Like he always says it must all ways work.
Let me know how your quest for power is going.
 
Theo Brauch
Posts: 3
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Hi Rebecca

Yea tree's make it sound like wwould make little power. As for using the wind to pump water with a cost efective small wind turbins it will have to be 24 or 48 volts so more costly turare lots of 12 volt out there and have seen so many buy them because of the price but in the end cost you more do to line loss you need to buy very costly wire to gain if you use a small gauge it will show a negative so its using power. There are some builders out there that sell a wind water pumping system like the ones from years gone by. They work but if there's no wind for 7 days you will need a big storage tank. The best way to have water pumped would be to conect it to your off grid power system that way it can be a pump right off the shelf making it a better price. When a system is build properly its like living in town. I know some systems that were done by a so called pro's that just don't work well and once IPS are called to fix it they work perfect. Guess the main thing is wire the off grid home like you would in town the DC systems are old school so AC pure sinewave is what you want. If a person wants to do it them self get it designed to suit your needs you can run a new fridge freeser washing machine just not your dryer or oven unless there propane.Feel free to ask me what ever you need help with I can piont you in the right direction. Keep your quest going its worth it!
 
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