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Published on July 29th, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer

49

Small Wind Sucks, Test Finds

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July 29th, 2009 by
 

Interestingly, while big wind can generate far cheaper power than big solar, small wind turns out to do quite the opposite.

A comparative turbine test performed over the last 12 months in Zeeland, Holland revealed that small wind turbines generate very little power for the money. The smaller the rotor, the less power. So I did some comparisons between small wind and solar. I found something surprising.

Small wind could cost 10 times the cost of residential solar to make the same power.

The energy yield was measured in an average wind speed of 8.5 mph over the year.

Here are the results, translated for the U.S. reader, with the comparative solar costs:

(If you are European, the original measurements in meters etc can be found here at LowTechMagazine)

The smallest one they tested is barely in the energy business: at $6,129 to make 6 kwh a month, doing nothing but give green energy a bad name.

Ampair 600 (3 foot rotor blades) was the next size up: for $12,710 it makes only 20 kwh a month. (Or you could pay almost 3 times that – $30,107 to get pretty much the same output from the Turby.)

Airdolphin at $24,747 (or the WRE 030 for twice that at $41,620!) to get 33 kWh a month.

WRE 060 $52,444 for 41 kWh a month, or the (relatively!) cost-effective Passaat at $13, 029 to make about 48 kWh a month.

Skystream at $15,149 makes 176 kWh a month

Montana (16 foot rotor) costs $26,359 and makes 224 kwh a month.

If you wanted to zero out your usage you would need a lot of these turbines!

It almost makes more sense to think of these tiny turbines as the power equivalent of individual panels in a solar array.

Here in the US electricity use ranges from an incredibly low 200 kwh a month (if you are a frugal treehugger in a tiny house) up to to 2,000 kwh a month in your palatial mansion with those ten plasma TVs.

To see how much power you would need to generate, look at your electricity bill. Somewhere in all that fine print that keeps you from understanding all those billing charges is the usage in kwh per month. Now see how many kwh a month you get from one turbine. Divide your usage need by the turbine output to see how many you’d need, then multiply the turbine cost by the number of turbines needed: Even our frugal treehugger would need 10 Ampairs at $12,710 each to make 200 kwh a month.

200 kwh a month from Ampaires: $127,100!  — Solar? About $15,000

By contrast, solar panels to make 200 kwh a month would cost about $5,000; installed with inverter about $15,000, before rebates which cut that in about half.

The rotor spans of the tested wind turbines ranged from 3 feet to 16 feet. The largest was more cost effective than the smallest. But wind turbines with a rotor diameter of 16 feet are not safe on most roofs! But if it is small enough to fit on a roof; it is not generating enough energy to be worth doing.

Keep your residential roof for a green roof, pv, or a solar hot-water system.

It is perfectly possible to 100% power a house with a solar array that’s about the size of your living room and kitchen put together on your roof. But with wind power? Not possible.

Near the test site, ironically almost by way of illustration of how to do it right, is a humongous wind turbine, churning out real power for the neighborhood cost-effectively.

That huge turbine supplies local needs for a per household average of $6,441!

Related stories:

Really: Solar is Actually Cheaper than PG&E

The Honeywell Home Wind Turbine

Via LowTechMagazine

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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate, and GreenProphet. She has also been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.



  • http://www.windturbinestar.com wind turbine

    This test has two problems. One is the low wind speed, this speed is lower than the common wind speed for small wind turbines. The second is that the wind turbines in the test are not small wind turbines, most of them are mini wind turbines. Small wind turbines is usually from 3kw to 20kw.

  • http://www.windturbinestar.com wind turbine

    This test has two problems. One is the low wind speed, this speed is lower than the common wind speed for small wind turbines. The second is that the wind turbines in the test are not small wind turbines, most of them are mini wind turbines. Small wind turbines is usually from 3kw to 20kw.

  • http://www.windturbinestar.com wind turbine

    This test has two problems. One is the low wind speed, this speed is lower than the common wind speed for small wind turbines. The second is that the wind turbines in the test are not small wind turbines, most of them are mini wind turbines. Small wind turbines is usually from 3kw to 20kw.

  • windmafia

    8.5 mph? That’s 3.8 m/s = no responsible wind installer would suggest using a small wind system in less than 5 m/s.

    This whole test is like putting a solar panel in the shade and then bitching that it doesn’t produce.e

    dumb asses…

    small wind works when properly sited – otherwise, it’ll suck as bad as this article.

    windmafia

  • windmafia

    8.5 mph? That’s 3.8 m/s = no responsible wind installer would suggest using a small wind system in less than 5 m/s.

    This whole test is like putting a solar panel in the shade and then bitching that it doesn’t produce.e

    dumb asses…

    small wind works when properly sited – otherwise, it’ll suck as bad as this article.

    windmafia

  • windmafia

    8.5 mph? That’s 3.8 m/s = no responsible wind installer would suggest using a small wind system in less than 5 m/s.

    This whole test is like putting a solar panel in the shade and then bitching that it doesn’t produce.e

    dumb asses…

    small wind works when properly sited – otherwise, it’ll suck as bad as this article.

    windmafia

  • windmafia

    8.5 mph? That’s 3.8 m/s = no responsible wind installer would suggest using a small wind system in less than 5 m/s.

    This whole test is like putting a solar panel in the shade and then bitching that it doesn’t produce.e

    dumb asses…

    small wind works when properly sited – otherwise, it’ll suck as bad as this article.

    windmafia

  • Susan Kraemer

    True, the smaller they are, the more inefficient.

    Once you get to the 16 foot rotor size you are only about twice the cost of solar, and at some point between that size and the municipal scale wind is that point at which wind becomes cheaper than solar.

    The study had many surprises, that’s why I found it interesting.

  • Susan Kraemer

    True, the smaller they are, the more inefficient.

    Once you get to the 16 foot rotor size you are only about twice the cost of solar, and at some point between that size and the municipal scale wind is that point at which wind becomes cheaper than solar.

    The study had many surprises, that’s why I found it interesting.

  • Susan Kraemer

    True, the smaller they are, the more inefficient.

    Once you get to the 16 foot rotor size you are only about twice the cost of solar, and at some point between that size and the municipal scale wind is that point at which wind becomes cheaper than solar.

    The study had many surprises, that’s why I found it interesting.

  • Susan Kraemer

    True, the smaller they are, the more inefficient.

    Once you get to the 16 foot rotor size you are only about twice the cost of solar, and at some point between that size and the municipal scale wind is that point at which wind becomes cheaper than solar.

    The study had many surprises, that’s why I found it interesting.

  • Susan Kraemer

    True, the smaller they are, the more inefficient.

    Once you get to the 16 foot rotor size you are only about twice the cost of solar, and at some point between that size and the municipal scale wind is that point at which wind becomes cheaper than solar.

    The study had many surprises, that’s why I found it interesting.

  • Robert Stannard

    In writing this article Susan Kraemer seems to have gone for sensationalist headline over substance. The comparison given for costings between solar and wind power have been heavily biased towards solar. Why quantify the usage of ten of one of the worst examples listed in her own alternatives for wind power, the Ampaire 600 which produces 20kWh a month at $12,710 each and not the Skystream at $15,149 which makes 176 kWh a month or the Montana (16 foot rotor) which costs $26,359 and makes 224 kwh a month. To portray the Ampaire x10 as the representative option for wind power which then results in the disproportionate price differentials that she states is a ridiculous way to arrive at a conclusion when other alternatives are available. In her list of alternatives for wind power there are eight models noted but when it comes to the solar option she mentions just a cursory statement of “Solar? About $15,000″ with no list of manufacturers/models. I have been pricing the possibility of both solar and wind power installations recently and there is just as wide a variance of prices/output in solar as she has listed in wind power so why has this not been noted in the same fashion?

    If we add to this the comments of Mr David Sharman of Ampair regarding the unsuitability of the test site and the restrictive/inappropriate format of the test, then it negates the value of the article in it’s current form. This is before Mr Sharman points out the relative values of the Ampair 600 & 6000 models and their intended usage/market. The manner in which the data was gathered with the parameters used for the testing having been flawed and the unbalanced way in which the conclusions were arrived at makes this article worthless. I believe that anyone writing such an article should remember the old adage of “Lies, damn lies and statistics” before drawing their conclusions, figures can be made to say just about anything the individual/organisation wants them to.

  • Robert Stannard

    In writing this article Susan Kraemer seems to have gone for sensationalist headline over substance. The comparison given for costings between solar and wind power have been heavily biased towards solar. Why quantify the usage of ten of one of the worst examples listed in her own alternatives for wind power, the Ampaire 600 which produces 20kWh a month at $12,710 each and not the Skystream at $15,149 which makes 176 kWh a month or the Montana (16 foot rotor) which costs $26,359 and makes 224 kwh a month. To portray the Ampaire x10 as the representative option for wind power which then results in the disproportionate price differentials that she states is a ridiculous way to arrive at a conclusion when other alternatives are available. In her list of alternatives for wind power there are eight models noted but when it comes to the solar option she mentions just a cursory statement of “Solar? About $15,000″ with no list of manufacturers/models. I have been pricing the possibility of both solar and wind power installations recently and there is just as wide a variance of prices/output in solar as she has listed in wind power so why has this not been noted in the same fashion?

    If we add to this the comments of Mr David Sharman of Ampair regarding the unsuitability of the test site and the restrictive/inappropriate format of the test, then it negates the value of the article in it’s current form. This is before Mr Sharman points out the relative values of the Ampair 600 & 6000 models and their intended usage/market. The manner in which the data was gathered with the parameters used for the testing having been flawed and the unbalanced way in which the conclusions were arrived at makes this article worthless. I believe that anyone writing such an article should remember the old adage of “Lies, damn lies and statistics” before drawing their conclusions, figures can be made to say just about anything the individual/organisation wants them to.

  • Robert Stannard

    In writing this article Susan Kraemer seems to have gone for sensationalist headline over substance. The comparison given for costings between solar and wind power have been heavily biased towards solar. Why quantify the usage of ten of one of the worst examples listed in her own alternatives for wind power, the Ampaire 600 which produces 20kWh a month at $12,710 each and not the Skystream at $15,149 which makes 176 kWh a month or the Montana (16 foot rotor) which costs $26,359 and makes 224 kwh a month. To portray the Ampaire x10 as the representative option for wind power which then results in the disproportionate price differentials that she states is a ridiculous way to arrive at a conclusion when other alternatives are available. In her list of alternatives for wind power there are eight models noted but when it comes to the solar option she mentions just a cursory statement of “Solar? About $15,000″ with no list of manufacturers/models. I have been pricing the possibility of both solar and wind power installations recently and there is just as wide a variance of prices/output in solar as she has listed in wind power so why has this not been noted in the same fashion?

    If we add to this the comments of Mr David Sharman of Ampair regarding the unsuitability of the test site and the restrictive/inappropriate format of the test, then it negates the value of the article in it’s current form. This is before Mr Sharman points out the relative values of the Ampair 600 & 6000 models and their intended usage/market. The manner in which the data was gathered with the parameters used for the testing having been flawed and the unbalanced way in which the conclusions were arrived at makes this article worthless. I believe that anyone writing such an article should remember the old adage of “Lies, damn lies and statistics” before drawing their conclusions, figures can be made to say just about anything the individual/organisation wants them to.

  • Robert Stannard

    In writing this article Susan Kraemer seems to have gone for sensationalist headline over substance. The comparison given for costings between solar and wind power have been heavily biased towards solar. Why quantify the usage of ten of one of the worst examples listed in her own alternatives for wind power, the Ampaire 600 which produces 20kWh a month at $12,710 each and not the Skystream at $15,149 which makes 176 kWh a month or the Montana (16 foot rotor) which costs $26,359 and makes 224 kwh a month. To portray the Ampaire x10 as the representative option for wind power which then results in the disproportionate price differentials that she states is a ridiculous way to arrive at a conclusion when other alternatives are available. In her list of alternatives for wind power there are eight models noted but when it comes to the solar option she mentions just a cursory statement of “Solar? About $15,000″ with no list of manufacturers/models. I have been pricing the possibility of both solar and wind power installations recently and there is just as wide a variance of prices/output in solar as she has listed in wind power so why has this not been noted in the same fashion?

    If we add to this the comments of Mr David Sharman of Ampair regarding the unsuitability of the test site and the restrictive/inappropriate format of the test, then it negates the value of the article in it’s current form. This is before Mr Sharman points out the relative values of the Ampair 600 & 6000 models and their intended usage/market. The manner in which the data was gathered with the parameters used for the testing having been flawed and the unbalanced way in which the conclusions were arrived at makes this article worthless. I believe that anyone writing such an article should remember the old adage of “Lies, damn lies and statistics” before drawing their conclusions, figures can be made to say just about anything the individual/organisation wants them to.

  • Robert Stannard

    In writing this article Susan Kraemer seems to have gone for sensationalist headline over substance. The comparison given for costings between solar and wind power have been heavily biased towards solar. Why quantify the usage of ten of one of the worst examples listed in her own alternatives for wind power, the Ampaire 600 which produces 20kWh a month at $12,710 each and not the Skystream at $15,149 which makes 176 kWh a month or the Montana (16 foot rotor) which costs $26,359 and makes 224 kwh a month. To portray the Ampaire x10 as the representative option for wind power which then results in the disproportionate price differentials that she states is a ridiculous way to arrive at a conclusion when other alternatives are available. In her list of alternatives for wind power there are eight models noted but when it comes to the solar option she mentions just a cursory statement of “Solar? About $15,000″ with no list of manufacturers/models. I have been pricing the possibility of both solar and wind power installations recently and there is just as wide a variance of prices/output in solar as she has listed in wind power so why has this not been noted in the same fashion?

    If we add to this the comments of Mr David Sharman of Ampair regarding the unsuitability of the test site and the restrictive/inappropriate format of the test, then it negates the value of the article in it’s current form. This is before Mr Sharman points out the relative values of the Ampair 600 & 6000 models and their intended usage/market. The manner in which the data was gathered with the parameters used for the testing having been flawed and the unbalanced way in which the conclusions were arrived at makes this article worthless. I believe that anyone writing such an article should remember the old adage of “Lies, damn lies and statistics” before drawing their conclusions, figures can be made to say just about anything the individual/organisation wants them to.

  • Sandy Henderson

    Not wishin to hogg things but there is a good reason why small wind is less efficient – it’s easier for relatively more of the wind to deflect round the edges and not have it’s speed reduced. It’s a scale thing, just like a large field needs less fencing per unit area than a small one.Even in most of Scotland( not noted as a sunny place ) the annual amount of solar radiation striking a flat square meter exceeds 700 kilowatt hours. Presently it is more cost effective to use this for heating purposes.

  • Sandy Henderson

    Not wishin to hogg things but there is a good reason why small wind is less efficient – it’s easier for relatively more of the wind to deflect round the edges and not have it’s speed reduced. It’s a scale thing, just like a large field needs less fencing per unit area than a small one.Even in most of Scotland( not noted as a sunny place ) the annual amount of solar radiation striking a flat square meter exceeds 700 kilowatt hours. Presently it is more cost effective to use this for heating purposes.

  • Sandy Henderson

    Not only is the above conclusion that most small wind turbines are expensive toys, but the big boys are on the wrong track as well. None of them get much cheaper than about £1000 per kilowatt rated capacity, which makes them ten times more expensive than diesel powered generators of the same output. Catching the wind should not be that dear.The mistake made by the aerospace engineers who first went down the route of horizontal axis machines was to assume that aerodynamic efficiency equated directly with cost per kilowatt hour. Any machine that has to survive and operate cheaply outdoors has to be cheap to maintain and fail safe wherever possible. The large horizontal axis machines fail on both counts. Worse still those deployed offshore cost twice as much but do not produce twice the energy, and they are inaccessible for more than 10% of the time ( which makes them a poor insurance risk). Savonious type vertical axis wind turbines, are much less efficient at peak efficiency, but produce useful power over a wider range and can be made much cheaper. In Scotland some of the mobile phone masts are disguised as trees and are often difficult to spot. It is entirely possible to construct a vertical axis wind turbine mostly made from coloured galvanised sheet steel, with the generators at, or near ground level, about the size, shape, and appearance of a tree,that would have a rated output in the 5 to 10 kw range and cost less than £1000 per kilowatt output. These turbines could blend in well with the countryside, be quieter, safer for birds and bats, scale up readily, and use off the shelf components readily available. Anyone who spends the large sums quoted for the small horizontal axis machines would be better off spending it on therapy. regards Sandy

  • Sandy Henderson

    Not only is the above conclusion that most small wind turbines are expensive toys, but the big boys are on the wrong track as well. None of them get much cheaper than about £1000 per kilowatt rated capacity, which makes them ten times more expensive than diesel powered generators of the same output. Catching the wind should not be that dear.The mistake made by the aerospace engineers who first went down the route of horizontal axis machines was to assume that aerodynamic efficiency equated directly with cost per kilowatt hour. Any machine that has to survive and operate cheaply outdoors has to be cheap to maintain and fail safe wherever possible. The large horizontal axis machines fail on both counts. Worse still those deployed offshore cost twice as much but do not produce twice the energy, and they are inaccessible for more than 10% of the time ( which makes them a poor insurance risk). Savonious type vertical axis wind turbines, are much less efficient at peak efficiency, but produce useful power over a wider range and can be made much cheaper. In Scotland some of the mobile phone masts are disguised as trees and are often difficult to spot. It is entirely possible to construct a vertical axis wind turbine mostly made from coloured galvanised sheet steel, with the generators at, or near ground level, about the size, shape, and appearance of a tree,that would have a rated output in the 5 to 10 kw range and cost less than £1000 per kilowatt output. These turbines could blend in well with the countryside, be quieter, safer for birds and bats, scale up readily, and use off the shelf components readily available. Anyone who spends the large sums quoted for the small horizontal axis machines would be better off spending it on therapy. regards Sandy

  • Sandy Henderson

    Not only is the above conclusion that most small wind turbines are expensive toys, but the big boys are on the wrong track as well. None of them get much cheaper than about £1000 per kilowatt rated capacity, which makes them ten times more expensive than diesel powered generators of the same output. Catching the wind should not be that dear.The mistake made by the aerospace engineers who first went down the route of horizontal axis machines was to assume that aerodynamic efficiency equated directly with cost per kilowatt hour. Any machine that has to survive and operate cheaply outdoors has to be cheap to maintain and fail safe wherever possible. The large horizontal axis machines fail on both counts. Worse still those deployed offshore cost twice as much but do not produce twice the energy, and they are inaccessible for more than 10% of the time ( which makes them a poor insurance risk). Savonious type vertical axis wind turbines, are much less efficient at peak efficiency, but produce useful power over a wider range and can be made much cheaper. In Scotland some of the mobile phone masts are disguised as trees and are often difficult to spot. It is entirely possible to construct a vertical axis wind turbine mostly made from coloured galvanised sheet steel, with the generators at, or near ground level, about the size, shape, and appearance of a tree,that would have a rated output in the 5 to 10 kw range and cost less than £1000 per kilowatt output. These turbines could blend in well with the countryside, be quieter, safer for birds and bats, scale up readily, and use off the shelf components readily available. Anyone who spends the large sums quoted for the small horizontal axis machines would be better off spending it on therapy. regards Sandy

  • Sandy Henderson

    Not only is the above conclusion that most small wind turbines are expensive toys, but the big boys are on the wrong track as well. None of them get much cheaper than about £1000 per kilowatt rated capacity, which makes them ten times more expensive than diesel powered generators of the same output. Catching the wind should not be that dear.The mistake made by the aerospace engineers who first went down the route of horizontal axis machines was to assume that aerodynamic efficiency equated directly with cost per kilowatt hour. Any machine that has to survive and operate cheaply outdoors has to be cheap to maintain and fail safe wherever possible. The large horizontal axis machines fail on both counts. Worse still those deployed offshore cost twice as much but do not produce twice the energy, and they are inaccessible for more than 10% of the time ( which makes them a poor insurance risk). Savonious type vertical axis wind turbines, are much less efficient at peak efficiency, but produce useful power over a wider range and can be made much cheaper. In Scotland some of the mobile phone masts are disguised as trees and are often difficult to spot. It is entirely possible to construct a vertical axis wind turbine mostly made from coloured galvanised sheet steel, with the generators at, or near ground level, about the size, shape, and appearance of a tree,that would have a rated output in the 5 to 10 kw range and cost less than £1000 per kilowatt output. These turbines could blend in well with the countryside, be quieter, safer for birds and bats, scale up readily, and use off the shelf components readily available. Anyone who spends the large sums quoted for the small horizontal axis machines would be better off spending it on therapy. regards Sandy

  • Susan Kraemer

    David – So the bigger Ampaire 6000: I looked at the specs – $26,000 for 700 kwh a month – and at that large enough size it is comparative with solar pricing, you are right.

    In the U.S. you need to be rural for that size, as codes demand that turbines be able to theoretically fall only hitting your own property if it falls.

  • Susan Kraemer

    David – So the bigger Ampaire 6000: I looked at the specs – $26,000 for 700 kwh a month – and at that large enough size it is comparative with solar pricing, you are right.

    In the U.S. you need to be rural for that size, as codes demand that turbines be able to theoretically fall only hitting your own property if it falls.

  • Susan Kraemer

    David – So the bigger Ampaire 6000: I looked at the specs – $26,000 for 700 kwh a month – and at that large enough size it is comparative with solar pricing, you are right.

    In the U.S. you need to be rural for that size, as codes demand that turbines be able to theoretically fall only hitting your own property if it falls.

  • Susan Kraemer

    David – So the bigger Ampaire 6000: I looked at the specs – $26,000 for 700 kwh a month – and at that large enough size it is comparative with solar pricing, you are right.

    In the U.S. you need to be rural for that size, as codes demand that turbines be able to theoretically fall only hitting your own property if it falls.

  • Susan Kraemer

    @ chrisp re -”Basically what I’m asking is for your comparison with solar, what type of sun exposure did you use… a place like San Diego or Seattle… or an average?”

    I averaged it to Northern California – what I’m used to – ok solar, just as for wind; 8.5 miles per hour (that they tested) is ok wind.

  • Susan Kraemer

    @ chrisp re -”Basically what I’m asking is for your comparison with solar, what type of sun exposure did you use… a place like San Diego or Seattle… or an average?”

    I averaged it to Northern California – what I’m used to – ok solar, just as for wind; 8.5 miles per hour (that they tested) is ok wind.

  • Susan Kraemer

    @ chrisp re -”Basically what I’m asking is for your comparison with solar, what type of sun exposure did you use… a place like San Diego or Seattle… or an average?”

    I averaged it to Northern California – what I’m used to – ok solar, just as for wind; 8.5 miles per hour (that they tested) is ok wind.

  • http://Www.newenglandbreeze.com Mark

    Well duh. 8.5 mph is lousy wind. We wouldn’t sit a machine in those conditions.

    We look for ( and are very selective) sites with good exposure an 13-14 mph annual average wind speeds.

    We also use 100-120 foot towers minimum.

    We learned early on that little turbines are a waste of time. For that reason The smallest machine we install is 6kw with an 18 foot rotor ( eoltec scirocco)

  • http://Www.newenglandbreeze.com Mark

    Well duh. 8.5 mph is lousy wind. We wouldn’t sit a machine in those conditions.

    We look for ( and are very selective) sites with good exposure an 13-14 mph annual average wind speeds.

    We also use 100-120 foot towers minimum.

    We learned early on that little turbines are a waste of time. For that reason The smallest machine we install is 6kw with an 18 foot rotor ( eoltec scirocco)

  • http://Www.newenglandbreeze.com Mark

    Well duh. 8.5 mph is lousy wind. We wouldn’t sit a machine in those conditions.

    We look for ( and are very selective) sites with good exposure an 13-14 mph annual average wind speeds.

    We also use 100-120 foot towers minimum.

    We learned early on that little turbines are a waste of time. For that reason The smallest machine we install is 6kw with an 18 foot rotor ( eoltec scirocco)

  • http://Www.newenglandbreeze.com Mark

    Well duh. 8.5 mph is lousy wind. We wouldn’t sit a machine in those conditions.

    We look for ( and are very selective) sites with good exposure an 13-14 mph annual average wind speeds.

    We also use 100-120 foot towers minimum.

    We learned early on that little turbines are a waste of time. For that reason The smallest machine we install is 6kw with an 18 foot rotor ( eoltec scirocco)

  • http://Www.newenglandbreeze.com Mark

    Well duh. 8.5 mph is lousy wind. We wouldn’t sit a machine in those conditions.

    We look for ( and are very selective) sites with good exposure an 13-14 mph annual average wind speeds.

    We also use 100-120 foot towers minimum.

    We learned early on that little turbines are a waste of time. For that reason The smallest machine we install is 6kw with an 18 foot rotor ( eoltec scirocco)

  • Scott_T

    Best thing about wind is that the tech is simple enough a person can build a turbine from scrap. A good low tech solution for poorer areas.

  • Scott_T

    Best thing about wind is that the tech is simple enough a person can build a turbine from scrap. A good low tech solution for poorer areas.

  • Scott_T

    Best thing about wind is that the tech is simple enough a person can build a turbine from scrap. A good low tech solution for poorer areas.

  • http://www.ampair.com David Sharman

    Susan,

    I guess it was my Ampair blog that was the original source as I translated from the original Dutch and that has since been picked up by other folk such as yourself. We take the trouble to do this because we want people to see real world results so they can make informed decisions. If you read through our various blog entries you will see that we include all significant trials around the world that we are involved in. See http://www.ampair.com/ampair/news.asp to read to your heart’s content.

    You are quite correct that many of these products have eyewatering prices and humbling outputs. Our Ampair 600 was originally designed as a battery charge product and it is twice as effective when used that way. This is because of how the electronics works and we are not alone in that.

    We have since developed the Ampair 6000 which is ten times as big and is more suitable for grid connection. Even though it is much larger it is not much more expensive and so will be more economically realistic. The generation of small turbines coming to market from our competitors alongside the Ampair 6000 will have a decent chance of competing on economic grounds.

    This assumes that there is a wnd resource in the area and that turbines are well sited. Again it seems that the Zeeland site is actually immediately downwind of a residential area and so the turbines are all suffering as a result, just as if they were sited downwind of any other obstruction. This is a real world issue and drives home the US experience that turbines must be on tall masts. In this the UK and the other European countries have a lot to learn from the USA as over here the planners don’t like tall masts which is why all the Zeeland turbines are all set at only 12m (35′). That is similar to planners forcing people to install solar panels in the cellar and so we need to educate planners about these issues.

    Regards,

    David Sharman, Ampair

  • http://www.ampair.com David Sharman

    Susan,

    I guess it was my Ampair blog that was the original source as I translated from the original Dutch and that has since been picked up by other folk such as yourself. We take the trouble to do this because we want people to see real world results so they can make informed decisions. If you read through our various blog entries you will see that we include all significant trials around the world that we are involved in. See http://www.ampair.com/ampair/news.asp to read to your heart’s content.

    You are quite correct that many of these products have eyewatering prices and humbling outputs. Our Ampair 600 was originally designed as a battery charge product and it is twice as effective when used that way. This is because of how the electronics works and we are not alone in that.

    We have since developed the Ampair 6000 which is ten times as big and is more suitable for grid connection. Even though it is much larger it is not much more expensive and so will be more economically realistic. The generation of small turbines coming to market from our competitors alongside the Ampair 6000 will have a decent chance of competing on economic grounds.

    This assumes that there is a wnd resource in the area and that turbines are well sited. Again it seems that the Zeeland site is actually immediately downwind of a residential area and so the turbines are all suffering as a result, just as if they were sited downwind of any other obstruction. This is a real world issue and drives home the US experience that turbines must be on tall masts. In this the UK and the other European countries have a lot to learn from the USA as over here the planners don’t like tall masts which is why all the Zeeland turbines are all set at only 12m (35′). That is similar to planners forcing people to install solar panels in the cellar and so we need to educate planners about these issues.

    Regards,

    David Sharman, Ampair

  • http://www.ampair.com David Sharman

    Susan,

    I guess it was my Ampair blog that was the original source as I translated from the original Dutch and that has since been picked up by other folk such as yourself. We take the trouble to do this because we want people to see real world results so they can make informed decisions. If you read through our various blog entries you will see that we include all significant trials around the world that we are involved in. See http://www.ampair.com/ampair/news.asp to read to your heart’s content.

    You are quite correct that many of these products have eyewatering prices and humbling outputs. Our Ampair 600 was originally designed as a battery charge product and it is twice as effective when used that way. This is because of how the electronics works and we are not alone in that.

    We have since developed the Ampair 6000 which is ten times as big and is more suitable for grid connection. Even though it is much larger it is not much more expensive and so will be more economically realistic. The generation of small turbines coming to market from our competitors alongside the Ampair 6000 will have a decent chance of competing on economic grounds.

    This assumes that there is a wnd resource in the area and that turbines are well sited. Again it seems that the Zeeland site is actually immediately downwind of a residential area and so the turbines are all suffering as a result, just as if they were sited downwind of any other obstruction. This is a real world issue and drives home the US experience that turbines must be on tall masts. In this the UK and the other European countries have a lot to learn from the USA as over here the planners don’t like tall masts which is why all the Zeeland turbines are all set at only 12m (35′). That is similar to planners forcing people to install solar panels in the cellar and so we need to educate planners about these issues.

    Regards,

    David Sharman, Ampair

  • http://www.ampair.com David Sharman

    Susan,

    I guess it was my Ampair blog that was the original source as I translated from the original Dutch and that has since been picked up by other folk such as yourself. We take the trouble to do this because we want people to see real world results so they can make informed decisions. If you read through our various blog entries you will see that we include all significant trials around the world that we are involved in. See http://www.ampair.com/ampair/news.asp to read to your heart’s content.

    You are quite correct that many of these products have eyewatering prices and humbling outputs. Our Ampair 600 was originally designed as a battery charge product and it is twice as effective when used that way. This is because of how the electronics works and we are not alone in that.

    We have since developed the Ampair 6000 which is ten times as big and is more suitable for grid connection. Even though it is much larger it is not much more expensive and so will be more economically realistic. The generation of small turbines coming to market from our competitors alongside the Ampair 6000 will have a decent chance of competing on economic grounds.

    This assumes that there is a wnd resource in the area and that turbines are well sited. Again it seems that the Zeeland site is actually immediately downwind of a residential area and so the turbines are all suffering as a result, just as if they were sited downwind of any other obstruction. This is a real world issue and drives home the US experience that turbines must be on tall masts. In this the UK and the other European countries have a lot to learn from the USA as over here the planners don’t like tall masts which is why all the Zeeland turbines are all set at only 12m (35′). That is similar to planners forcing people to install solar panels in the cellar and so we need to educate planners about these issues.

    Regards,

    David Sharman, Ampair

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  • russ

    Well done Susan! I have read so many posts where people are worshiping the god of small wind it would be funny if not so misleading and incorrect. Then someone pops up ‘don’t be negative’ or ‘wonderful idea’ for a comment!

    The Honeywell turbine listed in ‘related stories’ is one of the real fluff jobs. They even generate power from 1 meter/second (2 mph) winds where there is no usable power!

    In reading various reports, the downtime and manufacturing defects of many (if not most) of teh small turbines is amazing. Turbines sent for testing fail due to design defect? That is the same turbine they would have shipped to some poor sucker.

    The ratings of most, if not all, small turbines are done at elevated (not normal) wind speeds. As I am writing this our local wind speed is varying between 1.7 and 7.8 meters/second(4 mph to 18 mph).

    The 7.8 m/s is very much on the high side for our location and that is far less than the 11 to 12 m/s (25 to 27 mph) most small turbines are rated at.

    For many locals the NRDC has available on the web annual wind averages – few areas have greater than 5 m/s (11 to 12 mph)for an average.

    If a turbine supplier does not list all the data on their web site ask why. If no power curve is provided, why?

  • russ

    Well done Susan! I have read so many posts where people are worshiping the god of small wind it would be funny if not so misleading and incorrect. Then someone pops up ‘don’t be negative’ or ‘wonderful idea’ for a comment!

    The Honeywell turbine listed in ‘related stories’ is one of the real fluff jobs. They even generate power from 1 meter/second (2 mph) winds where there is no usable power!

    In reading various reports, the downtime and manufacturing defects of many (if not most) of teh small turbines is amazing. Turbines sent for testing fail due to design defect? That is the same turbine they would have shipped to some poor sucker.

    The ratings of most, if not all, small turbines are done at elevated (not normal) wind speeds. As I am writing this our local wind speed is varying between 1.7 and 7.8 meters/second(4 mph to 18 mph).

    The 7.8 m/s is very much on the high side for our location and that is far less than the 11 to 12 m/s (25 to 27 mph) most small turbines are rated at.

    For many locals the NRDC has available on the web annual wind averages – few areas have greater than 5 m/s (11 to 12 mph)for an average.

    If a turbine supplier does not list all the data on their web site ask why. If no power curve is provided, why?

  • chrisp

    What happens if you live in a very windy cloudy place? How does that play out? Basically what I’m asking is for your comparison with solar, what type of sun exposure did you use… a place like San Diego or Seattle… or an average?

    But to me… everyone in sunny states should have panels on their roof… it’s a no brainer. Eventually they will power everything with the sun, cars, home, etc. Plug in cars will allow people to realize they can make a direct impact on oil prices and the war for it. Fight the war from your roof…

    Anyway… it was a good post Susan. It pays to do the numbers and not just green wash with toys.

  • chrisp

    What happens if you live in a very windy cloudy place? How does that play out? Basically what I’m asking is for your comparison with solar, what type of sun exposure did you use… a place like San Diego or Seattle… or an average?

    But to me… everyone in sunny states should have panels on their roof… it’s a no brainer. Eventually they will power everything with the sun, cars, home, etc. Plug in cars will allow people to realize they can make a direct impact on oil prices and the war for it. Fight the war from your roof…

    Anyway… it was a good post Susan. It pays to do the numbers and not just green wash with toys.

  • chrisp

    What happens if you live in a very windy cloudy place? How does that play out? Basically what I’m asking is for your comparison with solar, what type of sun exposure did you use… a place like San Diego or Seattle… or an average?

    But to me… everyone in sunny states should have panels on their roof… it’s a no brainer. Eventually they will power everything with the sun, cars, home, etc. Plug in cars will allow people to realize they can make a direct impact on oil prices and the war for it. Fight the war from your roof…

    Anyway… it was a good post Susan. It pays to do the numbers and not just green wash with toys.

  • chrisp

    What happens if you live in a very windy cloudy place? How does that play out? Basically what I’m asking is for your comparison with solar, what type of sun exposure did you use… a place like San Diego or Seattle… or an average?

    But to me… everyone in sunny states should have panels on their roof… it’s a no brainer. Eventually they will power everything with the sun, cars, home, etc. Plug in cars will allow people to realize they can make a direct impact on oil prices and the war for it. Fight the war from your roof…

    Anyway… it was a good post Susan. It pays to do the numbers and not just green wash with toys.

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