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Agriculture

Published on September 21st, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer

31

US Farm Recycles Wind Turbines From Denmark and Germany

September 21st, 2009 by  


Iowa leads the US in the percentage of wind power on the grid. The local utility companies pay area farmers royalties of $3,000–5,000 per year so huge wind turbines can share their vast farmland acreage and feed the power to the grid. The arrangement has been so successful that 15% of Iowa’s power now comes from wind.

But one small neighborhood family farm that supplies turkeys to Sara Lee has jumped in as well. Russ and Beth Winterhof had been interested in wind power for decades. In the last year or so, Beth began seriously researching midsized generators that could handle the amount of energy that they needed in the turkey buildings and the farm in general.

Beth discovered Bay Area company Halus Power that was located, what a coincidence – right where they planned to visit for their son Nathan’s graduation from Lutheran Seminary in Berkeley, California.

So Beth and Russ signed up for two 100KW turbines from Halus Power and they even went to meet Halus CEO Louis Rigaud when they were in the Bay Area.

Halus Power has a unique business model among Bay Area green energy startups.

They buy secondhand Vestas generators from Denmark and Germany that have been ditched in favor of the next size up and then remanufacture them in the US to meet the needs of rural energy users and small farms.

So Russ and Beth get second-hand wind power from first world nations that signed Cap and Trade legislation that funded their switch from fossil power to renewable energy. The Winterhof’s own ancestors were from Germany and Denmark. That’s nice. So, sure. And, recycling is green. But hand-me-downs… from Europe? Aside from the carbon miles, there’s the embarrassment.

The good news is that the US is catching up. As of 2009 100 US companies have sprung up to make parts for wind turbines including 30 coming online this year; making towers, composite blades, bearings and gears.  Rustbelt companies in traditional manufacturing states are retooling to enter the wind industry.

If only every state was as successful as Iowa in tapping into their renewable energy potential. Or if we could pass legislation to move the nation to renewable energy.

But there is so much organized scaremongering here, that we will probably never match Europe. Well, thanks EU, for the hand-me-downs.

Related stories:

Image: Flikr User frogdog*

Source: Iowa Chronicle Times


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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World

She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, 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.



  • Its nice to find rural development information. I found your blog after lots of searching on MSN

  • Its nice to find rural development information. I found your blog after lots of searching on MSN

  • Jon Jay Howard

    Our company has created a vertical axis wind turbine that is an innovative method of harnessing wind energy! This new design is cost-effective, easily maintained, will work in wind/water, and produces fantastic results! We are seeking a manufacturer to bring our products in to the cutting edge of the renewable energy market. (Patent Pending)

    If you are interested in discussing what we have to offer, we can be reached at the email address listed below. Thank you.

    Respectfully,

    Jon Jay Howard,CEO

    henergyinnovations@gmail.com

  • Jon Jay Howard

    Our company has created a vertical axis wind turbine that is an innovative method of harnessing wind energy! This new design is cost-effective, easily maintained, will work in wind/water, and produces fantastic results! We are seeking a manufacturer to bring our product in to the cutting edge of the market. (Patent Pending)

    If you are interested in discussing what we have to offer, we can be reached at the email address listed below. Thank you.

    Respectfully,

    Jon Jay Howard, henergyinnovations@gmail.com

  • Steven

    a bit more history…

    7) The obsession of the incoming Reagan Administration with “free and open” markets, driven by the need to find foreign investors to fund the national debt and reinforced by Reagan’s own grandiose sentimentality, dictated that any tax credit legislation would provide absolutely no protection for U.S. businesses, allowing subsidized foreign companies to underprice U.S. firms, setting the stage for a flow of over a billion U.S. tax dollars to Europe. http://www.telosnet.com/wind/recent.html

  • Steven

    a bit more history…

    7) The obsession of the incoming Reagan Administration with “free and open” markets, driven by the need to find foreign investors to fund the national debt and reinforced by Reagan’s own grandiose sentimentality, dictated that any tax credit legislation would provide absolutely no protection for U.S. businesses, allowing subsidized foreign companies to underprice U.S. firms, setting the stage for a flow of over a billion U.S. tax dollars to Europe. http://www.telosnet.com/wind/recent.html

  • Steven

    a bit more history…

    7) The obsession of the incoming Reagan Administration with “free and open” markets, driven by the need to find foreign investors to fund the national debt and reinforced by Reagan’s own grandiose sentimentality, dictated that any tax credit legislation would provide absolutely no protection for U.S. businesses, allowing subsidized foreign companies to underprice U.S. firms, setting the stage for a flow of over a billion U.S. tax dollars to Europe. http://www.telosnet.com/wind/recent.html

  • Steven

    It appears I stepped on some toes.. sorry. but had not the USA supplied the Marshall Plan, and Berlin Airlift this world would be a different place. But we shall never know. the importance of the statement is

    “guess the bad for us comment was overlooked.”

    given that our industry supplied and did profit, why would those in charge change, why is our steel industry not strong? Basically becaused we priced ourselfs out of it, and all were guilty, labor and management. Also Europe or Germany does have great talent. But should we go the way of France with Nuclear? does not seem to be popular.

    Wind, Thermal, solar all were tried to varying degrees over the years, (most still in use) all with support of tax breaks voted on by congress each term.. makes for a good long term investment..(not) tax loses for those whom invested, which is what some wanted. Go to California and check the age of things. Look up PGE test in Solano on a http://www.telosnet.com/wind/govprog.html,

    In California, over 17,000 machines, ranging in output from 20 to 350 kilowatts, were installed in wind farms between 1981 and 1990. http://www.telosnet.com/wind/recent.html So how many windmils are in Iowa? course it is not number but generating capacity and transmission

    In Washington State, hydroelectric power is not considered to be green or renewable by a state inniative, thus whom is to say what is renewable?

    So as far as manufacturing in the USA various componets for Windmills, it shoudl be pointed out that too many organizations and permits can prevent industry. Also cost of labor, materails, siting need be considered. Though now people finally relize that manufacturing is not a dirty word.

    Standards should be set as mention prior, but please no embarassment in buying second hand if it works. also if my neighbors allow me to put it up. But the real kicker is how do you transmit all that power and not lose half of it?

  • Steven

    It appears I stepped on some toes.. sorry. but had not the USA supplied the Marshall Plan, and Berlin Airlift this world would be a different place. But we shall never know. the importance of the statement is

    “guess the bad for us comment was overlooked.”

    given that our industry supplied and did profit, why would those in charge change, why is our steel industry not strong? Basically becaused we priced ourselfs out of it, and all were guilty, labor and management. Also Europe or Germany does have great talent. But should we go the way of France with Nuclear? does not seem to be popular.

    Wind, Thermal, solar all were tried to varying degrees over the years, (most still in use) all with support of tax breaks voted on by congress each term.. makes for a good long term investment..(not) tax loses for those whom invested, which is what some wanted. Go to California and check the age of things. Look up PGE test in Solano on a http://www.telosnet.com/wind/govprog.html,

    In California, over 17,000 machines, ranging in output from 20 to 350 kilowatts, were installed in wind farms between 1981 and 1990. http://www.telosnet.com/wind/recent.html So how many windmils are in Iowa? course it is not number but generating capacity and transmission

    In Washington State, hydroelectric power is not considered to be green or renewable by a state inniative, thus whom is to say what is renewable?

    So as far as manufacturing in the USA various componets for Windmills, it shoudl be pointed out that too many organizations and permits can prevent industry. Also cost of labor, materails, siting need be considered. Though now people finally relize that manufacturing is not a dirty word.

    Standards should be set as mention prior, but please no embarassment in buying second hand if it works. also if my neighbors allow me to put it up. But the real kicker is how do you transmit all that power and not lose half of it?

  • Steven

    It appears I stepped on some toes.. sorry. but had not the USA supplied the Marshall Plan, and Berlin Airlift this world would be a different place. But we shall never know. the importance of the statement is

    “guess the bad for us comment was overlooked.”

    given that our industry supplied and did profit, why would those in charge change, why is our steel industry not strong? Basically becaused we priced ourselfs out of it, and all were guilty, labor and management. Also Europe or Germany does have great talent. But should we go the way of France with Nuclear? does not seem to be popular.

    Wind, Thermal, solar all were tried to varying degrees over the years, (most still in use) all with support of tax breaks voted on by congress each term.. makes for a good long term investment..(not) tax loses for those whom invested, which is what some wanted. Go to California and check the age of things. Look up PGE test in Solano on a http://www.telosnet.com/wind/govprog.html,

    In California, over 17,000 machines, ranging in output from 20 to 350 kilowatts, were installed in wind farms between 1981 and 1990. http://www.telosnet.com/wind/recent.html So how many windmils are in Iowa? course it is not number but generating capacity and transmission

    In Washington State, hydroelectric power is not considered to be green or renewable by a state inniative, thus whom is to say what is renewable?

    So as far as manufacturing in the USA various componets for Windmills, it shoudl be pointed out that too many organizations and permits can prevent industry. Also cost of labor, materails, siting need be considered. Though now people finally relize that manufacturing is not a dirty word.

    Standards should be set as mention prior, but please no embarassment in buying second hand if it works. also if my neighbors allow me to put it up. But the real kicker is how do you transmit all that power and not lose half of it?

  • Loki

    I am not quite sure what Steven is trying to say, I guess that you meant to say “…today without the USA’s help…”. If so I find all these comparisons rather silly since Europe was not exactly a technological backwater before the ally powers victory in the war. Also the US profited on both sides of the war i.e. selling goods to both sides at one point or another; and then through rebuilding contracts, materials, reparations, acquisition of prime pieces of real-estate, etc…after wars end.

    I am on board with Russ in that standards are needed and are always a good thing that makes life easier for all. However, I would also add some incentive for the adoption of alternative energy in the near term. We just need to stay away from trying to pick the winning technology at a national level as we did with ethanol.

  • Loki

    I am not quite sure what Steven is trying to say, I guess that you meant to say “…today without the USA’s help…”. If so I find all these comparisons rather silly since Europe was not exactly a technological backwater before the ally powers victory in the war. Also the US profited on both sides of the war i.e. selling goods to both sides at one point or another; and then through rebuilding contracts, materials, reparations, acquisition of prime pieces of real-estate, etc…after wars end.

    I am on board with Russ in that standards are needed and are always a good thing that makes life easier for all. However, I would also add some incentive for the adoption of alternative energy in the near term. We just need to stay away from trying to pick the winning technology at a national level as we did with ethanol.

  • John

    “Further it should be stated that Europe would not be where it is today with the USA’s help after World War II.”

    So… the USA profits imensely from this “help” (check out your global economics history book) and yet Europe is still in debt? And that’s why Europe is ahead of the “green” game? Weird view, when it spans decades and includes several oil-crusades.

  • John

    “Further it should be stated that Europe would not be where it is today with the USA’s help after World War II.”

    So… the USA profits imensely from this “help” (check out your global economics history book) and yet Europe is still in debt? And that’s why Europe is ahead of the “green” game? Weird view, when it spans decades and includes several oil-crusades.

  • John

    “Further it should be stated that Europe would not be where it is today with the USA’s help after World War II.”

    So… the USA profits imensely from this “help” (check out your global economics history book) and yet Europe is still in debt? And that’s why Europe is ahead of the “green” game? Weird view, when it spans decades and includes several oil-crusades.

  • Steven

    The last part of the article is not necessary. Further it should be stated that Europe would not be where it is today with the USA’s help after World War II. This was great for them and bad for us in the world today as we supplied all with the materials to rebuild as our factories were still intact.

    The downside was that we didn’t maintain, or optimize and than fought with the greens and have legislated ourselves out of being productive. If the US government wanted to print more monies we could be there, as relatives in Germany tell me they have a 20 year contract to deliver power at a set rate. Taking that to the bank they got the loan to build their power generating station on their farm.

    Of course the same greens whom complain in the USA would not allow wind machines in their back yard as it may obstruct their view.

  • Steven

    The last part of the article is not necessary. Further it should be stated that Europe would not be where it is today with the USA’s help after World War II. This was great for them and bad for us in the world today as we supplied all with the materials to rebuild as our factories were still intact.

    The downside was that we didn’t maintain, or optimize and than fought with the greens and have legislated ourselves out of being productive. If the US government wanted to print more monies we could be there, as relatives in Germany tell me they have a 20 year contract to deliver power at a set rate. Taking that to the bank they got the loan to build their power generating station on their farm.

    Of course the same greens whom complain in the USA would not allow wind machines in their back yard as it may obstruct their view.

  • Steven

    The last part of the article is not necessary. Further it should be stated that Europe would not be where it is today with the USA’s help after World War II. This was great for them and bad for us in the world today as we supplied all with the materials to rebuild as our factories were still intact.

    The downside was that we didn’t maintain, or optimize and than fought with the greens and have legislated ourselves out of being productive. If the US government wanted to print more monies we could be there, as relatives in Germany tell me they have a 20 year contract to deliver power at a set rate. Taking that to the bank they got the loan to build their power generating station on their farm.

    Of course the same greens whom complain in the USA would not allow wind machines in their back yard as it may obstruct their view.

  • Susan Kraemer

    Interesting perspectives, Russ and Loki.

    In addition to resources, I think laws shape nations. Literally even. We Americans are fat because of farm subsidies. Our mortgage deduction led to McMansions.

    So I think signing on to Kyoto in 1999 set Europe on a trajectory that has them now ten years ahead of the US in renewables.

  • Susan Kraemer

    Interesting perspectives, Russ and Loki.

    In addition to resources, I think laws shape nations. Literally even. We Americans are fat because of farm subsidies. Our mortgage deduction led to McMansions.

    So I think signing on to Kyoto in 1999 set Europe on a trajectory that has them now ten years ahead of the US in renewables.

  • russ

    I more or less agree with Loki. I am American but have also lived and worked in Europe (Germany & Austria) and enjoyed the experience. My choice for my place of retirement is in neither the US or Europe – I went somewhere the politicians are only starting to tell everyone what they ‘must’ do because the politicians think their way is best.

    The company I worked for had engineering offices in both the US and Germany. Sometimes the Americans wouldn’t use the German solution because those ‘damn Germans’ came up with it. Sometimes the reverse was true.

    Renewable energy in the US will come when it is competitive, some time in the future. Today most of the small wind turbine companies in the world (under 10 kW) are still manufacturing junk – see NREL tests (as well as many other documents available on the net) and comments about quality. They seem much more interested in capturing the subsidies and incentives than in producing quality machinery tested and certified by third parties.

    Most of Europe does not have the oil and coal the US does so interest in renewables came quicker.

    The excessive FIT’s provided by Germany and Spain seem doomed now so we see what happens there in the next years.

    One thing urgently need is a national (or worldwide) test standard for PV panels and wind turbines. Their is such a thing in both Europe and the US for solar thermal panels and it is great.

  • russ

    I more or less agree with Loki. I am American but have also lived and worked in Europe (Germany & Austria) and enjoyed the experience. My choice for my place of retirement is in neither the US or Europe – I went somewhere the politicians are only starting to tell everyone what they ‘must’ do because the politicians think their way is best.

    The company I worked for had engineering offices in both the US and Germany. Sometimes the Americans wouldn’t use the German solution because those ‘damn Germans’ came up with it. Sometimes the reverse was true.

    Renewable energy in the US will come when it is competitive, some time in the future. Today most of the small wind turbine companies in the world (under 10 kW) are still manufacturing junk – see NREL tests (as well as many other documents available on the net) and comments about quality. They seem much more interested in capturing the subsidies and incentives than in producing quality machinery tested and certified by third parties.

    Most of Europe does not have the oil and coal the US does so interest in renewables came quicker.

    The excessive FIT’s provided by Germany and Spain seem doomed now so we see what happens there in the next years.

    One thing urgently need is a national (or worldwide) test standard for PV panels and wind turbines. Their is such a thing in both Europe and the US for solar thermal panels and it is great.

  • russ

    I more or less agree with Loki. I am American but have also lived and worked in Europe (Germany & Austria) and enjoyed the experience. My choice for my place of retirement is in neither the US or Europe – I went somewhere the politicians are only starting to tell everyone what they ‘must’ do because the politicians think their way is best.

    The company I worked for had engineering offices in both the US and Germany. Sometimes the Americans wouldn’t use the German solution because those ‘damn Germans’ came up with it. Sometimes the reverse was true.

    Renewable energy in the US will come when it is competitive, some time in the future. Today most of the small wind turbine companies in the world (under 10 kW) are still manufacturing junk – see NREL tests (as well as many other documents available on the net) and comments about quality. They seem much more interested in capturing the subsidies and incentives than in producing quality machinery tested and certified by third parties.

    Most of Europe does not have the oil and coal the US does so interest in renewables came quicker.

    The excessive FIT’s provided by Germany and Spain seem doomed now so we see what happens there in the next years.

    One thing urgently need is a national (or worldwide) test standard for PV panels and wind turbines. Their is such a thing in both Europe and the US for solar thermal panels and it is great.

  • Susan Kraemer

    Interesting perspectives, Russ and Loki.

    In addition to resources, I think laws shape nations. Literally even. We Americans are fat because of farm subsidies. Our mortgage deduction led to McMansions.

    So I think signing on to Kyoto in 1999 set Europe on a trajectory that has them now ten years ahead of the US in renewables.

  • Loki

    In response to “What makes you think Europe is such a wonderful and progressive place to live?”; That would be my years of living there as a US expat. No one or place is perfect but my time there opened my eyes to the level of blind jingoism practiced by many americans (including myself). I found the general quality of life, level of education and freedom to be the same and in some cases better than here in the US. In my experience it’s typically people that are ignorant of all things foreign that cry the loudest about such things. Thinking we have nothing to learn from others, if not reversed, simply signals the beginning of the end for america, especially in the coming age geo-flexibility in the job market.

  • Loki

    In response to “What makes you think Europe is such a wonderful and progressive place to live?”; That would be my years of living there as a US expat. No one or place is perfect but my time there opened my eyes to the level of blind jingoism practiced by many americans (including myself). I found the general quality of life, level of education and freedom to be the same and in some cases better than here in the US. In my experience it’s typically people that are ignorant of all things foreign that cry the loudest about such things. Thinking we have nothing to learn from others, if not reversed, simply signals the beginning of the end for america, especially in the coming age geo-flexibility in the job market.

  • Susan Kraemer

    We are world leaders in innovation, so why are the top solar and wind companies European?

    Because their climate legislation is in place already – pushing the switch to renewables. Once ours is too, we’ll get out of “various stages of development” and regain our rightful spot as world leader.

    😉

  • Susan Kraemer

    We are world leaders in innovation, so why are the top solar and wind companies European?

    Because their climate legislation is in place already – pushing the switch to renewables. Once ours is too, we’ll get out of “various stages of development” and regain our rightful spot as world leader.

    😉

  • Captain Morgan

    What is this ridiculous obsession with being “just like Europe”? What makes you think Europe is such a wonderful and progressive place to live? I guess it’s the grass-is-always-greener syndrome, eh? Does the U.S. not have the largest installed wind capacity of any nation in the world? Are there not gigawatts of solar-thermal power projects currently in various stages of development? Are there not countless U.S. based companies developing advanced biofuels, electric propulsion, etc.? There are a lot of exciting technologies under development in U.S. labs that will help drive renewable energy adoption both in this country and around the globe in the coming years. I guess all of that means nothing, though, because we don’t have (gasp) “cRap-and-trade”.

    One of the great things about this country is that we are NOT just like Europe, though many so-called progressives would love to make us so. Once again, you allow your political rants to tarnish what would otherwise have been an interesting article.

  • Captain Morgan

    What is this ridiculous obsession with being “just like Europe”? What makes you think Europe is such a wonderful and progressive place to live? I guess it’s the grass-is-always-greener syndrome, eh? Does the U.S. not have the largest installed wind capacity of any nation in the world? Are there not gigawatts of solar-thermal power projects currently in various stages of development? Are there not countless U.S. based companies developing advanced biofuels, electric propulsion, etc.? There are a lot of exciting technologies under development in U.S. labs that will help drive renewable energy adoption both in this country and around the globe in the coming years. I guess all of that means nothing, though, because we don’t have (gasp) “cRap-and-trade”.

    One of the great things about this country is that we are NOT just like Europe, though many so-called progressives would love to make us so. Once again, you allow your political rants to tarnish what would otherwise have been an interesting article.

  • Susan Kraemer

    We are world leaders in innovation, so why are the top solar and wind companies European?

    Because their climate legislation is in place already – pushing the switch to renewables. Once ours is too, we’ll get out of “various stages of development” and regain our rightful spot as world leader.

    😉

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