My journey dates back over 15 years. I now call it “chasing wind.” This path stemmed out of frustration with the small wind industry, which was not adopting the technologies that big wind had perfected. At that point in time, the small wind manufacturers were selling turbine technology that was a century old, fixed pitch, and used wooden blades. The industry was unregulated, riddled by faults claims, and there was no third-party testing. As a result, many failures within the industry gave small wind a “bad” name. Chasing wind put me on the path of research and development.
Today, small wind is still unregulated, but if a manufacturer volunteers to have a recognizes third party test its turbines under the new “standards,” and if the turbines pass the test, the manufacture receives a certificate. This certificate opens the door for funding on a state and federal level. “The cream has risen to the top.” Any manufacture of small wind turbines that has chosen to certify its turbines, at a great expense, are worthy of a look. Today’s turbines have evolved much like your smartphone and your flat-screen TV. I represent two manufactures that have the most technically advanced, certified, smart, 24/7-monitoring, small wind turbines on the planet. And here is why you need to take another look.
Our smallest turbine is a 10 kW, computer-variable pitch, on a hydraulic tower. At our test site in NE Colorado, this turbine will produce about 40,000 kWh annually. Last year, I consumed about 10,000 kWh of electricity. That basically gives me an excess of about 30,000 kWh. Up until now, I had two options. The first was to sell all my excess energy back to the grid. At first glance, it was very enticing to think of having the local utility send me a check at the end of the year. In this case, it would be around a thousand dollars. My second option was to only run my turbine to cover the energy that I consume. In this case, it would be around two days per week. The best two days. This sounds counter-productive, and it is, but with a 20-year shelf life, if I decide to only run a quarter of the time, I may get 80 years of production out of my turbine.
Now, I have a third option. The state of Colorado in 2012 set a law to allow anyone to resell their energy! On 6/22/15, I activated the first-in-the-world (as far as I know), DC fast charger (DCFC) energized and driven by a certified, state-of-the-art small wind turbine — with the introduction of affordable electric vehicles that have a range of 100–300 miles in the very near future.
With the lack infrastructure — electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE) — I have decided to enter into the market place. We have just opened the “Wind Farmers Market.” Think of it like a vegetable or lemonade stand. It is the first in a pilot program to get from the Nebraska state line to Denver, with a charging station every 50 miles. What makes this proof of concept so unique is that it is in an agricultural setting. As a farmer of wind, I can reap what I sow — in this case, energy. And with the data technology of the ChargePoint network, they GPS the electric car owner to their next charge site — in this case, my doorstep. I don’t need to be located in a commercial center; I can be on the edge of the corn field or pasture next to the commercial center and/or a few miles away.
So, rather than selling my excess energy to the grid for 3–4 cents per kWh, I now can sell it at whatever the market will bare. And in this case of traveling cross-country on the Interstate highway system, I have read that the going rate is from 60 to 80 cents per kWh. Now, if I sold all of the 40,000 kWh of annual production and the average car took a 50 kWh charge, that equates to 800 car fill-ups per year. This is a game changer for the return on investment (ROI). I’ll let you do the math! I’m currently looking for host sites to complete the pilot program. If you would like more information, please visit windorchardenergy.com — and our new startup is called Take Charge EV.