Introduction to Wind Energy

Stewart C. Russell




This talk does not represent WindShare, its partners, Zephyr North Ltd., or anyone but the author.

Wind Energy Isn't Alternative

wind turbine, canadian tire


Quotation from the 1881 Mechanical Dictionary.

The traditional windmill

Pitstone Windmill, Bedfordshire

Photo Credit: Michael Reeve.

Some things to do with a windmill

The American farm wind pump

farm wind pump
This one was made in Ontario, and was on display at this year's Markham Fair.

The Chicago Wind Pump

Typical Wind Turbine Configuration

Siemens 2300 nacelle

photo credit: Siemens

Alternative: Direct Drive Wind Turbine

Lagerwey nacelle

photo credit: Americas Wind Energy

The Also-Ran: Darrieus VAWT

Darrieus turbine

photo credit: Atlantic Wind Test Site, via CanWEA.

Despite extensive research work in Canada and abroad, the vertical axis wind turbine has never been a commercial success. It won't self-start, shows variable torque throughout its rotation, and tends to suffer from fatigue. Its ability to accept wind from any direction is less of an advantage than you'd think; in strong (useful) winds, the wind pretty much comes from the same direction.

Turbine Size: Tiny - Marlec 50W

Marlec WindCharger

Turbine Size: Small - Bergey 10kW

Bergey 10kW Excel

Turbine Size: Utility: Vestas DWT 400kW

Carland Cross, Cornwall, UK

Turbine Size: Huge - RePower 5MW

photo credit: RePower

Wind Turbine Energy Capture

How Turbines Have Grown

Vestas Turbine Size

figure credit: Vestas

Energy yield has increased 42x in 21 years. That's over 19%/year, or doubling in less than 4 years. Not quite Moore's Law, but pretty nifty for rotating plant ...

Other applications

Wind Energy in Ontario

Until 2005, has only had a token presence, including:

Power is seen to be too cheap and too abundant to care about where it comes from.

OPG, Pickering: 1.8MW

photo credit: Google

Sky Generation, Ferndale: 1.8MW

photo credit: Sky Generation

WindShare/Toronto Hydro: 750kW

photo credit: Toronto Hydro/WindShare/TREC

Building a Wind Farm

You will need:

  1. land
  2. transmission
  3. wind resource
  4. permitting/environmental assessment

Wind Siting: Selection

So how do you find good land?

wind thrown tree

photo credit: Vestas

Wind Siting: Wind Map

Ontario Wind Atlas Example

You'll note the highest winds over the lakes

Wind Siting: Offshore

Siemens Offshore

photo credit: Siemens

Wind Siting: Measurement

measurement tower

Wind Siting: Measurement

RM Young Anemometer

Wind Siting: Measurement


Power Purchase

Power Purchase: RFP

The author survived several rounds of the UK NFFO/SRO, with sanity relatively intact.

Ontario RFP Winners

Ontario RFP Winners
  • Erie Shores Wind Farm, Erie Shores Wind Farm L.P. (Port Burwell), 99 megawatts
  • Prince Wind Farm, Superior Wind Energy Inc. (Prince Township, near Sault Ste. Marie), 99 megawatts
  • Melancthon Grey Wind Project, Canadian Hydro Developers, Inc. (Shelburne), 67.5 megawatts
  • Blue Highlands Wind Farm, Superior Wind Energy Inc. (Blue Mountains), 49.5 megawatts
  • Kingsbridge Wind Power Project, EPCOR (Goderich), 39.6 megawatts

Erie Shores Wind Farm

1500kW turbine base, port burwell
But for all my complaints, RFPs are resulting in turbines in the ground.

Power Purchase: Standard Offer

Unregulated Standard Offer, or the thought thereof, gives the IESO a coronary. I guess we wind types are still causing trouble seven centuries on.

Barriers & Opportunities

Mistakes were made …

Visual Clutter


photo credit: Stan Shebs

Barriers to Wind

Opportunities for Wind

One of the advantages of coming late to the party is that Canada can learn from other countries' experience.

Wind is Germany's single largest user of steel.

WindShare to MindShare

WindShare: Why?

WindShare: What?

WindShare: How?

Obligatory WindShare Commercial

Credits / Acknowledgements

The Michael Reeve and Stan Shebs photos are open content licensed, and are taken from Wikipedia.

Further reading