Wind Energy for the perplexed
Stewart C. Russell
“[It is not] utterly chimerical to think of wind superseding coal in some places for a very important part of its present duty—that of giving light.”
— Lord Kelvin
This talk does not represent the views of Capital Power, CanWEA, any of Stewart Russell's former employers, or anyone but the author.
- Germany has a very high installed wind capacity.
- Ontario has a low installed wind capacity.
- ... So who pays more for domestic power every month?
Wind Energy Isn't Alternative
If one can buy wind turbines in Canadian Tire, then it's hardly an alternative technology.
- came to Western Europe around 12th C CE
- watermills belonged to church or feudal lords
- windmills didn't pay taxes
- … until the bishops burned them down, or demanded taxes on the wind that “belonged to none but [the church]”.
Quotation from the Knight's American Mechanical Dictionary from the 1870s.
The traditional windmill
Pitstone Windmill, Bedfordshire - Photo Credit: Michael Reeve.
Some things to do with a windmill
- grind grain
- saw lumber
- pump water
- make wood pulp for paper
- crush rock
- mill pigments
The American farm wind pump
This one was made in Ontario, and was on display at the 2005 Markham Fair.
The Chicago Wind Pump
- developed in mid 19th C CE
- wind-tunnel tested
- scientifically refined: curved airfoils, efficient transfer gearing
- allowed the westward expansion.
Typical Wind Turbine Configuration
Alternative: Direct Drive Wind Turbine
photo credit: Americas Wind Energy
The Also-Ran: Darrieus VAWT
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
Turbine Size: Small - Bergey 10kW
Turbine Size: Utility: Vestas DWT 400kW
Turbine Size: Huge - RePower 5MW
Wind Turbine Energy Capture
- is related to the turbine's swept area
- in lower wind sites, is greatly affected by the turbine cut-in speed
- wind speed increases with height
- the rate of increase is affected by ground roughness.
How Turbines Have Grown
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 ...
- water aeration
- wind/diesel hybrids for remote areas
- water purification
- Hydrogen? If you must ...
Wind Energy in Ontario
Until 2005, had only had a token presence, including:
- Port Albert
- OPG, Pickering
- Huron Wind
- Sky Generation, Ferndale
- WindShare/Toronto Hydro, Toronto
Operating Wind in Ontario
- started building community support in 1997
- unbelievable amount of permitting and bureaucracy required before building
- secured various grants from federal/provincial/city bodies
- first share issue 2002
- turbine built December 2002 – January 2003
- our co-op model now in use by groups associated with OSEA, and worldwide
Why and how of WindShare:
- because we could do it
- because we should do it
- we're disconnected from the sources of generation, and should consider the consequences
- it's a cool landmark
- because people wanted it
- currently own half of a 750kW wind turbine at ExPlace; other half owned by Toronto Hydro
- community coop with ~400 members
- members invest, and get dividends from sale of power
- part of community wind farm development, LakeWind
Building a Wind Farm
You will need:
- land ... or water
- wind resource
- permitting/environmental assessment
Wind Siting: Selection
So how do you find good land?
Wind Siting: Wind Map
You'll note the highest winds over the lakes ... but this can
- Standard Offer
- Feed-in Tariff
Power Purchase: RFP
- highly competitive; results in lowest-cost projects
- onerous entry requirements; high qualifying bonds
- may result in unbuilt under-bid contracts
Power Purchase: Standard Offer
- In theory, allows anyone with a site to get a long term government-backed contract
- very low paperwork
- local distribution company obliged to take all generation
- ideally, shouldn't be capped
- created the world-leading German wind industry
- Ontario toyed with this program two years ago
Power Purchase: Feed-in Tariff
- Guarantees 13.5¢/kWh for wind for 20 years
- limited by available transmission capacity
- Launched this summer in Ontario
- Ontario's program is likely to be fully subscribed by the
end of November 2009
Image Credit: OPA.
Ontario does not have enough transmission lines to get power from where it's generated to where it's used.
Barriers & Opportunities
Mistakes were made …
Barriers to Wind
- The perceived bird problem
- Public (lack of) awareness
Opportunities for Wind
- Fastest growing generation sector
- New markets in green attributes
- Canada has huge wind potential
- Whole new manufacturing sector
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.
Answer: Who pays more for power?
Credits / Acknowledgements
- My employers, past and present
- WindShare, OSEA, and TREC
- image credits: Americas Wind Energy, Atlantic Wind Test Site, CanWEA, Google, Dan Hayden, OPA, Michael Reeve, RePower, Siemens, Sky Generation, Stan Shebs, TREC, Toronto Hydro, Vestas, WindShare
- Eric Meyer, for the S5 presentation package
- PEO, Kingsway & Lambton Chapters.
The Michael Reeve and Stan Shebs photos are open content licensed, and are taken from Wikipedia
Photo Credit: Dan Hayden, EPCOR.