ExPlace Turbine Shutdown for Service

I noticed this in my twitter feed the other day:

windshare: ExPlace Turbine Shutdown for Service http://wp.me/p11wfW-8T

From what the linked news release said, it looks like the turbine has had a major mechanical component failure. The replacement part will take several months to arrive, then needs a crane to replace it. The turbine is structurally sound, and is even yawing to follow the wind, but can’t generate.

This is a shame, as the volunteers at WindShare had just got the turbine operating at very close to commercial availability. There are also a couple of usefully windy months before the summer for which co-op members will lose revenue.

Update: a very watered-down news release went up on April 3rd: Turbine Technology Update.

barefoot hydrodynamics

Ever since I discovered them, I have been fascinated by the Foxfire books. Not that I’m planning to go back to the land or anything, just they they often display flashes of ingenuity and craftsmanship.

Take this, for example:

tub wheel - from foxfire 2

It’s clearly a turbine runner, but it’s made from a slab of solid pine, pinned together then held in compression by steel bands around the rim.

sam burton chisels out a tub wheel bucket

It was made by Georgia craftsman Sam Burton, and is documented in Foxfire 2 (Wigginton et al, 1973, pub. Anchor Books, ISBN 0-385-02267-0, pp. 142-163).

see, I told you ages ago

Trendy roof turbines are not as green as they look says The Observer. <smugness/>
Paul Gipe has some thoughts on this:

The last one has a couple of pictures I took when we were in Scotland.

you go, Glen!

Congratulations are due to Glen Estill, who got his two Vestas V82s on the Bruce Peninsula running today. Glen is a pioneer of wind energy in Ontario, and we’re all grateful to him for his tireless work for the industry.

Update: further to my wind turbines from space obsession, I found Glen’s original V80 turbine at 44° 56′ 46.42″ N, 81° 15′ 47.12″ W.

gone with the wind

I see that Americas Wind Energy updated their website to replace the site I wrote for them a couple of years back. It’s purty, but:

  • The page URL sometimes inexplicably switches to d3095932.ejt86.ejtechinternational.com from awe-wind.com.
  • The product page for the AWE 52-750 shows a bunch of non-operational turbines.
  • The AWE 52-900 page also has a picture of a parked turbine, and it looks a lot like Tallon Energy’s 52-750 at Pincher Creek.
  • More parked turbines on the 54-900 page, and occasionally a completely different machine is shown.

Oh wait, I get it – it’s a random turbine image for each page. Hmm.

Rum Do At WindShare

WindShare‘s having a special general meeting tonight to discuss the following resolution:

Moved that the Board of WindShare recommends to the WindShare I membership at their general meeting of June 7, 2006, the merger of WindShare I and WindShare II for the purpose of entering into the activities necessary for the development of the proposed Lakewind Proposal.

This is quite an important step, and since I’m still in Pittsburgh, I’d hoped to vote by proxy. I was informed by the WindShare administrator that this wasn’t possible; the Cooperative Corporations Act does not allow proxy voting.
I’m annoyed by this, as it looks like WindShare is going to merge its capital with a 10MW project being built on a site with a 6.5 m/s mean wind speed. I wouldn’t develop a project on a site with this low a wind speed, so I asked the following of the board:

Can you clarify, please, that the vote can only be carried if a majority of WindShare members are present at the meeting? It would be grossly unfair if an important vote like this one was carried by a minority.

I would also like to have questions brought to the board, and if possible, the meeting itself. The LakeWind information package states that Bervie has “an average wind speed of 6.5m/s … making this an excellent site for Ontario”. I would not consider a site having this wind resource to be excellent, and it would certainly not be one that would attract a commercial developer. So my questions are:

  • Is it in the membership’s best interests to develop a relatively low wind site? WindShare made their political point with the ExPlace turbine, and now we must show that community wind is economically viable.
  • Would either of the potential sites be forced to curtail output when/if the extra Bruce units come online? While LakeWind would be connecting to local distribution, any generation in that area might be subject to queueing limitations.

So far, I’ve heard nothing, which makes me uneasy.

AWEA06: by the river (or in it, nearly)

by a river at AWEA06

We’re not getting the best weather for the conference, but I hear that the coincidentally-running Three Rivers Arts Festival has had rain 18 out of the 20 years it has run, so noone’s surprised.

Conference hasn’t quite started yet, but the preliminary swag is quite promising; yoyos and balsa aircraft.

I spent the day in workshop run by KidWind, who have a school science kit for teaching the basics of wind turbine effectiveness. We got to build wind turbines, and test them. Here’s mine, big wean that I am:
stewart's kidwind turbine

I guess I got some losses near the hub there, but at least it worked. I was the only developer type there (there was a DoE person, and lots and lots of Pennsylvania teachers). I came away impressed, and hope I can work with Michael Arquin of KidWind to bring the project to Ontario.

(This post has the worst GPS location ever; could only get a fix to within 100m, so that’s why the map location appears to be in the river.)

too many wind turbines in the UK? Hardly!

Flying back from Denmark over the UK the other day, I hoped to see at least some wind farms. In a highly unscientific study, I peered out the window from approximately Nottingham to Iona. You know how many wind turbines I saw? Four. You know how many were working? One. Hardly something that’s taking over the landscape.

And strangely, the one I saw working, at Chelker Reservoir, I used to drive past quite often on my way to Skipton. I’ve never seen more than a couple of those old WEG 300kW two-bladers running. I was frankly amazed there were any of them left. Even from 10000m, you could make out the herky-jerky rotation.

from on high near Bøvlingbjerg

View from the nacelle of a 2.3MW wind turbine

(above thumbnail links to 2048×768 panoramic image.)

It’s nice here at the Risø test centre, with a view of over 70 wind turbines across Jutland. I’m on top of a Siemens 2.3 MW turbine. There’s an elevator, before you ask how I got up an 80m tower.

in Aalborg

I like Aalborg. I think we’re staying in exactly the same hotel (the Scandic) as I stayed in 10 years ago with RES. We’re going to see some really big wind turbines tomorrow.

Oh, and the Google Maps locations I picked off for this hotel are pretty darn accurate; the one I double-clicked on for this hotel is less than 50m from my room. I like.