NewEnergyNews: BIG BOOM IN SMALL WIND

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    Tuesday, September 30, 2008

    BIG BOOM IN SMALL WIND

    Small wind turbines are big business in the U.S. and getting bigger. 9,092 small turbines were sold in the U.S. in 2007, 14% growth over the previous year, generating $42 million in revnues. 2008 sales figures to date suggest this year’s growth may reach 20%.

    Ron Stimmel, small wind advocate, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA): "The interest is just skyrocketing. People are looking for ways to seize their own energy future, so to speak, and become personally energy independent while helping to protect the environment…"

    Hundreds of models on the U.S. market, 100 kilowatts and less, range in cost from $14,000 to $60,000.

    A common estimate of average U.S. household power is in the ~1,000 kilowatts/month range. Small turbine power generation is dependent on seasonal and diurnal winds and placement.

    Example of small wind in action: Dr. Carlos Fernandez, transplant surgeon and turbine seller, uses 4 small turbines on his Paso Fino horse farm north of Washington, D.C. He is not energy independent but his utility purchases have dropped from 5,400 kilowatts/month to 2,000 kilowatts/month. He recently built an indoor training ring that is completely independent of the grid.

    Dr. Fernandez: "I think sooner or later I am going to be producing more than I use here, because I am always tinkering with more power production…Figuring out how I can get every ounce out of those turbines. Whether it is a taller tower, whether it is better electronics. My goal is to be totally energy independent."

    More than a footnote: Based on changes in New Energy sales after 2005, when residential solar photovoltaic systems began qualifying for a 30% investment tax credit (ITC), a provision making small wind eligible for a comparable ITC (included in the currently pending New Energy incentives legislation unlikely to be passed by Congress) would probably add 40-to-50% to annual small wind growth.


    More info at AWEA Small Wind

    Also see the AWEA Small Wind Turbine Glbal Market Study 2008

    From the AWEA small wind report. (click to enlarge)

    Small Wind Energy on the Rise in U.S.
    Jeff Swicord, 24 September 2008 (Voice of America)

    WHO
    Dr. Carlos Fernandez, transplant surgeon & breeder of Puerto Rican Paso Fino horses; American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)

    WHAT
    With small wind turbine installation booming in the U.S., Dr. Fernandez’s use of small wind turbines to power his horse farm exemplify what is possible.

    From the AWEA small wind report. (click to enlarge)

    WHEN
    - Fernandez has been developing small wind for “…the past several years.”
    - 2001: 2,100 small wind units installed in the U.S. with a capacity of 2,100 kilowatts.
    - 2007: 9,092 units installed with a capacity of 9,737 kilowatts.

    WHERE
    - 8,905 of the 9,092 turbines sold in the U.S. in 2007 were manufactured in the U.S.
    - There are at least 49 U.S. small turbine manufacturers and at least 84 non-U.S. small turbine manufacturers.

    WHY
    - The market in 2007: 9,092 units sold, 98% (8,905) were from U.S. manufacturers; 14% growth (9.7 megawatts of capacity added); $42 million in 2007 sales; Cumulative U.S. installed capacity is now 55-60 megawatts.
    - On-grid: 1,292 units, 5,720 kilowatts.
    - Off-grid: 7,800 units, 4,017 kilowatts.
    - There are an estimated 350-to-400 full time jobs and 95 part time jobs from the small wind industry.
    - Costs: $3-to-5 per watt of capacity; 10-to-15 cents per kilowatt of production.
    - Dr. Fernandez has 20 horses in two barns, 2 houses, an indoor training ring and other structures, all fully powered.
    - Dr. Fernandez uses 4 small turbines, 2 modern designs made specifically for small scale power production and 2 designed to pump water from deep wells, to drop his utility-purchased electricity from 5,400 kilowatts/month to 2,000 kilowatts/month. His systems include batteries for the storage of excess generation.

    From the AWEA small wind report. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Dr. Fernandez: "Our own lives have been turned upside down by the cost of gasoline going up in the last two years…I think we would have a lot more freedom if we were to make our own power."
    - Dr. Fernandez: "This particular one was manufactured in 1905. I found it basically in a yard sale. I brought it home and started playing with it to make a conversion to make electricity…"
    - Dr. Fernandez: "For wind power, the main issue is site, you know - where you are going to locate the tower? Obviously trees are not very friendly to windmills unless you can get 20 or 30 feet above them…"

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