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Build Your Own Small Wind Power System

Book Description

A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO BUILDING A SMALL WIND POWER SYSTEM FROM THE GROUND UP

Written by renewable energy experts, this hands-on resource provides the technical information and easy-to-follow instructions you need to harness the wind and generate clean, safe, and reliable energy for on-site use.

Build Your Own Small Wind Power System shows you how to install a grid-connected or off-grid residential-scale setup. Get tips for evaluating your site for wind power potential, obtaining permits, financing your project, selecting components, and assembling and maintaining your system. Pictures, diagrams, charts, and graphs illustrate each step along the way. You'll also find out how you can help promote wind-friendly public policies locally. Save money and reduce your carbon footprint with help from this practical guide.

COVERAGE INCLUDES:

  • Challenges and impacts of small wind energy
  • Electricity, energy, and wind science
  • Determining if wind power is right for you
  • Site assessment
  • Financing small wind power
  • Permits and zoning
  • Wind turbine fundamentals
  • Choosing the right wind turbine for the job
  • Balance of system: batteries, inverters, and controllers
  • Installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting
  • Future developments in wind power

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Build Your Own Small Wind Power System
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Dedication
  5. Contents
  6. Preface
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. Introduction
  9. 1 First Wind: Introduction to Small Wind Power
    1. A Brief History of Wind Energy
      1. A Brief History of Commercial-Scale Wind Energy
    2. Recent Growth of the Global Wind Market
    3. Wind Energy System Components
      1. Turbine
      2. Tower
      3. Transmission Wires
      4. Balance of System (BOS)
    4. Direct Drivers for Wind Energy
    5. Economic Benefits of Small Wind Power
      1. Free Fuel
      2. Return on Investment (ROI)
      3. Financial Hedge Against Rising Energy Prices
      4. Access to Financial Incentives for Developers and Consumers
      5. Becoming Competitive with Conventional Technologies
      6. Job Creation and Regional Economic Development
    6. Values and Small Wind
      1. Environmental Benefits
      2. Independence
      3. Image Enhancement
      4. Consumer Choice
      5. Self-Reliance
      6. Do-It-Yourself
      7. High Visibility
      8. The Joy and Satisfaction of It
    7. Practicality
      1. Diversity and Reliability of Electricity Supply
      2. Political Security
      3. Natural Synergism with Solar Technology
      4. Diversity of Applications, Including Remote and Off-Grid
      5. Resiliency
    8. Summary
  10. 2 Second Wind: Challenges and Impacts of Small Wind Energy
    1. Energy Storage and Transmission
    2. Environmental Impacts
      1. Noise
      2. Perception and Annoyance
      3. Flicker Effect
      4. Visual Influence
      5. Property Value
      6. Electromagnetic Transmissions
      7. Radar
      8. Ice Throwing
    3. Ecological Impacts of Small Wind Turbines
      1. Embodied Energy
      2. Site Preparation
      3. Potential Impacts on Birds
      4. Impacts on Bats
    4. Summary
  11. 3 Electricity, Energy, and Wind Science
    1. Basics of Electricity
      1. Electrical Charge (Voltage)
      2. Current (Amperes)
      3. Ampere-Hours (Amp-Hours)
      4. Resistance (Ohms)
      5. All Together Now: Ohm’s Law
      6. Power (Watts)
      7. Energy (Watt-Hours)
    2. Wind Energy Principles
      1. Understanding Wind Speed Terminology
      2. The Basic Wind Energy Formula
      3. Air Density (D)
      4. Super Power vs. Super Energy: Annual Energy Output (AEO)
      5. Powering Down: Losing 40 Percent of the Betz
    3. Summary
  12. 4 Personal Assessment: Is Wind Power Right for You?
    1. Nothing Personal: Your Motivations
    2. Determining Your Relationship to the Grid
    3. How Energy-Efficient Is Your Home or Business?
      1. Calculating Average Annual Consumption
      2. Auditing Your Energy Consumption
    4. Boosting Your Building’s Energy Efficiency
      1. Adjust That Thermostat
      2. Use Cold Water
      3. Use Electricity When the Rate Is Lower
      4. Plug the Leaks
      5. Install Ceiling Fans
      6. Install Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) Bulbs (or LEDs)
      7. Install a Tankless Water Heater
      8. Boost Insulation
      9. Install Storm Windows
      10. Get an Energy-Saving Refrigerator
      11. Additional Energy Savers
      12. Give Your HVAC Equipment an Annual Tune-Up
      13. Change Filters Regularly
      14. Put Up Window Plastic
      15. Do it Now, While Incentives Last
    5. Summary
  13. 5 Site Assessment: Will Wind Power Work at Your Location?
    1. Get Prepared
      1. How to Save Time on This Chapter
    2. Site Location Guidelines
    3. Basic Principles of Wind Resource Evaluation
      1. Know Your (Wind) Class
      2. Maps Are Not Gospel
      3. Wind Shear
    4. Ways of the Wind: Assessing Average Annual Wind Speed
      1. Not for Your Eyes Only
      2. Beaufort Wind Force Scale
      3. Griggs-Putnam Index of Deformity
    5. Data-Driven Pyramid of Wind Assessment
      1. Global Wind Maps
      2. Regional Wind Maps
      3. Climatic and Meteorological Data
      4. Wind Energy Roses
      5. Professional Wind Analysis Services
      6. Anemometers
      7. Bringing It All Together
    6. Tower Types and Site Evaluation
      1. Tilt-Up Towers
      2. Fixed Guyed Towers
      3. Freestanding Towers
      4. Consider Maintenance
    7. Siting for Roof-Mount Micro-Turbines
    8. Social Friction Factor
    9. Summary
  14. 6 How to Finance Small Wind Power
    1. Cost Breakdowns for a Small Wind System
      1. Electricity Costs Last a Lifetime
      2. What Is It Worth to You?
    2. Factors That Affect Final Cost
      1. Average Wind Speed
      2. Cost of Electricity Offset
      3. Government/Utility Incentives and Net-Metering Policies
      4. Rising Cost of Real Prices of Electricity
      5. Application
      6. Cost of Equipment
      7. Monitoring and Maintenance
      8. Installation Cost
      9. Insurance
      10. Source of Money
      11. Permitting Costs
      12. Zoning Jurisdiction
      13. Energy Usage Tax
      14. Raw Materials
    3. Financial Incentives
      1. Capital Subsidies
      2. Tax Incentives
      3. Low-Interest Loans
    4. Does Small Wind Pay?
      1. Does a Small Wind System Have to Pay for Itself?
      2. Initial Cost
      3. The Concepts of Payback and ROI
      4. Residential Economics: Homer Hank
      5. Farm and Business Economics: Energy Demand
    5. Insurance: Protecting Your Investment
      1. Property Insurance
      2. Liability Insurance
      3. Companies Offering Insurance for Renewable Energy
    6. Warranties
      1. In-House Management
      2. Third-Party Warranties
    7. Financial Resource Checklist
    8. Handy Cost Calculators
    9. Summary
  15. 7 Navigating Permits and Zoning
    1. Getting Started on Permits
      1. Step 1: Contact Your Municipality
      2. Step 2: Read the Code
      3. Step 3: Complete Applications
      4. Step 4: The Hearing
      5. Utility Approval
      6. Step 5: Engineering Verifications and Inspections
    2. Brief Checklist
    3. Summary
  16. 8 Wind Turbines Demystified
    1. Drag vs. Lift Turbines
    2. Anatomy of a Wind Turbine
      1. Rotor
      2. Alternator (Generator)
      3. Gearbox (Optional)
      4. Tail
      5. Yaw System
      6. Slip Rings
      7. Tower
    3. Vertical Axis Wind Turbines
      1. A Typical VAWT Pitch
      2. Brief History of VAWTs
    4. Purported Benefits (and Disadvantages) of VAWTs
      1. Convenience
      2. Energy Output and Efficiency of VAWTS
      3. Reliability and Fatigue
      4. Wind Speed, Direction, and Turbulence
      5. Cost
      6. Sound, Vibrations, and Flicker
      7. Effects on Birds and Bats
      8. Aesthetics
      9. WePOWER Shows Momentum
      10. Quietrevolution’s High-Tech VAWTs
      11. From Jellyfish to Helixes: Alternative VAWTs
      12. VAWT vs. HAWT: The Final Conclusion
    5. Standards and Certifications
      1. Independent Certification
    6. Summary
  17. 9 How to Choose the Right Wind Turbine for the Job
    1. Important Questions to Ask When Shopping For a Small Wind Turbine
    2. What to Look For When Buying a Wind Turbine
      1. Swept Area (Rotor Diameter)
      2. Durability
      3. Predicted Annual Energy Output (AEO)
      4. Cost
      5. Speed (RPM and TSR)
      6. Shutdown Mechanism
      7. Sound
    3. Time to Select Your Wind Turbine
      1. The Variables
    4. Summary
  18. 10 Balance of System: Batteries, Inverters, Controllers, and More
    1. Inverters
      1. Grid-Tied Inverters
      2. Off-Grid Inverters
      3. Grid-Tied with Battery Backup
    2. Batteries
      1. Types of Batteries
      2. Basic Battery Chemistry
      3. Battery Ratings: Amp-Hours
      4. Cost of Batteries
      5. Energy Loss from Internal Resistance
      6. Battery Longevity
      7. Sizing Your Battery Bank
      8. Organization of Battery Banks
    3. Charge Controllers
      1. Will Solar Charge Controllers Work for Wind Systems?
      2. AC and DC Controllers
      3. The Effects of Temperature Changes
      4. Protecting Your Batteries: Proper Charging and Equalization
      5. Building a Charge Controller from Scratch
      6. How to Connect or Unhook a Controller
      7. Voltage Clamp
      8. Disconnects
    4. Breaker Panels
    5. The Wire
      1. Grounding
    6. Surge Arrestors
    7. Utility Interconnection Equipment
    8. System Meters
    9. Backup Generator
    10. Summary
  19. 11 Installation, Maintenance, and Troubleshooting
    1. Installing a Tower
    2. Safety First
    3. Installing a Small Wind System
      1. The Foundation and Anchors
      2. Lifting the Tower (and Turbine)
      3. Safe Climbing
      4. Making the Connections
    4. Maintenance
    5. Tower and Turbine Maintenance Checklist
    6. Troubleshooting
    7. Troubleshooting for a Small Wind System
    8. Summary
  20. 12 Future Developments in Wind Power
    1. Architectural Wind: Can Buildings Improve Wind Conditions?
    2. Building Integrated Wind Turbines
    3. Biomimicry: Wind Systems Inspired by Animals
    4. Let’s Go Fly a Wind Turbine
    5. Ultra-Micro Wind Turbines
      1. The Hip HYmini
      2. Tiny Piezoelectric Wind Turbines
      3. The Windbelt
      4. Traffic Turbines
    6. Alternative Turbine Designs
      1. RidgeBlade
      2. The Honeywell/WindTronics “Blade Tip Power System” Turbine
    7. Optimizing Existing Designs
      1. Ducted Rotors
      2. Multirotor Turbines
      3. Counter-Rotating Dual Turbines
      4. Telescopic Blades
      5. Laser-Guided Turbines
      6. Advanced Active Controls
    8. Summary
  21. Glossary
    1. Electrical Terms
    2. Wind Energy–Related Terms
    3. Conversions, Abbreviations, and Acronyms
  22. Notes
  23. Index