Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO

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Comments

  • Truth SquadTruth Squad Solar Expert Posts: 126 ✭✭
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO

    Small wind is a scam. I worked for 10 years for one of the major manufacturers. To say they cherry-pick the output data is an understatement. To say that the product is unreliable is an understatement. If you worked with eyes wide open for six months on the production line, warranty, or purchasing, you'd never buy a small wind turbine. Small wind does a huge disservice to renewable energy. In fact, I'd say small wind is an embarrassment to renewable energy.

    You'd have to work for one of the manufacturers to see how deception is taken to a whole new height. How the purchasing department is to find CHEAP, not better, when it comes to parts. You should see how many people hired come into a small wind manufacturer with the best of intentions and leave with the worst of disillusionment.

    Reliable small wind is a good 50 years into the future at least, I'd say. Look, I was there 10 years and the advances made were minimal. Reliability actually never improved. If anything, it went down. All the fancy, new, gee-whiz designs? Same old-same old. Unreliable, low-bid parts of dubious quality, and same old overrated output cherry-picked.

    To produce a good, quality small wind turbine, you need someone who comes into it with the idea to make a good, quality small wind gennie FIRST and THEN make money when it's totally bomb-proof. Right now, you have people who want to make MONEY, MONEY, MONEY FIRST with no sweat equity and minimal money into the bird on the line. Quality doesn't work that way. Until someone figures that out, small wind is wasted money. And at least 50 years into the future.
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO

    I am not so sure any more that commercial wind is much of an answer either, especially following the unmitigated disaster that Spain had (and still has) with wind.

    http://www.wind-watch.org/news/2009/04/09/wind-power-is-a-complete-disaster/

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-MmmfQG9vo&feature=related
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,758 admin
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO

    From Windsun's first link--this is why I hate government subsidies:
    The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported in 2008, on a dollar per MWh basis, the U.S. government subsidizes wind at $23.34 — compared to reliable energy sources: natural gas at 25¢; coal at 44¢; hydro at 67¢; and nuclear at $1.59, leading to what some U.S. commentators call “a huge corporate welfare feeding frenzy.” The Wall Street Journal advises that “wind generation is the prime example of what can go wrong when the government decides to pick winners.”

    You get the exact opposite results of what they were trying for in the first place (reduction of CO2; reduction of fossil fuel plants):
    There is no evidence that industrial wind power is likely to have a significant impact on carbon emissions. The European experience is instructive. Denmark, the world’s most wind-intensive nation, with more than 6,000 turbines generating 19% of its electricity, has yet to close a single fossil-fuel plant. It requires 50% more coal-generated electricity to cover wind power’s unpredictability, and pollution and carbon dioxide emissions have risen (by 36% in 2006 alone).
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • jacobsjacobs Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO
    Reliable small wind is a good 50 years into the future at least, I'd say.

    Reliable small wind was developed back in the 1930's. The problem is that it isn't inexpensive. The general public has become accustomed with inexpensive (cheep, poorly made) products from China. Until we are willing to pay for a quality product, it's not economically feasible for a manufacturer to design and market a quality product.
  • WindsunWindsun Solar Expert Posts: 1,164 ✭✭
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO
    jacobs wrote: »
    Reliable small wind was developed back in the 1930's. The problem is that it isn't inexpensive. The general public has become accustomed with inexpensive (cheep, poorly made) products from China. Until we are willing to pay for a quality product, it's not economically feasible for a manufacturer to design and market a quality product.

    That really is the major problem. You could make a good reliable small wind generator, but it would probably cost on the order of $900 to $1500. But judging by the proliferation of junk out there (most - not all - made in China), people will buy cheap before they buy quality.

    On the other hand, I don't think anyone has ever really built a well engineered, well built small turbine to see if it would sell. The bottom line has always been inflated specs and lowest possible cost.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,758 admin
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO

    I guess it is better to put up a cheap, poorly built, wind turbine that will fail/fall apart in months or a year and find out that you don't have enough wind--than to buy a 3x more costly model (that may not even exist at this time) that will last 5+ years and find out you don't have enough wind. :roll:

    For 99% of the population--solar thermal (heating water and/or air) and solar PV are the only realistic choices out there (however, solar thermal system usually require maintenance; and solar PV is not cheap). And even then, site location (weather, natural and man-made shading, and even city regulations regarding cutting "heritage trees") limit many people from installing workable Solar RE panels.

    To repeat the three steps to Solar RE power--CONSERVE, conserve, conserve. Then look at Solar RE power.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO

    being careful here to keep this general and tossing some of my thoughts around to this, i must say the real problem with involving government in anything is that they don't know what they are doing as they have little actual knowledge of the subject matters they are ruling on or budgeting for.
    i look at this as the same type of a problem an individual may encounter in trying to supplement his electric needs or completely supply his electrical needs. a complete off grid arrangement supplying all power needs is not easy or cheap to do as many here know and forces conservation in such cases. we as individuals can rely on batteries to offset times when no re power source is available. large scale electrical generation can't do this. this was their analogy of the car running behind the bike as the bike represents the renewable source for movement and if it's powered by wind or solar it is prone to be non-operational during times and as such the car must run too to keep things moving during said times. they just don't have the luxury of backing it up with batteries to use during the off timeperiods as none of it is stored.
    governments, and hence politicians, don't have enough working knowledge of the subjects to know what to do if anything and so they pass bad laws and impose ridiculous requirements at times that turn out to be counterproductive and i'm not going into their fine art of padding the bill with bureaucratic costs until it costs hundreds if not thousands of times what it should be. supplementation to the grid with re is not a bad thing, but it can't replace the original power source easily let alone even to be a majority source with the original power source. what they are needing to do is what the individual would need to do, but on a massive scale without storage battery capacity to offset things. not so easy or cheap to do.
  • emsaiemsai Registered Users Posts: 5
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO
    Windsun wrote: »
    I am not so sure any more that commercial wind is much of an answer either, especially following the unmitigated disaster that Spain had (and still has) with wind.

    http://www.wind-watch.org/news/2009/04/09/wind-power-is-a-complete-disaster/

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-MmmfQG9vo&feature=related

    Every major source of power (coal, oil, gas, nuclear) has an agenda, an advocacy, and money to push and propagandize its programs and sabotage others. Ph.D consultants who support these programs by selling their opinions are a dime a dozen. It is difficult to see through all this chaff and discern the real contribution wind can economically make to power generation. Those industries with a strong political power base (coal and oil for example) do not want to give up even a small piece of the generation pie, health of the planet be damned. And they will fight a dirty and vicious fight to hold on to every erg. Stifling innovation-converted-to-production in solar and wind power generation is very much to their advantage.

    Wind has no real political power base. While it may not be THE answer, it is definitely a part of the answer, and in many parts of the world, it may be most of the answer. That is true of many poor countries and regions bordering mountain ranges and windy plains, particularly those with very little natural resources. Even in our country. But bet your last dime, coal, oil, and gas, and to a lesser degree - nuclear, will try to get it all.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,758 admin
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO

    Small wind may have not have much political power--and according to multiple studies shows that it is a huge waste of money where it takes 20x the funds to generate the same amount of power with small wind turbines as one large industrial wind turbine:

    Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO

    And to be repetitive (and complete), quoted from a pro-wind site:
    Massachusetts Small Wind Report 2008: Consultants to the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative have issued a damning report on the performance of small wind turbines installed under the MTC's subsidy program.
    Bottom Line

    "MTC is now considering program changes to the Small Renewables Initiative that will apply to future small wind projects. MTC expects that these program changes will be announced in late summer, 2008.
    As a result of the information outlined in the following small wind progress briefing, MTC believes that it is in the best interest of the small wind community for MTC to stop accepting applications from new, small wind projects. . . ."

    But wind overall (or Big Wind?) certainly does... The article Windsun posted, and I quoted earlier:

    Wind power is a complete disaster
    The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported in 2008, on a dollar per MWh basis, the U.S. government subsidizes wind at $23.34 — compared to reliable energy sources: natural gas at 25¢; coal at 44¢; hydro at 67¢; and nuclear at $1.59, leading to what some U.S. commentators call “a huge corporate welfare feeding frenzy.” The Wall Street Journal advises that “wind generation is the prime example of what can go wrong when the government decides to pick winners.”

    Wind has ~15x the US government subsidizes as the next highest, nuclear.

    Somebody is sure pulling the levers of power out there for wind...
    There is no evidence that industrial wind power is likely to have a significant impact on carbon emissions. The European experience is instructive. Denmark, the world’s most wind-intensive nation, with more than 6,000 turbines generating 19% of its electricity, has yet to close a single fossil-fuel plant. It requires 50% more coal-generated electricity to cover wind power’s unpredictability, and pollution and carbon dioxide emissions have risen (by 36% in 2006 alone).

    If you want to see what government subsidies are like--come to Northern California and turn on your A/C. For flat rate Residential Electric (over 1,000 kWhrs per month), would you want to pay $0.44 per kWhr?

    Or, how about my E-7 Time of Use rate plan, turn on your A/C between noon and 6pm Mon-Friday in the summer and pay $0.30 to $0.60 per kWhr (the more power you use, the higher the kWhr billing rate).

    All that money is going to pay for green/non-coal power (and various other programs).

    Kind of makes TVA's (Tennessee Valley Authority) "Green Power" program which adds less $0.03 a kWhr to a power bill look pretty pathetic. What is the typical cost of electric power there now--$0.08 per kWhr? Any over there want to volunteer for a $0.52 per kWhr adder to their bill for "green power"?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,758 admin
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO

    Some more information on Big Wind.
    The variable resources for the MRO-U.S. (wind generation) expected to be available at peak times is 1,130 MW, based on 20 percent of nameplate capacity of 5,924 MW. For wind generation, nameplate capability is assumed as maximum capability, although simultaneous output of geographically disperse wind farms at 100 percent nameplate capability is highly unlikely. 20 percent of nameplate capacity is used by the Midwest ISO when determining capacity of variable generation. 20 percent is also assumed available at peak load by the MRO Model Building Subcommittee when building peak models. Historically, the Midwest ISO has recorded a maximum output of about 65 percent of wind nameplate capacity operating simultaneously throughout the Region during peak demand. The Midwest ISO has also recorded approximately 2 percent of wind nameplate capacity operating simultaneously throughout the Region during peak demand. Saskatchewan, which has about 172 MW of nameplate wind, and Manitoba Hydro, which has about 100 MW of nameplate wind, do not count wind resources for reliability/capacity purposes.
    And, apparently, this variability is not limited to the Midwest (of USA)... From the comments--a quote from a talk given by the CAISO (California Independent System Operator):
    Rob said at May 26, 2009 01:52 PM: In 2007, Jim Detmers, VP of the California ISO gave a talk at Stanford in which he said this:

    "Wind is not produced on peak. This last summer, when we went across the summer peak, I had 3,000 megawatts of capacity of wind. How much did I have on the summer peak, back in August? No, no, no, I didn't have zero. I had a total of 63 out of 3,000 [2.1% -BB]. And we're investing all of this money in wind..."

    My source for this is the audio of the talk at iTunes U, here's the URL for those who wish to listen: http://deimos3.apple.com/WebObjects/Core.woa/Browse/itunes.stanford.edu.1291176865.01291176868.1427408599?i=1204795563
    This speaks only of California, of course, but I know that Texas almost had an outage last year when the wind in west Texas unexpectedly quit blowing. Wind is a scam, text excerpts from the speech can be found here: http://roborant.info/main.do?entry=1386

    And there was the recent time where a region in California almost lost its power because too much wind power (no place for the power to go). Or in Oregon where they had to spill hydro water because of too much wind power in the grid.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,758 admin
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO

    Some real-life experiences with small wind--worth repeating here:
    Windsun wrote: »
    http://www.stthomasspringdale.org/?page_id=79 Read down the page for a timeline.

    http://www.earthbilly.com/wind_turbine.htm I feel sorry for this guy...

    http://www.nrel.gov/wind/smallwind/pdfs/mariah_report.pdf (this NREL report is about the failed Mariah VAWT type turbine tests, June 2009. Though not associated with SWWP it mirrors many of the problems with small wind turbines, especially the recently much hype vertical axis turbines).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • ggunnggunn Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO
    emsai wrote: »
    I built a small VAWT (2’dia x 5.5’ ht) out of PVC, and mounted it on a floating dock, 50’ out into the NE Cape Fear River. I am about 18 miles from the ocean, and regularly get a strong W, NW, SW wind up the river. The VAWT works great, particularly with the deflectors I built to channel more wind to it.
    When you say it "works great", what criteria are you using to make that determination?
  • ggunnggunn Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO

    Here's one that has caught the eye of our business manager:

    http://www.bluenergyusa.com/index.html

    I'm skeptical, but then I always am.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO
    ggunn wrote: »
    I'm skeptical, but then I always am.

    It's been my experience that is a very good way to stay alive and financially solvent. :D
  • GreenPowerManiacGreenPowerManiac Solar Expert Posts: 447 ✭✭✭
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO

    My personal opinion, the scam is mostly in the advertisement. High claims and stats with little to show for. Expensive for what little power is produced and they break down after a few weeks or months. Unless you make you own from scratch, one can't really appreciate any benefits.

    Mine have been running for about a year now, however, they're based on alternator technology that's been around for many decades. I get good output from them on windy days and non-windy days they're just spinning for spite and appearance. It's a nice addition to dark windy nights....Just don't expect much from the beginning.

    Think of it as another way to produce energy when the sun goes down, that's all.
    Nature's Design & Green Energy on FaceBook : Stop by and "Like" us anytime.. Many up-to-date articles about Renewables every day.
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    Lots of DIY Renewable Energy Projects on ETSY : Solar Panel builds, Wind Turbine builds, Rain Barrel build,etc.  
  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO

    No third party tests at all - Maybe someone got their mother in law to recommend the thing.

    İ have looked at this one before. They will maybe find one or two suckers but İ can't think there are many more than that in the entire US that would go for the story.

    Check out Paul Gipe at www.wind-works.org
    See what the master in the wind turbine business has to say about VAWTs and junk such as blue energy is trying to hustle.
  • EhutchEhutch Registered Users Posts: 9
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO
    My personal opinion, the scam is mostly in the advertisement. High claims and stats with little to show for. Expensive for what little power is produced and they break down after a few weeks or months. Unless you make you own from scratch, one can't really appreciate any benefits.

    Mine have been running for about a year now, however, they're based on alternator technology that's been around for many decades. I get good output from them on windy days and non-windy days they're just spinning for spite and appearance. It's a nice addition to dark windy nights....Just don't expect much from the beginning.

    Think of it as another way to produce energy when the sun goes down, that's all.

    I have a SWWP W-200 that works very nicely in reasonable wind. Most of the time we have wind too gentle to produce anything but the "decorative" spinning. Last winter I built a very simple voltage doubling 3 phase rectifier that I wired in parallel with the W-200 controller.

    I would think a voltage doubling bootstrap could be applied to any alternator, either at the top (if DC downfeed) or at the rectifier/controller (if ac downfeed).

    Now whenever the prop turns I get some output. It may only be a dozen watts but there is no "wasted" spinning.

    I spent considerably more on the enclosure and circuit breakers to install the voltage doubler than I spent on the actual circuit. The doubler circuit passes as much as 150W around the W-200 in very strong wind. The regulation function of the W-200 also effectively regulates the voltage doubler. I am pleased with the extra energy and the "quieting" of useless spinning. It only increases the output by about 500 watt hours per day on average (which is worth less than a dime on our grid) so the economics are not good. But the economics whitout it are no better. Small wind is a political statement not an economic one IMHO.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,758 admin
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO

    Is this the type circuit you used for voltage doubling?

    Three Phase Voltage Multiplier (Cockcroft-Walton)

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • GreenPowerManiacGreenPowerManiac Solar Expert Posts: 447 ✭✭✭
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO

    Hmmm....Interesting. Would this work with my setup ? 3 phase A/C to standard rectifier. And would it be an easy fix ?

    What's needed is a way to turn this back to standard voltage/current when they reach "Startup Speed". Sort of a controller for low output only then normal afterward. Is there such a thing yet ?
    Nature's Design & Green Energy on FaceBook : Stop by and "Like" us anytime.. Many up-to-date articles about Renewables every day.
    WWW.GreenAnything.Net    Ad free website.
    Lots of DIY Renewable Energy Projects on ETSY : Solar Panel builds, Wind Turbine builds, Rain Barrel build,etc.  
  • loteklotek Solar Expert Posts: 65 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO

    Honeywell set to market small wind through Ace Hardware in Aug. This looks to be the real deal! Producing power at the rim instead of the hub, at 2 miles an hr. Take a look http://www.earthtronics.com/honeywell.aspx
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO

    I may be hyper-cynical, but it sounds like a bunch of physics-defying bloody nonsense.
    As usual.
    And that "through Home Hardware" remark is eerily similar to a known scam.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators Posts: 26,758 admin
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO

    A year ago--they where announcing the Earthtronics/Honeywell wind turbine.

    Another Honeywell thread.

    This looks like an updated version compared to what we saw a year ago... I am still not convinced that it can do what they claim--Your mileage may vary.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • peterakopeterako Solar Expert Posts: 144 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO

    Hi lotek,
    This wind turbine is a clear scam if you read about wind generators you will understand it....
    I will write a few there are more....

    1. Roof top ??? every object in the wind makes noise, this just above sleeping room in a storm or strong wind.
    2. blades are wrong way around. inthe center from the turbine the wind moves slower so you need more surface to harvest this energy, in the outside you need small surface because of the high speed.
    3. low wind speed is low wind power.high wind speed is high power. you can not go around thise.
    4. putting the generator on the outside meaing more space for magnets but you can not have the generator stronger than the energy produced , you will stall the generator. plus having extra weight in the outside will give big problems with centrical forces when the wind is changing direction.
    5. there is no discription about any storm safety system??????
    etc. etc.
  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO

    100% scam looking for suckers!

    The low wind speed part is a laugher - when there is no power in the wind (such as at 2 mph) it makes no difference if the thing is turning or not. According to their document and in the wind class they choose 3 mph winds (which they are so proud of using) would contribute 14 watts per year.

    No 3rd party testing so is the power information they supply accurate or just so much smoke - I would be looking for the fire!
  • dwhdwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO

    Also, it's not a Honeywell product. It's Chinese and marketed under license using the Honeywell name (just like the Honeywell generators). This is not made by the same people who built those bulletproof round thermostats that we all grew up with.
  • 65DegN65DegN Solar Expert Posts: 106 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO

    The way I see it, it makes no difference if the power generation occurrs at the blade tips or at the hub because placement of the point of generation will not change the HP generated by the blades.
    Any turbine can be made to generate some power at low wind speeds by using a multiple blade design which increases the solidity of the blades and allows for low wind speed start up.
    Then the alternator at the hub (or at the blade tips) would be designed to produce power at low RPMs.
    I don't see anything new here.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO

    You know, if we as a society did a better job of teaching science in high school (instead of whatever they do teach - butter sculpturing I guess) fewer people would be taken in by these scams.

    Just sayin'.
  • dwhdwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO
    You know, if we as a society did a better job of teaching science in high school (instead of whatever they do teach - butter sculpturing I guess) fewer people would be taken in by these scams.

    Just sayin'.

    They teach TV watching, wage slaving, loan application filling out and propaganda swallowing.

    Oh...and patriotism! Woo boy! Yay for us! We're the best!


    "The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers." - Thomas Jefferson
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Small windpower a scam ? Survey says SO
    dwh wrote: »
    They teach TV watching, wage slaving, loan application filling out and propaganda swallowing.

    Oh...and patriotism! Woo boy! Yay for us! We're the best!


    "The man who reads nothing at all is better than educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers." - Thomas Jefferson

    Ah! Now I understand! :p
  • raspberryfisherraspberryfisher Registered Users Posts: 6
    DWH - Windtronics

    This is an update to an comment from last year ...... My job sometimes requires me or staff to chase down facts. As a result, base on actual physical presence (witin the last 30 days), the Windtronics manufacturing-assembly facility is located in Michigan and Ontario.

    This is no endorsement - positive or negative.
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