Small Scale

Harvest the Wind: A Wind Energy Handbook for Illinois

This handbook was prepared by Windustry for the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois and published January 1, 2004. The purpose of this handbook is to inform the reader about wind as a resource for generating electricity, with emphasis on Illinois as a potential host for small-scale and large-scale projects. It addresses how to assess the value of wind, the wind energy options available for landowners and communities to consider, and sources of financial assistance. Case studies are included to illustrate what has been done to develop this resource in Illinois and neighboring states. Find it the Illinois Website  download here.

Kendall County, IL: Community Wind Project

Small Wind Turbines in Illinois

Kendall County, Illinois

Gary Kizior installed a 10 kW Bergey turbine in December 2002, replacing his old Whisper 3 kW machine. It sits on the same 80-foot tip-up tower that Whisper machine used. This project was half funded by the Illinois Renewable Energy Resources Grant Program and was among the first small turbines in the state to receive a grant through this program.

Turbine
Gary chose a Bergey Excel 10 kW generator with a 23-foot diameter rotor because it had a reputation for quality and being low maintenance. There are no regular lubrications required and he anticipates very low costs for upkeep and repair in the future. The turbine cost approximately $20,000.

Funding

Gary applied to the Illinois Department of Commerce for funding in July of 2002. Two months later he learned that his application had been approved and after submitting some additional paperwork he received his check in a few weeks. Wind turbines from 5 kW to 200 kW currently are eligible for grants for up to 50 percent of the hardware and installation costs through this state program.

Permitting

This project took advantage of the exemption from zoning restrictions for agricultural projects in agriculturally zoned areas of the state of Illinois. This is a low-hassle route for farmers interested in small wind turbines.

Economics

Production
Gary has a wind anemometer mounted 65 feet off the ground on the 80-foot tower. Data collected last year showed the annual average wind speed at this height to be 9.5 miles per hour. However, according to Gary, 2002 was a lower than average wind year, especially during the winter. The Bergey Windpower website has a calculator designed to model cash flow and payback periods for Bergey products. The calculator shows that an average annual wind speed of 9.5 mph will yield a yearly production of 7,923 kilowatt-hours, or an average monthly output of 660 kilowatt-hours. This figure is based on an open site for the turbine free of obstacles to the wind. Gary's site and electrical configuration produces a little bit less than this estimate. He uses a transformer and existing inverter to charge batteries at the same time. These both consume power and reduce the amount he can sell to Commonwealth Edison through the company’s net metering program.

Net metering

Gary reports that he is saving approximately $500-$600 per year in electricity costs. ComEd reduces his monthly bill by the avoided cost rate (approximately $0.02 per kilowatt hour) for the energy that he generates. Then at the end of the year ComEd calculates the total amount of electricity he used and amount of electricity he generated at the summer and winter peak and off peak rates, resulting in ComEd sending a check for the additional amount. In the end, he will average closer to $0.09 per kilowatt-hour for the electricity he offsets by generating his own power. Simple payback on such a system is 15-20 years, after the grant award. This payback is for the turbine only; Gary used an existing tower and electronics and the cost of those is not included in this analysis. Bergey advertises their turbine and inverter as $22,900 and an 80-foot tower that tips up is $8,400. Labor would cost extra if you don’t do all the work yourself.

This project demonstrates one of the best scenarios available for landowners interested in buying a small turbine in Illinois. Gary was able to use both of the state’s strongest incentive programs for small wind turbines: ComEd’s net metering program and the state grant program. Illinois residents outside ComEd’s territory might still be eligible for the state grants if they live in the service territory of another investor owned utility. However, they will not be eligible for net metering and could only expect to receive the avoided cost rate for their excess electricity. Receiving roughly $0.02/kWh rather than closer to $0.09/kWh would significantly lengthen the payback period for the turbine.

Proctor High School, Proctor, MN: Community Wind Project

Proctor High School's 20kW turbine went online in October 2006.

Report is from the Minnesota Power "Power of One" Website:

MP helps Park Rapids High harness wind power

"On Friday, Park Rapids High School students and teachers plan to add a new, renewable energy source to the school’s grid-connected distribution system: a wind generator, thanks to help from Minnesota Power.

Park Rapids High Harness Wind Power Workers contracted by Park Rapids High School prepare to "tip up" the wind tower and turbine on school gorunds.The generator sits atop a 100-foot tower and the Jacobs turbine can produce up to 20 kilowatts. Based on local average wind speeds onsite of about 11 miles per hour, its estimated annual output is 25,700 kilowatt-hours.

“In addition to anticipated energy savings, the project helps teachers incorporate information about renewable energy into their curricula, touching on subjects from physics, engineer­ing and chemistry to biology, ecology and meteorology,” said Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) Specialist Dean Talbott. The project also helps prompt classroom discussion on generation sources – from wind, coal and hydro to natural gas, biofuels and nuclear.

Representing MP at the school’s recent celebration of the wind project tower “tip up” were Customer Service Representative Jolynn Nilson, Customer Information Representative Jeneen Klein and Chris Reed of Reed Energy, a contract firm that works closely with MP on renewable energy projects. Other MP person­nel assisting in the project are Engineer Senior Frank Kornbaum and Regional Account Manager Mary Bindewald.

Wind Turbine MP funded similar projects at Proctor High School, Central High School, and for the Mor­rison County Agricultural Society on county fairgrounds in Little Falls. These Community Wind Power Projects are part of MP’s CIP ini­tiatives, through which the Company seeks to provide limited financial incentives for instal­lations of small-scale wind energy projects and conservation improvement within its service territory.

MP’s primary objectives in funding such proj­ects are to: increase public awareness of the importance of efficient energy use and renewable energy technologies – specifically, wind energy; facilitate, through CIP funding grants, public demonstrations of grid-connected, small-scale wind power technology (40 kilowatts or less); and encourage development of real-life working examples of renewable, wind energy technology that reinforce the principles of math and science and that can be integrated into classroom discussions and other public educational opportunities.
In connection with this solicitation of applications, MP seeks to provide CIP funding of up to $20,000 for a qualified, selected wind energy project. Park Rapids High School teachers and students are also pursuing development of an interac­tive, real-time monitoring system to analyze wind resource data, turbine energy production and more.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of connecting my wind system to the utility grid?

The advantages of utility interconnection include having standard utility AC power when you need it, not just when the wind blows; eliminating the need for storing excess electricity in batteries, which can be expensive; and you only pay for the net electricity used. One disadvantage of net metering and net billing may be the cost of the interconnection, which can vary considerably from utility to utility. There are efforts to get standards in place for interconnection guidelines.

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