Hybrid Power is coming of age. Thanks to 2X price/performance improvements in Energy Storage and Engine Generation Efficiency coming on line in 2016.
It will be today’s “Small Wind” utilized as Prime Mover together with Solar in Distributed “Behind the Fence” Hybrid Power Sites sporting multiple generation types and energy storage.
Clearly Wind 5.0 in the form of small wind as part of Hybrid Power generation and storage facilities behind the fence is materializing, better known as Small Wind Power, a market projected to grow dramatically in the next five years by all those associations and vendors in the know. More interestingly we have been there done that, (today’s small wind) as Big Wind 1.0, 30 years ago. This time around Wind 5.0 brings new hi-tech , slick integration and control, integrated with new energy storage and revamped ICE tech. A real multi-industry team effort. 🙂
Wind 1.0: A bit of “ugly” History : AWI, Carter, Flowind, Zond…
Good Wind Turbine Spacing 1988? NOT! California VAWTs circa 1984? It can’t be, uh it is…
There was a day in the 1980s when 40kW to 160kW NP Nameplate Wind Turbines were considered” Big Wind 1.0″. Both Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison led the way in California to deploy Carter, AWI, Flowind, Vestas, Bonus, Zond, Enercon and a few other to generate 1.5% of California’s power needs, that is until Wind 1.0 met its demise under an Oil and Gas Lobby directed Bush Govt. cut of the Federal Wind Tax credit in 1997 which decimated the industry. Casualty list? AWI, Carter, Flowind and Zond, all US companies went out of business, GE picked up Zond’s assets for a song, and the rest of them, Enercon, Bonus and Vestas, ran back to the EU to open up the German market. Today the survivors are the Champs, Vestas(acquired Bonus) & Enercon are fencing GE and others for Big Wind 3.0 and 4.0 market share, more on this a bit later. Zond’s owner’s, raised Clipper from the ashes of Zond, and not surprisingly sold Clipper to a befuddled GE once again… ;). Carter is trying to make a 2 blade propeller comeback, good for them. 20 years later, Flowind, the only early success in the VAWT “Vertical Axis Wind Turbine” segment, has seen it’s tech “as is” resurface in China, Texas and Mongolia (GWI ?) , and AWI tech has been leap frogged by today’s HAWTs “Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines” ala Vestas, etc…
Wind 2.0, we are stuck on you… because Wind 3.0 & Wind 4.0 are “DOA”
Yes, despite Big Wind vendor’s efforts to move the yardsticks with “Bigger is Better”, super sizing Wind 2.0 as Wind 3.0 into the 3MW NP plus level, and offshore Wind 4.0 pushing for 5 & 6MWs and beyond, per turbine, the installed cost has risen dramatically. This supposed upgrade has seen Wind 2.0’s Cost/Watt installed move from just under $2.00/Watt on average, to $3.00 and $4.50/Watt + . The culprits? The first two, Spiralling Turbine +Rest of Plan “ROP” Build Costs and Rising O&M Operations and Maintenance Costs, are growing at 5%/year on average are not surprising as any market segment matures.
Wind 2.0: Survival of the FIT(test)… in guaranteed FIT price markets yes…
The reality is the financially successful Wind Farms are Wind 2.0 farms feeding on FITs “Feed in Tariffs” guaranteeing the min. and max. wholesale price paid to wind farms for their power production. Those Wind 2.0 farms living in Wild West like free markets competing for ad hoc spinning reserve dollars with natural gas fired generation and other wind farms really don’t make money ironically, on super windy days, when all the wind farms are running, when the wholesale price per hour paid heads toward zero. The hope is grid maintenance takes longer at big generation stations and it is also windy, then and only then does Wind 2.0 make any money.
In a nutshell Wind 4.0 is simply the more expensive and larger offshore version of Wind 3.0, bobbing on pipe, or riding on angular L shaped floating platform more akin to oil rigs, Both trying to generate a return for investors in the face of regulatory reductions in FIT rates, and in our humble opinion are in the long run, doomed for failure, as none of these Vendors have really done anything to reduce their Capex total install price/Watt in about 5 years, while they milk the government subsidies, to pay for oversized staffs and large corporate bonuses or private dividends.
Where does an investor place their money(carefully) today? Big Wind 2.0
Big Wind 2.0- Alberta Wind Farm- A performing investment when the wind blows and there is grid maintenance on big coal, gas and nuclear generation systems…
As a result the best returns are found in the older wind farms with good location and spacing and properly sized turbines usually 1.2MW NP it seems for most of these sites, running at close to 30% NP annually, and the FIT is guaranteed. Better yet there is a re-seller of power signed up for a well backed Power Purchase Agreement “PPA” with their own retail subscribers locked into an end user price for the long term (5 or 10 years)
Smart Investor Madness: Home of Dumb Money- Wind 3.0 & 4.0.
Really if Wind 2.0 taught us anything, it’s the old adages: location, location, location is everything and; it’s not how big it is so much as how you make use of it, are of the utmost importance when designing wind power generation facilities. Wind 3.0 as an overall effort might have worked for investors on average if the locations were good and the site design was right. More often than not, Greedy Vendors did it again, over promoting efficiencies and selling more turbines per site, like greedy landscapers, only have Wind Farm developers see their expectations of 30-32% of Nameplate efficiency show up as 22 to 28%. Last time I looked, most of the Wind Farms in Alberta on the AESO reports were the latter, with few if any making any money. duh-umb. Some are just bad locations, like crests of ridges, most are badly spaced, too close together. double dumb.
High Build, delivery, install, deploy, maintain and transmission costs in the name of centralized control and concentration of wealth in a few shareholders. What is wrong with these two pictures?
Dumb and Dumber? Big Onshore Wind 3.0 and Big Offshore Wind 4.0…..
Oil Price Woes: The lower the better? Not for Wind 2.0, 3.0 & 4.0
Today Oil hit $ US 30.00/Barrel, with some analysts saying the price will bottom out in the next 12-18 months all the way down to US $10.00 (Drudge Report) . Sort of puts the damper on “Bigger is Better” and the next round of smart investment money for Wind 3.0 and Wind 4.0, don’t you think? http://www.oil-price.net/
WIND 5.0: Small, Distributed, Hybrid Integrated & Behind the Fence
Wait a minute? No FIT to feed on on? An investment based on real price/performance and no government handout? Could this be possible? Real Competition?
Yup it’s all true. Wind 5.0 as part of a Hybrid Wind/Solar/Engine Electricity Generation and Li-ion Energy Storage Facility really does work without any need for a FIT or Government Credit. Of course their are the typical caveats for wind, good location and proper turbine spacing, improve the latter and you get more of the former. Better yet Hybrid Power is perfect for behind the fence PPAs, Power Purchase Agreements.
What is old is now new again: Wind 5.0 = Wind 1.0 + New Tech
Gen 1 and Gen 2 Flowind Low Mount Vertical Axis Wind Turbines circa 1992. 140kW NP and 330kW NP respectively, until crushed by US Govt. non renewal of Wind Credit in 1997.
Real Power/Hectare in Low Mount Wind? Yes, we have been there, done that… Wind 1.0.
Wind 5.0 is really Big Wind 1.0 (circa 1984 to 1996) revisited as Distributed Small Wind with new aerodynamic and build tech to increase power/hectare cost effectively through the use of new aerodynamics applied to old low mount technology that worked. The model to use as a baseline? Flowind, the early market leader (now defunct) in this “now defined” new category of low mount wind, and the only successful commercial VAWT “Vertical Axis Wind Turbine” ever deployed in the 100s in California in the Mid 1980s. (Paul Gipe www.wind-works.org)
HYBRID POWER: Meet the WIND 5.0 Enablers: Li-Battery Storage & OP ICE Generation
Of course Smart Control delivering the Proper Hybrid Solution balance of generation types, namely C0-prime Movers Wind 5.0/Solar and Engine Generation (Last resort NG or Diesel) matched to 2X better Li-Battery is the Hi Tech “glue” in Hybrid Power. What is less intuitive about Hybrid Power enabling Wind 5.0 is the impact 2X better price/performance (Electrovaya.com) of Li-on has on the balance of generation. Better batteries means less fuel is required to support “mover of last resort” engine generation, which extends the useful life of the engine generation plant, AND also affects the size and proportion of Wind and Solar Generation, given the nature of the power requirement at the site.
New price/performance break throughs by OP “Opposed Piston” “boxer style” in ICE “Internal Combustion Engine” technology vendors, now available in 2016 from Fairbanks-Morse , EcoMotors and Achates Power, are delivering a 2X increase in price/performance of engine generation, meaning smaller, more reliable systems can be deployed, behind the fence in balance with the rest of the Hybrid power generation and energy facility to yield even greater returns , as much as 4X greater than previously through possible.
Starwind5=WIND 5.0: Low Mount, 4X power/hectare, Best AEP
WIND 5.0, provided by Starwind5 (starwind5.wordpress.com) as a 25-35% lower mount solution, delivers price/performance with 50% lower tower and foundation costs, and 35% more price/performance in terms of annual energy production “AEP”.
Starwind5 leverages the success of Flowind’s past in a five blade design with brand new aerodynamics is a modified geometric “Buckminster Fuller” like “tensegrity” design, where low cost pultruded rotor blades are inserted into sockets under load to create a very strong, yet resilient turbine rotor capable of operating in winds up to 55 m/s with self regulating air brake dynamics. Starwind5 does use 10-15% material with it’s high solidity design which enables a 25-35% lower mount height with 50% less tower and foundation costs. Starwind5 as part of a Hybrid Power integrated solution will guarantee a 5-6 year ROI “Return on Investment” without any need for FITs and government subsidies, whether it be a remote off-grid or “behind the fence” on grid deployment.
So the Wind industry has come circle thanks to new Starwind5 technology improvements of a 1990s Flowind platform, where Big Wind 1.0 has become Small Wind 5.0 with 2X better ROI in a Hybrid Power generation and energy storage facility (mobisun.ca) to deliver as much as 4X better returns than previously thought. Very nice!