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In This Issue
News
Interconnection and Net Metering
Incentives
Small Wind in the News
About the Small Wind Newsletter




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Greetings!

 

Welcome to the Summer 2013 issue of IREC's   
Small Wind Newsletter! 

 

Larry Sherwood

The market for Small Wind has been challenging lately. Why is that and what does it mean for the future of the industry?

 

The data shows that installations of residential-scale small wind turbines in the U.S. fell last year compared with 2011. Reduced state incentives and competition from increasingly affordable photovoltaic solar affect the economics of installations. Poor siting and unmet performance claims have impacted industry credibility. And zoning challenges can frustrate eager potential customers.

 

To survive trying times such as these, small wind companies have to make superior products, provide excellent customer service and the economics have to work.  The good news is the over the past several years turbine certification programs and improved siting tools have improved that ability for customers to get the performance they expect. With correct siting, a turbine on the Interstate Turbine Advisory Council approved list will provide good performance for the customer.

 

Government at every level can help by limiting unnecessary regulatory barriers, and providing incentives when appropriate. Federal consumer protection rules and regulations help to ensure a more reliable market for the average customer. Federal and state financial incentives make the economics work. Local permitting and zoning rules need to reduce burdens to installation while insuring safe installations.

 

The combination of high quality products and installations with good government incentives and regulations will return growth to the small wind industry.

 

As always, if you find this issue has useful information that helps you better understand the changing world of small wind, please forward it to others who might be interested. Details on subscribing can be found at the end of the newsletter.

 

 Sherwood Signature
Larry Sherwood
Editor
NEWS
New DOE Report Illuminates Small Wind Turbine Market

Thanks to a report released earlier this month, we now have a clearer picture of the small wind market.  The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released its first annual market report on wind technologies used in distributed applications, the most comprehensive analyses of the U.S. distributed wind energy market ever published. The report was compiled through a collaborative effort by DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, eFormative Options, the American Wind Energy Association, and the Distributed Wind Energy Association. Read on

    

 

NEW YORK: Clarkson University Celebrates Grand Opening of Wind Turbine

The Center for Evaluation of Clean Energy Technology (CECET) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) joined Clarkson University in announcing the grand opening of a new Blade Test Facility that will test the strength and rigidity of small- and medium-scale wind turbine blades.

The CECET Blade Test Facility serves manufacturers of small and medium-size turbines, which range from backyard-sized residential turbines to turbines capable of providing significant power for a municipal facility, large farm or manufacturing complex. Read on.  

 

 

DWEA Plans State Policy Summit

The Distributed Wind Energy Association plans the first annual distributed wind State Policy Summit on October 21 in Chicago, Illinois in conjunction with the Solar Power International Conference. The primary goal of this event is to create renewable energy cohesion when working in state markets. Read on.   

 

 

XZERES Acquires Southwest Windpower's Skystream Product Line

XZERES announced in early July that it has acquired the assets of Southwest Windpower. The assets include Southwest Windpower's Skystream product line and product designs, related IP portfolio, manufacturing assets, and inventory. Southwest Windpower introduced the Skystream product line in 2008, and it has been reported that more than 8,000 units have been installed worldwide, making Skystream the world's highest volume small wind turbine to date. As reported in the last issue of the Small Wind Newsletter, Southwest Windpower abruptly shut its doors in February and customers, dealers and installers have been left hanging since then. Read on.   

 

 Geyers' Skystream

Skystream Owners Seek Connection 

In response to our recent article, "What Happened to Southwest Wind Power?" the editors at Small Wind  News received correspondence from Danita and Dayne Geyer of Bremmerton, Washington. Their story, while probably not unique, conveys the frustration and heartache of small wind turbine owners, left in the lurch by Southwest Windpower's abrupt closure and sale of their popular Skystream line.  They are interested in connecting with other Skystream owners, for support and problem-solving. Read on.

 

 

 

Small Wind Conference Brings Together the Industry for Ninth Annual Event

The ninth annual Small Wind Conference drew attendees from around the states and around the globe to Stevens Point, Wisconsin June 18-19, 2013 for two days of conference sessions, Other workshops and meetings preceded and followed the actual conference. This conference is the key annual gathering for small wind industry professionals to share information and perspective. Twenty-two sponsors and thirteen exhibitors put their names and products in front of the conference attendees, promoting small wind electricity as a staple of renewable energy's contribution to the world's energy mix. Read on.  

 

 

UVIG is now Variable Generation

The Utility Variable-Generation Integration Group (UVIG) announced the launch of its new web site variablegen.org. In addition to presenting a new look and feel, the site features an enhanced navigation structure for industry-recognized content on integration, interconnection, and reliable operation of wind and solar generation on utility power systems. Read on.

  

Upcoming Small Wind Events  

For a full listing of upcoming wind energy events, click here.      

 

INTERCONNECTION AND NET METERING

Check the Interstate Renewable Energy Council's Connecting to the Grid  web site for the latest interconnection and net metering news.   

  
WASHINGTON: Revised Interconnection Procedures Pave the Way for Third-Party Ownership of Net-Metered Systems

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission issued a final order approving significant revisions to the state's interconnection rules.  The revised rules mark three important advances that were recommended or supported by IREC: (1) the definition of "interconnection customer" now clarifies that net-metered systems can be owned by a third-party; (2) a multi-tiered approach to evaluating interconnection requests, consistent with the approach in a majority of other states; and (3) eliminating the requirement for an external disconnect switch for Tier 1 systems (inverter-based systems 25 kW or less), a national best practice. Read on. 

 

IREC Releases Revised Model Rules for Shared Renewable Energy Programs

Reflecting cutting-edge thinking on shared renewables programs, today IREC released its new Model Rules for Shared Renewable Energy Programs. Revised in collaboration with The Vote Solar Initiative, the model rules were updated to assist stakeholders in developing shared renewables programs, to broaden renewable energy access to more consumers. Read on. 

 

INCENTIVES

New Incentives reported by the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE), a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and selected federal incentives that promote renewable energy. To access state-by-state incentives and policies that promote wind energy technologies, click here and select "wind (all)" or "wind (small)" from the drop-down menu. DSIRE is an ongoing project of the North Carolina Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.

VERMONT: Competitive Wind Grants

The Clean Energy Development Fund Board will offer a wind grant program beginning October 1, 2013. The grant program will replace the wind incentives that were originally part of the Small Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program. Systems up to 100 kilowatts are eligible for the grants. Details will be posted as more information becomes available. Read on.

 

SMALL WIND ENERGY IN THE NEWS

These articles from around the U.S. give examples of how small wind is covered today,  good or bad.

 

NEBRASKA: Windy days generate savings for South Sioux City couple

Sioux City Journal, July 31, 2013

On a hot summer day, winds gusting up to 20 mph made the blades spin on a small wind generator behind the Schlickbernd's home in South Sioux City. With each turn, the contraption creates savings on their energy bill. Before the 30-foot tall wind turbine appeared in their backyard on the corner of East Seventh and E Street, Randy and Dee Schlickbernd had electricity bills adding up to more than $400 a month. Read on.  

   

MINNESOTA: Nationwide, MN's No. 2 In Wind Power

 CBS, August 6, 2013 

For generations of farmers, having a windmill was a dependable way to pump water for their livestock. Now it's rare to drive Minnesota's rural roads and see the old steel structures still turning in the breeze.

But there's a good chance what you will see instead is a taller structure spinning with three blades. On the Burke family farm near Princeton, two identical 120-foot-tall wind turbines are harvesting wind and turning it into electricity. Thanks to grants by Xcel Energy, Grell's company hopes to build 50 more of their wind turbines for property owners in Stearns, Benton and Meeker counties. Read on.

 

United Wind Unveils its Wind Turbine Leasing Program WindLease™

EcoSeed, June 19, 2013

United Wind announced it will introduce WindLease™, its wind turbine leasing program for residential, agricultural, and commercial property owners, at the Small Wind Installers Conference 2013 in Stevens Point, WI on June 18th - 19th. WindLease™ provides affordable wind power options to property owners seeking to lower their monthly energy bills and gain independence from their utilities. Read on.

 

NEW YORK: Small Wind Turbines Harnessing Gusts With Solar's Lease Success

Bloomberg, August 8, 2013 

Urban Green Energy Inc., a manufacturer of wind turbines small enough to be placed on residential rooftoops, received $20 million in backing to install systems that will power mobile-phone towers in remote locations. Urban Green, based in New York, will use the financing from Tamra-Tacoma Capital Partners to market its small-scale systems to telecommunication companies that currently use diesel generators at off-grid sites that lack power lines, said Chief Executive Officer Nick Blitterswyk. Read on.

 

ALABAMA: Commission Bans Wind Farms, But Allows Small Wind Turbines

Baldwin Times,August 8, 2013 

There will not be a massive wind farm in Baldwin County, but using smaller wind turbines as a source of renewable energy will be allowed. The Baldwin County Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to ban large wind turbines that produce 50 kilowatts or more. ... The ordinance will allow small residential turbines (1 KW). Residents with larger lots or farms could install up to two. Commercial and industrial lots could have up to five. Read on.

 

WASHINGTON: Local Wind Power Keeps Energy Close To Home

Northwest Public Radio, August 14, 2013  

You've probably seen large wind farms spinning on ridgelines across the Northwest. A new study has found a growing trend throughout the Northwest: small wind turbines. These are mostly single turbines in people's backyards, on farms, or supplementing power for businesses.

Wind constantly whips around the central Washington hillside where Martin Fleming built his home. The soft-spoken mechanic used to complain about it. One day he decided it would be better to make use of the gusts, instead of feeling annoyed. Fleming did some research and decided to buy a wind turbine. "I built the tower on the ground, on its side, just like tinker toys or an erector set. Once the tower was complete, and then I put the turbine on the top and brought in a crane. It tilted it into place," Fleming said. Read on.    

NEW YORK: Lebanon OKs wind turbines

Albany Democrat-Herald, August 16, 2013

Industries in Lebanon will now be allowed to add small wind turbines to their properties, the City Council decided Wednesday evening.

Walt Wendolowski, community development director, said that through a series of workshops, the Planning Commission considered the need to develop wind energy system regulations. He said the Planning Commission confined the proposed new rules to industrial areas, because there would be too many negative impacts in residential neighborhoods. The council approved regulations that would require a minimum of one acre and only one system per parcel of land. Read on.

 

ABOUT THE SMALL WIND NEWSLETTER

The Small Wind Newsletter is published electronically by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.

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If you have comments or news items, please send them to Larry Sherwood at [email protected] .

Disclaimer: The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) does not assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product or process that is referred to or linked to in this newsletter. Reference to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply IREC's endorsement or recommendation.

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