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Wind Energy
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Can we light up the world and fuel our vehicles without polluting the environment? The answer may be blowing in the wind. It's not enough to set up hundreds of turbines at a blustery site to create a "wind farm" and hope that consistent gusts will generate electricity. It's necessary to know where fast winds blow and how best to harness them since the amount of power generated increases with wind speed and turbine blade diameter.


Modern wind turbines fall into two basic groups: the horizontal-axis variety and the vertical-axis design, like the eggbeater-style Darrieus model, after its French inventor. Almost all turbines in use today are horizontal axis. Horizontal-axis wind turbines typically have three blade rotor, a nacelle containing coupling, gear box, asynchronous generator, cooling systems, anemometer on a tall tubular or lattice tower. These three-bladed wind turbines are operated "upwind," with the blades facing into the wind. 


locating wind turbines

Wind resource assessment and study at a given location projects availability of energy in terms of watts per unit of blade swept area. Based on many such studies, DOE (Department Of Energy) has classified different regions of US into several wind class zones, Wind Class 7 to 1, with highest number representing the areas with highest energy potential and lowest number assigned to areas that have least amount of wind energy.  


As the wind passes though a turbine energy is extracted causing the wind speed in the wake of the turbine to decrease. When several turbines are built near one another, as in a wind farm, it is important to separate the turbines appropriately to minimize these array losses. Spacing turbines too tightly leads to reduced performance and increased maintenance due to higher turbulence at the downwind turbines. Turbine spacing is expressed in terms of the Rotor Dia (RD) of the turbine in consideration. So for instance if a 77 m diameter rotor is used, then 2 RD means 2 x 77 m = 154 m = 505’.


Typically, turbines are spaced 5 to 10 RD apart in the prevailing downwind direction and 2 to 5 RD apart in the crosswind direction, when there is a strongly prevailing direction. Spacing of 2-3 RD might be used along a ridge line. Greater spacing will minimize the losses from each machine, but will reduce the number

of machines that can be built in a site.


The setback distance from property lines is determined by local building codes, and typically takes the height of the structure into consideration, e.g. 1.5 times the turbine height. Additionally, state noise policy will typically keep wind turbines about 3 times the hub-height from residences.

Ice throw: Ice is likely to accumulate on mountain ridge-mounted wind turbines in New England, just as it accumulates on trees. The ice sloughs off as the blade flexes. For public safety, ridge-line winter trails may need to be moved away from the base of the tower to a distance of 2-4 times the blade-tip height, depending

on the site.


It is estimated that a wind turbine & associated access roads, transmission lines etc could need about � acre per turbine. Most of the current farming operations could continue undisturbed, after the wind farm is built on an active farm. Usually annual leasing fee makes a good source of recurring income for such farm owners.


Latest 2007, the United States total installed wind capacity stood at 12,300 MW representing investment of $15.2 billion in generating equipment. That's 32 billion KWHs enough to provide electricity to power 3.2 million average American households.  


THE TOP 20 STATES for wind energy potential, as measured by annual energy potential in the billions of kWhs, factoring in environmental and land use exclusions for wind class of => 3 (courtesy of AWEA). However, absence of transmission line near many of these areas, make them very expensive to develop. 


Large investment for extending transmission lines is needed, where wind farms can be built based on excellent wind resource potential but the area is remote from utility transmission line. However, good news is that there are concrete proposals to build or reinforce transmission lines to many of those remote but excellent wind potential areas. Sept 07 introduction of a bill by senate majority leader Harry Reid to build transmission lines near these areas of high wind potential, does look quite hopeful.


In US the wind energy is producing less than 1% of domestic need of electricity. However, producing wind energy from realistic resources in just few states like North & South Dakota, Texas, Kansas and Montana can completely satisfy current US energy needs.


Because of the cubic power of the speed, prevailing wind speed is by far the most dominant factor in determining the location and economic viability of wind energy farms.


Production cost for wind electricity is already lower than all other forms of electricity production and highly competitive with the lowest cost electricity derived from coal that is producing GHG and other unhealthy and serious pollution. 



As per latest data at middle of 2007, installed wind GW capacities are  20.6 for Germany,  12.8 for Spain12.6 for USA, 7.3 for India. Denmark generates over 20% of its electricity with wind turbines, the highest percentage of any country and is fifth in the world in total wind power generation.


Substantial and progressively increasing GW capacities are being installed in many countries of the world. As per World Wind Energy Assoc total GW capacity could increase to 160 by the year 2010. Growth of wind energy over the last two decades has truly been phenomenon.



When the wind blows, lift is created on the turbine blades, spinning the compressor inside the nacelle. The compressor pumps air to over 100 atmospheres of pressure and sends the air down the tower into an underground network of high-pressure pipes. The high-pressure pipeline network collects and stores 6-12 hours of energy. If the project is sited near a geologic feature such as a salt dome, aquifer, limestone cavern, or depleted gas field, energy storage times can exceed weeks and even months.  Similar projects are being pursued to transform intermittent wind to base load dispatchable energy.


Our staff includes an electrical, two mechanical engineers, a civil engineer and a financial analyst and multiple renewable energy professionals and interns. All our engineers are registered professional engineers (PE) and few are Certified Energy Managers (CEM). Our group also maintains an extensive network of professional partnerships which are able to bring specific skills and resources to any project and to many locations.


Several of our professionals including few network professionals regularly participate in wind energy issues to deal with technology, engineering, permitting, financial and political issues. Professionals regularly contribute to major industry journals and attend meeting, seminars organized by AWEA, NJ Small wind Assoc to exchange views and ideas with other industry professionals. Member speaks on issues at seminars     



Because of environmental benefits and stabilized energy price of renewable energy, generous incentives like production and tax credits, accelerated depreciation, outright grants and guaranteed low cost loans etc are available. Because of free fuel and low M & O, energy price is low and stable.


Our Energy group has worked on wind resource studies, PPAa and provided engineering and procurement services for projects most of which have quicker pay back periods.  


There are a number of makers around the world like GE wind, NEG-Micon, VESTAS, GAMESA, NORDEX, SUZLON, SIEMENS, Mitshubishi who are improving their products for higher efficiency and reliability in on and off shore applications around the world. Few small turbine makers are Bergey, Northern, Jacobs.  


PDR Assocs Energy Group has over the years provided professional and procurement services to develop and engineer Wind projects in New Jersey, Pennsylvania including India, Kazakhstan and few African nations.  





PDR Associates Energy Group * 8 Packard Road, Suite 1 * East Brunswick * NJ * 08816