*May 5, 2014 – The USDA announced funding for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP provides grants and loan guarantees to farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses for a wide range of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.
Small Wind Resources
The Minnesota Department of Commerce, Energy Division, provides a very useful tool for estimating the average annual wind speed 100 feet (30 meters) up for any location in the state. This interactive tool is ideal for anyone considering a small (home or farm scale) wind system, as the value can be input into our small wind financial calculator to find out whether a wind project will be financially rewarding. They call the tool a "Wind Speed Verification Tool".
The tool is available here.
With support from the Minnesota Office of Energy Security, Windustry partnered with wind installer experts to develop a Small Wind Installer Training Curriculum designed to prepare technical students for engagement in the growing small wind industry. Working with two of the nation's foremost small wind installers and trainers, Windustry created a cutting edge, state-of-the-art curriculum.Scale:Topic:
The Distributed Wind Energy Association (DWEA) is a collaborative group comprised of manufacturers, distributors, project developers, dealers, installers, and advocates, whose primary mission is to promote and foster all aspects of the American distributed wind energy industry. Distributed wind, commonly referred to as small and community wind, is the use of typically smaller wind turbines at homes, farms, businesses, and public facilities to off-set all or a portion of on-site energy consumption.
The Bergey Excel-S is a popular small wind turbine.
Home Power magazine publishes an annual Wind Turbine Guide for considering and planning a wind energy electric system for home, farm, or business. The 2011 guide "Is Wind Electricity Right for You?" covers site evaluation, towers, and turbine choices. Wind energy experts Ian Woofenden and Mick Sagrillo review 24 small wind turbines with a detailed table of specifications along with wind installer survey results.
“Wind electricity is an enticing technology, drawing attention to itself with every turn of the blade,” states the Home Power article. “But for the uneducated consumer, wind power can end up being the most disappointing of renewable energy technologies. This is not because it’s a hopeless endeavor to capture the energy in the wind, but because it’s a difficult job. Unfortunately, the technology also seems to attract more backyard ‘inventors’ and hucksters than other renewable technologies.”
In 2011, with a grant from the USDA, Windustry and the Region Nine Renewable Energy Task Force launched a Small Wind Bulk Buy Program to help rural enterprises take advantage of the state's wind resources and net-metering laws.
The Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC) is an independent organization that assesses and issues certificates and consumer labels for the performance and safety of small wind turbines in accordance with criteria established in the AWEA Standard. SWCC Certification is based on an evaluation of the wind turbine design (Structural Analysis) and field testing (Power performance test, Acoustic sound test, Safety & Function test, and Duration test). Eligible turbines are currently defined as electricity-producing wind turbines with a swept area up to 200 m2 (approximately 50-65 kW).
With SWCC certification, consumers can compare products, and funding agencies and utilities will gain greater confidence that small turbines installed with public assistance have been tested for safety, function, performance and durability and meet requirements of consensus standards. Certification helps prevent unethical marketing and false claims, ensuring consumer protection and industry credibility.
SWCC assesses applications and issues certificates for performance and safety of wind turbines in accordance with the AWEA Standard. Applicants begin the process by submitting a Notice of Intent to Submit an Application where the details of the wind turbine and proposed test plans are presented. After the turbine has been tested and evaluated per the AWEA standard and reporting is complete, the certification applicant submits a test report and other application materials to SWCC to complete the application process.
The SWCC Certification Commission makes the final certification decision. Once a product has been certified, SWCC issues a summary report, which contains the Rated Annual Energy, Rated Power and Rated Sound Level as well as other technical information. The report also notes that the turbine meets the durability and safety requirements of the AWEA Standard.
For more information visit the SWCC website.
Clean Energy Project Builder (formerly REDI Resources) is an online directory of community and small wind, and solar power companies from all over the United States who serve Minnesota’s clean energy industry. The directory allows you to browse companies; to search by specific services like engineering, operations & maintenance, or legal services; to find companies near you using geographic search; and to find companies through a range of other details like service area, number of employees, or completed project capacity.
Clean Energy Project Builder is a long-term resource provided through the collaborative efforts of the Southwest Initiative Foundation, Clean Energy Resource Teams, The Minnesota Project, and Windustry.