Many people find the technical aspect of generating electrical power from wind to be a fascinating futuristic technology. In a split second, raw wind is converted into a finished product ready to be consumed by the consumer and all in an ecologically friendly way. Wind power does have a strong emotional appeal for most people's desire to see our planet's environment protected.
While our highly motivated team also finds wind power technology fascinating and believe it holds great promise for future generations to come, we also know that it is vital that in order for the technology to reach its full potential that it must be commercially viable.
While we are proponents of wind power, in the greater context of things, the bottom line is we are in the power business and wind power must be able to deliver competitively priced power in order to compete with other power generating methods in the marketplace.
Yes, the production of wind power from a technical standpoint can be enthralling, and modern wind turbines have advanced significantly in recent years, however it is not the technical aspect, though while important, it is the financial threshold or benchmark that we have to achieve. It is simple really, if the the implementation of wind power is to be successful long-term it has to make economical sense.
The advantages of generating power on-site for commercial users are numerous. Most commercial users of power have historically purchased power from utility based power grids at “retail” rates. By producing your own power on-site through an on-site wind turbine system at what is essentially wholesale rates, you save the difference between paying retail and wholesale costs.
This approach allows the end user to offset the higher retail price of electricity taken from the power grid and substituting the power needed with power produced on-site at wholesale rates, resulting in substantial power cost savings.
Producing power on-site not only provides immediate power for your facility now, but also provides a long-term multi-year hedge against future power cost increases associated with buying power from outside sources. With proper operation and maintenance, modern wind turbines have estimated service lives of approximately twenty plus years, providing significant savings and return on the investment. Please refer to the Cost Savings page of this website for a more detailed explanation.
The fundamental criteria for a financially viable wind power installation for a specific location or site is fairly straightforward, and generally requires the three variables as follows;
(A) Commercially Viable Wind Resource - Seems obvious and simple enough, however not all wind is created equal. In fact wind resources vary widely throughout the world, from region to region, even within close proximity to one another. Several factors contribute to the diversity of wind, including climate, topography, surrounding obstructions, seasonal weather patterns and numerous other variables. In considering a specific site for a wind turbine installation it is important to understand the local wind resource, while general wind conditions may be known for an area, when it comes to actually siting wind turbines, it is essential to develop a site plan that will maximum the wind power production. Prevailing winds, elevations, proper turbine spacing and separation are some of the primary considerations.
(B) Need For Commercial Quantities Of Power - Not every business or entity needs or consumes commercial quantities of power in terms of wind power generation. Power consumers who only use small amounts of power on an annualized basis and only have a need for power on an intermittent basis usually are not typical candidates for on-site wind power generation. Every site is different and it is important that each site's specific power needs be properly evaluated to be certain that the capital cost necessary to construct an on-site installation will make financial sense from a cost benefit standpoint.
(C) Cost Of Existing Local Power - While most people appreciate the fact that wind power is a clean renewable source of power generation, understandably no one wants to pay more for it than want can be purchased from existing local power sources. It is important to understand the local power availability and pricing tariff structure in the market in which a wind power system is under consideration. With the proper due diligence and proper implementation, wind turbine systems are long-term investments which yield long-term financial benefits, in addition to being environmentally friendly.
On-site wind turbine installations, whether under the Behind The Meter model or implemented into Closed Power Systems, are custom designed to meet a specific location’s power needs. A comprehensive evaluation process involves determining power loads, annual power, understanding usage patterns, defining scope and determining production capacity needed to fully utilize the location’s wind resources and meet the site's power requirements.
This approach allows our team to design a wind turbine installation specific to an individual’s location in order to generate the maximum potential amount of power using the available wind resources, in the most economical manner. Generally speaking wind turbine installations are not intended to replace or to provide 100% of the location’s power needs.
Due to the intermittent nature of wind, under the Behind The Meter model the installations are designed to replace power coming in from the traditional power grid at retail rates, with power generated from the on-site turbines. It should be noted that at no time is a site location disconnected or “unplugged” from the traditional power grid or without power under this model.
Under the Closed Power System model the wind turbines installations are designed to work in a hybrid environment in conjunction with existing power generation systems or gen sets and to provide cost effective supplemental power to the closed power system from the on-site turbines.
Our group works with all sizes of commercial wind turbine installations from small, intermediate to larger megawatt class wind turbines. Many factors contribute to the benefits of on-site turbine installations. Besides offering a long-term hedge against increasing energy costs, depending on the size and number of turbines being installed, construction cost savings can be achieved through economy of scale, etc.
Modular design flexibility, if a location needs multiple turbines can be built in stages or added in the future if power requirement increase. And a site with multiple turbines, has a “redundancy” benefit over a single turbine installation in the event the turbine has to be taken off line for service, etc. Also, turbine selection and spacing can be optimized to fit in locations where there are not large amounts of acreage available.
Finally, modern wind turbines have advanced in design and engineering to the point of providing realistic power producing options for individual commercial users of power at very competitive costs. Today’s turbines with oversized rotors compared to turbines of the past, enable these turbines to produce more kilowatt hours per year, which is what a user pays for.