11.2 mph (5 m/s) Average Wind Speed at Hub Height, Rayliegh Distribution.

Based on manufacturer's published power curves.

2001 prjestley ave. norman, ok 73069 t: 405—364—4212 f: 405-364-2078 [email protected] www.bergey.com

© 2OO2 Bergey Windpower

In spring 2001, June and Charlie Nichols met with Brooks Solar to discuss putting up some solar-electric panels on their property. What ended up happening just might be the best retirement present anyone could get.

Anne and Randy Brooks of Brooks Solar, Inc. in central Washington state have a systematic approach to helping others tread lightly on the earth, based on cost effectiveness. When dealing with a prospective client, they first recommend conservation, followed by an efficient, south-facing, passive solar home design. Next they recommend using solar hot water, since water heating accounts for the equivalent of about 20 percent of electrical consumption. For electricity production, they recommend a microhydro system as the first choice if you have falling water, then exploration of your wind-electric potential, and consideration of solar electricity last because, comparatively, it's the least cost effective of the options.

Going through this process got June and Charlie to thinking about when a large stack of hay bales was blown down their ridge, even though it was tied down with barbed wire, tarps, and old tires. They also remembered the time some pasture seeds blew a half mile to a neighbor's property. They became intrigued by wind power. Charlie was already predisposed to wind—in the 1940s, his family used a windmill to run a pump to get water to their 300 head of cattle.

Then the greatest selling point of all unfolded. The local utility's renewable energy incentive program, Sustainable Natural Alternative Power (SNAP), will pay producers in Chelan County up to US$1.50 per kilowatt-hour.

After a few calculations, Randy told June and Charlie that through the SNAP program, they could pay off their system within three to five years. After monitoring the progress of SNAP contributions, the Nichols made their decision in January 2002. They chose a grid-connected, 10 KW, Bergey Excel turbine, with a 21 foot (6.4 m) rotor diameter, on a 100 foot (30 m) guyed lattice tower.

June and Charlie Nichols chose wind as the power generating resource for their ranch in Washington.

Site Evaluation

The proposed turbine location had no trees to check for wind flagging. Older wind resource maps indicated that the exposed ridge experienced class 4 winds (13.4-14.5 mph; 6.0-6.5 m/s average) and newer maps indicated class 3 winds (12.3-13.4 mph; 5.5-6.0 m/s average). But both are mathematical extrapolations that might not define the site's actual microclimate. June and Charlie decided to forgo potentially sophisticated (expensive) wind measurements and follow their gut by putting up the Excel.

Laying out and bolting together the ten, 10 foot tower sections.

Laying out and bolting together the ten, 10 foot tower sections.

it with sand and caution tape before backfilling the hole. Conduit with ground wire running outside it will be Randy's preferred method next time. Three, #2 (33 mm2) transmission wires and a #8 (8 mm2) copper ground wire were run 924 feet (281 m) from the tower base to the inverter.

Rolling out the guy wires.

Later, after the trench to the power shed had been dug, Randy noticed that there was no topsoil on the ridge at the turbine site, but several feet of topsoil down by the shed. Also, the wild-flowers and sage on the southeast sides of the hills in this high desert area were robust, while there was stunted vegetation on the ridge at the turbine site. All these subtle indications, combined with Charlie Nichols' experience in this country, pointed to the likelihood of consistent winds on the ridge.

Portable power runs tools on the site.

Weather & Logistics

Only one paved road leads to the Nichols ranch, and a spring thaw load restriction was in place that delayed the project and required a special permit for passing over the road with the concrete truck and semi that would deliver the turbine and tower.

After the weather settled down, the turbine and tower were delivered, but the blades and inverter were missing. A few weeks later, a second set of pultruded fiberglass blades were air freighted from the Bergey factory in Oklahoma and the inverter arrived shortly after from the Trace ools on the site. factory in California. The °riginal blades are still missing. Only one year

? after June Nichols approached Brooks

^ Solar, and after three months of instal lation preparation and delays, the - tower and turbine were set to go up.


Installation Crew

Randy Brooks, who traveled to Norman, Oklahoma before the installation to be trained as a Bergey installer, led the crew. This is first and foremost why the installation and grid-intertie went so well. You know how some people have their ducks in a

The crane holds the weight while the Bergey Excel is bolted to the tower top.

Pre-Installation Preparation

June and Charlie contracted out with a neighbor to dig the trench and the holes for the guy wire anchors with a backhoe. Randy later dug the slots for the sloping anchor rods by hand to reduce disturbance of the soil on the tower side of each anchor hole. After fighting with the rocky soil, Randy concluded that he'd have a backhoe do this next time. The three anchors were located so that two shared the load of the prevailing winds on this fixed tower. As recommended by the manufacturer, a 50 foot (15 m) guy radius was used.

It was thought that direct burial electrical wire would be best to use. But after doing it, Randy decided that it was not worth the extra labor to fill in the rocky sections of the trench with sand, and then lay the wire and cover

Volunteers included Lance Moore, an electrician from Whidbey Island who wanted to gain some RE experience; Ed Kennell, part of the energy program at Washington State University's Cooperative Extension, and whose knowledge and equipment from two and a half decades in the wind industry were indispensable; and me, another SEI intern/graduate, there for documentation and experience.


On Monday, April 29, 2002, the crew and volunteers headed up into the high desert of Malaga, Washington to the ranch. After setting up camp, Randy oriented us by showing

Renewable Energy Eco Friendly

Renewable Energy Eco Friendly

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment