Connection to the Utility

The utility should be informed at the earliest possible stage of the intention to connect a wind turbine to its system. Information for the utility should include:

• Specifications of the wind turbine

• Schematic (block diagram) of the electrical system

• Description of machine controls when there is loss of load (utility power)

Even though there may be net energy billing, the utility may require a meter that measures energy flow in both directions.

Liability for damage is another concern of utilities. The utilities would like to be insured against all damage due to the wind turbine operation. Of course, the small power producer would like to be insured against damage to the wind turbine as a result of utility operation; however, that is impossible to obtain. Insurance should be available as part of your homeowner policy or as part of your business policy. Some electric cooperatives were requiring proof of a $500,000 liability policy for connection of a wind turbine to their system.

For wind farms, an interconnection study from the utility will cost from $30,000 to $100,000. This study determines the effect of the wind farm on the transmission lines and existing generators. Guides for utility-scale wind turbines are available [7].

An example of onerous regulation for small wind turbines comes from the State of Washington, where the Department of Labor and Industries refuses to sign off on small wind systems without an Underwriters Laboratory (UL) listing on every component. Washington will now require a few specially registered electrical engineering firms to certify even existing wind systems that are not UL listed (all) at a cost of around $2,000. This action on the part of Labor and Industries inspectors has brought small wind sales to a halt in Washington.

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

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. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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