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Wind Energy for the EESP 2009. Two 800 Pound Gorillas. Climate Crisis. Oil Crisis. Two major issues that our students will be left to deal with:. Climate Crisis. Oil Crisis. Why Teach & Learn about Wind Power?. Wind is Fastest Growing Energy Source. US Installed Wind Capacity.

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two 800 pound gorillas
Two 800 Pound Gorillas

Climate Crisis

Oil Crisis

wind is fastest growing energy source
Wind is Fastest Growing Energy Source

US Installed Wind Capacity

and because of
And because of:
  • Rising Fuel Price and Uncertainty
  • Declining Wind Costs
  • Federal and State Policies & Incentives
  • Local Economic Development
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Energy Security
  • Consumer Demand
what is kidwind
What is KidWind?

Aggie Energizers!

What is KidWind?

The KidWind Project is a team of teachers, students, engineers and practitioners exploring the science behind wind energy in classrooms around the US. Our goal is to introduce as many people as possible to the elegance of wind power through hands-on science activities which are challenging, engaging and teach basic science principles.

you can teach many learning standards

Aggie Energizers!

You can teach many Learning Standards
  • Concept #1 - Identify and explain the role of alternative energy sources and their conversion for use in society.
  • Concept #2 - Give examples of how energy can be transferred from one form to another.
  • Concept #3 - Differentiate between potential and kinetic energy. Identify situations where kinetic energy is transformed into potential energy and vice versa.
  • Concept #4 - Explain and utilize the steps of the engineering design process including the use of methods for representing solutions to a design problem. Recognize the parallel nature of the scientific method and the engineering design process.
  • Concept #5 - Identify and map aspects of the earth’s surface that would be applicable to engineering alternative energy conversion systems
  • Concept #10 - Explain the way in which an electromagnet can be used to convert forms of energy into electrical energy harnessed in a circuit
typical wind lessons before kidwind

Aggie Energizers!

Typical Wind Lessons(Before KidWind)
  • Beaufort Scale
  • Pinwheels
  • Student Reports
  • Discussion Activity

All very interesting but very little of the science and technology related to the current wind industry is presented.

In fact most text books are pretty negative about the future of wind and misrepresent the technology miserably.


Engineering is Elementary

Wind Chimes

Wind Art

Building simple blades

Aggie Energizers!


Building Wind Turbines

Testing Blade Parameters

Assessing Wind Resource


Aggie Energizers!




Kite or balloon string


Advanced Blade Design

School Siting Projects

Data Analysis

Build Model (or full scale!) wind turbines

Aggie Energizers!

basic words nomenclature
Basic Words (Nomenclature)
  • Wind Machine
    • Kinetic device used to capture the wind and put it to work
  • Wind System
    • Wind machine, tower, and all ancillary equipment
  • Windmill
    • Wind machine that generates mechanical motion (ie. water pumping, grain grinding, etc.)
  • Wind Turbine
    • A device that produces electricity from the kinetic energy of wind
wind energy has been popular for a long time
Wind Energy has been Popular for a long time

The pilgrims arrived under the power of wind. Cape Cod was home to the first windmill in America. Wind helped fuel our country’s early economy.

birth of the modern wind turbine
Birth of the Modern Wind Turbine

California Wind Turbines 1980’s


1.25 MW Turbine

Vermont, 1940\'s

how wind works
How Wind Works

Wind energy is created by uneven heating of the earth’s surface.

land sea breezes
Land-Sea Breezes

Land-sea breezes created by temperature differentials

Winds also stronger near shore because of long unobstructed fetch

Sea breezes typically strongest in late afternoon

mountain valley breezes
Mountain-Valley Breezes

Typically strongest in summer

Nighttime mountain breezes are stronger than daytime valley breezes

Mountain-valley winds can be enhanced by prevailing winds and convective flow between interior and coasts

wind varies annually
Wind Varies Annually

Average annual wind speeds may vary as much as 25% from year to year

wind varies daily
Wind Varies Daily

Wind varies daily not only because of weather but because of convective heating

Winds typically strongest in mid-late afternoon

Convective heating is less of an influence in winter, when storms dominate wind patterns


Our own Wind Potential

Source: U.S. DOE

wind turbine applications
Wind Turbine Applications

Generating electricity at Remote Sites

Producing electricity in parallel with utility

Water Pumping

electricity for remote sites
Electricity for Remote Sites

North American Farms in 30’s & 40’s

Backcountry homes/cabins

Research Stations


Boats & RV’s

Nomadic people

Cathodic protection

types of wind turbines
Types of Wind Turbines
  • Medium
  • Village Power
  • Hybrid Systems
  • Distributed Power
  • $80,000-$500,000
  • 20-150 ft. diameter
  • 10-250 kW
  • Small
  • Homes & Farms
  • Remote Applications
  • $5,000-$50,000+
  • 2-20 ft. diameter
  • 10 kW
  • Large (250 kW – 5 MW)
  • Central Station Wind Farms
  • Distributed Power
  • $750,000 - $3,000,000 (per turbine)
  • 150 – 300 ft. diameter
small medium turbines

<4 ft rotor diameter

Mini / Cabin-size

3-10 ft rotor diameter


13-33 ft rotor diameter


33-200 ft rotor diameter

Small & Medium Turbines
medium large wind turbines
Medium & Large Wind Turbines
  • Hub height :
    • 160’ - 260’
  • Blade tip height:
    • 240’ - 390’
wind turbine perspective



112’ long


56 tons


3 sections

Wind Turbine Perspective

Turbines can be categorized into two overarching classes based on the orientation of the rotor

Vertical AxisHorizontal Axis

lift vs drag vertical axis wind turbines
Lift vs Drag: Vertical Axis Wind Turbines

Lift Device “Darrieus”

  • Low solidity, aerofoil blades
  • More efficient than drag device

Drag Device “Savonius”

  • High solidity, cup shapes are pushed by the wind
  • At best can capture only 15% of wind energy
vawt s have not been commercially successful yet
VAWT’s have not been commercially successful, yet…

Every few years a new company comes along promising a revolutionary breakthrough in wind turbine design that is low cost, outperforms anything else on the market, and overcomes all of the previous problems with VAWT’s. They can also usually be installed on a roof or in a city where wind is poor.




Wind Wandler

horizontal axis wind turbines
Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines
  • Rotors are usually Up-wind of tower
  • Some machines have down-wind rotors, but only commercially available ones are small turbines
pitch control vs stall control
Pitch Control vs. Stall Control

Pitch Control

Blades rotate out of the wind when wind speed becomes too great

Stall Control

Blades are at a fixed pitch that starts to stall when wind speed is too great

Pitch can be adjusted for particular location’s wind regime

Active Stall Control

Many larger turbines today have active pitch control that turns the blades towards stall when wind speeds are too great

active passive yaw
Active & Passive Yaw
  • Active Yaw (all medium & large turbines produced today, & some small turbines from Europe)
    • Anemometer on nacelle tells controller which way to point rotor into the wind
    • Yaw drive turns gears to point rotor into wind
  • Passive Yaw (Most small turbines)
    • Wind forces alone direct rotor
      • Tail vanes
      • Downwind turbines
some concerns about wind that can be addressed with proper information
Some Concerns about Wind(that can be addressed with proper information)
  • Visual / Aesthetic
  • Property Values
  • Noise
  • Birds
  • Safety
  • Are benefits real?
visual impact
Visual Impact
  • Many people think wind turbines are graceful, kinetic sculptures.”
  • People who have never seen modern wind turbines in person are more likely to think they will be an eyesore.
  • There are always people who complain about visual impacts before a project is built.
  • Approval rates are higher after projects are built and in areas that already have turbines.
similar structures
Similar Structures
  • Utility Poles
  • Radio Towers
  • Cell Phone Towers
  • Water Towers
similar structures1
Similar Structures
  • Utility Poles
  • Radio Towers
  • Cell Phone Towers
  • Water Towers
what about the birds
What about the birds?
  • Wind Turbines kill very few birds compared to other human activities
  • Estimates are ~1-2 bird deaths per turbine per year
  • Global warming is the single biggest threat to wildlife today
  • A recent study in Nature found that more than 1/3 of species worldwide will be extinct by 2050 if global warming trends continue

“As responsible citizens, stewards, and advocates, Mass Audubon strongly supports public policies and private projects that advance energy conservation and efficiency. We also support the development of wind farms, as a renewable energy source to offset the effects of global climate change produced by the burning of fossil fuels.” Sept. 21, 2004

turbines are noisy right
Turbines are noisy, right?
  • Older wind turbines are louder. Newer machines turn slower and are much quieter
  • It is possible to hold a quiet conversation at the base of a modern wind turbine
  • Go to MMA or Hull and listen!
do wind farms impact tourism and property values
Do wind farms impact tourism and property values?

Yes -- Positively.

There is NO evidence from

existing wind facilities anywhere in the world (including locations very similar to Cape Cod that have offshore turbines) that wind turbines have a negative impact on property values or tourism.

In fact, the majority of studies conducted after wind farms have been built show that both tourism and property values increase!

are wind turbines unsafe
Are Wind Turbines Unsafe?
  • Not a single passerby has ever been injured by wind turbines
  • There have been no collisions with turbines by any type of vehicle
  • Ice shedding is very rare
    • When it occurs Ice falls near base of turbine -- not thrown far distances
  • Only one member of the public has been killed by a wind turbine (a German parachutist on her first solo jump)

Wind turbine at Exhibition Place, Downtown Toronto

are the benefits real
Are the benefits real?
  • Back up Power?
    • Turbines do not require any new back up generation or spinning reserves.
  • Emission reductions?
    • Wind energy is accepted on the grid before any other source when it is available, offsetting the need for more polluting sources. Each MWh of wind is one less MWh of electricity from a fossil fuel plant
  • Economics?
    • Wind provides long-term price stability and is competitive with today’s energy costs. Economic benefit is realized by whoever buys (and sells) the power.
kinetic energy in the wind
Kinetic Energy in the Wind

Kinetic Energy = Work = ½mV2


M= mass of moving object

V = velocity of moving object

What is the mass of moving air?

= density (ρ) x volume (Area x distance)

= ρ x A x d

= (kg/m3) (m2) (m)

= kg




calculation of wind power
Calculation of Wind Power
  • Power in the wind
    • = ½  A V3
    • Effect of air density, 
    • Effect of swept area, A
    • Effect of wind speed, V


Swept Area: A = πR2 Area of the circle swept by the rotor (m2).

importance of rotor diameter
Importance of Rotor Diameter

Swept are is proportional to square of the rotor diameter

20% increase in rotor diameter increases area by 44%

Doubling diameter increases area 4 times

importance of wind speed
Importance of Wind Speed

No other factor is more important to the amount of power available in the wind than the speed of the wind

Power is a cubic function of wind speed


20% increase in wind speed means 73% more power

Doubling wind speed means 8 times more power

importance of distribution
Importance of Distribution

“Because speed distribution plays such an important role in determining power, it’s always preferable to use an actual measured distribution.”

Paul Gipe, Wind Power


Top View

Side View

there are lots of exciting career possibilities
There are lots of exciting career possibilities


Turbine Technicians


Sales & Marketing

Utility Engineers

Geophysical Engineers

Concrete/Structural Engineering

Turbine Engineering (ME/EE/Aerospace)

Site/Civil Engineering

Microelectronic/Computer Programming

Business Expertise (Financial)

Legal Expertise


does small wind energy pay
Does Small Wind Energy Pay?
  • Does wind energy have to pay for itself?
    • We often buy items of equivalent cost that provide no monetary value, and often cost money to use
    • Off grid customers are looking for least cost option (connect to grid, diesel generator, solar/wind hybrid, etc..)
  • Comparing initial costs is not useful
    • Wind has no fuel cost
    • Generators are cheaper per kW, but not necessarily cheaper at producing energy over the entire life
  • “You’re paying for a wind machine whether you want to or not, every time you mail your check to the utility.” – Mike Bergey
economic factors
Economic Factors
  • Installed Cost
  • Operation & Maintenance
    • Typically ~ 1 cent per kWh
  • Financing
    • (equivalent to lost interest if paying cash)
  • Insurance
  • Taxes
  • Revenues: Savings & Sales
    • Savings worth more value because not taxed
    • Sales may generate taxable income
    • REC’s may be able to be sold
    • Must account for rising cost of electricity
      • as it compares to inflation
economic incentives
Economic Incentives
  • Tax Credits
  • Tax Exemptions
  • Rebates
  • Production Incentives & Rebates
  • Accelerated Depreciation
  • Grants & Loans
  • Net Metering Arrangements
growing economies of scale
Growing Economies of Scale







Rotor (Meter)














Total Cost





















Larger turbines are more cost effective per kW.

But the value of each kWh depends on whether it is used behind the meter (12-15 ¢/kWh )or sold to the grid (3-5¢/kWh).


Cape Cod Regional Technical School

African Windpower AWP 3.6 Turbine (installed June 2005)

  • 1.5 kW capacity
  • ~250-350 kWh/month

(about half of an average household’s demand)

127 foot, tilt-up, guy-wired tower

SMA WindyBoy Inverter

Installed as an educational tool

  • (It’s a demonstration of small wind energy technology, not necessarily an example of what to do)

Upper Cape Tech

Aircon 10 turbine

  • 10 kW capacity
  • ~1250-1750 kWh/month

(2½ - 3 times an average household’s demand)

Freestanding, tubular, counterbalancing tower

2 SMA WindyBoy Inverters


* Rebate structure improved from Cape Tech to UCT example; rebate will be different for other applications, and additional incentives may be available.

--All prices are provided for example only – actual prices may vary--


Thanks to

The KidWind Project

Joe Rand