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Alaska Wind 101: Wind for Schools Webinar August 12 th , 2010. Katherine Keith Wind-Diesel Application Center Alaska Center for Energy and Power University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

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Alaska Wind 101:

Wind for Schools Webinar

August 12th, 2010

Katherine Keith

Wind-Diesel Application Center

Alaska Center for Energy and Power

University of Alaska, Fairbanks


ACEP RESEARCH MISSION: To meet state and local need for applied energy research by working towards developing, refining, demonstrating, and ultimately helping commercialize marketable technologies that provide practical solutions to real-world problems.


Role of ACEP

  • Verify performance and reliability of equipment
  • Assess technical and economic feasibility
  • Test emissions
  • Integration with existing power systems
  • Resource assessment
  • Procurement experiments
  • Work with manufacturers to improve products for use in Alaska

Role of ACEP

Serve as an impartial agent on behalf of Alaskan communities and agencies to ensure we are investing wisely in energy projects that make sense and that contribute to the long-term benefit of our residents

Help leverage external resources to address Alaska’s energy challenges (funding, businesses, national laboratories, other universities, etc)


The purpose of the

Alaska Wind-Diesel Applications Center (WiDAC)

is to support the broader deployment

of cost-effective wind-diesel technologies to reduce and/or stabilize the cost of energy

In rural communities.


Alaska Wind-Diesel Test Center

Addressing issues to improve penetration of wind-diesel systems through improvements in controls and energy storage.


87% < 4 years old

76% < 2 years old

REF installed projects < 1 year of operation

wind diesel power systems
Wind-Diesel Power Systems
  • Intended to reduce diesel consumption
  • Needs good resource to be economically viable
  • However, wind fluctuates…
  • Power quality must be maintained despite the variable wind.
this is strange because wind energy is the fastest growing energy source in the world
This is strange because…Wind Energy is the Fastest Growing Energy Source in the World!!

US installed capacity grew a WHOPPING 45% in 2007!!!

why such growth costs
Why such growth…costs!

1979: 40 cents/kWh


4 - 6 cents/kWh

  • Increased Turbine Size
  • R&D Advances
  • Manufacturing Improvements

NSP 107 MW Lake Benton wind farm

4 cents/kWh (unsubsidized)


3 – 4.5 cents/kWh

other reason to teach
Other Reason to teach…

Elegant Power Source


Smith-Putnam Turbine

Vermont, 1940's

1250 kW


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

Vertical AxisHorizontal Axis

vertical axis turbines


Accepts wind from any angle

Components can be mounted at ground level

Ease of service

Lighter weight towers

Can theoretically use less materials to capture the same amount of wind


Rotors generally near ground where wind poorer

Centrifugal force stresses blades

Poor self-starting capabilities

Requires support at top of turbine rotor

Requires entire rotor to be removed to replace bearings

Overall poor performance and reliability

Have never been commercially successful

Vertical Axis Turbines
lift vs drag vawts
Lift vs Drag VAWTs

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
types of electricity generating windmills
Types of Electricity Generating Windmills
  • Small (10 kW)
  • Homes
  • Farms
  • Remote Applications
  • (e.g. water pumping, telecom sites, icemaking)
  • Intermediate
  • (10-250 kW)
  • Village Power
  • Hybrid Systems
  • Distributed Power
  • Large (250 kW - 2+MW)
  • Central Station Wind Farms
  • Distributed Power
modern small wind turbines high tech high reliability low maintenance

10 kW

50 kW

900 W

400 W

Modern Small Wind Turbines:High Tech, High Reliability, Low Maintenance
  • Technically Advanced
  • Only 2-3 Moving Parts
  • Very Low Maintenance Requirements
  • Proven: ~ 5,000 On-Grid
  • American Companies are the Market and Technology Leaders

(Not to scale)

large wind turbines
Large Wind Turbines
  • 450’ base to blade
  • Each blade 112’
  • Span greater than 747
  • 163+ tons total
  • Foundation 20+ feet deep
  • Rated at 1.5 – 5 megawatt
  • Supply at least 350 homes

Wind Turbine Technology

North Wind 100

rating 100 kW

rotor: 19.1 m

hub height: 25 m

Lagerwey LW58

rating: 750 kW

rotor: 58 m

hub height: 65 m

Enercon E-66

rating: 1800 kW

rotor: 70 m

hub height: 85 m

North Wind HR3

rating: 3 kW

rotor: 5 m

hub height: 15 m

Boeing 747

wing span: 69.8m

length: 73.5 m

Enercon E-112

rating: 4000 kW

rotor: 112 m

hub height: 100 m

Comparative Scale for a Range of Wind Turbines


Yawing – Facing the Wind

  • 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
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
    • V X V X V
  • 20% increase in wind speed means 73% more power
  • Doubling wind speed means 8 times more power
calculation of wind power
Calculation of Wind Power
  • Power in the wind

Effect of air density, 

    • Effect of swept area, A
    • Effect of wind speed, V

Power in the Wind = ½ρAV3


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


1980’s California Wind Farm

Older Technology

+ Higher RPMs

+ Lower Elevations

+ Poorly Sited

= Bad News!


In the November-December Audubon Magazine, John Flicker, President of National Audubon Society, wrote a column stating that Audubon "strongly supports wind power as a clean alternative energy source," pointing to the link between global warming and the birds and other wildlife that scientist say it will kill.

impacts of wind power noise
Impacts of Wind Power:Noise
  • Modern turbines are relatively quiet
  • Rule of thumb – stay about 3x hub-height away from houses

Transmission Problems

  • 6.5 million customers
  • 330+ generating units
  • Over 8,000 miles of transmission lines
  • 11 Interconnections
  • 28,100 MW of capacity
  • Peak demand: 22,544MW
standards skills
  • Scientific Processes (Collecting & Presenting Data, Performing Experiments, Repeating Trials, Using Models)
  • Use of Simple Tools & Equipment
  • Forces Cause Change
  • Energy Transformations (Forms of Energy)
  • Circuits/Electricity/Magnetism
  • Weather Patterns
  • Renewable – Non Renewable Energy
what does it take to install a turbine
What does it take to install a Turbine?
  • Utility Engineers
  • Geophysical Engineers
  • Concrete/Structural Engineering
  • Turbine Engineering (ME/EE/Aerospace)
  • Site/Civil Engineering
  • Microelectronic/Computer Programming
  • Business Expertise (Financial)
  • Legal Expertise
  • Meteorologists

Engineering is Elementary

Wind Chimes

Wind Art

Building simple blades


Building Wind Turbines

Assessing Wind Resource





Kite or balloon string


Advanced Blade Design

School Siting Projects

Data Analysis


The Kidwind Project

turbine sizes
Turbine Sizes
  • Small (<10kW)
    • Residential
    • Farms
  • Intermediate (10-250kW)
    • Small Hybrid Systems
    • Distributed Power
  • Large(250kW-5MW)
    • Centralized Generation
generator control
Generator Control

Frequency Control

Voltage Control

Ian Baring-Gould, NREL


Average load 2500kW

  • 1140 kW Installed Wind
kotzebue performance
Kotzebue Performance
  • Evaluated initially for cold and other off-worldly applications
  • Avg. Net Capacity Factor of 10%
  • Avg. Net Wind Penetration 4%
  • Simple COE $0.52/kWh

Wales, Alaska

  • Two 65-kW Entegrity wind turbines: 130 kW total
  • AC/DC rotary power converter-NREL
  • 130 Ah SAFT Ni-Cad battery bank
  • Two electric boilers (secondary loads)
  • PLC based main system controller
lessons learned from kotzebue and wales
Lessons Learned from Kotzebue and Wales
  • A fully automated plant is needed to allow for unattended parallel operation of any combination of generators.
  • Supervisory controller must be able to quickly and reliably start and synchronize each diesel.
  • Increase thermal energy conservation to enhance waste heat recovery.
  • Turbines need to be ‘cold and ice-proofed’.
nome banner peak

Average load 4000kW

  • 1170 kW Installed Wind
  • Installed December 2008
  • Jan – April 2010 Capacity Factor 23%
  • Simple COE $.14/kWh (est.)
banner peak production
Banner Peak Production

October 2009

Capacity Factor 6.3%

April 2010

Capacity Factor 23.09%

toksook bay

Average load 400kW

  • 400 kW Installed Wind
  • Average Penetration 24.2%
  • Average Capacity Factor 26%
  • Simple COE $0.25/kWh

High Penetration

Ian Baring-Gould, NREL

st paul island1
St. Paul Island
  • 3 Vestas V-27 (one connected) for total of 675 kW
  • Electric boiler for hot water
  • 2006- 60% capacity factor
  • Average Load: 70kW electrical & 50 kW Thermal
  • Class 7 wind resource
  • Average wind penetration : 55%
  • Average Capacity Factor: 32%
  • Simple COE $.08/kWh
  • March 2008- diesels ran only 27% of the time!
kodiak island

Average load 16,000 kW

  • 4,500 kW Installed Wind
  • Average Penetration
    • (Wind) 10%
    • (Wind + Hydro) 90%
  • Avg Capacity Factor 33%
  • Simple COE $0.07/kWh
slide show thanks
Slide Show Thanks!!!

This slide show is a conglomeration of many different slide shows and some additions and editing by Kidwind. Some major contribution to the slide show are from Sally Wright, NREL, Randy Brown, Southwest, GE Bergey Windpower and surely many, many others.


For more information visit:

Katherine Keith

Wind-Diesel Application Center

Alaska Center for Energy and Power

University of Alaska, Fairbanks