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Steve Figgatt

By Jon Stevens,2014-05-19 02:57
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New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is well known for providing incentives toward the construction of wind turbines.

    Wind Power Feasibility Study for EcoVillage

    December 13, 2005

    By: Steve Figgatt

    Instructor: Greg Pitts

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    Table of Contents

    I. Introduction………………………………………………………………………3 II. Infrastructure…………………………………………………………………….3

    A. Producer……………………………………………………………………..3

    B. Energy Supply Company……………………………………….……………4

    C. Delivery Company…….…………………………………………………….4 III. Business Models………………………………………………………………...5

    A. Producer……………………………………………………………………..5

    i. Variant 1…………………………………………………………….5

    ii. Variant 2…………………………………………………………….6

    iii. Variant 3…………………………………………………………….7

    B. Lease Land to an ESCO…………………………………………………….8

    C. Form an ESCO……………………………………………………………...8

    D. Base Load Reduction………………………………………………………..9 IV. Financial Model…………………………………………………………………10

    A. Site Characteristics…………………………………………………………..10

    B. System Properties……………………………………………………………12 V. Financial Results………………………………………………………………..13

    A. 2 10kW Bergey Wind Turbines………………………………………….....14

    B. Fuhrlander 250 Variant 1……………………………………………………16

    C. Fuhrlander 250 Variant 2…………………………………………………...20 VI. Research Highlights…………………………………………………………….23 VII. Conclusion………………………………………………………………………25 VIII. Sources, Contact Info and Useful Websites…………………………………….26

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    I. Introduction

    This document is the product of an independent study project, made possible through a collaboration between Ithaca College and EcoVillage at Ithaca. It is the summary of the findings of

    two semesters of background research. This project builds on prior work done by Cornell students

    in the MAE 501 Report. Essentially, this is a feasibility study intended to broadly explore and

    consider all the options available to EcoVillage concerning wind power. The prime directive of this

    study was to find the best way to move forward with wind at EcoVillage with an emphasis on

    thinking big.

    II: Infrastructure

    A variety of basic ideas and principles about the physical electrical infrastructure in the United States must be understood prior to discussing the legal and political infrastructure behind the

    installation of a wind turbine. The Grid connects the producers to the consumers. It is basically a

    nation-wide network of power lines, moving electricity from the power producers to load centers. It

    is set up in a way that power can be moved from any producer to any consumer, and is done so based

    on the economics of the transmission path and cost to the consumer.

    A. Producer

    A producer can be an Energy Supply Company (ESCO) or an individual person or organization that operates electricity-generating equipment. Examples of electricity-generating

    equipment may include Photovoltaic arrays, wind turbines, coal power plants, etc. Fenner Wind

    Farm is an example of a producer. Entities that are solely producers sell power at about $0.03/kWh,

    and need to be utility scale to be profitable due to the low price at which they sell electricity. Power

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production facilities can be owned by an organization that only produces power, but Energy Supply

    Companies can also own and maintain the power production facilities. Some companies, such as

    NYSEG, serve as the producers, ESCOs and delivery companies.

    B. Energy Supply Company

    An ESCO sells power to consumers. The consumer is charged for both the cost of the power

    production and the cost of delivery. Generally, delivery costs are around $0.05/kWh. In the Ithaca

    region of New York, electricity costs are be around $0.07/kWh. These two figures account for the

    $0.12/kWh people in the Ithaca area generally pay for electricity. An ESCO can buy power from

    producers, such as Fenner wind farm, or can own its own power generating equipment. So a

    company deemed an “ESCO” can serve as both a producer and an Energy Supply Company.

    C. Delivery Company

    A delivery company is required to physically move electricity from the producer to the

    consumer. Delivery companies in New York own the vast electrical infrastructure, such as the

    power lines and transformers. NYSEG is the electricity delivery company in the Ithaca area. In

    New York state, the entities that are currently delivery companies used to serve as producers, ESCOs

    and delivery companies. However, in recent years, legislation was passed to deregulate the large

    utilities such as NYSEG. This recent deregulation is why NYSEG is still a producer, ESCO and

    delivery company.

II. Incentives

    New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is well known

    for providing incentives toward the construction of wind turbines. A larger 300 kW wind turbine

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would qualify for only 15% incentive grants, while a smaller 30 kW turbine may qualify for perhaps

    40% incentive grants. The following table provides details on NYSERDA’s grant incentive program.

    QuickTime?and aTIFF (Uncompressed) decompressorare needed to see this picture.

     The State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) created a document called the

    “SEQR Cookbook”, which provides a logical way of getting the implementation of a wind turbine

    approved by the town and neighbors. This tool may prove useful as it gets closer to the time when

    the turbine will be installed.

III. Business Models

    Physically installing a wind turbine and the various components required for energy

    production is fairly straightforward and logical. To find the ideal legal infrastructure is much more

    complex. The following paragraphs will explain a variety of ideas and concepts and why each of

    them would or wouldn’t work.

    A. Producer

     1. Variant 1

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    One option is to build the turbine and become a producer. This producer option has a few variants. One is to simply become a producer with a wind turbine for educational purposes, where

    any energy produced would be sold back to an ESCO at wholesale rates. One large issue with this

    variant is that the turbine constructed would have to be small (smaller than 30 kW). It isn’t economically feasible to build a medium wind turbine only to have the excess sold off at wholesale.

    Wholesale prices are so low (around $0.03/kWh) that the payback rate on such a turbine would take

    many years, even if a smaller turbine was constructed. At 5.7 m/s, the average wind speed at the

    EcoVillage site is simply not high enough to allow a small or medium wind turbine to produce

    enough power to be cost effective. For all the wind turbines researched for this project, it was

    discovered that the power output, with an average wind speed of 5.7 m/s, was about 10% of the wind

    turbine’s rated capacity. So, a 30 kW wind turbine would only produce about 3 kW of electricity at

    the EcoVillage site. This low power output makes the payback period greater than thirty years for

    most small and medium wind turbines, if the power produced is sold at $0.03/kWh.

     2. Variant 2

    Another variant of the producer option would be to construct a grid-tied small wind turbine, but set up the infrastructure so it is connected to a single meter, such as the common house. With

    this variant, net metering is possible. Without net metering, any energy produced by the turbine

    would be used directly by EcoVillage, with excess sold off at wholesale, at best. This system would

    need to be designed so the turbine installed didn’t overproduce too much, because any

    overproduction is money lost, meaning that the common house would use the power supplied by the

    turbine which would have normally cost around $0.12/kWh for the “bundle rate”. The “bundle rate”

    includes both production and delivery costs. Any excess would be sold off at the wholesale rate,

    which would be the equivalent of losing about $0.07/kWh. If it was concluded that net metering

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would be the goal of the turbine connected to the common house, the turbine would have to be no

    larger than 25 kW. Current New York state law states that it is legal for any “customer-generator” to

    net meter if the “customer-generator’s” wind turbine is 25 kW or below. So as long as the turbine

    installed to net meter the common house is 25 kW or below, NYSEG (the delivery company) legally

    has to allow it. The negative side to this variant is the turbine could only be 25 kW and wouldn’t supply the rest of the village with power, only the common house. Regardless of its small size and

    power output, the turbine would still produce green power and could server as an educational piece

    as well.

     3. Variant 3

    Another producer variant would be to construct a turbine, but master net meter the entire

    village. This way all of EcoVillage could reap the benefits of the larger turbine directly. A major

    problem to this variant is, as mentioned above, the turbine would be restricted to a “rated capacity of no more than twenty-five kilowatts for residential customer-generation and not more than one

    hundred twenty-five kilowatts for farm service customer-generation” according to the New York law on net metering for wind (see the Chapter 423 Document for details). EcoVillage has potential to

    become a “farm service customer-generator”, but that would need to be taken up with the local

    municipality for zoning purposes and would likely not be approved. If a feasibility study found that

    a 250 kW turbine would be optimal for EcoVillage, a 125 kW turbine obviously would not be

    sufficient based on the Weibull curve principles. New York state law does not cover the “medium”

    sized wind turbines (100 kW to 300 kW) and NYSEG isn’t required to allow EcoVillage to master net meter. NYSEG could be contacted and possibly persuaded to allow EcoVillage to master net

    meter through an agreement or contract, though prior experiences with NYSEG indicate they

    wouldn’t support master net metering. The issue is that NYSEG is a private company with profit

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motives, and allowing people and organizations such as EcoVillage to net meter would decrease

    NYSEG revenues.

     B. Lease Land to an ESCO

    Another option is to lease EcoVillage land to an ESCO. This way, an ESCO could build a

    turbine and handle any maintenance costs. Obviously, the power produced by the turbine would not

    be used by EcoVillage directly but pushed out to the grid. This concept may not be as appealing to

    residents of EcoVillage because they wouldn’t directly use the power produced by the turbine on their land. Another potential roadblock in this plan is finding an ESCO that has the desire to build a

    turbine on EcoVillage land. EcoVillage land isn’t an optimal location to construct a wind turbine,

    and its feasibility is still in question for any turbine size. Again, the wind speed at EcoVillage is too

    low for small and medium wind turbines to feasible. Another potential roadblock for this variant is

    that the ESCO leasing the land from EcoVillage likely wouldn’t want to go through the tedious

    process of approval from the local municipality. It would be far easier for an ESCO to lease or buy

    some land at another site with greater wind speed, and no neighbors who may complain. Governor

    Pataki stated that 25% of all New York state power must be green by 2025, so there should be some

    interest from ESCO’s but not a whole lot. It may be worth looking into, but the concept isn’t as

    appealing as others.

     C. Form an ESCO

    Forming an ESCO is the third option. An ESCO is an Energy Supply Company. If

    EcoVillage created an ESCO, it could become a producer and sell power produced from the turbine

    to EcoVillage residents. There is potential for all power produced by the turbine to be sold to

    EcoVillage residents at a slightly discounted rate, maybe a few cents cheaper than power purchased

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from other ESCOs. If an ESCO was formed, it wouldn’t master net meter but aggregate all of

    EcoVillage into one account, and have the newly formed ESCO manage everything from there. The

    reason for moving around master net metering is that there is no law in existence forcing NYSEG to

    agree with it, meaning that they likely wouldn’t support the idea for EcoVillage (as mentioned

    earlier). This would also mean that any infrastructure (power lines, transformers, turbines) behind

    the “node” where EcoVillage is connected to the grid would need to be bought from NYSEG and

    maintained by the ESCO (which is a potential negative because the maintenance costs associated

    with it). As mentioned above, the ESCO EcoVillage would create would be nothing more than an

    Energy supply company, meaning anyone could buy from it. The creation of an ESCO doesn’t limit

    the turbine’s site to be on EcoVillage land. It is quite possible that EcoVillage’s 176 acres may not have strong enough consistent wind to feasibly build a turbine between the 100 kW and 300 kW

    range. Becoming an ESCO provides a solution to this dilemma by eliminating the need to build the

    turbine on current EcoVillage property.

     D. Base Load Reduction

    A fourth option is to construct a large turbine on EcoVillage property but design a complex system so that there are 2 electric meters. One meter would measure the turbine’s power production

    and the second meter would measure EcoVillage’s consumption. The main idea is to reduce

    EcoVillage’s current base load, without producing excess at wholesale. This way EcoVillage

    wouldn’t technically be considered to be master net metering, but in fact would be master net

    metering. To avoid selling the power at wholesale, a deal with NYSEG needs to be reached.

    NYSEG needs to be convinced that it would be advantageous to them to support such a system. A

    cost benefit analysis would need to be done before presenting the idea to NYSEG, including the

    concept of buying the infrastructure from NYSEG, in order to seem more appealing. In order for

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this study to be done, engineers with knowledge of the complex system may need to be hired to do a

    buyback analysis.

    IV. Financial Model

    An excel workbook, originally obtained from the National Renewable Energy laboratory (NREL), has proven to be extremely helpful in financial calculations. NREL is part of the US

    department of energy, and researches and develops renewable energy. The workbook can be located

    on NREL’s site; the URL can be found in the sources section. The workbook itself is fairly complex

    and can be difficult to interpret. The following paragraphs will analyze and describe the purpose of

    each variable in the Site Characteristics and System Properties sections of the workbook.

    A. Site Characteristics

    The average wind speed has the largest effect on the payback period. According to the data from AWSTrueWind, the average wind speed at EcoVillage at a height of 65 meters is 5.7 m/s. At

    this speed, regardless of turbine size, the EcoVillage site will get about 10% of the turbines’ rated

    power output. The power produced by a wind turbine is the cube of the wind speed. Output varies

    from 2.8% to 23.6% with winds from 4 m/s to 7 m/s, respectively.

    Anemometer height affects both the Annual Power Output (kWh/year) and the Variable Costs on the Cash Flow sheet. The System Properties sheet has a cell for rotor hub height, and the

    anemometer height cell takes the rotor hub height into account when calculating the annual power

    output. The spreadsheet assumes that if the wind speed at 30 meters is 5.7 m/s, then the height of the

    rotor hub on the tower at 65 meters will experience greater wind speeds, thus making the Annual

    Power Output greater. When the anemometer height was set at 65 meters, the payback period was

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