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New Thread to move the Wind Turbine discussion into one of its own

Ernest Bywater

What is interesting about the use of wind turbines is how some governments promote the establishment of big wind farms to generate power for the grid while some other governments promote the establishment of small wind turbines for powering individual houses or businesses.

I'm sure it would be a hell of a lot cheaper and easier to provide wind turbines and solar power for individual house power while making the roads a lot safer by not having poles and wires everywhere. The upside is less coal etc, less infrastructure, and cheaper installation. The downside would be all of those profitable government power companies and related taxes would cease. A major upside would be fewer people would be affected by any individual power loss due to equipment failure, so fewer people harmed when it happens.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  Keet  Remus2
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

The key, as least in any decent Post-Apocalyptic story, is to have both. Take whatever tax incentives you can, but stick up one of your own, just so you'll be covered if/when disaster strikes. If it doesn't, they pay for themselves anyway (eventually).

Note: If a government provides tax incentives for the utility companies, you know they'll limit production just to keep their prices up, regardless of how cheap the turbines are. That's a losing proposition across the board for everyone across the board.

Keet

@Ernest Bywater

The Dutch government already has found a back door to tax solar panels. There is a tax that is collected by the municipalities called the "OZB" or in English "real estate tax". The local governments state that solar panels are "an unmovable part of the real estate" and thus add value to the home. The tax is based on value the home. You can bet that the same will happen with home-sized wind turbines. Some people in the national government say it's up to the municipalities whether or not to add that value so you can guess what happens. Lobby groups are fighting against this because the government stimulates placement of solar panels and that should not cause an extra tax. Time will tell what will happen but if too many people start providing for their own energy they will find a way to make up for the tax losses currently collected for energy.
Personally I would like to see every home provide for it's own energy with solar and wind but not every house is suitable for that.
In the Netherlands we have all utilities under ground so we have no poles and wires to get rid off and it's one the most reliable systems in the world but just the fact that a total black out is almost impossible with clean, distributed energy generation is worth it.

Crumbly Writer

@Keet

The local governments state that solar panels are "an unmovable part of the real estate" and thus add value to the home. The tax is based on value the home. You can bet that the same will happen with home-sized wind turbines.

Yet, if you add the turbine to the tall hill/mountain behind your house, then the mountain/hill would still have no commercial value, thus the OZB for the exact same item would/should be $0 (translate into pounds, as I'm unsure whether SOL allows pound symbols). I'd love to see that argued in court, as I'm betting it would result in the taxes being voided in their entirety.

Replies:   Keet
Remus2

@Ernest Bywater

My properties run on geothermal, wind, hydro, and solar for electricity. I also do not require their water or septic. With fifteen minutes, I can be 100% off grid of any kind.
However, there are many places that have already, or are planning to, force people like me to pay into the utility anyway, even though I'm a net exporter back to the grid. The latter tells me the government doesn't actually want to clean the environment as much as it wants to control and tax.
If they actually wanted to help the environment, they would at a minimum leave people like me alone.

Crumbly Writer

@Remus2

If they actually wanted to help the environment, they would at a minimum leave people like me alone.

I wholeheartedly agree, as most of us SOL regulars leave the 'old fogies' like Ernest and I alone, lest they unleash our 20-reply torrents! ;

Dominions Son

@Remus2

My properties run on geothermal, wind, hydro, and solar for electricity.


If you have geothermal and hydro, what on earth do you need wind or solar for?

Replies:   Remus2
Keet

@Crumbly Writer

Yet, if you add the turbine to the tall hill/mountain behind your house, then the mountain/hill would still have no commercial value, thus the OZB for the exact same item would/should be $0 (translate into pounds, as I'm unsure whether SOL allows pound symbols). I'd love to see that argued in court, as I'm betting it would result in the taxes being voided in their entirety.

If that hill is part of the real estate property than it falls under the OZB. And that hill has value. A government clown counts every grain of sand if they can tax it. And no, the taxes will never be completely voided, just recalculated.
(by the way, it's euros: €)

Keet

@Remus2

The latter tells me the government doesn't actually want to clean the environment as much as it wants to control and tax.
If they actually wanted to help the environment, they would at a minimum leave people like me alone.

Whatever gave you the idea that the government wants a cleaner climate? It's only about money and to look good publicly. If everybody stopped driving their cars tomorrow for cleaner air they would cry out load because of the huge amount of lost taxes.
I wish my home could be outfitted to be self sufficient but obviously that's not an option with an apartment.

Replies:   Remus2  Ernest Bywater  Remus2
Maclir

Interesting on how some governments charge taxes on the value of the improvements on a property (so you put solar panels on your house, tax value goes up). Almost like how a few centuries ago, the British government levied a 'window tax'.

In Australia, any land taxes are based on the "unimproved capital value' on the land - any buildings, etc are not counted

Replies:   Keet
Keet

@Maclir

Interesting on how some governments charge taxes on the value of the improvements on a property (so you put solar panels on your house, tax value goes up). Almost like how a few centuries ago, the British government levied a 'window tax'.

Yep, in the Netherlands they base the tax on the property value ("land, buildings, and everything that is un-removable connected to it". They interpret that "un-removable" very broad like with solar panels. If you improve it, the value increases and the taxes increase with it.

Remus2

@Dominions Son

If you have geothermal and hydro, what on earth do you need wind or solar for?

Redundancy. If there ever comes one or more fails or is too weak due to meteorological or other conditions, one or more will fill the gap.

It did not start that way however. Before retirement, I was an engineer (mechanical and materials). The designs started out as proof of concept. With straight mechanical and materials engineering, proof of concept were not normally needed, but solar and geothermal in particular, the designs strayed outside of my documented expertise. I used them to sell several projects that otherwise our group probably wouldn't have gotten the bid for.

Now that I'm retired, it seemed a bit stupid to simply dismantle them rather than use them given that the lions share of the work was already done.

Remus2

@Keet

Whatever gave you the idea that the government wants a cleaner climate? It's only about money and to look good publicly.


I spoke of publically declared intent, not actual reality. There is too much tax money on the table from fossil derived energy sources for the world's governments to be expressing actual believable altruistic intent.

Ernest Bywater

@Keet

I wish my home could be outfitted to be self sufficient but obviously that's not an option with an apartment.


Actually, it could be. There are vertical style wind turbines called Savonious turbines that can be made in any size and there are many houses that have one on the roof. Thus, with an apartment block each apartment could have their own generator mounted on the roof, if all of the owners agreed to it.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Savonius-rotors_in_use.jpg

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Savonius3.JPG

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savonius_wind_turbine

Replies:   Dominions Son  Keet
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

Actually, it could be.


No, Keet said he lives in an apartment. He can't install anything permanent or semi-permanent.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

No, Keet said he lives in an apartment. He can't install anything permanent or semi-permanent.


Read the last eight words of my post "... if all of the owners agreed to it."

If the owners agree you can do anything. If it's a multi-owner title then you have to get approval of the body corporate or all of the owners, but it can be done. One of the photos I linked to appears to be 3 Savonius turbines on the roof of a multi-residential building.

PotomacBob

@Keet

The Dutch government already has found a back door to tax solar panels. There is a tax that is collected by the municipalities called the "OZB" or in English "real estate tax". The local governments state that solar panels are "an unmovable part of the real estate" and thus add value to the home.


Where I live, the value of the real estate is determined by the selling price of similar real estate nearby. Thus the local real estate taxes would go up if the wind turbines caused the value of the real estate to go up, but if the wind turbine caused the value of the real estate to go down (as many people say it would when they fight installation of commercial wind turbines), then the local real estate would go down as well.

Replies:   Keet
Remus2

@Keet

Depends on how much you want to invest.

http://energy.mit.edu/news/transparent-solar-cells/

Transparent solar cells can mitigate some of the usage. The price has been falling precipitously, but currently still expensive. A few more years and it will be cheap enough for the average person.

Replies:   Keet
Keet

@Ernest Bywater

Actually, it could be. There are vertical style wind turbines called Savonious turbines that can be made in any size and there are many houses that have one on the roof. Thus, with an apartment block each apartment could have their own generator mounted on the roof, if all of the owners agreed to it.

I agree that it's possible to some extend but only if all owners in the block cooperate and make the investment to make it happen. There's always some who don't want to invest and there are some apartments that still have renters from one owner that owns several apartments from before the apartments were sold individually. On my own I can't do anything. Not on the roof even if I live on the top floor, and only very limited on the balcony because of home-owner rules.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Keet

@PotomacBob

Where I live, the value of the real estate is determined by the selling price of similar real estate nearby. Thus the local real estate taxes would go up if the wind turbines caused the value of the real estate to go up, but if the wind turbine caused the value of the real estate to go down (as many people say it would when they fight installation of commercial wind turbines), then the local real estate would go down as well.

That is the value that is used here too but both the local government and the individual owners can apply for a different valuation. Of course the government would always argue that nearby placed wind turbines devalue a home.

Keet

@Remus2

Depends on how much you want to invest.

Not to me. If I invest I will go as high as I can afford BUT I want 100%. When I move from my apartment to a ground floor home I want to be fully independent from the electricity grid and will not deliver back to that grid because I want to stay detached. That's gonna be very difficult here in the Netherlands because we are such a small country with little affordable free space.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  Remus2
Ernest Bywater

@Keet

only if all owners in the block cooperate and make the investment to make it happen.


They don't have to make the investment, just give the approval. Years ago I rented an apartment in a block of 40 when sat TV etc was just starting up down here. I asked for approval to put in a sat dish to have access. The owner spoke with the body corporate and it was taken to their next owners meeting. The final result was residents could have the service installed under certain conditions which included installation by an authorized service, cables run beside a down pipe so they weren't easily visible, and paid for by whoever wanted it. A year later I was one of eight who had sat service, but anyone could if they wanted to.

Ernest Bywater

@Keet

Little space is one of the advantages of the Savonius Turbine since they can be made to any size and easily mounted anywhere. I remember seeing images of service kiosks being installed somewhere with a Savonius Turbine on the roof to power it; some were in city parks and some were in remote areas. I can't remember where that was, for sure, but I think it was Finland. I do know there are some companies in Finland who specialize in designing Savonius Turbines for people in remote locations.

Replies:   Keet
Keet

@Ernest Bywater

Little space is one of the advantages of the Savonius Turbine since they can be made to any size and easily mounted anywhere.

I know. I keep up with the research regarding wind and solar power but the truth is that small wind turbines perform very badly. If you have the perfect location they are useful to supplement other types of energy generation but on their own they are almost useless. Yep, location is the single most important parameter if you consider wind energy.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Keet

Yep, location is the single most important parameter if you consider wind energy.


True, and another is the power you want it to generate. I'm not up on the mathematics for working it out, but a friend wanted to put in wind turbines on his farm am he was given the choice of 240 volt to match the grid and suit his current devices or of going for direct current in 24 volt, or 12 volt or 6 volt. In the end he went for a mostly 12 volt system with some 6 volt lines as he was due to replace most of the appliances etc. The use of low voltage DC meant he only needed a quarter of the turbines a grid level system needed to keep him fully powered. I don't know how solid the calculations were, but it does make you wonder about the systems being offered for sale.

Replies:   Keet  REP
Keet

@Ernest Bywater

I don't know how solid the calculations were, but it does make you wonder about the systems being offered for sale.

On a farm you have the space to place bigger turbines and further away from the house so they don't bother you. However, distance is a problem for low-voltage turbines. They have to be as close as possible otherwise the loss is to great to leave what little they produce. And with close I mean really close, within 10 meters from where you store or use the energy if possible. The big pro for smaller and low-voltage turbines is that the maintenance cost is magnitudes lower and often so simple you can do it yourself.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Remus2

@Keet

Not to me. If I invest I will go as high as I can afford BUT I want 100%. When I move from my apartment to a ground floor home I want to be fully independent from the electricity grid and will not deliver back to that grid because I want to stay detached. That's gonna be very difficult here in the Netherlands because we are such a small country with little affordable free space.


You're going to have a hard time going 100% in an apartment as an individual. There are options for cutting down the amount of grid power you use, but 100% is unrealistic in that scenario.

A boat is a viable option depending upon your specific local. They can be made 100% off grid renewables.

Replies:   Keet
Ernest Bywater

@Keet

On a farm you have the space to place bigger turbines and further away from the house so they don't bother you.


Only if you go with the big blade jobs. Mike had Savonius style wind turbines installed on the roof of the farm house for it's operation, and another on the equipment shed / barn for its lights. The water is from wind powered wells pumping to tanks where he wants them. He likes not having any power outages or power bills.

Replies:   Keet
Keet
Updated:

@Remus2

You're going to have a hard time going 100% in an apartment as an individual.

You missed the part where I said "When I move...".

Replies:   Remus2
Keet

@Ernest Bywater

Only if you go with the big blade jobs. Mike had Savonius style wind turbines installed on the roof of the farm house for it's operation, and another on the equipment shed / barn for its lights. The water is from wind powered wells pumping to tanks where he wants them. He likes not having any power outages or power bills.

That's right. I mentioned the further away turbines as a possibility to generate 240V. That would have to be big blade turbines. On the roof of the house is a good place for smaller low-voltage turbines. He probably has a separate turbines on the house and the barn because of the distance problem with small low voltage turbines.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Keet

He probably has a separate turbines on the house and the barn because of the distance problem with small low voltage turbines.


Could be, but knowing him it's more likely the cost factor. Purchase and installation same regardless of location, but cables to run from house to other buildings would be more cost.

REP

@Ernest Bywater

The use of low voltage DC meant he only needed a quarter of the turbines a grid level system needed to keep him fully powered.


Doesn't sound right to me. Assuming his power consumption (power = voltage X current) is the same, then the lower voltage turbines would have to produce four times the power of the higher voltage turbines, and that doesn't include the higher power losses of the dc systems. I suspect the power output of the 240 Vac and 12 Vdc are close to the same.

Power companies use high-voltage ac transmission lines because there is less power loss when getting power to the user. Using low-voltage dc turbines means the power loss getting the current from the turbine to the device consuming the power will be higher. Thus if the 240 Vac turbine produces the same power as the 12 Vdc turbine, you would need more turbines for the same power consumption of the devices.

Add in that most household devices are designed and operate on 120/240 ac power. Finding household devices that run on 12 Vdc is possible, but the cost is probably considerably higher.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@REP

Assuming his power consumption (power = voltage X current) is the same


As I said, I don't understand the calculations. However, I do know the actual consumption is way down. The place was built so long ago that the power etc was fitted a generation or two later with the old cloth covered wiring, so it needed rewiring anyway.

The old style incandescent and fluro lights were replaced with low voltage LEDs while the fridge stove etc were replaced with low voltage ones like you buy for campervans etc. The hardest part was buying suitable PSUs for their computers as while they run on low voltage internally they usually have 240v input. Not sure what he did, but I did suggest he get notebooks and low voltage chargers for them.

I do know when I swapped from compact fluro lights to LEDs my consumption and power bill went way down, so I guess his consumption went down due to that change as well. He's happy to be saving money each month and not having blackouts when the grid goes down because some fool lost control in the rain and took out a pole or two.

Replies:   REP
REP
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

Yes there are devices that consume less power that your friend can buy, and LED lighting is a good example. However, I doubt major appliances don't fall in that category.

You can buy appliances that are suitable for use in a campervan, but those devices are intended for low-capacity usage. Your friend would have to use multiple campervan-sized refrigerators to have the same refrigeration capacity as a standard full-size refrigerator. Same thing for a washer, dryer, and other appliances. Multiple units for the same function means higher power consumption.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@REP

those devices are intended for low-capacity usage.


Depends on what you call low capacity! I quick and simple search found this site below, and if they have them here in Australia you can be sure they're available elsewhere.

http://www.solazone.com.au/

A 433 litre chest freezer of 1613 x 736 x 960 mm using 60 watts on 12 or 24 volt DC is a good size. My mains household chest freezer is 145 litre and does us well. 300 and 400 litre low voltage hot water tanks are household size. I'm sure it'll be fairly easy to find any appliance you want as 12 volt or 24 volt if you look. Mike found them here in Australia, so they should be available anywhere else.

While the site is mainly solar they do have wind generators and the appliances will work off any power supply source of the right type.

Tw0Cr0ws

This may or may not be true about the latest big turbines.
A retired power company lineman told me that the big turbines were sold as they would pay for themselves in about 10 years, but in reality would need a major (expensive) rebuild after 8 years, which was not taken into account in the selling.

Replies:   Remus2
Remus2

@Keet

You missed the part where I said "When I move...".

I caught that part, also caught the "...little affordable free space" part. It is why I suggested a boat.

Remus2

@Tw0Cr0ws

This may or may not be true about the latest big turbines.
A retired power company lineman told me that the big turbines were sold as they would pay for themselves in about 10 years, but in reality would need a major (expensive) rebuild after 8 years, which was not taken into account in the selling.

For the most part it's true. That is why I specifically mentioned megalithic versions being a bad idea. Towers from the late 80's are still in operation in Altamont Pass, Alameda County, California. The megaliths don't have much of chance making it that long.

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