Saturday, May 24, 2008

Whidbey PUD - Wind Power

Windside Synergy 2

I am part of a group working to establish a Whidbey Public Utility District (PUD). A PUD is nonprofit, locally regulated, and exists only to serve the power and water needs of a community. Created by legislation, in 1930, PUD's are a response to private power companies neglecting the needs of rural communities. Washington's PUD's have a long, bright history of successfully solving problems, and providing great service to rural communities. The official web page of our local effort to establish a Whidbey PUD is here.

The biggest concern about wind power is, well, that it's big! Huge towers and crowds of spinning rotors are not going to work against our Whidbey scenery. However, much of Whidbey is ideal for wind power, particularly the west side of the island. How do we capture this power, yet not spoil the view?

The answer may lie in micro-wind power. Several innovative small-scale wind power designs are emerging to satisfy needs just like ours. Here's a summary of several systems. Motor Wind 8

Motor Wind is a system that uses small, interconnected fans, made of recycled materials. The fans come in right and left rotation, and are connected by gear teeth on the rim of the fan. There are almost unlimited configurations for a series of Motor Wind fans, and multiple fans can power a single generator. The fans are available in a variety of colors, too. Motor wind is in the news: Aerotecture

Aerotecture International has a vertical generator which is very stylish. Windside in blue

Windside has been making micro-air turbines for over 20 years. Their generator is utterly silent, simple, and affordable. Available in a variety of colors, these simple generators could be placed on existing power poles! Windside Synergy 1

As an initial step for harnessing our wind power, a wind survey of the island will be required. This doesn't have to be a formal, expensive project -- I envision a project involving school-kids from all over the island. The Whidbey PUD could purchase a couple hundred simple anemometers, and distribute them to 5th grade school classes. The island's 5th graders are capable of contributing all the data regarding wind speed, date, time, and location. All the PUD would have to do is compile the data. It would be a great educational project, and provide benefit for the entire community. Simple Anemometer

Wind power on Whidbey Island.

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