January 16, 2014 – 2013 Wind Turbine Production

It’s time for the annual Skystream wind turbine update.  The good news is that 2013 was the highest year of wind turbine production and just as importantly was the lowest year of energy use.

In 2013, the Skystream produced 4,684 kWh, an average of 390 kWh per month. The farm and household used 9,346 kWh, an average of 778 kWh per month. The Skystream produced 50.1%  of our energy, a net improvement of about 1.5% over the previous year.

annualprodAnnual turbine production – the boost in 2011 was due to a software upgrade.

avemonthlyAverage monthly kWh produced.

annualuseThis chart shows our average annual kWh use over the last 11 years.  Some of this is due to better appliances, some due to children leaving the house, and increased awareness of energy use.

January 16, 2013 – 2012 Skystream Wind Turbine Production Stats

Well,the 2012 Skystream wind turbine results are in. In 2012, the Skystream produced 4,660 kWh, an average of 388 kWh per month. The farm and household used 9,603 kWh, an average of 800 kWh per month. The Skystream produced 48.5% of our energy.

This graph shows the average monthly kWh produced by the wind turbine over the past four years.

This graph shows how much electricity our household has used over the past 11 years.

 

This graph shows how the average monthly turbine production varies by month.

 

Month kWh Produced
by Turbine
kWh Used by
house/farm
Jan ’12 458 764
Feb ’12 430 762
Mar ’12 688 763
April ’12 486 766
May ’12 553 831
June ’12 339 589
July ’12 104 1252
Aug ’12 107 827
Sept ’12 200 771
Oct ’12 423 698
Nov ’12 456 651
Dec ’12  416  929
2013 Totals 4660 9603

 

 

 

August 14, 2012 – Prez Stops by the Neighborhood

Barack was in the neighborhood today.  I was at work, so missed all the excitement.  He stopped at the wind farm just a few miles south of our farm.

Actually, I was a bit disappointed he didn’t stop in and check out our turbine!

One of the most short-sighted and non-sensical comments on the campaign is Romney’s assertion that he would “allow the wind credit to expire, end the stimulus boondoggles, and create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits.”  Of course, the 100 years of tax credits and subsidies for gas and oil are not on the table as Romney’s desire for a “level playing field” on energy policy does not extend to oil and gas, where he has pledged to retain up to 40 billion of subsidies and tax breaks.

40 billion for gas and oil.

0 for wind.

I wonder what he means by “level playing field?”

The only logical explanation that makes that position true is that nobody on his campaign has told him that wind turbines are a source of energy.

March 26, 2012 – Skystream Record Day!

I can feel it coming in the air tonight – a new daily Skystream production record in the air today!

Today the Skystream produced 51.4 kwh of electricity. It beats the previous best day by about 10%. We are a lock to beat our monthly record of 622 kwh. If, and it’s a big if, the average daily production of this month holds the next five days, we’ll be looking at around 680 kwh.

Yesterday wasn’t the windiest day we’ve had, but must have hit a high, steady, sweet spot that didn’t trip the wind overspeed shut-off too many times.

January 9, 2012 – 2011 Skystream Wind Turbine Results

Ok, the numbers are in from last year’s Skystream production. In summary, the Skystream produced an average of 387 kWh per month. This compares quite favorably to the average of the previous two years (336 kWh), and our household electric use dropped from an monthly average of 863 kWh in 2010 to 819 kWh in 2011. So, the Skystream produced 47% of our electric use in 2011.

Production stats for the Skystream Turbine for 2011.

Month kWh Produced
by Turbine
kWh Used by
house/farm
Jan ’11 401 1010
Feb ’11 356 823
Mar ’11 498 839
April ’11 622 814
May ’11 561 690
June ’11 399 808
July ’11 120 1028
Aug ’11 105 880
Sept ’11 191 809
Oct ’11 380 640
Nov ’11 555 792
Dec ’11 455 1012
2011 Totals 4643 10145

2009 Summary
In 2009, the Skystream produced 4,068 kWh, an average of 339 kWh per month. The farm and household used 11,549 kWh, an average of 962 kWh per month. The Skystream produced 38.6% of our energy.

2010 Summary
In 2010, the Skystream produced 3,998 kWh, an average of 333 kWh per month. The farm and household used 10,284 kWh, an average of 863 kWh per month. The Skystream produced 38.9% of our energy.

2011 Summary
In 2011, the Skystream produced 4643 kWh, an average of 387 kWh per month. The farm and household used 10,145 kWh, an average of 819 kWh per month. The Skystream produced 47.2% of our energy.

 

 

 

 

 

April 20, 2011 – Powerline Problems

The last few days the turbine has been shutting down during times it should not.  I checked the diagnostic software that transmits info from the turbine itself.  The software reported that the grid voltage was not ok.  Line 1 voltage was at 133 and line 1 at 120 (the voltage should be close to the same on both lines). I called the power company, and within 30 minutes there was a truck here to look at the problem.  They thought it sounded like a neutral problem and it looked like the neutral wire connection near the transformed was bad, so they reconnected it and it was fine for a while.

The next day it was reporting the same problem and the lights in the house were slightly dimming and brightening.  I called again, and this time they found a problem on the pole in our yard.  One of the hot wires had lost its plastic coating and had evidently run against something it wasn’t supposed to touch and it looked like it had arced and melted about 1/3 to 1/4 of the metal strands that supplies power.

The red circle shows the replaced section of wire.  This tells me that the Skystream is a good forecaster of future household electrical problems and it does a good job of protecting itself  in the case of a problem with the quality of electricity coming to the house and turbine.  Kudos to Consumers Energy for promptly responding and fixing the problem!

one year ago…”Emma on the Track”

January 24, 2011 – 2010 Southwest Windpower Skystream Results

Ok, the numbers are finally in from last year’s Skystream production.  In summary, the Skystream produced nearly identical production per month (339 kWh in ’09 vs 333 kWh in ’10), but our household electric use dropped from an monthly average of 962 kWh to 857 kWh.

Production stats for the Skystream Turbine for 2009-2010.

Month kWh Produced
by Turbine
kWh Used by
house/farm
Jan ’09 334 1275
Feb ’09 368 1109
March ’09 482 899
April ’09 570 961
May ’09 433 782
June ’09 210 693
July ’09 177 867
Aug ’09 146 923
Sept ’09 130 801
Oct ’09 411 889
Nov ’09 383 686
Dec ’09 464 1315
2009 Totals 4068 11549
Jan ’10 334 733
Feb ’10 376 851
Mar ’10 389 713
April ’10 524 755
May ’10 384 946
June ’10 227 740
July ’10 120 823
Aug ’10 116 1254
Sept ’10 280 656
Oct ’10 304 687
Nov ’10 591 850
Dec ’10 353 922
2010 Totals 3998 10284

2009 Summary
In 2009, the Skystream produced 4068 kWh, an average of 339 kWh per month. The farm and household used 11,549 kWh, an average of 962 kWh per month. The Skystream produced 35.2% of our energy.

2010 Summary
In 2010, the Skystream produced 3998 kWh, an average of 333 kWh per month.  The farm and household used 10,284 kWh, an average of 857 kWh per month.  The Skystream produced 38.8% of our energy.

 

2009 Summary
In 2009, the Skystream produced 4,068 kWh, an average of 339 kWh per month. The farm and household used 11,549 kWh, an average of 962 kWh per month. The Skystream produced 38.6% of our energy.

2010 Summary
In 2010, the Skystream produced 3,998 kWh, an average of 333 kWh per month. The farm and household used 10,284 kWh, an average of 863 kWh per month. The Skystream produced 38.9% of our energy.

one year ago…”Sleep, Who Needs Sleep”

December 19, 2010 – The Windspire that Never Was

Many of you may have recalled that I won a grant to become a “small wind demonstration site” to compare two different styles of turbines at the same location. The idea was simple – publish production data from two different turbines so potential purchasers might have some data other than the manufacturer’s claims.

So, I put down the money for the Mariah Power Windspire turbine last November (as in 13 months ago). The turbine was supposed to arrive in 2-3 weeks. It didn’t. It was scheduled to go up in the spring. Spring moved into summer and every scheduled date never panned out – due to manufacturing delays.

After the fall date came and went and still no turbine, I decided that it probably wasn’t going to happen and that I should try to get my deposit of half the cost back. Eventually, they refund came and it looks like the checks have cleared.

Now, we have to figure out how to give grant money back – evidently something the University’s accounting system isn’t set up to do!

one year ago…”Tank and Friends”

June 20, 2010 – Mammatus!

We had a spectacular show Friday night as the second round of storms for the day passed by to the east. A nice field of mammatus clouds developed.

mammatus over barn

I went out anticipating that the thunderheads to the east might have some interesting illumination from the setting sun to the west, but was very pleased to see these clouds and watch as the grew and developed.

skystream under mammatus

The following bit of information is condensed from Wikipedia: Mammatus are most often associated with the anvil cloud that extends from a cumulonimbus (thunderheads). Mammatus are often indicative of a particularly strong storm or maybe even a tornadic storm. These tend to form more often during warm months and are most common over the midwest and eastern portions of the United States.

Mammatus may appear as smooth, ragged or lumpy lobes and may be opaque or semitransparent. Because mammatus occur as a grouping of lobes, the way they clump together can vary from an isolated cluster to a field of mamma that spread over hundreds of kilometers to being organized along a line, and may be composed of unequal or similarly-sized lobes. The individual mammatus lobe average diameters of 1–3 km and lengths on average of 0.5 km. A lobe can last an average of 10 minutes, but a whole cluster of mamma can range from 15 minutes to a few hours. They usually are composed of ice, but also can be a mixture of ice and liquid water.

mammatus clouds

As the sun sank lower, the clouds turned from yellow to red.

It was rather exhilarating to be outside walking under this strange meteorologic phenomenon under a wide open sky!

one year ago…”Emma’s First 5K”

January 29, 2010 – How Much Noise Does a Skystream Make

I went out on a windy day to see if I could capture the sound the Skystream makes with my video camera. This is a short video of a Skystream 2.4 kw wind turbine on a 70 foot tower on a windy day. I mainly posted it to show how it sounds. You can compare it to a row of pine trees on the same property the same day. You might have to turn the sound up loud to hear it.

Since standard video cameras do not capture enough frames per second (you would need a special camera to capture the turbine spinning at 320 RPMs) the motion of the blades is not as you’d see with the blur of the naked eye.

For comparison, here’s the row of pine trees the same day.

one year ago…”Thingamajig Thursday #151″

January 6, 2010 – 2009 Skystream Results

Now that the year is over, it’s time to look at the Skystream wind turbine production results.

Month kWh Produced
by Turbine
kWh Used
by house/farm
Jan 334 1275
Feb 368 1109
March 482 899
April 570 961
May 433 782
June 210 693
July 177 867
Aug 146 923
Sept 130 801
Oct 411 889
Nov 343 686
Dec 462 1183
2009 Totals 4068 11549

For the year, the Skystream produced 4068 kwH, an average of 339 kWh per month. The farm and household used 11,549 kWh, an average of 962 kWh per month. The Skystream produced 35.2% of our energy. Our historical average electrical use the ten previous years before the turbine and newer appliances was 1255 kWh/month – resulting in an average reduction of 333 kWh per month due to new appliances and awareness.

The interesting point is that our monthly consumption has dropped almost the exact same amount (333 kWh less per month) as the average 2009 turbine production (339 kWh/month). The point being that our efforts to upgrade to energy efficient appliances has resulted in nearly exactly the same amount of savings as turbine generation. So the take-home story is that even if you are not able to add an alternative energy system to your home, you can still reach the same energy savings by using energy-conserving appliances!

We hope our electric usage drops further next year, as we hope to put in a more efficient water heater. We also will produce more with the addition of another turbine still coming at a date TBD.

one year ago…Upcoming Practical Farmers of Iowa Meeting”

October 18, 2009 – PFI Field Day

Yesterday was the PFI field day at the farm – I returned home literally an hour before the event. Linda had arranged the food and prepared a meal mainly from the farm – squash and apple soup, minestrone soup, and apple crisp.

The field day went well, there were probably about 25 attendees, from as far as Emmetsburg and as close as State Center. I’ve updated the wind presentation with updated info. Since I was presenting and talking, photos are lean. For more commentary, see the PFI blog for Friday October 23.

one year ago…”Oops, Market Peppers”

March 20, 2009 – Skyview Software

Here’s a screenshot of the the Skyview software that remotely monitors and logs the wind turbine.

This shows in the graphs, the watts produced along with the RPMs. The machine is humming along pretty good here, making 2432 watts at the time this screenshot was captured. Although this graph shows a top watt scale of 2600, it does go higher.

one year ago…”Thingamajig Thursday #110″