Not all wind farms have to be located far from power purchasers. A recent ribbon-cutting for a 120 kW turbine was right in Cleveland, Ohio, where the turbine is visible to thousands driving by on I-480 and Pearl Rd. Electrical Design Consultants President David Graneto, Pepper Pike, Ohio, says power from the turbine is sufficient for lights and equipment in three buildings of the automobile recycling yard at which the turbine is sited.
During a visit, the remanufactured Vestas V-20 (20-m rotor diameter) that sits atop a 140-ft tower, was churning out about 78 kW in a modest 5.3 m/s breeze. When originally manufactured the turbine was rated for 100 kW but the updated design can pump out 120 kW in wind of at least 10 m/s.
The turbine now sports two induction generators producing three phase 480V. The smaller generator is for low wind speeds up to 4.5 m/s and the large generator for higher winds. It cuts in at 4.5 m/s. A flat panel display inside one build shows running stats. For instance, after 351 hr of operation the unit had generated nearly 5,000 kWh of power in an urban location not known for its wind.
Costs for the turbine before incentives was about $375,000. Graneto, an electrical engineer and turbine erector working with PearlWind, calculates a payback in 8 to 9 years and sooner if power rates head up. He says a taller tower would capture faster winds which makes one wonder that with sufficiently tall towers and public acceptance, wind farms and cities could be one and the same.