Want to set up a wind turbine for yourself?

Wednesday, July 07, 2013
Avinash Jha
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Before you think of setting up an off-grid wind project, you first need to figure out if an area has ample wind speed. So, there comes the initial site selection which involves extensive desk-based studies to determine whether the sites satisfy all the required technical and environmental criteria such as road access, local community consent, and environmental assessment reports. You will then need to pre-assess the wind profile of the site, which could be done via satellite data, anemometer data from meteorological offices, or count on local experiences. It is hard to forecast wind energy without having at least one year of anemometer data. However, if your project is smaller than 10 kW, you can rely on local knowledge such as any hill named ‘batase danda’ because of the wind, and satellite maps.

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The pre-assessment will only give a rough idea if the given site is suitable for a wind project or not. However, the practical authentication could only be done by conducting the feasibility assessment done with an anemometer. In order to obtain the on-site wind data, an anemometer mast has to be set up at least for a year to properly evaluate the wind resource potential of the prospective wind farm site.

According to a staff at Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC), the permission for the set up of an anemometer mast has to be obtained from AEPC for which the subsidy can be claimed in future. The mast can also be set up privately, but the benefits by tagging with the government body won’t be arranged, and an anemometer in the market costs around $500. The wind data can also be tracked remotely with the help of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA).

There are a few environmental and social concerns related to the wind power development, hence you will need to conduct an environmental impact assessment. Also, the number of wind turbines and the total installed capacity at the site has to be approved from the responsible authority which should also enclose the consent from the local communities so that the construction has no adverse impact over the allied sectors. After the approval from the Ministry of Environment, the construction work can begin.

Prior to the construction, types of wind turbines suitable for the site have to be determined. Wind turbines look quite similar, but each turbine is designed with different types of power ratings and varying wind speeds. The cost of turbines range from $1000 to $3000 per kW. As a prospective wind power developer, you will need to weigh different wind machines and investigate the performance. Importing a turbine from neighboring countries has an advantage in transportation and delivery. China is leading the wind markets and India also has numerous turbine manufacturers. Chinese companies like Sinovel, Goldwind, Guodian United Power, and Indian Suzlon are the names that fall in the top 10 amongst the ones all over the world. However, we have to target the turbines up to 100 KW with the rotor diameters of around 20 meters fitted to be transported in roads.

Once appropriate turbines are selected, they will be delivered in parts, assembled at the project site and site preparation begins. Site construction includes building access roads, clearing the area and preparing the foundation for installation, and will take a few months. After all the parts are assembles, turbines are ready for operation. It will generate electricity and provide to the end users through the substation.

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Wind power is a proven technology, so all you need to figure out is if you have a good wind speed. If your factory or community is suffering from power shortage but located in an area with suitable wind speed, I would recommend you to install wind turbines to generate electricity and become self-sufficient.

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