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Installing a 20kW Wind Turbine, What to Expect Part 3

 

Tower Arriving at Wind Turbine Project Site

This is the last of three blogs on installing a Renewegy 20kW wind turbine system on the time between the foundation installation and final commissioning. The First Part described the time between contracting Renewegy and securing the appropriate permitting.  The Second Part described the time between permitting to the foundation installation.

Foundation Installation to Final 20 kW Wind Turbine Commissioning

During the minimum 28 day cure time of the foundation, electrical power and data lines are run from the turbine foundation to the building infrastructure. Similar to the foundation installation, an electrician does not need additional training to install this portion of the turbine. The electrician installs and tests the system and locks out any connection for safety that Renewegy will hook up to on installation.

Depending on the agreement with the utility company, the meter of this distributed wind turbine system will run backward if the wind turbine system is producing more electricity than the building is consuming or will slow the building’s use of electricity producing an energy savings for the customer.

Day of Installation

Most of the action happens on the day of the turbine system installation. All of the permits are in place, the foundation is cured, electrical is in active, and our installers are prepared for the final installation.

The turbine installation technicians and a flatbed truck with the turbine system materials arrive at the project site at about the same time.  The tower, turbine head, blades, and electrical panel arrive on the truck while the Renewegy installation and service equipment kit (RISE kit) is pulled to the site by the installers.

The installers unload all the equipment from the trailer and begin assembling. They place the tower base on the foundation then assemble the middle tower section to the base and to the hydraulic tip-up cylinders. The upper tower section is then connected to the rest of the assembly.  The installers  connect the electrical panel to the building electrical connection and run a trunk cable to the top of the tower. They hang the turbine head vertically from a forklift and make all the electrical connections from the turbine head to the trunk cable. After attaching the turbine head to the tower, they secure the housing and three 4.3-meter blades to the turbine head and begin final safety checks before tipping up the tower with the hydraulic cylinders.

The tip-up of a VP-20 takes approximately eight minutes.  A video of the hydraulic tip up can be seen here.

With the tower upright, the installers bolt the tower to the base. An internet connection to the turbine is tested and the installers run through final commission checks. The installer can then gather up all their equipment and head on their way. The installer’s portion of the installation takes about one day per turbine system to install. Final commissioning, calibration, and performance monitoring happens remotely from Renewegy Headquarters. In many cases, the turbine can be making power on the day of installation. In other cases, final safety checks from the local utility may delay the actual start-up of the turbine.

Installing a 20 Kw Wind Turbine, What to Expect Part 2

Foundation Reinforcement Cage Being Set in Place

Below is the second of three blogs on the time between contracting Renewegy to install a turbine and the final commissioning. If you would like to read the first blog on the time between contracting Renewegy to install a turbine and permitting, see our first blog segment Installing a Wind Turbine, What to Expect, Part 1

 

Permitting to Foundation Installation

 

With all of the approvals in place, installing the foundation of a turbine system is only paced by the weather and equipment availability. Installing the foundation takes a significantly less time than the time it takes to get the turbine system approved for use.

 

The Renewegy warehouse prepares the foundation items for shipment while engineers work with the foundation contractor to answer questions about the foundation installation itself.  The foundation materials are uniquely designed to allow Renewegy to ship the items on a single standard pallet that any carrier can ship. In addition, the embedded foundation reinforcement cage is built from standard materials.  A foundation contractor can build the reinforcement cage prior to or concurrent to the excavation, saving time and cost.

 

The foundation of a single 20 kw wind turbine system can be finished in one or two days. On the day of the installation, the contractor excavates the foundation site and places the reinforcement cage in place. Concrete is poured for the footing portion of the foundation after the cage is level; and once the concrete is hard enough to walk on, the contractor places the pier form and foundation stud cage in place. Finally, concrete is poured into the pier form and the foundation is allowed to cure. After a day or two, the pier form is removed and returned to Renewegy and the foundation excavation is backfilled. The only visible portion that remains is the top of the pier form and the foundation bolts sticking out from it.

 

To see pictures from an installation, click here.

 

The foundation needs to cure for a minimum of 28 days before Renewegy can install the turbine system.

Some Frequently (and Not So Frequently) Asked Questions

 20kW Wind Turbine Installation in Wisconsin

Some Frequently Asked Questions:

Renewegy supports customers throughout the 20kw wind turbine permitting process; often we attend town hall meetings to address board members and concerned citizens. Here are some of the frequently, and not so frequently asked questions and answers:

How much noise does the wind turbine make?
About 50 dB at 120ft, which is equivalent to a quiet business office. Typically, surrounding area noise such as traffic will exceed the sound level of the turbine at the minimum setback.  The amount of noise depends on wind speed and proximity to the turbine.   See our video here.

How far does the wind turbine need to be removed for the property line?
The question depends on the local zoning authority. In Wisconsin, a Renewegy turbine needs to be at least 130 ft from the property line and least 360 ft from the nearest residence.

I heard about shadow flicker.
Not really a question, but we do hear it a lot. Shadow flicker is a sensation caused by the sun casting a shadow through spinning blades. This is one of the major reasons for a set-back from residences. Typically, shadows will remain on the owner’s property.

Not So Frequently Asked questions:

What about the radiation?
The question was asked in 2011. We believe the citizen was asking about radiation put out by a wind turbine generator. With any electric motor, a turbine produces a small electromagnetic field, but no health effects have ever been shown.  The VP-20 wind turbine has been tested to pass FCC regulations for electromagnetic interference. Our generator is the same type of electric motor/generator that could be found in a plant or manufacturing facility.

Is the tower going to fall?
Under normal circumstances, No. Our tower is designed to withstand 134 mph winds and has survived storms that were almost classified as tornadoes in mid-2011. Only a natural disaster will do irreparable damage to the wind turbine system.

Hope this answers a few of your questions. If you have additional questions feel free to ask by contacting sales@renewegy.com

Installing a Wind Turbine, What to Expect. Part 1

What can you expect after you decide to install a Renewegy Wind Turbine? A little bit of waiting, but a whole lot of service. Here is the first of three pieces on what you can expect when purchasing a wind turbine. This piece will be followed by one on the time between permitting and foundation installation then by a piece on the time between foundation installation to commissioning.

Contract to Permitting

 

The longest waiting period occurs from the time the contract is in place to permitting. The wait occurs because wind turbines are new to many customers and most zoning authorities do not all have rules in place governing small wind. A zoning authority may have to write laws governing the installation before the project can begin. The local zoning authority usually reviews the case and solicits input from the local community during a public hearing. Zoning acts in the best interest of the people by making sure the product is safe and will not cause unnecessary strain on neighbors or the environment. Renewegy stands ready to assist customers by speaking with zoning authorities directly and making appearances at public hearings. Approval is usually given after two or three hearings and ends with our customer getting permits for the wind turbine.

The local utility company is also involved in reviewing the wind turbine installation prior to installation. Each state has its own installation standard; most ensure the installation is safe and will not re-energize power lines while the power lines are offline for repairs, called islanding. The engineers for Renewegy and the utility discuss the components of the installation during the utility review process. Again, the review process ends when the utility is convinced the installation is safe.

Finally, once both the local zoning and utility company are satisfied the turbine system will perform safely, Renewegy lines up contractors to install the foundation and electrical. Each contractors needs less than a week to complete their portion of the installation. In addition, Renewegy begins staging materials for the installation.

The time between contract and permitting depends on the issues Renewegy runs into. We have experienced permitting times as little as two weeks to as long as three months. Permitting depends on the complexity of the project and the number of people involved.

PSC 128 Commentary – Wind Siting Rules and Wisconsin

On March 16, Wisconsin Wind enjoyed a quiet victory when the Wisconsin State Senate adjourned without taking action on SB 50, a bill that would have indefinitely suspended PSC 128 rules. The PSC 128 rules are now in effect.

PSC 128 began development in 2009 to replace a patchwork of local government restrictions on wind energy projects. The development took into account many of the concerns with wind energy, including noise and shadow flicker by studying the effects actual scientific investigations. In December of 2010 the Public Service Commission adopted the final wind energy siting rules to set back turbines at least 1250 feet from the nearest residence and 1.1 times the height of the turbine from the nearest property line. However, on March 1, 2011, the legislature voted to suspend PSC 128 and later offered a proposal that required an 1800-foot setback from the nearest property line. This restriction and other guidelines would have effectively killed new project construction according to the American Wind Energy Association.

PSC 128 states that local wind siting rules can be no more restrictive than the state law and eliminates uncertainty in local standards. PSC 128, combined with increasing wind efficiency and output, should help Wisconsin add to its current 631 Megawatt capacity.

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