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Home > Feature Articles > Alternative Energy Solutions > Wind Power for Alternative Energy Sourcing

Research for Small Scale Wind Turbines by RAEL, California

Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory researches small wind generator efficiency

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Wind power and wind energy cogeneration

Small-scale Wind Turbine Efficiency Testing

Small-scale wind turbines help address a global need for cheap, reliable distributed energy.

The market for these small (0.1 -10 kW) turbines ranges from remote off-grid locations to residential systems and grid-tied commercial applications. In recent years, the wind market has seen a rapid increase with a 28% annual growth rate and over 60 GW of installed capacity worldwide. However, small wind turbines only account for an estimated 30 MW or 0.05% of this capacity. There are several technological issues that small wind turbines face, attributing to this minute fraction of their potential installed capacity.

These issues include:

1) inefficient designs compared with utility-scale counterparts,

2) consumer noise and reliability concerns,

3) non-standardized performance specifications, and

4) the lack of non-biased testing centers.

In 2008, RAEL is starting a small wind test center at their new lab facility in the Richmond Field Station to address these research issues.

Each turbine tested will be evaluated based on IREC small wind performance specifications (IEC-64000) and their performance published in industry standard formatting.

This evaluation will include a performance field-test, an acoustic noise field-test and a system safety and function test. In addition, for new turbine designs, our testing process will include fulfilling all requirements for addition to the Emerging Renewables Program list of small wind turbines eligible for rebates from the California Energy Commission.

Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL)

The Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) is a unique new research, development, project implementation, and community outreach facility based at the University of California, Berkeley in the Energy and Resouces Group and the Department of Nuclear Engineering. RAEL focuses on designing, testing, and disseminating renewable and appropriate energy systems. The laboratory's mission is to help these technologies realize their full potential to contribute to environmentally sustainable development in both industrialized and developing nations while also addressing the cultural context and range of potential social impacts of any new technology or resource management system.

RAEL will study how to evolve the current energy infrastructure through analysis of coal, oil, and integrated fossil-fuel/fuel cells systems, biomass energy, and combinations of energy-efficiency and renewables, as well as entirely new long-term energy options for industrialized, decentralized, and rural energy needs.

CONTACT:
RAEL's new lab will be located at UC Berkeley's Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) by January 2009.

Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory-RAEL
Phone: 510-643-2243
rael.berkeley.edu



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