lundi 21 mai 2012

Small Wind Energy Goes Urban In Italy, Korea, Brazil And Texas

Streetlights usually operate at electricity rates like the ones we pay in our private homes. About one-third of a municipality’s electrical costs are for street lighting. So having that energy provided by some form of renewable energy, means that every cent is saved. For municipalities, whose budgets are being squeezed, that’s something serious to consider.
Take Trondheim, Germany for example. The city has 21,500 street lights (1,100 on highways, 2,800 on county roads, 16,600 urban roads, 300 in parks, 700 on private roads). Their 2006 lighting budget to run and maintain, including the cost of the energy for those 21,500 lights was €1,881.250 m euros a year.
It’s possible to reduce today’s energy consumption for street and road lighting by as much as 60% with new technologies – LED, smart lighting, distributed wind energy and even lights out programs. By example, the city of San Jose, California was able to trim down their $4 million annual electric bill for streetlights just by converting their street lights to LEDs. The city of Calgary replaced all of their street lighting with efficient lights which ended up saving the city about $2 million a year. The City of Oslo in Norway, installed intelligent street lighting which led to an energy savings of 70%.

Hybrid wind turbine from UGE powering street lights in Busan, Korea
And if you could power a street light with a renewable energy like wind, why wouldn’t you? That is exactly what some cities around the world are doing, going beyond replacement of street lights with LED but using small wind – through distributed energy – to power their city street lights and other small-scale energy needs.
Energy politics aside, the buzz around wind energy is mostly around reducing dependency on fossil fuels or getting off the grid. But sometimes those big leaps don’t start that big, they start at a local level  – either from a personal desire to make a change in your own electric bill or a city choosing to take a stand and install a hybrid city lighting system.
(The video below shows a row of wind turbine’s powering street lights in Spain.)

The distributed energy market refers to small-scale energy produced primarily for on-site energy consumption meaning street lights, roof tops and ledges anything that requires a direct power source. In 2011, the size of the distributed renewable energy market was estimated around $70 billion dollars globally. It’s expected to top $150 billion by 2015. Because distributed energy is generated at the source of where energy is needed, the inefficient transmission lines are eliminated, creating a more direct source of  renewable energy, with the traditional grid being used as a supplemental energy source.
Urban wind solutions from newcomers are also on the rise.  Italy’s Enatek is building micro wind turbine’s for urban roof tops (Forbes, August 2011) andSouthwest Windpower in Arizona (the founders modified a Ford alternator to create their first wind generator) put a roof top wind turbine on house in San Francisco’s Mission district. [video courtesy GigaOm]

All around the world, you see cities (and homeowners) turning to small wind energy solutions to power city lights or control commercial electricity costs.  In fact, the installed capacity for small wind by country at the end of 2012, and this might surprise you, goes like this: US, China, UK, Germany, Canada, Spain, Poland, Japan, Italy, Sweden and South Korea.
Urban Green Energy (UGE) is a relatively new player to the wind business entering the market in 2008, but the company is almost fanatically committed to putting customers in control of their energy source. To them those installations can be residential or commercial from suburban US homeowners to off-grid telecoms towers in rural Africa.

With the right wind resource, hotels, the military, businesses, homeowners and off-grid telecoms sites can generate the energy they need onsite and save on their electric bills, or operate off of the utility grid  –  Mateo Chaskel, AVP Operations, UGE.
UGE has created and installed some unique urban wind turbines in more than 60 countries since 2008. Their emphasis is on small wind system and renewable energy systems. Their vertical axis, versatile hybrid wind systems are not out in the ocean, an open field or windy plateau, but in urban areas right in front of you. Hide in plain site the spy code says, and that’s what UGE has been doing with its customers around the world.
These urban wind installations or renewable energy systems by UGE might not look like what you expect, in fact Don Quixote might not even notice them. But they are making a difference to city budgets globally and setting the pace and perhaps the expectation from consumers that wind energy doesn’t look so bad.

Hyrbrid street lights with custom sails and 150W solar panels and 84W LEDs were used for extra illumination. Busan, Korea
Korea – Hybrid Street Lights
In 2011, Korea’s second largest city, Busan which also happens to be the country’s largest port city, installed Sanya hybrid street lamps. To test their performance before they went live, the hybrid street lamps were placed around the city in a number of varying topographies – the seaside and high and low lying areas including the Amisan Observatory, Hwamyung Arboretum, Busan Central Park, Taejongdae, and the Bn factory.
Typical LED output is around 70W, however the sites in Busan had access to strong renewable energy (wind and sun) so were able to use a stronger wattage which increased the light on the ground.

Electric Cars – The Skypump
The Skypump by UGE and GE. Wind turbine + solar panel to charge your electric car.
And now back to you, the consumer.  Wind is everywhere so why not use it to power your electric car. UGE and GE have created what they call the Skypump. One wind turbine, the Eddy4K, and a solar panel connects to a and EV panel (charging station) for electric cars. Back it up, plug it in and charge your car, with wind.  When it’s not charging, the companies say it will send electricity back to the grid. This solution further supports the greening of electric cars because wind is truly green and renewable power source unlike electricity produced from the grid which could be from coal or natural gas. The Skypump is expected to debut in New York or Barcelona early next year.

Source : Forbes

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