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Look before you leap; Dairy farmer Schmidt says he didn't do enough research into wind energy

Dairy farmer Michael Schmidt had some advice for anyone thinking of getting into wind energy production for private use. ...Making sure the spot planned for the wind turbine has enough wind to support the investment throughout the year is the key ingredient. Schmidt sank $200,000 into an 80-kilowatt wind generator on his Durham-area farm without first having set up a test tower to assess wind speed and atmospheric conditions on his farm for a year. "Wind volume can vary 30 to 40 per cent a year," said Schmidt, who admits he rushed into a decision before doing enough research.

Dairy farmer Michael Schmidt had some advice for anyone thinking of getting into wind energy production for private use.

He was one of the speakers at Southgate's Windy Fields Energy Co-operative workshop held at Swinton Park on Sunday.

Making sure the spot planned for the wind turbine has enough wind to support the investment throughout the year is the key ingredient. Schmidt sank $200,000 into an 80-kilowatt wind generator on his Durham-area farm without first having set up a test tower to assess wind speed and atmospheric conditions on his farm for a year.

"Wind volume can vary 30 to 40 per cent a year," said Schmidt, who admits he rushed into a decision before doing enough research.

Schmidt opted for a net metering system, which allows him to use the electricity for his own needs first and send the surplus power into the hydro grid. When the final tally is made at year's end he only pays for whatever he received from the grid. He isn't reimbursed if the amount of electricity put into the grid exceeds what he uses.

Schmidt said he wishes now he'd taken the advice of his friend Vitold Kreutzer, who also sends surplus electricity he generates to the provincial grid to... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Dairy farmer Michael Schmidt had some advice for anyone thinking of getting into wind energy production for private use.

He was one of the speakers at Southgate's Windy Fields Energy Co-operative workshop held at Swinton Park on Sunday.

Making sure the spot planned for the wind turbine has enough wind to support the investment throughout the year is the key ingredient. Schmidt sank $200,000 into an 80-kilowatt wind generator on his Durham-area farm without first having set up a test tower to assess wind speed and atmospheric conditions on his farm for a year.

"Wind volume can vary 30 to 40 per cent a year," said Schmidt, who admits he rushed into a decision before doing enough research.

Schmidt opted for a net metering system, which allows him to use the electricity for his own needs first and send the surplus power into the hydro grid. When the final tally is made at year's end he only pays for whatever he received from the grid. He isn't reimbursed if the amount of electricity put into the grid exceeds what he uses.

Schmidt said he wishes now he'd taken the advice of his friend Vitold Kreutzer, who also sends surplus electricity he generates to the provincial grid to offset the cost of his energy demand. Kreutzer has used solar collector panels to help trim his annual electricity costs of $3,500 to below $1,800 over the past four years.

Kreutzer said he told Schmidt to first do an inventory of the demands for electricity on the farm, which include the house, barn, milk cooler and processing facilities and try to find ways to conserve energy.

He also recommended that Schmidt diversify the sources of renewable energy production and not rely on a single source. He recommended installing a solar hot water heating system.

If the hydro grid crashes, safety switches kick in and prevent Schmidt from receiving power from the grid or putting any electricity in, which could be a problem during low wind.

Schmidt said he still hasn't seen the amount of energy production he was promised for a generator the size he installed.

"But in the long run it was the totally right decision. Somebody has to take that first step," said Schmidt, who predicts that in 20 years the price of electricity will double and by then his investment will be paying dividends. He urged the two dozen people at the workshop to start thinking about their future electricity needs and consider alternatives.

"We're all in this together. Don't wait for others to take the first step," he said.

The workshop was planned as a way for people to share information about their experiences.

"Coming to something like this you only have to pick up one idea, one piece of information to inspire you. Even though this is informal and low key you can pick up a few ideas," said Dave Barnes, who installed a solar hot water system employing used parts for about $500 earlier this year.

 


Source: http://www.owensoundsuntime...

OCT 22 2007
https://www.windaction.org/posts/11557-look-before-you-leap-dairy-farmer-schmidt-says-he-didn-t-do-enough-research-into-wind-energy
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