Monday, March 21, 2011

Our windy hesitation

In the Spring/Summer of 2009, while The Husband and I were knee deep in construction/remodeling BS, we looked at each other and said, "I hope all this stuff really works." I get queasy just reminiscing that conversation. Luckily, the systems all work. So far. However, it's the recanting of others' experiences with turbines that has us hesitant on laying down our hard earned money for wind power. I wasn't able to "borrow" the pictures off ebay and I don't know how long they'll let this stay up but there's some pictures worthy of clicking on the link.

Broken Bergey on

The text on ebay reads:

For Sale,

Bergey XL1 ‘wind turbine’. Over 16000 hours downtime. Free spare blades (2sets) - all cracked at root like the originals. Both sliprings  in an advanced state of corrosion. 100% effective overload protection has been provided by brushes fusing. Latest value-engineering design utilises rainwater to cool alternator. Tail mechanism offers additional protection against reliable operation and increased rainwater ingress by prolonged furling, even on sites with little turbulence. Only 3000 run hours in 3 years.

Great windpower project. Only requires new nose-cone, new sliprings, new brushes, new blades, weatherproof nacelle, new hub design and build, welding work on tail-pivot, balancing, reassembly and test. Nice tailfin included. What could possibly go wrong?

Can provide our own in-house test certificates on any envelope and in a crayon colour of your choice.

Buy it now at 3 quid a kilo, plus delivery or cash on collection.

Free old radiator and broken gutter, too.

Collection only from Newcastle or North Pennines area. Time it right and maybe have time for a cuppa and a chat about real renewable energy projects in the area...

Return policy: Cut the stator windings with a chisel and punch them out. Ward Bros are offering a decent price on copper, and they'll take the ferrous stuff off your hands at the same time. You'll have enough for a pint and a butty at the Cumberland Arms up the road.

Seller added:

 If you want me to ship this item, then:
1) You are definately getting the radiator, like it or not, and,
2) 'delivery' will include the botheration of waiting in for your courier and the unnecessary work of packing this awkward lot up as though it might actually suffer from damage in transit, and,
3) We'll be painfully slow, as two sets of  'blades' are at Ninebanks and the others are at the university farm.
You have been warned.

Later, seller added:

Sorry, only 2 sets of 'blades' left. They have tidied up at the farm and skipped the third set.
I'll pick up the others this week, so it is all together here in Newcastle soon after the end of the Auction.

Back to Bheki. Whoa. So, my question is, why is this gentleman stuck with this piece of crap that he paid a lot of money for when Bergey has a 5 year warranty? Is Bergey not standing behind their small, residential turbines? Homeowners are, afterall, a one shot sale. It's not like a homeowner is a municipality and going to buy more. Is the technology just not there? Is it cost prohibitive (company can't make a killing) to produce an end user turbine that truly functions? Then what about the old farm windmills that keep going after decades? I would really like to have wind power. I need some wind power but I also need it to work and do the job it's marketed to allegedly do. Our estimates are running $10-15,000 for the entire wind installation project. The Husband's mind starts to spin with technical details: Bergey handles the wind via furling; Kestrel pitches; Jacobs are decades old, rebuilt, and still out in the field performing; if we can find one, they're still out of our price range; how do we tie in a Jacobs with the controllers and inverters....Yeah, our brains are spinning but what we need is a turbine that spins and does it's job. When you hear about experiences like this, and there are plenty of them, makes you wonder if there is such a thing and definitely makes you hesitate to plunk down $10-15,000.

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