For several years our 100’ steel tower stood here without a wind turbine on top. We took the machine down for repairs and never put it back up. We decided to save it for parts, for the several other similar turbines we installed years ago in other locations.
Meanwhile, we have covered the roofs of our building here with enough solar panels to take care of all the energy needs for our shop and offices. Having just switched our heating and cooling to all-electric air source heat pumps, we’re pretty much at Net Zero for the entire facility (we’ll find out for sure after a year of monitoring).
We’re not in the wind business any more (as important as we think it is), and our experiment had not been particularly successful, so it was time to take the tower down, pack it up, and prepare it for its next home. Pete D’Angelo and Phil Forest orchestrated the project.
But before it came down, Phil, who was always responsible for servicing the machine, felt the need to experience the top of the tower one more time.
Here’s what Phil had to say, and what he saw, and what we saw:
“While I sat comfortably on top of the wind turbine tower, waiting for the crane to arrive, I took in the fall foliage of the oak forest and I saw water in Lake Tashmoo brought in from the last tide. I thought about the impermanent, ever- changing nature of things.
I felt small.
. . . and part of it all.
It was a long way down.
When the crane arrived, I attached the straps from the tower to the crane’s hook, then climbed down.
We dismantled the tower thoughtfully, organizing and labeling the parts so it would be easy to reassemble for it’s next (still unknown) use. “
Well, there you have it. The world according to Phil from the top of the former tower.
(Are you wondering why we’re not in the wind business anymore? Well, we weren’t in it for long; it was just something nobody was doing in our area that we felt needed examination. Soon after we got involved Gary Harcourt started Great Rock Windpower and they do a superb job. Also, we decided we’re not the right company to get into Big Wind and we don’t think there’s much of a future for small, distributed, one-off Small Wind. It’s too complex and too problematic. Great Rock does small and big in our region. When it comes to renewables, solar is definitely the arena for us!)
So . . . anybody looking for a used 100’ galvanized steel tower in excellent condition? We know where you can find it.
It’s interesting how much different has been your experience with “small solar” than it was with “small wind” power. As the average, but interested, lay person I would have guessed that they’d be equally attractive or equally problematic (w/the exception that I know neighbors seem to object to turbines but rarely? to solar). Was wind’s NIMBY factor, in fact, an important variable in why SMCo does so much more w/solar?
NIMBY is a factor, but only one. Siting is difficult in several ways, because turbines need to be far from property lines, one does not want to inflict “blade flicker” on neighbors, and noise can sometimes be a problem. Getting permits is more difficult with wind than solar.
In addition, small wind turbines are mechanically complex and high maintenance, whereas solar electric systems have no moving parts and generally work for decades with little or no maintenance. Large wind farms assume a “service factor” and generally expect that a percentage of the machines will be down at any given time and have full-time service crews. Single machines are either working or, sometimes, not working at all. It’s an all or nothing situation.