Har­ness­ing wind

Ver­ti­cal axis wind tur­bine will be set up for test­ing

The Beacon (Gander) - - Front page - BY ADAM RAN­DELL THE BEA­CON Adam.ran­dell@gan­der­bea­con.ca

Fogo Is­land ex­plor­ing green en­ergy through Ver­ti­cal axis wind tur­bine.

FOGO IS­LAND, NL – For cen­turies, Fogo Is­lan­ders har­vested the sea – now they’re look­ing to har­vest the wind.

At a Satur­day ses­sion of Fogo 2067 – a con­fer­ence ex­plor­ing ways to se­cure the is­land’s fu­ture for the next 50 years – two con­cepts were in­tro­duced re­lated to green en­ergy that will ex­plore wind tur­bine tech­nol­ogy on Fogo Is­land.

Di­eter Sauer, owner of Cal­i­for­nia-based Sauer In­dus­tries, pre­sented at the func­tion.

As op­posed to tra­di­tional wind­mill op­er­a­tions, Sauer has de­vel­oped a ver­ti­cal axis wind tur­bine that has 15-foot blades and is mounted on a 30-foot pole. The tur­bine has en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion agency cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in the U.S., and the de­sign makes for a quiet op­er­at­ing sys­tem – un­like tra­di­tional mod­els that have pro­duced white noise linked to in­creased mi­graines and de­pres­sion – and is much more bird friendly.

The tur­bine is ca­pa­ble of with­stand­ing winds more than 100 mph, and has a life ex­pectancy of more than 25 years.

How­ever, the tur­bine is field tested in a very dif­fer­ent cli­mate than that of the north­east coast of New­found­land.

Ques­tions brought for­ward by those in at­ten­dance re­garded gen­er­a­tion out­puts, cost, and how the unit will stand up to a salt-rich en­vi­ron­ment, freez­ing rain, and snowy con­di­tions.

Those ques­tions couldn’t be an­swered as the data is Cal­i­for­nia based, but it was noted a pi­lot tur­bine is be­ing set up at the Fogo fish plant within the next two weeks to de­ter­mine those an­swers.

“Ask us again in six months and we should have a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing,” said Ian Stra­chan, cre­ator of Goose Bay­based North Wind Power.

If suc­cess­ful, it could lead to Cana­dian and in­ter­na­tional cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

And this is where Stra­chan sees the po­ten­tial for Fogo Is­land to cre­ate most of its own power needs. Given North Wind Power is de­vel­op­ing smaller, res­i­den­tial-based tur­bines for home use, it could also lead to man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs on the is­land.

Fogo Is­land Co-op gen­eral man­ager Phil Barnes is in favour of the ap­proach, stat­ing di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of the econ­omy is needed to en­sure the is­land’s sur­vival.

“This is where we want to be, on the cut­ting edge of tech­nol­ogy,” said Barnes.

“If we can take 75-80 per cent of our power needs off the grid, then I think that’s where we should be. I’m not afraid to say we stepped up to be self suf­fi­cient and self sus­tain­ing.”

ADAM RAN­DELL/THE BEA­CON

Di­eter Sauer, owner of Sauer In­dus­tries Lim­ited, talks about one of the lat­est ini­tia­tives un­der­way on Fogo Is­land.

ADAM RAN­DELL/THE BEA­CON

A floor dis­play of the home/ cabin-based model of the ver­ti­cal axis wind tur­bine.

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