Author Topic: Wind power concerns in Florida  (Read 3731 times)

Offline Mad_Man

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Wind power concerns in Florida
« on: May 22, 2009, 04:57:34 AM »
Besides the usual problems of wind power (such as it not working), here in Central Florida we have a few other problems.  We can get 70 mph winds in a thunderstorm on any given day.  Usually every day during the summer.  Does anyone know how well the typical home windmill works with sudden, and sustained winds?  Most of the profiles I see only go up to 30 mph or so.  We had 105 mph in my neighborhood from Hurricane Charley back in 2004 (granted, an extreme event). 

Then, there is lightning.  Here in Lightning Alley, putting a big tower up in the air connected to delicate electronics up in the air just does not seem like a good idea to me.  (But I like to fix things with a hammer.)

Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions?

Offline “Mark”

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Re: Wind power concerns in Florida
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2009, 09:14:06 AM »
Almost all windmills will have a braking system that shut them down when the wind speed is too fast. They might not handle a hit from an F2, but 70 mph shouldn't be a big deal. Most will use a mechanical system that works on centrifugal force  counter-balanced against a spring. As long as the wind is generating enough force on the blades, it keeps the brakes applied.

And for lightening, just stick a lightening rod on the top of your tower and ground it.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2009, 09:16:44 AM by Mark Rose »

Offline Mad_Man

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Re: Wind power concerns in Florida
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2009, 04:04:08 PM »
I will look into the braking systems.  Thanks.  I don't think the standard lightning protection will be a good solution though.  It is difficult to appreciate the power in a lightning bolt.  The windings on the motor 'may' be able to be protected with enough shielding.  The bearings that allow the assembly to rotate would probably be fried. 

Here in Florida, we have so much lignting that a close call does not count unless you can hear the different 'cracks' between the downstroke and the return.  What is really bad is when you swear you hear the Ca-RRack before you can close your eyes from the flash. 

At least we don't have snow.

Offline “Mark”

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Re: Wind power concerns in Florida
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2009, 04:19:24 PM »
I will look into the braking systems.  Thanks.  I don't think the standard lightning protection will be a good solution though.  It is difficult to appreciate the power in a lightning bolt.  The windings on the motor 'may' be able to be protected with enough shielding.  The bearings that allow the assembly to rotate would probably be fried. 

Here in Florida, we have so much lignting that a close call does not count unless you can hear the different 'cracks' between the downstroke and the return.  What is really bad is when you swear you hear the Ca-RRack before you can close your eyes from the flash. 

I doubt you'd get any arcing to your motor if everything is properly insulated, so you probably want to use an insulated wire for your ground instead of the structure your windmill is on. I'd certainly suggest getting an electrician's advice; I'm no expert.

I love thunderstorms. I'm somewhat jealous you get so many. About two weeks ago lightening struck my apartment building just before dawn and actually woke me up. My vision was still registering the light when I heard the thunder, and I'm 4 floors down from the roof. Pretty amazing :)

Quote
At least we don't have snow.

Yeah, a cold day for you guys is room temperature up here :D

Offline Mad_Man

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Re: Wind power concerns in Florida
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2009, 06:21:48 PM »
I love thunderstorms. I'm somewhat jealous you get so many. About two weeks ago lightening struck my apartment building just before dawn and actually woke me up. My vision was still registering the light when I heard the thunder, and I'm 4 floors down from the roof. Pretty amazing :)

Yeah, a cold day for you guys is room temperature up here :D

Last summer, I was driving down a small two lane road when a bolt of lightning 'out of the blue' passed over the roof of my pickup.  The flash came in both passenger windows and the crack litterally rattled my teeth.  I jerked the truck all around and my hands were shaking for several minutes afterwards.  The lightning at the edges of storms like this one are supposed to have more power than ones inside or directly under the storm.  Not that it matters.  Any lightning can kill you dead.

Now, if you want something cool to wake you up.   We are under the flight path of the returning space shuttles.  It never fails I will be taking a nap when one comes over.  Rattles the whole house and you wonder 'what the HELL???' before you remember.   Oh, we do get freezes, at least in my area.  I lost 3 macadamian nut trees this past winter due to Jack Frost.  Very annoying.   

Offline “Mark”

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Re: Wind power concerns in Florida
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2009, 08:19:42 PM »
Now, if you want something cool to wake you up.   We are under the flight path of the returning space shuttles.  It never fails I will be taking a nap when one comes over.  Rattles the whole house and you wonder 'what the HELL???' before you remember.   Oh, we do get freezes, at least in my area.  I lost 3 macadamian nut trees this past winter due to Jack Frost.  Very annoying.   

Yeah, that's gotta be pretty awesome! The biggest thing that flies over here is 747, but I'm sure they're much quieter!

I had a friend in Tampa that was amazed when her outdoor pool had a little layer of ice floating in it. As far as I know, she'd never seen snow. I moved to Toronto a year ago, and I actually missed the cold of winter. It only got down to 0F here. I'd probably melt in Florida!