Sustainable Energy for Sustainable Production
Our producer team has made a bit more progress on our alternative energy project, but we have not been able to complete the installation of the energy systems. We have purchased the majority of components and supplies for the wind towers, including batteries and inverters for the systems. We purchased scrap iron and oil field pipe and constructed six of the towers from these materials; the foundation pads are installed on one site. One of the battery shacks is constructed, and the locally produced turbines are ready for testing, once we receive a set of ordered turbine blades. As I noted in a previous communication, the cost of solar panels went up an extraordinary amount since we wrote the grant, and we have yet to identify a reasonable alternative source for panels. Given the weather and scheduling conflicts, we won’t be able to complete the tower installation before late spring 2008.
The primary education in this project is the time required and the complexity of the project. We have spent a lot of time rethinking and redesigning the systems to meet the needs, the available capital, and county regulations. We will need to contract the services of an electrician for more of the setup on my place, because of regulatory oversight from the electrical cooperative and the county. Although there is a lot of talk and momentum in evaluating and promoting alternative energy, this has not yet translated into a simplified process for individuals trying to set up home systems.
Larger than this, however, is the continued opportunity to share the experience with others, and to connect with other alternative energy efforts. Though this project, we continue to expand our access to programs and individuals who are committed to supporting sustainable energy production in this region.
In this final year of the project, we will complete the turbines and set up whatever photovoltaic system that we can afford, with the hope of expanding in the future. Also, we are still very interested in developing a production capacity for the locally produced turbines, once they have been appropriately field tested.
We still intend to have two field days at two sites to educate neighbors and organizations about the systems.