Going Where Existing Wind Technology Cannot Go
HAWTs have maintenance problems when they operate in the turbulent winds that gust and swirl from 5 to 20m above ground level. HAWT rotors are set on higher towers and rarely do their blade tips drop below 20 meters.
In ~20% of wind farms in the world, this “understory” of available land beneath HAWTs has good to excellent near ground winds and often far better wind resources than can be realized in new proposed HAWT wind farms. For example, in California’s six wind farm areas, the near ground wind resource at 10m above ground level averages between 6.6m/s (~15 mph) and 8+ m/s (~18 mph). This is a better resource than would be realized by most new on shore wind farms in the state and could open up 7,000+ MWs of capacity to VAWTs in land already zoned and being used for renewable wind energy production.
There is significant existing research that predicts short VAWTs like the WHI’s G168 can be placed in tight arrays around the HAWTs to increase the wind speeds realized by the HAWTs and thus increase their energy output.
WHI Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT) Systems also offer advantages over larger, conventional turbines when:
- It is cost-prohibitive to build the roads needed for large HAWTs
- Radar, air traffic or visual concerns prevent tall HAWTs from being installed
- Endangered birds and bats would be killed by HAWTs
Many of these sites where HAWTs can’t go have a great near-ground wind resource because they are on hills, ridgelines, mesas or in passes where the wind speeds up near the ground. Often only short VAWTs could make use of this wind rich land.