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Risk is on the Wind

Periodic commentary about the wind energy industry, focusing on news of interest involving wind turbines, wind farms, wind energy projects as well as associated technology and social/political issues. Brought to you by Valentine, your source for superior insurance for wind turbines and wind farms worldwide.

Want Your Own Small Wind PPA? Call XZERES!

Viktor Lawryniuk - Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) have long been used to finance cleantech projects. First, a financial strong buyer agrees to purchase the power produced by a new installation (often solar) for a multi-year period at a fixed and discounted price. The project developer then leverages that future cash flow to obtain financing for the project. Everybody wins. Unless, that is, you are too small to play the game.

Now Oregon-based XZERES Wind Corp wants to tempt you into having them install their small wind turbines at your site (residential or commercial) at no cost to you other than your agreeing to a long-term PPA at a discount to utility rates. Sounds like a can’t miss to me!

What’s the downside? Well, there is the long-term aspect of it. Not sure what happens to the PPA if you sell your property. XZERES could always remove the turbine and install it elsewhere. Perhaps there is a provision in the PPA to transfer to a new owner? Also, there are the zoning issues to deal with. I don’t think we will be seeing wind turbines in urban areas very often due to safety and clearance issues as well as the ever-present NIMBYs and aesthetics arbiters. And then there is the question of wind, as in do you have enough? XZERES quotes an average wind speed of 12 mph as a benchmark for its turbines.

For the entire press release follow this link to the XZERES website.

A hat-tip goes to EarthTechling for alerting us to this program.

Human fallibility

Viktor Lawryniuk - Friday, May 14, 2010
Humans are fallible and machines are made by multiple humans, does that make machines less fallible or more?  My impression is that the  technology I work with has trended towards increased reliability over time yet when things do go wrong they seem to go very wrong.  How many offshore oil rigs have been drilling for how many years before finally we had a catastrophic failure in the Gulf of Mexico?  BP, Transocean and Halliburton all blame each other.  Government oversight was notable for its oversight (as you would expect when regulatory agencies get captured by the regulated). 

We as a civilization need to get much better at managing complexity because the future isn't getting any simpler!