Bourgeois Deviant

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Alternative Energy Quest: First Steps

Part of the joy of my quest is that I can do it whilst working for the evil empire. Effectively, they are, without their knowing, paying me to undo some of the wrongs for which they are partially culpable. Again, all removed and sort of devious on my part, but everyone needs a hobby to keep themselves occupied when the Man isn't giving him busy work.

I have looked at this project of getting my Co-Op a wind turbine/energy in a couple of different ways. Firstly, I went for the State and City angle. As it turns out, New York State offers some considerable subsidies for alternative energies. You can find that stuff here. Subsidies and incentives can be found, in abstract, here.

Again, with only some skimming, it appears that there might be up to, at least a 50% subsidy/incentive for turbines that generate 10kW - 80kW (kW stands for Kilowatt)for Residences, Businesses, Institutional and Government. That seems like a pretty substantial incentive given that the technology appears to be fairly expensive. Some turbines are capable of harvesting much more energy and thus greater subsidies are offered. But given that this falls under the "Residence" category and size will be somewhat limited, I won't detail on this any further, for now.

Loans with a favorable interest rate are also available. Check that out http://www.nyserda.org/loanfund/default.asp.

As with anything involving government, New York State offers this deal in a certain way and only through certain contractors. The consumer (me and the other building's residents) will not actually see the money for the subsidy at all. It is paid directly to the installer. A list of eligible installers is found on the Wind Power New York site here. It should be noted that all of the authorized installers are able to install any qualified wind turbine harvesting 10kW or less. This fact along with all else that I have read show that turbines that would fit the space that my building has are of the 10kW variety.

My building contains 18 units of varying sizes. Again, without knowing hard fact specifics, a safe guess would be that the building is somewhere in the area of 20,000 square feet. It has four floors plus a basement. I have put a call into the property management company to get the exact specs. I hope to also find out the dollar amount of the monthly or quarterly electric bill and/or kWs consumed in whatever segments they count in.

The turbines available on the market are many. It is a safe assumption that not everyone of them are going to be available, but getting the best one for the space and dollar, etc... is paramount. Besides efficiency and durability, it is important for selling the idea. Again, living in a Co-Op means that things are sort of run by committee. The good intensions and economic benefits may not be enough to sell the idea. It may have to have some aesthetic appeal serving as a candy coating for the overall package.

There is a list of small wind turbine equipment providers here. A larger list can be found by doing a specific search at the American Wind Energy Association.

That’s enough for now. More as it happens.

-B.D.

UPDATE: I just spoke with a fellow named Roy @ NYSERDA in Albany and he informed me that neither the State nor the City place any restrictions on the type of equipment used. It is completely dependant on the installer. Good to know.

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