Northern Power Systems Launches Canadian Wind Business

Northern Power Systems, Inc. a next-generation wind turbine company and leading manufacturer of community wind turbines, announced its expanded presence in Canada. The unique permanent magnet direct drive (PMDD) design of the Northwind 100 ensures higher energy capture, grid-friendly power quality, low noise, low maintenance operation and is ideally suited to support the fast-growing Canadian market.

Northern Power Systems’ recent and upcoming installations in Canada vary in size and geography and address a range of wind power challenges. The company celebrated its most recent Northwind 100 installation in Kensington, Prince Edward Island where the turbine will completely power the town’s wastewater treatment plant and save the municipality nearly $50,000 every year.

The Northwind 100 installed in Porters Lake, Nova Scotia in May at Atlantic Superstore, Canada’s largest supermarket chain, has already offset 25 percent of the store’s electrical needs, saved thousand of dollars in energy costs and increased retail customer traffic. Finally, an installation of three units is currently being installed in the small community of Ramea, Newfoundland which will mark the beginning of a five-year innovative research and development project with Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, a Nalcor Energy company, for isolated wind-diesel-hydrogen generation systems.

In addition to the company’s base Northwind 100 wind turbine, which has become the standard in community-scale wind power applications across North America, Northern Power Systems offers a Northwind 100 Arctic turbine with an exceptional track record in extreme cold climates. The Northwind 100 Arctic is the only turbine on the market capable of operating at an ambient temperature of -40 degrees Celsius and features coated blades to minimize ice build-up and maximize uptime.

"With certification across North America to meet rigorous Canadian Standards Association CSA C22.2 and UL1741 safety standards, and with the Northwind 100 Arctic that offers high performance even in the harshest Canadian winters, the Northwind 100 has distinct advantages over traditional geared turbines that are not well suited for community wind applications," said Jim Stover, Northern’s Vice President of Global Marketing and Product Management.

Northern Power Systems’ specialized customer service, delivery and technical teams work directly with Canadian customers to provide project development guidance, factory-certified training and continuous "24/7" turbine monitoring and technical support.

"Northern is pleased to have installed its first units in the important Canadian market and we look forward to providing reliable turbines and world class performance to schools, businesses, farms, municipalities and remote communities across Canada," said John P. Danner, President and CEO of Northern Power Systems.

Northern Power Systems will showcase its capabilities at the 2009 CanWEA Annual Conference and Exhibition in Toronto, Canada on September 20-23, exhibiting at booth 806.

The Northwind 100 Wind Turbine

Download Northwind 100 (PDF)At 100 kilowatts of rated power, the Northwind 100 is a technological masterpiece with its innovative gearless design, best-in-class reliability, and pleasing aesthetics. We optimized performance of the Northwind 100 for low wind speeds, so you don’t have to live in a wind tunnel to benefit from wind power. Our turbines begin making power at wind speeds as low as 3 meters per second (6 mph) and can provide clear economic benefits in all kinds of wind regimes.

An engineering advancement in simplicity and precision, our Permanent Magnet Direct Drive technology maximizes energy capture and outperforms conventional gearbox designs. Our state-of-the-art power converter design provides smooth, clean power to local grids, simplifying grid interconnect and adding to grid stability to make the Northwind 100 the best choice for a variety of applications.

Northwind 100 Arctic

Not all wind turbines are created equal – especially when it comes to extreme environments such as Arctic conditions. The Northwind 100 Arctic turbine is based on Northern Power Systems’ original Northwind 100 model, which got its start in the cold environs of rural Alaska. Through more than 15 years of operating experience and design enhancements for arctic applications, Northern has created an arctic turbine model that is truly best-in-class for cold and icy environments.

There are many ways in which cold and icy conditions can affect the general operation of a wind turbine. Most electronic devices have operating parameters that do not encompass extreme cold conditions. And if a turbine has a gearbox-laden drive train, it will most likely require specialized hydraulic fluids and heating elements.

Additionally, servicing wind turbines in cold environments can be a significant and costly endeavor. The ability for service personnel to access and check tower bolts and access the technology housed in the nacelle can cost time and money – especially if access avenues are exposed to the elements.

Some of the important features that make our Northwind 100 Arctic turbine a specialized solution for your renewable energy needs:

* Permanent Magnet Direct Drive technology: Northern’s Permanent Magnet Direct Drive technology is designed for superior performance in all environments, but it also forms the basis of superior performance in Arctic conditions in particular.
* Tubular tower: Even though the Northwind 100 Arctic turbine is designed for low maintenance, routine inspections are a much simpler endeavor in cold weather environments.
* Ice-block blade coating: To maximize uptime in cold and icy environments, every Northwind 100 Arctic turbine comes with a specially formulated hydro-phobic polymer coating.

For all of these reasons, our technological advancements and turbine design make the Northwind 100 Arctic turbine the right choice for cold and icy environments.

Wind Terms

Any individual, business, farmer, or school considering in investing in a wind energy project will need to be familiar with a few key energy terms. These are not precise legal definitions. Rather, this information is provided to give end users a sense of how these terms are typically used within the power industry.

Anemometer: A device that measures wind speeds.

Commercial-scale wind project: Wind projects larger that 100 kW

Community wind: An approach to wind energy development that emphasizes local ownership, involvement, and benefits.

Distributed generation: Electricity that is generated close to where it is used. Includes generation for on-site use.

Distribution lines: Low voltage power lines used to distribute electricity over relatively short distances from a power generation facility or substations to consumers.

Electric grid: A system of transmission and distribution lines connecting synchronized power providers and consumers. Interconnects and facilitates the distribution of electricity to consumers.

Electric utility: An entity that owns or operates facilities for the generation, transmission, distribution, or sales of electric energy to the public. Usually operates with some form of legal monopoly over the electric services in the geographic area.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC): An independent regulatory agency within the U.S. Department of Energy having jurisdiction over, among other things, interstate electricity sales and wholesale electricity rates.

Independent power producer: An entity that generates electricity, but is not an electric utility.

Independent system operator (ISO): An entity organized by the electric industry to control and administer non-discriminatory access to electric transmission in a region or across several electric systems.

Interconnection: The physical and electrical interface between a power generator (like a wind turbine) and electric distribution or transmission lines.

Kilowatt hour (kWh): The basic unit of measurement upon which the price of electricity is based. In other words, customers pay per kWh of electricity used. One kWh is equal to 1 kilowatt (1,000 watts) of power used for 1 hour.

Megawatt (MW): A unit of electrical power equal to 1 million watts or 1,000 kilowatts.

Meteorological power agreement (“MET” tower agreement): A contract through which a landowner agrees to allow a wind developer to install wind testing equipment on their land.

Net excess generation: The amount of electricity produced by a wind turbine constructed to meet on-site energy needs that exceed the farm’s or household’s immediate demands. Usually calculated on a monthly basis.

Net metering: A method of measuring, on a single electric meter, the amount of electricity consumed from the electric grid and the amount of electricity produced on site and put onto the grid. Allows an electric consumer to accumulate credit for net excess generation that flows back onto the grid.

Parallel generation: Electricity generated on the customer’s side of the electric meter. Sometimes called cogeneration.

Power purchase agreement (PPA): A contract though which a power purchaser (like a utility) aggress to buy electricity from a power generation facility (like a wind project).

Production tax credit (PTC): A government incentive for wind energy development that reduces income tax liability based on the amount of renewable energy generation.

Public utilities commission (PUC) or public service commission (PSC): A state’s energy regulatory agency, typically having jurisdiction over, among other things, retail electricity sales to customers and on site power generation projects.

Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA): A federal statue that, among other things, ensures a market for the electricity produced by small renewable energy generators (called qualifying facilities).

Qualifying facility: A renewable energy generator, as defined by the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, with a nameplate capacity of no more than 80 MW

Rated power: The amount of electricity a generator is expected to produce when operating at maximum performance. If a wind turbine has a rated power of 1,000 kW, then that wind turbine is expected to produce 1,000 kW of energy per hour of operation, when running at its maximum performance.

Renewable energy credit (REC): The environmental attributes of electricity generated from renewable sources, like wind, that are tracked or sold separately from the electricity itself.

Small scale wind project: Definitions vary, but for the purposes of this guide, wind projects of 100 kW and smaller are small scale.

Transmission: The transfer of electrical power from one place to another at high voltages.

Transmission lines: High-voltage power lines used to move electricity over relatively long distances from a power generation facility to a substation or other distribution point.

The Benefits of Wind Power

There are numerous wind power benefits. Depending on your specific wind project, some if not all may apply to you:

* Lower overhead: See your electrical costs drop the second your blades start spinning. These savings coupled with state or federal incentive programs can offset your capital costs in several years – allowing you to put more of your profits back onto your operations.
* Energy independence: In addition to the products and services you already offer, you can also produce electricity and take control of your own energy future.
* The “greening” of business: Even a company that is not environmental in nature is valued by discerning consumers who put a premium on sustainable and environmentally friendly business practices.
* Tax advantages: Between the federal investment tax credit and grant program and the rules for claiming depreciation on wind turbines, an investment in wind power today translates to real benefits that you can apply to your bottom line or operating budgets.
* Stable cost of power: You’ll know what your wind-powered electricity costs will be for 20 years or more so you can safeguard yourself against the volatile and increasing costs of energy.
* Educational opportunities: Having a turbine in your backyard – and even the process of planning for it – adds an experiential dimension to your school’s science, math, and civic classes. What better way to train the technicians, engineers, and leaders of tomorrow?
* Green economy: Your wind turbine project – and each new installation it fosters – will bring high-value jobs to your community.
* Marketing opportunities: Whether your business has been around for five years or 50, your Northwind 100 will bring high visibility and a renewed sense of interest in your products and services.
* Meeting RPS goals: Many local governments have enacted Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards to lead their communities into a greener world. When a town erects a community-scale wind turbine, it makes a marked impact on RPS goals and acts as a visible sign of the town’s commitment to clean energy.

Economics of Community Wind Power

We are facing an uncertain energy future. With volatile fuel and electrical costs, people are no longer taking for granted where their power comes from and how rising energy costs will impact their towns, schools, and businesses. In case study after case study, the average cost of power over the lifetime of a wind turbine is dramatically lower than that of traditional sources of power. In short, the power you make is power you don’t have to pay for from other sources.
Power produced locally = Utility costs saved

Now is the time to realize the economic benefits of owning a Northwind 100 turbine:

* Federal and local grants and incentives make wind power work for you. Net metering, local grants, and tax incentives are making wind turbine projects accessible across the country – even “break even” projects are becoming economic imperatives.
* Even in modest wind regimes, wind turbines tend to produce more power than other renewable energy sources. The Northwind 100 was optimized for low wind speeds. It will produce over 100,000 kW hours even in the most modest wind conditions.
* Over the life of a wind turbine, your proposed project will almost always pay for itself. In some cases it takes only several years to realize a payback for your Northwind 100 – after you do, you have years of free power to look forward to.
* A boost to your local economy. Local wind projects bring high-value jobs to your community from contractors to engineering services.

A Step by Step Overview of Wind Power

Installing a Northwind 100 wind turbine involves several steps which address site-specific project issues that impact the approach and cost. In many ways, the process is not unlike developing a home site where you have to take into account many variables from siting to permitting to utility connections. Outlined below is the series of steps that your wind project will move through and the details surrounding each of the steps.

Prior to investing any money into your wind project, it is important to identify your wind resource and utility rate which can help you determine whether or not your intended project makes for a viable wind site. With some basic information provided by you to Northern, our team can craft an initial pre-feasibility report that would offer preliminary wind, energy cost and financial analysis estimates. This initial data should help inform your decision to move forward with your Northwind 100 project


For community wind projects that involve the installation of one or two Northwind 100 wind turbines, it is not necessary to expend the resources for an expansive feasibility study that a wind farm developer might utilize for a multi-million dollar project.

Nevertheless, it is prudent to investigate the following items:

* Identify federal, state, and local incentives available
* Identify all required permits
* Validate the wind resource
* Verify current and anticipated electrical usage patterns at the site
* Identify utility interconnection requirements


As soon as your turbine project is deemed a “go,” it is important to start all the permitting and financing paperwork that is needed. One must develop the project plan sufficiently to support permit applications, incentive grant applications, and the utility interconnection application. Completing civil and electrical system engineering will provide the project with the plans and specifications needed to solicit competitive bids form local suppliers and contractors for the installation work.

The time required for this step can vary dramatically, depending on zoning and permitting requirements. If zoning commission hearings are required with public comment periods, its important to identify that need during the feasibility phase and plan for it. likewise, engaging the local utility regarding the project should be handled as soon as possible as this often has a significant impact on the time and requirements of the project. In general, the longer the process, the more expensive it can be.

Once your wind porject is deemed feasible it is time to purchase your Northwind 100 wind turbine. Due to Northern’s six onth lead time, you should order the major equipment as soon as permits are in hand or are reasonably close to being finalized and financing is in place.

With your turbine ordered it is time to commence the construction phase of your wind project. This step inherently carries the greatest degree of variation because of how varied local permitting requirements can be, how varied site condition can be, and variation in utility interconnection requirements. For instance, site work for foundations may be limited to just clearing a flat spot and digging a hole. Or, in some cases, it may entail creating drainage, retention walls or adding landscaping plans. Your foundation plan can also vary depending on soil conditions. Swampy or rocky sites may require piling or blasting and rock bolting a foundation.
Operations and Maintenance

Equipment installation is relatively straightforward and can take as little as two or three days to erect your Northwind 100 turbine. Your utility will then need to inspect the installation and make sure that it meets testing requirements before it connects your new power source to the grid. Once complete, you will be the proud owner of a Northwind 100 community wind turbine and its numerous benefits will be realized immediately.

As any other capital investment, it will be important for your to consider your regular preventative maintenance schedule and remote monitoring needs. Northern Power Systems i committed to providing our customers a range of advanced support services that ensure optimal turbine operation.

About Northern Power Systems

Northern Power Systems has over 30 years of experience in developing advanced, innovative wind turbines. The company’s next generation wind turbine technology is based on a vastly simplified architecture that utilizes a unique combination of a permanent magnet generator and direct-drive design. This revolutionary new approach delivers higher energy capture, eliminates drive-train noise, and significantly reduces maintenance and downtime costs. The company currently manufactures the Northwind 100 turbine, designed specifically for community wind applications such as schools/universities, businesses, commercial farms, and municipalities.

Next year, the company plans to launch a 2.2MW turbine into the utility-scale marketplace for wind farm applications. Northern Power Systems is a fully integrated company that designs, manufactures, and sells wind turbines into the global marketplace from its headquarters in Vermont, USA.