Despite a crippling recession and tight credit markets, the American wind power industry grew at a blistering pace in 2009, adding 39 percent more capacity. The country is close to the point where 2 percent of its electricity will come from wind turbines. (Source: www.nytimes.com/2010/01/26/business/energy-environment/26wind.html.)
"The U.S. wind energu industry shattered all installation records in 2009, and this was directly attributable to the lifeline that was provided by the stimulus package," said Denise Bode, the trade association’s chief executive. "About as much new power-generating capacity came from wind as from natural gas last year," Ms. Bode said. Since 2002, the country’s installed base of wind turbines has jumped almost sevenfold.
The American Wind Energy Association, in its annual report said the amount of capacity added last year, 9,900 megawatts, was the largest on record, and was 18 percent above the capacity added in 2008, also a banner year.
"It is not a question of lack of resources," said Tim Stephure, an analyst at Emerging Energy Research, a consulting firm in Cambridge, Mass. "Unlike the federal highway system or the national gas system, there is a huge lack of federal oversight for electricity. This is something that will take time, while the need for the industry is now." Still, the potential for wind is enormous. Mr. Stephure said that by 2020, wind’s installed capacity could be five times higher than it is today, reaching about 180,000 megawatts.
Chief Engineer, Robert Matthews, states, "The results of the test confirm the design objectives, creating a turbine air surface that will operate in sub 10 mph (16 kph) wind conditions. By also utilizing thermal currents available in many installations, Kalahari is creating a device that operates well in environments with low sustained wind speeds. Once the wind speed increases beyond 10mph, the generator will convert into a vertical-axis wind turbine mode, providing maximum efficiency over a wide range of wind speed."
Most wind turbines start operating at a speed of 4-5 metres per second [9-11 mph] and reach maximum power at about 15 m/s [34 mph]. (Source: http://www.bwea.com [RenewableUK]).
The effect of the Kalahari wind generator is to create a mode of operation at wind speeds lower than what is currently available. Typical front-facing windmills have a lift to drag ratio of 60 to 1. The test results revealed that the lift to drag ratio for the Wind Generator was 157.8 to 1 at a two degree angle of attack. In fact, the lift to drag ratio remained over 100 to 1 from 0 to 8 degree angles of attack. Collection chamber testing showed a wind concentration of 2 to 1 with no blowback or turbulence.
Wind and solar are fast becoming the leading sources of renewable energy, which puts Kalahari Greentech in the right place at the right time. Kalahari Greentech designs wind turbines, solar collectors and other sustainable energy technologies. Nearly $2 billion in money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been spent on wind power, funding the creation of enough new wind farms to power 2.4 million homes over the past year. (Source: www.abcnews.com).