Interview with Paul Gipe

Paul Gipe



We are proud to present an interview with Paul Gipe, given on May 21st 2009 on the subject of wind power.

Paul Gipe has written extensively about renewable energy for both the popular and trade press. His most recent book, Wind Energy Basics: A Guide to Home- and Community-scale Wind Energy Systems is available from Chelsea Green Publishing. In 2004, Gipe launched a campaign to bring electricity feed laws back to North America. The campaign has grown into a continent-wide grassroots movement that has put renewable energy feed-in tariffs on the political agenda in Canada and the US.

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The interview with Paul Gipe

Question #1
Where is the tax payer money better spent if the objective is to have a cleaner environment?a. In subsidizing the big wind turbines farmsor

b. In providing tax incentives to small and micro wind turbines


Paul's answer
Neither! Tax subsidies are the wrong way to develop renewable energy--period. The world's most successful mechanism for developing the massive amounts of renewable energy we need as rapidly as possible are systems of feed-in tariffs. These are not subsidies, but simply payments for generation.

Tax subsidies are dependent upon annual budgeting or appropriations and thus subject to stop-and-go development. Further, the cost is borne by the taxpayer and not the consumer of energy--where it should be.

Question #2
Talking about off-grid small wind turbines, does it make sense to have off-grid solar production as well as small wind turbine on the same site?


Paul's answer
Of-the-grid installations should always--always--have both wind and solar. Hybrid installations make more sense than either technology by itself.

Question #3
If a small wind turbine is co-located with an off-grid solar system, can they share resources other than the deep charge batteries? (as an EE I can't see how the charge controller and the off-grid inverter can be possibly shared)


Paul's answer
Of course. Though the wind turbine should always have it's own controller.

Question #4
What is the right wind turbine solution for urban and sub-urban area (if any)?


Paul's answer
Commercial-scale wind turbine sited to best advantage jointly owned by people living in the community as in the Windshare turbine in Toronto.


Question #4a
What would be the maximum rotor diameter that might still be acceptable by the neighbors and the local authorities?


Paul's answer
There is no maximum, it would depend upon the conditions and the turbines available.

Question #4b
What would be the delivered output power from this rotor diameter size?


Paul's answer
The 750 kW Windshare turbine produces 1 million kWh per year. An Enercon E82 could deliver 2-4 million kWh per year at the same site on Lake Ontario.

Question #5
Do you see any future to the roof mounted micro wind turbines?


Paul's answer
No. Rooftop turbines are a dead end and a distraction from the development of real wind energy.

Question #6
Do you see any advantage to VAWT over HAWT?


Paul's answer
No. There are no inherent advantages. They both do the same job. They just look different.

Question #7
What do you think will be the technology breakthrough for small wind turbines in the coming 3 years?


Paul's answer
There will be no "breakthroughs". There have never been any "breakthroughs" and we don't need any "breakthroughs". We have the technology now and have had the technology for years. Waiting for "breakthroughs" is a recipe for inaction and indicates a willingness to jump at the first crackpot invention that comes down the pike.

End of the Interview with Paul Gipe

I'd like to conclude this interview with Paul Gipe and to thank Paul on behalf of my readers for providing us the opportunity to hear an authority opinion on Wind Turbines and wind Power Generation


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