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Old 19-05-2024, 14:53   #1
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Wind turbine practical in BC Coastal waters?

Wanting to be as quiet and energy independent as possible.

I'd like to combine wind power to supplement my solar system but I'm not sure if there is enough wind to justify it.

The new turbines start to make power at around 6 knots and peak around 25 knots from my research.

Are you using one in this area and how do you generally find it works for you?
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Old 19-05-2024, 15:05   #2
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Re: Wind turbine practical in BC Coastal waters?

I'm thinking quiet and wind turbine aren't said much in the same sentence by users. Manufactures?..... Yes. Users?......No.
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Old 19-05-2024, 15:15   #3
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Re: Wind turbine practical in BC Coastal waters?

I have an older Eclectic Energy 400, two of them on the boat. It's quiet enough that you barely notice it. But it starts making power around 10 knots of wind, gets more significant at 15 knots, and at 20 knots it makes lots of power. Can't really hear it over the rest of the wind noise except maybe in 5 - 10 knot breeze, when it turns slowly and doesn't generate any output.

If you have 15 knots or so of wind it's a significant contributor. I like it when I anchor for a few days in a storm. Not much sun, but plenty of wind.
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Old 19-05-2024, 17:11   #4
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Re: Wind turbine practical in BC Coastal waters?

Koresample:

Here is a performance curve for the above mentioned Eclectric 400. Hard to read, it is so small, and I shouldn't doubt that there is a reason for that :-) :

https://eclectic-energy.co.uk/wp-con...17/02/D400.pdf

It would pay you to spend half an hour translating this curve into a chart. You will see more clearly, then, that at a windspeed of 10 knots you can expect an output of 2 amperes. Whoopee :-)!

At 15 knots you can expect maybe 8 amps.

You can disregard any marketing guff about "beginning to make power at 6 knots of wind". Strictly true, but the power generated at six knots won't even light a single
incandescent cabin light. Maybe a single LED light - intermittently :-)!

The chart tells us no more than that it's "12V". Remember that to charge a simple lead acid battery you need 13.6V. It may be that that is the actual output voltage but do make sure of that!

Since you already have solar installed, maybe you've already prepared an energy budget for your boat. If you haven't already done it, then do so before you fork out good money for an aeolian generator!

I also recommend that you find a chart of the annual wind regime for the Straits of Georgia if that is where your boat is gonna be. There are great variations in wind velocities during the year and from place to place at any given time. Typically, velocities are very low during the sailing season, and winds adequate for driving a generator occur during that part of the year when most people find it too cold to sail.

As I write, the wind at my marina on the east coast of Vancouver Island is 15km/hr, say 7 knots, gusting to 23km/hr, say 11knots. Note that that is barely above the velocity where the generator "begins" to produce "power". And that's in the windy season! I expect that there will be more wind in the middle of the straits, but it's overcast, as I write, so your solar won't be very active. And if you're on watch, I hope you are wearing good protective clothing or you'll be doing a whole lot of shivering :-) In July and August there is many a day when even in the middle of the strait, there is a flat calm.

Most people who tried using wind generators around here, gave them up as being incapable of doing what was asked of them.

IMO, if your boat is so power hungry that she needs more than a couple of 27 series Lead/Acid batteries fed by your present solar installation and the engines alternator, you'll be better off financially by rethinking and upgrading you present "consumers" of juice, than you could ever be by "investing" in an aeolian wind generator.

Best regards,

TrentePieds
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Old 19-05-2024, 18:03   #5
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Re: Wind turbine practical in BC Coastal waters?

A good consideration is what time of year you are talking about. I don't have much experience with turbines on boats, but I do know about the winds in this area. During the summer, there just isn't much wind. But, fall and winter look better for wind production.

If you intend to cruise primarily during summer and primarily in fair weather, I'm betting you find a turbine disappointing. A solar panel or two that take the same amount of space, approximately, might be more useful and certainly quieter.

That said, if you want to supplement your power in the fall, winter, and early spring, on most days you will get sun or wind, but not both. But, if you just have it at the marina, you might also have some unhappy liveaboards in the area. As Mike mentioned, they are not quiet.
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Old 19-05-2024, 18:41   #6
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Re: Wind turbine practical in BC Coastal waters?

I've only been up there for summer vacations. Almost everyplace I've anchored is so protected, that there is only a light breeze even with strong breeze to near gale on the open waters.
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Old 20-05-2024, 08:07   #7
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Re: Wind turbine practical in BC Coastal waters?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
Koresample:

Here is a performance curve for the above mentioned Eclectric 400. Hard to read, it is so small, and I shouldn't doubt that there is a reason for that :-) :

https://eclectic-energy.co.uk/wp-con...17/02/D400.pdf

It would pay you to spend half an hour translating this curve into a chart. You will see more clearly, then, that at a windspeed of 10 knots you can expect an output of 2 amperes. Whoopee :-)!

At 15 knots you can expect maybe 8 amps.

You can disregard any marketing guff about "beginning to make power at 6 knots of wind". Strictly true, but the power generated at six knots won't even light a single
incandescent cabin light. Maybe a single LED light - intermittently :-)!

The chart tells us no more than that it's "12V". Remember that to charge a simple lead acid battery you need 13.6V. It may be that that is the actual output voltage but do make sure of that!

Since you already have solar installed, maybe you've already prepared an energy budget for your boat. If you haven't already done it, then do so before you fork out good money for an aeolian generator!

I also recommend that you find a chart of the annual wind regime for the Straits of Georgia if that is where your boat is gonna be. There are great variations in wind velocities during the year and from place to place at any given time. Typically, velocities are very low during the sailing season, and winds adequate for driving a generator occur during that part of the year when most people find it too cold to sail.

As I write, the wind at my marina on the east coast of Vancouver Island is 15km/hr, say 7 knots, gusting to 23km/hr, say 11knots. Note that that is barely above the velocity where the generator "begins" to produce "power". And that's in the windy season! I expect that there will be more wind in the middle of the straits, but it's overcast, as I write, so your solar won't be very active. And if you're on watch, I hope you are wearing good protective clothing or you'll be doing a whole lot of shivering :-) In July and August there is many a day when even in the middle of the strait, there is a flat calm.

Most people who tried using wind generators around here, gave them up as being incapable of doing what was asked of them.

IMO, if your boat is so power hungry that she needs more than a couple of 27 series Lead/Acid batteries fed by your present solar installation and the engines alternator, you'll be better off financially by rethinking and upgrading you present "consumers" of juice, than you could ever be by "investing" in an aeolian wind generator.

Best regards,

TrentePieds
Thanks for your anecdotal information! That is great perspective. When I look at the extra equipment involved In order to implement wind I can see it makes little sense. I'm better to invest in more battery storage as I can recharge the single, large battery in only 1 hour of running the main engine and I plan to move anchorages every 3 or 4 nights anyways.
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Old 20-05-2024, 08:08   #8
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Re: Wind turbine practical in BC Coastal waters?

Thanks..good advice.
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Old 20-05-2024, 08:09   #9
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Re: Wind turbine practical in BC Coastal waters?

Thank-you!
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Old 20-05-2024, 09:20   #10
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Re: Wind turbine practical in BC Coastal waters?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
Koresample:

Here is a performance curve for the above mentioned Eclectric 400. Hard to read, it is so small, and I shouldn't doubt that there is a reason for that :-) :

https://eclectic-energy.co.uk/wp-con...17/02/D400.pdf

It would pay you to spend half an hour translating this curve into a chart. You will see more clearly, then, that at a windspeed of 10 knots you can expect an output of 2 amperes. Whoopee :-)!

At 15 knots you can expect maybe 8 amps.

You can disregard any marketing guff about "beginning to make power at 6 knots of wind". Strictly true, but the power generated at six knots won't even light a single
incandescent cabin light. Maybe a single LED light - intermittently :-)!

The chart tells us no more than that it's "12V". Remember that to charge a simple lead acid battery you need 13.6V. It may be that that is the actual output voltage but do make sure of that!

Since you already have solar installed, maybe you've already prepared an energy budget for your boat. If you haven't already done it, then do so before you fork out good money for an aeolian generator!

I also recommend that you find a chart of the annual wind regime for the Straits of Georgia if that is where your boat is gonna be. There are great variations in wind velocities during the year and from place to place at any given time. Typically, velocities are very low during the sailing season, and winds adequate for driving a generator occur during that part of the year when most people find it too cold to sail.

As I write, the wind at my marina on the east coast of Vancouver Island is 15km/hr, say 7 knots, gusting to 23km/hr, say 11knots. Note that that is barely above the velocity where the generator "begins" to produce "power". And that's in the windy season! I expect that there will be more wind in the middle of the straits, but it's overcast, as I write, so your solar won't be very active. And if you're on watch, I hope you are wearing good protective clothing or you'll be doing a whole lot of shivering :-) In July and August there is many a day when even in the middle of the strait, there is a flat calm.

Most people who tried using wind generators around here, gave them up as being incapable of doing what was asked of them.

IMO, if your boat is so power hungry that she needs more than a couple of 27 series Lead/Acid batteries fed by your present solar installation and the engines alternator, you'll be better off financially by rethinking and upgrading you present "consumers" of juice, than you could ever be by "investing" in an aeolian wind generator.

Best regards,

TrentePieds
Don't forget that a wind turbine puts out 24 hours a day so 2 amps = 48ah in a day and at the 8 amps that = 176ah in a day. Also it produces when the sun isn't shining for my solar .
Mine is an airx 400 12v .
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Old 20-05-2024, 09:58   #11
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Re: Wind turbine practical in BC Coastal waters?

I sail the BC coast all the time (winter excepted). I have a wind generator. I gave up on it. Useless. Of course, I have 500 watts of solar which is lots even when cloudy. I don't need anything else.
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Old 20-05-2024, 10:07   #12
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Re: Wind turbine practical in BC Coastal waters?

[We are just a bit further N of you [57+] but share the same basic seasonal wind patterns in both inside and outside waters.

Our boat came from the tropics [think trade winds] and was therefore fitted with an older KISS wind gen by the previous owners.

It works well- even in light winds- but there is rarely enough breeze in secluded anchorages in the traditional boating months [Apr-Sep] to make it much of a producer [compared to our 465W of solar panels.]

When it dies, I won’t replace it.

I did want to mention the other side of having a wind gen: when the wind pipes-up you need to be able to shut it down at some point. We put the electronic brake on ours above 40 knots, but at 60+ knots it will over-ride the brake, so requires a line to keep it from spinning; something it is too late to do at that point. [Not that we wouldn’t welcome the added watts, but these generators ultimately become a hazard in such conditions- at least on my boat…]

Just more to think about.

Cheers, Bill

PS: The wind gen somewhat redeems itself when we sail on reaches in that being mounted on the mizzen mast of our staysail ketch, it receives the wind off the main and fore sails, and happily [and quietly] produces 5-10+A [12Volt boat] all the while…. Unfortunately such sailing conditions [in inside waters] are only ~20% [if we are lucky…] of the time in the non-winter months….
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Old 20-05-2024, 12:49   #13
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Re: Wind turbine practical in BC Coastal waters?

Kore:

Yes, one of the most useful devices you can fit to your boat is Occam's Razor :-)!

You haven't mentioned what boat you have, nor to what use you intend to put her or where.

So since you asked specifically about British Columbia, perhaps you may find the following useful:

From West Vancouver to either of the convenient "holes in the wall" that will get you into the Gulf Islands where the interesting cruising is, it is a 6-hour run in a 30-foot sailboat under power. As I said before, in the summer there may well be a flat calm in the straits.

Going through either Gabriola Passage or Porlier Pass you need to do it on the slack water and under power. That's about a twenty- minute run. From the western end of Gabriola Passage to Pirates Cove, which is the nearest really good anchorage, is about another half hour till you get the hook down and you can shut the engine off.

So call it seven hours with the engine running. TrentePieds has a Beta 20 with an alternator rated at 40Amp.s. But don't you believe it! If you run the alternator that comes as standard at its "rated output" for very long, you'll cook it. Even 10 amps can be dodgy depending on the cooling of the engine compartment. So count on 5 amps continuous which means that from West Vancouver to Pirates Cove you can put 35 Amp Hours in your batteries.

There are obvious ways you can improve on that, but IMO a wind generator is not among them. And IMO the funds required to buy and install a wind generator (about Can$4K) are better spent on such improvements :-)

You shouldn't draw your L/A batteries down below 80% charge, so a battery rated at 100 Ah should not be asked to yield more than 20 Ah. though it obviously can at the cost of some longevity. If your alternator produces 35 Ah during your day's run, you can bring ONE battery from 80% to 100% charge during the run, with some to spare for the SECOND battery, but you cannot bring TWO "100 Ah" batteries from 80% to 100%.

Say your anchor light draws 3 amps. For the 12 hours that you may have to show it at some times during the year, all on its lonesome that light will blow away all the juice you can produce on your trip across the straits!

So you see, FRUGALITY in the use of juice is very much called for in small boats!

And you can see why having a "power budget" and sticking to it, is essential in a small boat

TP
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Old Today, 13:43   #14
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Re: Wind turbine practical in BC Coastal waters?

Perhaps tech has changed but I installed an Ampair 100 wind generator on my Pearson 34-2 in 1996. It was quiet and utterly worthless in anything but 20 knot winds. I removed it in 2005 and its been in storage ever since. My best day was 75 amp hours in 24 hours blowing 20-25 on the Exuma Bank. Usually, I was lucky to get 25 amp hours a day.
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