Wulf Test Field
The 24 acre (10 ha) site near Oak Creek Pass in the Tehachapi Mountains was bequeathed to Paul Gipe by Ed Wulf in the spring of 1997 for furthering the development of small wind turbines. There were two test stands at the site, one for micro-wind turbines, the second for mini-wind turbines.
Wulf Test Field is Now Closed
Sometime following the note below one battery of the four used failed. In 2017 I determined that I was no longer able to service the batteries, electronics, and the turbine. Subsequently, I stopped maintaining the site. At the time, the Air Breeze would no longer operate without continuously braking to a stop. The turbine operated effectively for a decade. I closed Wulf field and sold the site to Windstream Properties on 11 June 2019. Windstream is the site neighbor and was formerly known as Zond.
Testing at Wulf Field fulfilled its function. We successfully tested almost a dozen micro and mini wind turbines during the two decades the test field was in operation. In the meantime the small wind turbine industry has matured and has begun to more rigorously test its turbines, in part because of the work we started at Wulf Field.
Below is a brief description of the turbines we tested in reverse chronological order. Following that is a series of articles on how the tests were conducted and the results we obtained.
The Air Breeze installed in December 2007 continues to operate reliably and charge the site’s batteries. In early 2016, the turbine continues to operate unattended. The turbine has operated more than eight years without intervention. One cable clip needed repair. One storage battery may have a bad cell. I left the site with the turbine charging the batteries and all the loads switched off to see if the batteries would recover their full charge.
In May, 2009 we inspected the site and the Selsam Super Twin had a blown diode. We removed Selsam’s Super Twin on October 31, 2009.
In the spring of 2008, we installed an unusual experimental turbine, the Selsam SuperTwin. The turbine uses two eight-foot rotors on a single shaft.
In December 2007 we removed the AirX s/n ABeta004 after it failed sometime in the fall. We replaced it with a Air Breeze s/n BR0001068 for testing at the request of SWP.
The Whisper H40 on the second test stand was removed and scrapped in June 2006.
The site is adjacent to one of the world’s largest concentrations of wind turbines and is very windy. The property also has a large erosion gully formed by a seep or spring. At the time the property was transferred the access road was bare and suffered from sheet and rill erosion during spring rains.
Since 1997, my wife, Nancy Nies, and I have installed several small wind turbines. We have also experimented with various erosion control practices and revegetation seed mixes to control erosion from the access road.
We have tested several micro- and mini-wind turbines at the Wulf Field: BWC 850, Air 303H, Air 403, AirX (various versions), LVM 6F, Marlec 910F, Ampair 100, and Whisper H40. Results of noise and power curve tests can be found by following the links below. The results are also summarized in Wind Power: Renewable Energy for Home, Farm, and Business published in 2004. Tests on the Air series of wind turbines (Air 303, 403, and Air X) by other researches have confirmed the findings first reported here.
Articles on Small Turbine Testing
We have operated an Air Breeze BR0001068 since December 2007. The turbine has performed well without any problems and significantly quieter than previous versions in the Air series of micro wind turbines. The following summarizes power curve measurements on the Air Breeze.
During the winter of 1998 through the spring of 1999, I installed equipment to measure the power curve of first mini and then eventually micro wind turbines. The description of this effort and the reason for the hardware choices made is found in my year 2000 article Testing the Power Curves of Small Wind Turbines.
The turbine had failed sometime in the spring of 2009. We were living in Canada for most of the spring and early summer. When we returned it was the fire season and we didn’t drive onto the site because of the high fire hazard.
We installed an Air Breeze at the request of Southwest Windpower in mid December. The turbine was provided by SWP at no charge. We are testing the turbine pro bono.
California’s Power Crisis
I maintain this topic as a separate section because politicians and policy analysts are prone to forget what happened in California around the turn of the current century. The power crisis then was a man-made catastrophe that is still playing out nearly a quarter centry later. For example, NRG, one of the utilities involved in the scandal, was force to install hundreds of electric vehicle charge stations across the sate as part of its long-overdue settlement with the state California. Though NRG is no longer involved, that network of stations is now EVgo and an important EV charging network nationwide.
What happened then still haunts California politicians and its regulatory agencies.
Of the 473 commissioners for whom Heern could find information on what they did after they left utility regulation, 50% of them went to work for one of the industries they regulated, or in an industry-adjacent role such as consulting. “That revolving door is definitely alive and well,” Heern told me.
Since the long-term targets are in place – the big question remaining to be answered is how to accomplish these goals. Namely, how to manage the transition from a fossilnuclear system to a mainly renewable energy system at the lowest possible cost and with
More than a decade after the last rolling blackout, Californians could get $1.6 billion in electricity refunds because of market manipulation during the first few months of the energy crisis, officials said Monday. . .
October, 2001 presentation to the League of Women Voters Energy Forum, Bakersfield, California It’s quite a privilege to be …