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I was reading about a problem with California's rebates for distributed wind energy, in particular a comment filed by the (DWEA) Distributed Wind Energy Association - Docket No. 02-REN-1038 - which states "weaknesses ... have allowed unscrupulous companies to perpetrate a significant fraud that threatens the entire program. DWEA specifically cites the following problems: DyoCore (1.6 kW at 18 mph) added with an efficiency of 275% … 2.7 times the total kinetic energy in the wind, 4.6 times the theoretical maximum possible efficiency, and 9 times efficiency of the leading small turbines on the market … which is totally impossible!"
Ouch! Clearly something for Open4Energy to investigate and bring to the attention of our readers. Last Christmas, while I was with my family in Northern Scotland, I got to admire the wind turbine my sister has installed on their 78 acre holding - yes there is a lot of wind - and realized that local wind generation is a complex topic indeed!
It only took a moment on the DyoCore web site to know that there was a problem - I do encourage home owners and businesses looking at energy efficiency to review web sites with discernment. If it looks like it belongs in a red light district catalog - it probably does.
From Wind Energy News - “DyoCore actions have negatively impacted legitimate competition under this program, since other providers of small wind systems are unable to compete with DyoCore’s low-cost systems – claims that are based on a false premise,” said Robert Oglesby, Energy Commission Executive Director ... KEMA’s analysis concluded DyoCore’s claim of 1.6 kW power output at 18 miles per hour is 7.5 times greater than theoretically possible at that wind speed and 9 times greater than the optimal output of a state-of-the-art turbine rotor with the same diameter."
To date, approximately 33 systems using DyoCore turbines have been installed and $515,385 in rebates paid.
Open4Energy is relieved to confirm that the CEC were alerted to the issue and took action to protect tax payers - “I have 314 approved applications,” Amy Morgan, a CEC Spokesperson/Information Officer. That’s about six times the previous annual rate of small wind system installations. But, Morgan clarified, over 85 percent of those (268, representing a potential $6.7 million in California taxpayer-funded rebates) “are systems where it was almost no cost to the consumer” -- and “that raised a red flag.”
You might want to take a look at this article by Earth Techling to see the latest in the state vs. DyoCore - "So how much damage has DyoCore reportedly done with its alleged fraud? The complaint alleges 33 systems using DyoCore turbines have been installed and $515,385 in rebates paid. Another 249 rebate reservations for systems using DyoCore turbines – rebates totaling $6,393,544 – were approved but have not been paid. Pending are yet another 1,069 applications, which if approved would cost California $31,220,976.
If you would like to see what DyoCore have to say, here is a link to their response filed in August 2011 - "DyoCore generally denies the allegations stated in the complaint of the California Energy Commission dated July 26. 2011 ,submitted by Robert P. Oglesby. Pursuant to California Code of Regulations, Title 20. Section 1217 .."
I am not sure how one "generally denies" - but reading further we find that Mr Raine started the business in a garage, and the misrepresentation is explained as - "errors were committed out of inexperience and naivete in understanding the roles of the various parties involved in the certification process"
On investigating further we found that Dyocore purchase the alternators and the grid tied inverters from a company called Ginlong. Their business model was to put a huge alternator with cheap aluminum blades on a bent piece of pipe frame mounted to the roof. Their early filings with the CEC claimed the device could output 1.6 kw at about 18mph - quite impossible. But as is quite obvious from the pictures, the blades were not sized correctly. The low winds in practise were unable to get a grid tied alternator up to the operating voltage of the grid tied inverter... and even when it did briefly, the turbine alternator was suddenly under load effectively stopped the blades.
I am going to take a closer look at what the CEC have to say! As I said earlier, it is good that the CEC has only paid out for 33 units - put a hold on the 249 applications approved - and did not get to the 1,069 applications pending. This is what happens when we allow inexperienced government agencies to manage funding for technology that they are not trained to evaluate.
There is some good news. The temporary suspension of the Emerging Renewables Program (link goes to the program & list of eligible turbines) was lifted beginning November 9, 2011. It is good to see that the recommendations from the DWEA have been implemented, in particular that the list of approved turbines seems on the conservative side indeed!
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