The alliance of the wind and solar energy to light up your city…

As a French exchange student, I decided to speak about energy policies of urban and sub-urban lighting. In the beginning of 2000s, the European Commission made the development of the renewable energies a political priority, as it is described in the White Book ” Energy for the future: the sources of renewable energy ” and the Green Book «Towards an European strategy of energy supply security “.

The Commission decided on an objective to double the part of the renewable energies in the global consumption of energy to pass from 6 % in 1997 to 12 % in 2010. This objective fits into a strategy of supply security and sustainable development. A particularly significant effort must be realized in the electric domain. Within the European Union, the part of electricity produced from sources of energy renewable should reach 22,1 % in 2010 against 14,2 % in 1999. This objective defined for Europe with its 15 countries was however revised appreciably in the decline for Europe with its 25 countries which should reach 21 %.

The “Grenelle de l’environnement” was a set of political meetings organized in France in October, 2007 to make long-term decisions in environment and in sustainable development. Since these meetings, every business sector of the cities adopted a policy turned, among other things, to the improvement of the urban planning or the eco-town planning. And it is exactly in this context that a French company” Expansion&Développement ” launched the marketing of a totally innovative system.

The lamppost Windelux works only by means of the wind and of the solar energy. It allies the reliability, the output and the energy-saving by associating two main energetic sources. Some people say that this object is only a question of marketing, while others think that the researchers constantly invent new objects which seem to be ecological without for all that the being, nevertheless this public streetlight is totally innovative and ecological .Let me explain why …

Windelux is completely autonomous: it requires no outside energy contribution. The wind is the main source of supply. However besides the wind turbine, of a height and about a diameter one and a half meter, the candelabrum contains a photovoltaic panel, a generator, an electronic system of recyclable batteries and more than 80 Led. A regular wind from 4 to 8 meters/seconds, every three, four days is sufficient to make the wind turbine equipped with a double system to be able to start in low wind: savonus, two half-cylinders inverted face to face and Darius, three outside pales. Finally Windelux is endowed with a security system which is going to slow down the wind turbine at first and may stop it if the wind is too violent, what will avoid any inconvenience seen as in the video in last one course …

The current produced by the wind energy and solar energy is stored in batteries and feeds 84 Leds. The set allows to light 25 meters in longitudinal and six meters in width with a 48 watt consumption. Today the dozen small batteries allow for more than a week of functioning without any wind. So this object proves once again the renewable energies must be often organized to be able to replace effectively a not renewable pre-existent system.

In conclusion, this lamppost is naturally more expensive than a normal lamppost. Having said that, it seems perfect to light isolated places or the suburbs where the electric wiring does not arrive or still villages in the appearing countries.

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1 Comment

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One response to “The alliance of the wind and solar energy to light up your city…

  1. mcs2

    With the abundance of wind and solar energy resources in Texas, I’m curious as to how an innovation like this could affect Austin and other parts of Texas.

    These Windelux street lights combine energy savings in the form of LED lights with renewable generation, in effect, reducing the amount of energy required to power our street lights to zero. Regarding simply the installation of LED street lights, I found two examples of different kinds of savings: Echelon Corps. analysts estimated that “the New York City metropolitan area could save over 275,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually, or the equivalent of removing 50,677 cars from the road, by switching to an energy-efficient streetlight system” [Gizmag: “Philips’ energy efficient street lighting cuts city energy consumption”, April 9, 2008] Hardly an unbiased analysis (Echelon creates ‘metering infrastructure solutions’ which regulate and monitor energy use in some LED lighting systems). I found a more impartial report from the William J. Clinton Foundation stating that the City of Los Angeles could save $10 million in annual maintenance costs, 68,640,000 kWh/year and 40,500 tons of CO2 per year by switching their street lights to more efficient LED lights.

    These savings alone would be worth the city of Austin investing in LED lights, but what about Windelux or a similar system? Would it work here? Using wind speed data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s National Weather Service, I was able to find the average wind speed per month and annually (through 2002) for the Austin area and other parts of Texas. Using the technical specifications for the Windelux system, I found that a wind speed of 3.5 m/s (about 7.85 MPH) is the cutoff for power generation. Austin-Bergstrom has an average annual wind speed of 6.9 MPH, so Windelux wouldn’t necessarily work well there without additional generation through solar panels or the grid. However, Austin city-proper has an average annual wind speed of 8.9 MPH, and, according to the Windelux generation data, would generate about 10 W/h.

    Combine the above data with Austin’s own goal to become the ‘Clean Energy Capitol of the World’ and their budgeting of $7.5 million for Alternative Energy projects (including $3.4 million for solar installations at City facilities and $3.5 million for rooftop solar installations on leased facilities) in the 2009-2010 city budget, and it shows that Austin has the cause and the desire to make a change such as this.

    Echelon Corps. Data:
    http://www.gizmag.com/philips-energy-efficient-street-lighting-echelon-technology/9139/
    William J. Clinton Foundation:
    http://www.mwcog.org/environment/streetlights/downloads/CCI%20Case%20Study%20Los%20Angeles%20LED%20Retrofit.pdf
    NOAA NWS data:
    http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/online/ccd/avgwind.html
    Windelux Technical Data:
    http://www.major-world-trade.co.uk/Windela/WINDELUX%20brochure.pdf
    Austin City Budget 09-10:
    http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/budget/09-10/downloads/Exe%20Final%20Draft.pdf

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