Road Trip – Iowa AWEA Distributed Wind Energy Conference

Business partner, Frank Marlowe and I hit the road last week to visit with broadcast engineering professionals at the Chicago Radio Show and discuss AM radio / wind turbine interference and the latest theory in mitigation techniques. 
Following our Chicago meetings, we drove to DesMoines to see what was happening at the AWEA Distributed Wind Conference.  On our way through Illinois, we passed by the Council Bluffs wind farm.
Council Bluffs – On the Farm
The show was relatively small venue but chuck full of interesting new offerings within the distributed wind energy space.  We raided the floor over a 5 hour period exploring new (and old) business offerings.

Frank (right) discussing WTG transport and installation with a Barnhart Sales rep (

Brian Kuhn of Aeronautica Windpower (Right) takes a moment to pose for the camera.  Aeronautica (  has begun shipment of their “Made in USA” 750 kW turbine to community wind projects across the country.

Brian Kuhn (right) of Aeronautica

How quiet is a wind turbine?

dB Comparisons

One of the booth rows at AWEA Distributed Wind Energy Conference
Start-up Japanese turbine manufacturer Tomo Wind Energy booth

Mike Kelly of Nordic WindPower took some time out of his crazed schedule to discuss their 2-blade 1 MW turbine, their next generation 1 MW turbine (due out in 2013), their Corporate HQ move to Kansas City and the powering of broadcast transmission facilities with wind energy.

Mike Kelly of Nordic WindPower
Back in New Jersey we have been watching in wonder as our power company installs solar panels on our utility poles.  The panels (made in China) feed a NJ manufactured inverter that, in turn, feeds the power to the grid.
Sepstar’s foray into the renewable energy market takes the NJ idea several steps farther by introducing a Wind and Solar powered LED street light – complete with 5 nights of battery storage.  The unit is made in China and priced around $2,500 per unit (excluding installation).


Sepstar 450 watt wind turbine integrated into hybrid LED street light

While Frank was off speaking to a Department of Energy rep regarding their renewable energy research programs, I stopped by the Bergey WindPower booth and spoke to Britton Rife about their new Excel 5 ( and the application of small wind turbines at low power TV and radio transmission sites.

We also sat down with Dwight Siman from Canadian start-up Vbine Energy (  Vbine is targeting the telecommunications industry with its new 5 kW permanent magnet VAWT selling for approximately $25,000 (excluding installation). .   
Vbine 5 kW broadcast tower mounted VAWT

Following our visit to the show and a quick conversation with NREL’s finest, Trudy Forsyth, we hit the road to Ames, Iowa to meet with Iowa State University and to talk about their renewable energy program.

A lot of driving, but a very productive week.

For more on our research:

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