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Alternative Shelter

No Tilting at Windmills

July 28, 1985|Terence M. Green

People who dream of having a windmill in the backyard grinding out electricity to run the house's lights, vacuum cleaner, TV set and all that, will be interested in knowing about Windpower '85, as will everybody else involved or interested in the growing wind-power industry.

The four-day meeting starting Aug. 27 will combine the seventh in the Department of Energy's biennial Wind Workshop series and the 15th National Conference and Expo of the American Wind Energy Assn.

Those two groups and the Solar Energy Research Institute are the meeting's sponsors; the co-sponsors are the California Wind Energy Assn., Alternative Sources of Energy, and Renewable Energy News.

Conference leaders say each day will focus on wind energy from a different perspective, covering such topics as measuring wind availability, the design and construction of the machines, performance and operating experience of systems, technology innovations, legislative and regulatory issues and environmental concerns.

A major wind-energy event, it is scheduled for San Francisco's Hyatt Regency Aug. 27-30. Details are available from Windpower '85, 1516 King St., Alexandria, Va. 22314.

On the commercial, rather than the back-yard, scale, wind-energy production is growing in California and, while still a minuscule part of the state's total energy production, is reaching toward a respectable size.

The American Wind Energy Assn. has reported that wind electricity generation capacity in California grew from 7 megawatts in 1981 to 172 megawatts produced by 2,493 machines at the end of 1983 and to 366 megawatts produced by 4,687 machines at the end of 1984.

Two major California utilities, Southern California Edison Co. and Pacific Gas & Electric Co., bought 188 million kilowatt hours of wind-produced electricity in 1984, four times as much as they bought in 1983.

However, wind-produced electricity is still a small factor in California's energy picture. The 1984 production figure represents less than two-tenths of 1% of the two utilities' total energy sales.

Five Southern California entrants won their share of the 16 State Energy Awards announced this month in the National Awards Program for Energy Innovation sponsored by the Department of Energy.

One Southland entrant, Southern California Edison, took two awards, for retail store daylighting design and for its "Keep Your Cool" package air conditioner replacement program. The city of Santa Monica was honored for its energy fitness program; Southern California Gas Co. for its weatherization training Center; the Westlake Village company Felburg & Sun for the first total solar air conditioned project, Olive Grove; and Ayres Ezer Lau Consulting Engineers of Los Angeles for the California State University, Long Beach daylighting and off-peak cooling system.

The winners were announced by Charles R. Imbrecht, chairman of the California Energy Commission and Gov. George Deukmejian's official representative responsible for implementing and conducting the program within the state.

The program, participated in by all 50 states, recognizes innovative energy-saving programs. State winners are recommended for National Award consideration. National winners will have their projects published and made available to others interested in developing such programs, and the most outstanding national winners will be chosen for special recognition.

The other California winners were:

John Carollo Engineers, Walnut Creek; Solarize Photovoltaic Energy Corp., West Sacramento; Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E), San Francisco, two awards; Manuel DeVargas School, San Jose; Sonoma County; Contra Costa County Public Works Department and PG&E; Hollister, Community Electricity Management Program; Palo Alto Utilities Department, and the state County Supervisors Assn., Sacramento.

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