Nov 14, 2015

A Business Model to Stimulate the Economic Development of Rural or Devitalized Communities

A Win-Win Approach

An understanding of the connections between a variety of problems can sometimes lead to a common solution.


Wind-Do has a decentralized approach to energy generation from wind turbines.  A variety of local actors working together can generate electricity and benefits, which will stimulate local economic activity.

The Wind-Do modular wind farm can be optimized in many ways. In addition to producing a target amount of electricity that is sold to the network, a significative amount of excess electricity will be generated. This extra energy is free, but must be used locally, for example providing heat for a greenhouse or for other industrial uses.  

By saving on energy costs, greenhouses can become more profitable in Northern countries. This could be one factor that leads to their construction.  In turn, local employment is created, and as the greenhouses are located where produce is needed, fruits and vegetables will be fresher and cheaper. In addition to enhancing the local economy and creating jobs,  this will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in many ways: less food transportation, clean electricity, and even carbon capture with winter culture.

             This is a win-win approach.


 Here are some examples of problems 
 that have common links:

Over time, many cities and villages have lost their economic vitality.

In Quebec, there are about 150 cities and villages with higher than average unemployment rates.  About half of these communities have a population of less than 500.  Young people tend to leave these villages, and the average age is often higher than for communities of similar size. 

To stimulate the economy and create jobs, the benefits of local activities must remain in the communities. To keep the youth in their community, either jobs or business opportunities must be created.

Climate change is likely to lead to problems of food security. 

Certain agronomists argue that 75% of the world's agriculture should be carried out in enclosed spaces by 2050, in good part due to climate changes.

The only way of significantly reducing the production of greenhouse gas is to reduce the production of energy from sources that produce those gases.

This implies a significant reduction in the burning of all carbon-based fuels, not only for electricity production, but also for heating and industrial processes. 

Not in my backyard.

Most people want green energy.  One current source is the use of giant wind turbines.  However, many people do not want them in their backyard. Energy production from the wind needs to minimize visual and noise pollution, and be widely distributed to more evenly balance its contribution to the grid.

The costs of clean energy have to be reduced. 

In many regions and countries, green energy currently costs more than that produced by burning carbon fuels. 

To favour rapid uptake, clean energy must be profitable even without subsidies, and it should be relatively simple to finance projects. The production of green energy should provide an interesting profit margin for those who invest and maintain the facilities. There are advantages with facilities that are at human scale, require relatively little training, need minimal capital and are easy to finance at a low interest rate.

         The Wind-Do Proposal 

Energy is at the centre of all human activities:

-    Energy production generates significative benefits and income.
-    Energy availability at low cost generates opportunities that are sources of economic growth.

Wind-Do proposes the installation of several mid-scale wind turbines grouped in a wind farm that can produce from one to a few megawatts.  These wind-farms can be the starting point of a development plan for remote or devitalized communities. 

Our wind turbines are the size of a tree, and so have little visual or noise impact.  The cost of each KWh produced is quite competitive, and does not require ongoing government subsidies.   To meet their production targets, very often the wind farms will need to be oversized.  There will be a surplus of electricity that is free, but this surplus must be used locally. 

Our wind farms may have a variety of business models:

-        A cooperative can be created to manage the wind farm and other related projects that are part of a revitalization initiative.  Profits are then reinvested in the local community.
-        A local business or entrepreneur could decide to be part of a wind farm close to his facility. The main production of electricity is used by the business to reduce its energy cost and/or to sell to the grid. The surplus production is given to a cooperative to empower a greenhouse.
-        An electricity producer such as Hydro-Québec could also be the owner of a wind farm. The surplus electricity can be used to stimulate the local economy.

The Economic Advantage for the Electricity Distributor:

-        The cost of electricity production, using the Wind-do approach, will be between 2 and 4.5 ¢/KWh.  Depending on the project and its particular situation, electricity could be purchased by the grid administrator at 4.5 to 7 ¢/KWh, a win win situation. The electricity distributor could decide to create and manage its own wind-farms, although it is unlikely to want to do this for small wind farms of a few megawatts.  This leaves the field open to small producers.

-        Our wind farms are small and spread over the grid, so the electricity produced can be linked into the network at a minimal cost.  Over time, and as experience is gained, the local electricity production could be increased, based on the community needs and the capacity of the grid interconnection.

-        A wide distribution of wind energy production in the network will facilitate the integration of this intermittent source for the grid manager. Distance between each farm make sure that wind variations will never create sudden changes in grid loads.

-        In Northern countries, the wind in the winter has 50-100% more energy, so the production will be highest during weather-related peak loads.

       Greenhouses and Wind Energy

One of the characteristics of the Wind-Do wind farms is that a good deal of surplus electricity will be produced (beyond the target that is set), but this energy must be used on site.  The availability of almost free electricity can spur a number of local economic activities that would be advantaged by very low cost energy.  Here are a few examples:  heating of commercial buildings, drying wood, commercial food preparation, the production of hydrogen, electricity storage to make it available at spot prices, or any industrial processes that need electricity or heat. 

The use of free electricity by greenhouses has a number of advantages:

-        Greenhouses in northern latitudes are hardly profitable due to heating costs. Our low cost energy will enable them to compete with food produced in the south.
-        Local vegetables will be fresher, often cheaper and be healthier than imported ones.
-        Local production will favour food autonomy and security, stabilize prices and increase the diversification of the production with local species.
-        Most of the local jobs that would be created require little education.
-        Part of the greenhouse could be used as a community garden or coffee shop.  

A basic Wind-Do wind farm is designed to supply one MW of nominal power.  Based on wind availability and configuration, it will provide 3-4.5 GWh of electricity to the grid each year.  In most cases, the wind farm will produce 1 to 2.5 GWh of free electricity, which can only be used on site. It is possible to heat and light a 1,250 square metre greenhouse with an annual surplus of one GWh.

The Wind-Do GSG heat storage system allows on demand use of surplus heat, at a cost below 1¢/KWh.

         Community participation

A general scenario is proposed below.  Various combinations or options could be customized for a given community.

The creation of a local cooperative would allow the participation of the local population in their economic development.

This cooperative would not be a financial institution, but rather an investment club.  The group could include entrepreneurs, small or large businesses, angel investors and even VC funds; anyone interested in local development. 

The business plan needs to insure the profitability of the cooperative.

Ideally, the cooperative would be the owner of the wind farm.  To support the development potential of the COOP, the wind farm annual benefit should be $100K or more. With a sale price of 2 ¢/KWh higher than the production cost, a sale of 5 GWh per year would be required.  This can be accomplished with an initial connection to the grid of 1.5 MW.

A local greenhouse could create 2 to 4 fulltime jobs and several part time ones.  A typical wind farm with a connection of 1.5 MW would generally produce 2.5 GWh of electricity surplus.  This could meet the needs of a greenhouse up to 3,000 square meters, which could be profitable even with local sales.

The greenhouse should include activities that enhance  the community, but do not compete with existing activities.  For example, the greenhouse could house a garden coffee shop, a restaurant, a vegetable market, or any other useful activity for the community. 

The cooperative should start with local funds of $100K, which could be reached by having 100 investors contribute $1,000 each for a share in the cooperative. Adaptations could allow unemployed people and those on welfare or retired people to contribute and participate in other ways.  Members of the cooperative should have the right to:

1-     Work 2 hours a week in the greenhouse in exchange for a basket of vegetables (which would reduce their weekly expenses).
2-    Work an additional 2-5 hours per week and be paid minimum wage (which will not reduce their government support). This income could also be used to pay for a share in the cooperative.
3-    Receive dividends.  A minimum of 10% of the annual benefits should be distributed to its members.

Individuals and companies could buy additional shares, with the understanding that the cooperative's initiatives would be with local business, including micro-loans and the funding of new projects.

The local availability of low cost energy, as well as the economic potential associated with the COOP, would contribute to the local economy.  Over time, this activity could attract new residents. 

     A prerequisite 

In order to obtain a surplus, a basic amount of electricity has to be sold.  Every state and province has its own rules. In Quebec for example, only Hydro-Quebec can sell electricity, so a basic requirement is that they purchase the primary electricity production from the wind-farm cooperative.

   Useful contributors

Several organizations and corporations could contribute to this approach to community revitalization, for example:

-        The Ministry of Municipal Affairs could provide some financial aid to devitalized communities that wish to carry out feasibility studies.
-        The Ministry of Finance could lend the money required to build greenhouses and wind farms.
-        Credit unions could hold the mortgage, guide the creation of the cooperatives, and participate in their management.
-        A distribution agreement could be drawn up for the greenhouse's production (IGA, Metro…).
-        Other sponsors could contribute to this revitalization activity, while pursuing their own commercial development. (Subway, Couche-Tard…)

     Project Partners

The main project promoter is Wind-Do Inc.  The development of greenhouses would be assumed by Serres Harnois.

Other project partners are needed.  In Québec, these could be:  1)  an investor or lender, such as the Ministry of Finance, Investment Québec, or a bank...  2) a Cooperative like Desjardins or an agricultural COOP,  3) a contractor to build the foundations, and if needed, additional buildings.  Etc…

A range of project partners will help to accelerate the creation of cooperatives and enhance the local economy and jobs.


The scenario proposed here does not resolve all the problems identified at the beginning, but its implementation can help to reduce several of them.

-        Economic stimulus of remote communities will enhance living standards, help keep the youth in the community and favour the integration of newcomers.
-        The wind farm and greenhouse activity will create 2 to 4 permanent new jobs, and dozens of part time ones that will energize the community.
-        For off grid communities, wind power can replace diesel generators, reduce the associated greenhouse gas emission, and lower the cost of electricity generation.  Instead of money flowing to the oil producing countries, it stays in the community.
-        The addition of a local greenhouse can increase the availability of fresh produce and for a number of remote communities, lower its cost.  The greenhouse could also become a local meeting place.
-        The local cooperative is likely to be a source of learning about entrepreneurial activity.  Youth could use this knowledge, and the financial potential of the local investment club, to create their own projects.

Please feel free to contact us for additional information.

François Gagnon  ing.ind.                                            
     C.E.O. of Wind-Do Inc.            

Duncan Sanderson Ph.D. 
    V.P. Community Relations of Wind-Do Inc.   

Oct 25, 2015

Changements climatiques, villages dévitalisés, insécurité alimentaire, migration… Pour une solution intégrée

Une synergie de solutions

Parfois, divers problèmes sont indirectement liés, comprendre leurs interrelations ouvre la porte à des solutions globales.

Wind-Do propose des solutions d’énergie éoliennes très décentralisées. La production d’électricité étant assumée par des cultivateurs, des petites entreprises ou des coopératives locales, les profits qui y sont associés sont utilisés localement, ce qui favorise le développement de d’autres activités économiques.

Le mode opératoire des fermes d’éoliennes de Wind-Do diffère des autres sources d’électricité; en particulier, un certain surplus d’énergie qui ne peut pas être vendu au réseau est produit. Cette énergie est gratuite et elle peut entre autre être utilisée pour chauffer une serre de culture. Cette production est difficilement rentable dans les zones tempérées ou froides à cause des coûts de l’énergie requise, nous corrigeons ce problème.

La production agricole en serre améliore la sécurité alimentaire, crée des emploies locaux, réduit l’importation et les émissions de carbone associées au transport des denrées.

 C’est ce que nous appelons une synergie de solutions.

Voyez les détails ici:

Oct 8, 2015

Why most small and midscale wind turbines has low efficiency

Most small and midscale wind turbines show low electricity production efficiency, here is one of the reasons:

Giant wind turbines are efficient because of the very large size of the blade near the centre, and the high speed of the blade (200 Km/h or more) at the end of the turbine.

Obviously, a 2 or 3 meters wind turbine cannot have 2 m blades, so the system must be set to turn fast enough to generate the require lift effect on the blade. This is the only way to withdraw an efficient part of the wind energy.

As most small and midscale wind turbines are direct drive engine, this increases the problem. For the Wind-Do 2.5 m diameter turbine for example, the best rotation speed to harness energy of a 3 m/s wind is between 8 and 16 rad./s (similar to 80 – 160 RPM). Bellow and above that, the efficiency drops rapidly. For the same turbine, the good rotation speed for a 7.5 m/s wind will be between 20 and 30 rad/sec.

The problem is that a 7.5 m/s wind will produce about 160 watts of kinetic energy per square meter with appropriate rotation speed, beside 8 watts for a 3 m/s wind. This is a 20 to 1 ratio for the energy production beside a 2 to 1 one for the rotation speed. A direct drive engine cannot support efficiently those two common wind speeds without special features, and this is only a part of the wind spectrum,

Lets consider now the following graphic:

This is the reality of wind speed in nature; measurements come from one of our field session.If your midscale Darrieus wind turbine is set by a processor that compute wind speed, your motor / generator system will probably switch with a 4.5 m/s wind. This mean you turbine rotation speed will have to be multiply by 4 in few seconds to reach the power generated by a wind gust of 7 m/s, or by six to reach the 8 m/s gust. Not much probable for a structure that harness 25 or 100 sq.m. of wind.

If your turbine rotation speed at 4.5 m/s is compatible with the one require for the 7 or 8 m/s wind gust, you may not loose too much energy in the transition, as your turbine will also act as a flywheel and store some kinetic energy. Still you produce energy only 50% of the time (when wind is above 4.5 m/s), and you loose useful energy below your wind speed set point.

If your wind turbine has a fix setting, it will most probably be set for wind of 3 or 3.5 m/s, the idea being to produce energy the most often possible. With the above wind profile, the set rotation speed will not be compatible with 7 or 8 m/s wind gust. This not means only that turbine rotation must be multiply by 10 in few seconds, but that the efficiency of the turbine will most probably be at 10 or 20% of its potential at the beginning of the gust. As an example, a direct drive Wind-Do turbine with appropriate rotation speed for a 3.5 m/s wind will have a negative energy production with a gust of 8 m/s. Overall efficiency of this kind of system will be very poor, and much bellow of what you will expect from measures in a wind tunnel.

One solution is to have a complex gearbox drive by a computer, which is not anymore a direct drive wind turbine.

The Wind-Do solution for this specific problem is call permanent modulated stimulation of wind turbine. The demonstration needs few pages of text and drawing that you can download here:


This provisional patent application is one of the numerous innovations proposed by Wind-Do with his wind turbine. If you are in the wind industry and you think this concept can be useful for your products, please send a written request of utilisation and we will deliver it free of charges or royalties.


Oct 6, 2015

Wind-Do team at work.

Last week, the Wind-Do team  proceeded with a  trial of our new improved test turbine. A sunny day with less wind than expected, but enough to generate useful results.

One of the characteristics of our design is the use of small parts that can be produced by hundreds of suppliers. Here you have a close-up view of our prototype blade.

The real blade will be about 50 cm (24 inches) long, compared with this prototype which is 25 cm. This size allows the mass production of plastic blades, thus our blade cost will be much less per kilowatt produced compared to the kilowatt cost of blades for giant wind turbines. As demonstrated, installation and maintenance will require no specialized tools or skills, which will allow the participation and ownership by local groups and individuals.

More data on these tests will follow.

Sep 9, 2015

Co-generation heat and electricity with wind energy

With the continuous reduction of the cost of wind electricity, new business models can be developed.

To increase the used of clean energies, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we need to enhance the availability of wind and sun, and diversify their applications.

The business model proposed by Wind-Do has not get interest until now because of the historic high cost of wind and solar electricity. Recent low sales prices of wind electricity make this innovative model viable even for large wind farms, but its still favour Wind-Do midscale community wind energy network.

The model is easier to understand with Wind-Do wind farms. On a regular basis, our customers will sell wind electricity at 5 to ¢6 per KWh to the grid. This basic set-up will provide 45 to 50% efficiency to the grid connection. We will be able to negotiate a sale price increase with the grid manager if we propose a more reliable 60 to 70% efficiency to the grid. It is a realistic objective to ask a ¢2/KWh increment for a more consistent clean energy.

To achieved that electricity delivery, we may have to increase the number of wind turbines by 50%, or even double it in some occasion. The increase value of electricity, added to the increase amount of electricity deliver every month, will enhance the profitability to the wind farm; with a large amount of free electricity that could be used on site!

The append figure show how an oversize wind farm can propose a 50 to 70%
efficiency supply to the grid. It is also showing that the excess production of this oversize facility is a random energy source with 15 to 35% availability. This means that the heat storage system must be able to accumulate in a short period up to two weeks of the required heat.

The GSG heat storage system develop by Wind-Do to support this function is a low cost system that will store and return heat at less than ¢1 per KWh. The heat can be used directly for temperature control (including lower cost cooling with heat), for sanitary water, but also to support industrial process like cooking, drying, melting… up to 4000C.

Jul 5, 2015

Solar thermal and Wind-Do, the perfect match.

Solar thermal electricity is a more reliable option for the grid than the photovoltaic one. 

On cloudy days, large PV plan can supply its full power, for example 100 MW, and in less than one minute drop to 30 or 20 MW with a cloud. Very often, the full power is back five or ten minutes after the event; a nightmare for the grid manager. 

The solar thermal plan harnesses the energy of the sun more efficiently, but the production of electricity pass trough a thermal cycle that is less efficient. The advantage of this thermal transition of the energy is the stability of the process. In a cloudy day, the total production of the electricity will of course be lower, but the process will stay constant and reliable for the grid. On sunny days, the system can store heat, an easy process, and deliver some electricity on the evening or at early peak hours the day after.

Wind-Do is a midscale wind turbine concept that permits a very low installation cost per MW of power. This allows the design of over capacity wind farms that can deliver 50 to 60% of their nominal power to the grid. (Beside 30 to 40% for recent giant wind turbines ones.) This over capacity makes available a significative amount of electricity that is produce, but that cannot be deliver to the grid. As the power sells to the grid pay all the operation expenses, if used, this over capacity is free energy.

Store electricity via batteries is efficient, but very expensive, in good part because of the relatively short lifetime of batteries beside other energy facilities. This system cost from 15 to ¢25 to store and return a KWh of electricity; even free electricity cannot use this as a viable storage business model.

Beside that, a steam turbine will have a low efficiency of  50% (a little less in reality) that alone is of low interest to store electricity. Now consider an existing steam system that is underused. Adding energy to increase the utilization of the system is then at no cost in terms of investment and operations. This means that a 5 ¢/KWh electricity that is transform in heat will produce a 10 ¢/KWh electricity cost in return, and by extension free input end by free output as there is no fix expenses to assume.

Imagine now the following scenario: Wind-Do wind farms are comfortable to sell their electricity at 6 ¢/KWh. The owner of a wind farm propose to sell his energy to the grid at ¢9 on the eight peak hours of the day, at ¢6 in the middle of the day and at ¢3 on the night. The wind farm sell its over capacity to the thermal solar farm at ¢3, adding most of its night production if useful. The solar system can reused this energy to produce electricity at ¢6 cost and sell it to the grid as wind energy at ¢9 on peak hour.

The grid manager is happy to have a very reliable source of electricity at peak hours, including in winter when there is less light but more wind. The wind farm sell its over capacity at 3 ¢/KWh, a significative net benefit. If we include all the night electricity, up to 50% of the wind production will be sale for storage.  The solar plan enhance the profitability of its energy process for a very small investment, and can propose to the grid manager an above 95% availability of its full power at peak hours.

The perfect match !  

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