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Photo: Michael Ross, RER Renewable Energy Research
The tiny Aegean island of Bozcaada-- not too far from the ancient city of Troy-- is a showcase for renewable energy technologies. In the main settlement, solar thermal systems adorn nearly every rooftop, and at the far end of the island, megawatt-class Enercon turbines tower over a PV-powered lighthouse.
This is a good illustration of the relative strengths of wind and photovoltaic power systems. The wind turbines are installed in a wind farm that provides relatively low-cost green power to the grid whenever the wind blows. Development and maintenance costs are spread over all the turbines in the wind farm. In contrast, the photovoltaic system is used in complete isolation from the grid, as a highly reliable supply of electricity for a small load. Operation and maintenance requirements for photovoltaic systems, which contain no moving parts, are truly minimal.
A young resident of the island related to me that for centuries the island relied on the mainland for its supplies, including, in recent times, its supply of energy. With a certain note of pride, he observed that the island's windfarm now exports electricity to the mainland.
Created 2005/08/11 Updated 2005/08/12 ©2005 RER Renewable Energy Research