Back in December we toured the annual Small & Community Wind Conference & Exhibition, which had come to Portland, Oregon. One of the companies who we interviewed after meeting at the show is Cascade Renewable Energy, a Michigan based outfit focused upon what they call “energy efficiency and distributed renewable energy solutions tailored for residential, community, and commercial needs.”
What grabbed our eye the most about Cascade is that they are the major U.S. distributor of the Swift wind turbine, a small scale design with a 1.0 kW @ 11 m/s (24.6 mph) power output that can be grid connected and claims a quiet operation of less than 35 dB (A) for all wind speeds @ hub. This particular turbine sports spring loaded fins that direct it 360 degrees. This is said to be useful in high winds by keeping the turbine out of the direct wind “to utilize peak output longer and provide over speed protection.” To find out more about Cascade Renewable Energy and the Swift turbine, we interviewed spokesperson Lindsay Grates.
EarthTechling (ET): How did Cascade Renewable Energy come to be involved in the wind power business?
Lindsay Grates: Cascade Renewable Energy is a division of Cascade Engineering, a leader in plastic injection molding. As a dedicated sustainable business, Cascade Engineering has always been open to opportunities in the renewable and sustainability fields. Our CEO, Fred Keller, made the initial connection with a UK company, Renewable Devices, who was looking to bring their patented, structure-mountable residential wind turbine to North America. Cascade Engineering was able to partner with Renewable Devices, not only to be the original distributor of the SWIFT Wind Turbine in the U.S, but also to improve the rotor of the SWIFT turbine.
Our company now manufacturers a plastic injection molded rotor, which replaces the original carbon fiber rotor, for all of the SWIFT Wind Turbines sold worldwide. Cascade Renewable Energy is also involved in the wind energy industry as a distributor of the Northwind 100 wind turbine, a 100 kW wind turbine manufactured by Northern Power.
ET: Talk about the SWIFT Wind Turbine. What makes it unique compared to other small scale turbines out there?
Grates: The SWIFT Wind Turbine is a structure or pole-mountable wind turbine. It can be installed in both residential and commercial settings, in urban, suburban, and rural environments. The design benefits include:
- Quiet, innovative design suitable for rural, urban, and suburban areas
- Flexible mounting options for optimizing a renewable energy source in a variety of areas
- Grid-connected unit offering safe, efficient, and autonomous operation without the use of batteries
- Visually appealing design
SWIFT is designed to be both aesthetically pleasing and quiet. To ensure minimal transmission of oscillations from turbine to building, the SWIFT Wind Turbine mounting brackets incorporate a damping system, specifically designed to absorb a wide range of frequencies.
The patented ring diffuser, connecting the five blades, minimizes acoustic emissions and vibration of the system by preventing the creation of turbulent vortices at the blade tips. In addition, the five-bladed design allows for a slower speed of rotation to further reduce noise, making the SWIFT Wind Turbine one of the quietest wind systems.