Carter Wind Energy is a manufacturer of next generation wind turbine technology that is self-erecting and designed for utility, distributed, and micro-grid power generation applications in the most remote, extreme environment locations which may not be viable with conventional wind turbine technologies.
Wind energy is more commercially available than ever, but accounts for less than 5% of global energy production. The Challenge - In order for clean energy sources like wind to gain mass adoption, it must become as cheap and available as traditional fossil fuels.
Over time, wind turbine size and project scale have steadily grown. This approach for reducing cost of energy has limits, with rapidly decreasing benefits. The continued affordability of wind power is limited by existing wind turbine technologies with incremental improvements not being enough to make clean energy globally significant. It is time to rethink the traditional 3 blade wind turbine architecture.
Carter Wind Energy has a solution. The wind turbine technology Carter has developed is most significant in that it produces 4 times the energy per pound of equipment weight versus conventional wind turbine designs. The capital investment required to manufacture, transport, install, and maintain wind turbines, is a function of equipment weight. More energy with less equipment weight means a lower cost of energy.
The dramatic reduction in cost of energy afforded by the Carter wind turbine technology will create vast new market opportunities for wind energy and most importantly, allow for the economical global mass adaption of clean renewable energy.
Carter Wind Energy is selecting early adopting partners and customers, who are industry leaders, not satisfied with the status quo, who are interested in advancing the state of the art in the wind industry through support in the commercialization of a proven, significantly lower cost wind energy technology.
Investment in new promising technologies/products brings with it the hope of a future where wind power is cost competitive with conventional power generation without subsidy. After 25+ years, the wind industry must begin to demonstrate there is a future where the cost of energy from wind is competitive without subsidy.
The wind turbine technology Carter has developed is most significant in that produces 4 times the energy per pound of equipment weight versus conventional wind turbine designs. The capital investment required to manufacture, transport, install, and maintain wind turbines, is a function of equipment weight. More energy with less equipment weight means a lower cost of energy.
GE, Vestas, Siemens, Enercon, and others all understand the critical importance reducing weight has in lowering the cost of energy.
The Carter wind turbine design operates on the same principles as a conventional wind turbine, but achieves its superior energy to weight advantage by successfully integrating the enabling technologies of the helicopter industry into our wind turbine design.
Carter’s competitive advantage lies in its proprietary:
- Two bladed, downwind, teetering, bearing less rotor hub design, which eliminate and reduce many of the loads encountered by three blade turbines;
- Self-erecting guyed tower concept which eliminates the need for large expensive cranes for installation and maintenance.
By minimizing loads and utilizing a structurally efficient guyed tower, Carter turbines weigh a fraction of three bladed designs. The lighter weight and self-erecting tower, results in a lower manufacturing, installation, and maintenance costs, and as a result, allows our turbine designs to achieve a dramatic reduction in the cost of wind generated renewable energy.
As a result of the lower weight fraction, this technology’s optimal size for use in multi-MW onshore and offshore turbines will be larger than conventional 3-blade design, allowing for further reductions in cost. The result is a wind turbine architecture that can produce electricity at a cost that is competitive with the lowest cost fossil fueled power plant without the need for subsidy.
Carter turbines can better access winds offshore than conventional 3 blade wind turbine designs.
Wind flows at higher speeds offshore, often over waters too deep for conventional turbines to access economically. For example, in the US, the offshore wind resource is estimated to be more than 4 terawatts (three times existing capacity), with over 75% located above water over 30 meters deep. Carter’s floating, guyed tower can be cost-effectively based in waters hundreds of meters deep. Conventional turbine designs have fatigue challenges with floating structures because of the sea state induced nacelle motion. And just as with our onshore turbines, our offshore turbines can be installed and maintained without tall cranes. The floating, guyed, two-bladed turbine can be easily raised and lowered by submerging the tower structure (with the 2 blades horizontal) until the nacelle is at sea level.
CWE Energy/Weight Advantage
Multi-MW onshore turbines
Floating, guyed, submersible deep water offshore tower
Carter Wind Energy manufactures medium-size wind turbines (300 & 500 kW) that are self-erecting, portable, and designed for distributed and micro-grid power generation applications in remote, extreme environment locations that are not viable with conventional wind turbine technologies.
The projects we are initially targeting for our turbines are located in high value power markets where fuel oil is exclusively utilized to produce electricity. Typically, prime diesel power generation markets are isolated and/or do not have indigenous natural fossil fuel resources and lack the infrastructure required for low cost power, infrastructure such as – rail, pipelines, roads, transmission, or water. As a result, these markets are forced to use high cost diesel power. In most instances these opportunities cannot utilize multi-MW turbines because either logistical, environmental, and/or infrastructure constraints impede construction.
The Model 300 turbine is one of the most versatile and modern turbines designs on the market today having proven itself reliable in harsh tropical and artic conditions. Suitable for high and medium wind speed sites, the turbine is compact and portable, with easy shipping. The complete turbine assembly is shipped quickly in a standard cargo container anywhere in the world and can be erected in one day.
The Model 300 is ideal for standalone portable wind diesel or industry applications where height restrictions are a concern.
The Model 500 is an efficient and powerful turbine specifically designed and optimized for low to medium wind sites, without comprising the robust design features required for installation in the most harsh tropical and artic conditions. It is based on the proven and reliable Model 300 turbine, and retains the easy shipping, self-erecting, portable attributes required for low-cost distributed power generation.
The Model 500 is ideal for standalone wind diesel or single turbine installation applications for industry and small wholesale power projects that require the lowest cost of energy.
It is estimated that more than 2.0 billion people on the planet live in communities that are isolated and lack the infrastructure required for low cost electricity. But many of those people live in areas with abundant renewable resources such as wind energy.
A Wind Water Integrated Diesel Electricity (W2IDE) solution combines a proven low cost wind turbine technology with advanced water and diesel power generation to create a hybrid energy storage system that is well-suited for operation on mini-grids in remote locations with limited infrastructure.
Access to affordable and reliable electricity provides societies with the opportunity for clean water, healthcare, irrigation, educational opportunities, communications infrastructure, and other social and economic benefits.
W2IDE, enabled by Carter’s low-cost, portable, self-erecting wind turbine, will significantly lower the cost of electricity, reduce emissions, and most importantly increase access to distributed power generation and clean water, which is desperately needed to enrich life and improve social productivity in developing regions of the world.
These opportunities typically cannot utilize multi-MW turbines either because logistical and/or infrastructure constraints impede construction. Turbine and project size within the industry has steadily grown. The result is a void in the market between very large wind plants and small residentially operated wind turbines.
The identified void in the market for projects less than 40 MW in size provides Carter with a niche for utilizing our existing advanced technology Model 300/500 kW turbines. In this way the time/risk associated with bringing the lower cost of energy advantages of the Carter technology to market is significantly reduced.
USAID Power Africa
Wind for Prosperity
Ten Island Renewable Energy Challenge
Three Generations of Texas Wind Men
What is significant about the Carter wind turbine design and what is the technologies competitive advantage?
The competitive advantage of the Carter turbine is in the two blade design which eliminates or reduces many of the loads encountered by three bladed turbines. Inherently, the rigid three-blade design must overcome both gyroscopic and aerodynamic loads. The teetering, two bladed downwind design, on the other hand, avoids gyroscopic loads altogether and minimizes aerodynamic loads through creative design features such as the flexible blades and teetering hub. By minimizing stress loads through optimization, turbines can be designed to weigh a fraction of three bladed designs while still delivering equivalent energy. The lighter weight results in lower manufacturing, transportation costs, installation, and maintenance costs which in turn results in a lower cost of energy.
Since the proposed wind turbine uses a teetering rotor design that produces no gyroscopic loads, the turbine can be erected on a flexible tall tilt-up tower secured with guy wires. The tilt-up tower is lighter and less expensive to manufacture than competing free standing designs. Foundation costs are less (1/5 to 1/10) than that required for free standing towers with the same rotor diameter and tower heights. The tilt-up design eliminates the need for tall cranes, which dramatically reduces installation costs. Also, installation and heavy maintenance can be performed safely on the ground, even in high winds. This substantially reduces maintenance costs. The guyed tower's maximum bending moment occurs where the upper guy cables attach (blade radius from hub height.) Its maximum diameter for a given tower height and rotor diameter will be much smaller than a free standing tower. For this reason, the guyed tower can be much taller for a given rated/diameter wind turbine. Wind speed increases with altitude, and harvestable energy is a cubic function of wind speed. Because the guyed tower concept is structurally efficient, turbines can be placed at higher hub heights without an appreciable increase in overall installed cost. This results in significantly more annual energy production and increased capacity factor.
The technology is most significant in that it produces 4 times the energy per pound of equipment weight versus competing turbines in the market. More energy with less equipment weight means a lower cost of energy. This achievement has been accomplished by successfully integrating the enabling technologies of the helicopter industry into our wind turbine design. The result is a wind turbine that produces electricity at a cost that is competitive with the lowest cost fossil fueled power plant without subsidy.
As a result of the lower weight fraction, this technology is scalable to multi-MW onshore and offshore turbines.
Why do you call this technology disruptive, if it has been around for so many years?
Carter technology first emerged in the 1970's when wind power was not supported in the US. As wind power emerged in the 1990's and 2000's, the large companies adopted the 3 bladed European designs and quickly found that the cost of this design is supported in Europe by higher energy prices, but is not supported in the US unless subsidized. By understanding the cost/competitiveness demonstrated by the past Carter units, and recognizing today's dependence on subsidies by the large/3 bladed machines, Carter sees a tremendous opportunity. Carter did not have the opportunity to ramp up the use of this technology at the time when wind became recognized as a viable source of energy. The cost of energy generated with this technology is cost competitive with the fuel costs (natural gas, coal, and oil) of conventional power generation without the need for subsidy. Deployment of this technology is not reliant on political whims. Low cost, distributed power brings the potential opportunity of increased productivity in developing countries. For developing countries needing power, but without the infrastructure capital and water required for typical low cost power generation.
What limits other people from copying your design?
The Carter wind turbine configuration has many innovative features that must work in unison to eliminate gyroscopic loads and substantially reduce aerodynamic loads. Field experience provides the proven knowledge needed for how these subsystems interact and most importantly how they must be designed to work together to reduce weight/cost, allowing higher safety margins and improved reliability. Carter Wind Energy started in 1976 and has many hundreds of turbines installed throughout the world with many having operated for over 3 decades. It is this experience for the why and how (IP), that drawings/hardware do not define which inhibits others from replicating the design.
What evidence is there that multi-MW, 2-blade, downwind turbines are feasible?
There have been significant prior US government funded development programs in the early 1980’s with large industry partners in the past that focused exclusively on multi-MW, 2-blade wind turbine designs. Industry partners who had the technical capabilities to understand the significant advantages of a wind turbine designed using proven helicopter technology.
- Mod program – Boeing, Lockheed, United Technologies, & GE.
- The Mod 4 turbine was built under contract with Hamilton Standard (a United Technologies company) and was a 4 MW 2-blade downwind turbine.
- Hamilton Standard helped fund the Carter 300kW turbine as an alternative to their design.
Commercial success of US development programs and similar private ventures such as Carter’s was limited due mainly to US market conditions. High energy prices of the 70’s were replaced by lower energy prices in the 80’s which in turn depressed political, utility, financial, and commercial support of alternative energy in the US.
- Alternative energy development shifted to Europe. This shift prompted Carter to search for European manufacturing/investment partners such as DITT in France, MAN in Germany, and private funding through a consortium of individual English investors. This allowed Carter to be one of only two US turbine manufactures to survive once the federal incentives expired in the mid 80’s. Carter survived because of the reliability track record of the 25kW and 300kW turbines, but most importantly because our product was cost competitive without incentives.
- Had incentives remained in place, the US market would not have collapsed and it feasible to believe US technologies would have survived its early infancy and obtained greater commercial success.
- By the time the US introduced the Production Tax Credit in 1992 to restart the US market; European manufactures/designs had an upper hand because they survived the downturn through European subsidy of projects installed in Europe with European manufactures. As a result the European design was readily available to deploy and became dominant in the US market.
Why don’t conventional 3 blade turbines use a self-erecting guyed tower?
The lower nacelle/blade weight vs. swept area is enabled by downwind, teetering hub, and flexible rotor system. This configuration eliminates gyroscopic loads into the hub. As a result, a flexible (vs. rigid), guyed tower can be utilized if desired. Assuming an equivalent turbine of similar swept area/power rating, (max thrust loads) a guyed tower turbine can be more than 2.0 times taller than a monopole structure/foundation for the same cost. The net result is higher average wind velocity/annual energy production. The added benefit is that the turbine can be erected and maintained without a crane. A 200m guyed tower structure is feasible for larger Carter turbines.
Comparison - Carter self-erecting vs direct drive vs flying wind turbine.
Carter self-erecting wind turbine
The guyed tower Carter Wind utilizes is not only light weight, but self-erecting (no cranes for installation, maintenance, or removal) and requires significantly less excavation and concrete/rebar than a traditional free standing turbine of the same height and rotor diameter. Self-erecting capabilities reduces turbine downtime, O&M costs, and budgeting uncertainty by eliminating the need for cranes. Additionally, the physical size and weight of our medium size turbines makes shipment/transport significantly less complicated/expensive. As a result, it is economical and practical to redeploy our turbines to different sites as required.
The mobility/portability of our medium size turbines is compelling to many customers seeking turbines that are less than 1.0MW. Additionally, the turbine is very well suited for extreme environment (hurricane/typhoon), remote power or semi-permanent power applications needing 100kW-40MW to supplement high cost heavy fuel power generation.
Direct drive wind turbine
Direct drive wind turbines must offset their higher initial capital costs through a presumed assumption of improved reliability and the potential future reduction in O&M costs that are most directly associated with crane costs. For remote locations, where availability of cranes is limited and more costly, and the cost of down time is higher, operators seek any perceived opportunity for potential improved reliability. A self-erecting turbine achieves the objective of higher uptimes/availabilities and lower O&M costs by eliminating the need for cranes, but without the higher initial capital cost of the direct drive turbine.
Flying wind turbine
Although there is theoretical potential associated with a flying wind turbine, the real world practicality is highly subjective. The tether and requirements for large amounts of back-up power are two of many critical single points of failure that could cause catastrophic loss of the entire turbine, but also surrounding structures. The practicality and reliability growth of operation in real world conditions with many single point failure modes is highly questionable. i.e. thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail, lightening, extreme wind shear, icing, etc. What will be the offsets required to safely operate in proximity to humans considering the immense potential area of impact when flying 1,000+ feet above the ground and with 360 degrees of operation tracking wind direction changes? When considering the additional redundant systems and required aviation type reliability that will likely be required to operate, can the flying turbines achieve their anticipated cost projections or required weight fraction?
The flying turbine is self-erecting and can reach higher heights above ground than conventional free-standing wind turbines, but so can a guyed, tilt-up tower. Maybe a flying turbine makes sense on Mars or even potentially offshore, but not on land for distributed power generation applications. (i.e. near load, populated areas).
Carter Wind Energy has 35 years of wind energy experience and is an industry leader and pioneer of the light-weight, two-blade wind turbine design. Carter built its first turbine in 1976 and then sold its first in 1979 to the US Department of Agriculture in Bushland, TX. This led to several hundred turbines being installed throughout the Great Plains and throughout the world. Our turbines were installed in the first commercial wind farm in San Gorgonio, Ca. (1982) and in Texas (1992). Having installed more than 800 turbines around the world, accumulating millions of operating hours, this technology has the proven potential to be a real game changer.
Carter Wind Energy, LLC (CWE) is a privately held company reorganized in 2001 by Jay Carter Jr. and Matt Carter.
Matt Carter is President and Chief Executive Officer of Carter Wind Energy and also an owner and actively involved in Carter Aviation Technologies, an innovative fourth generation rotorcraft technology, combining the best attributes of helicopters with fixed wing aircraft. Matt is an engineer, holding a BS in Mechanical Engineering with 18 years of business experience in the wind energy and aerospace industry. Matt’s entrepreneurial leadership experience is in areas of business development, wind project development, and technology licensing. Additional experience in wind turbine design, manufacturing, and wind project O&M.
Jay Carter, Jr. is Chief Technology Officer of Carter Wind Energy and Chairman of Carter Aviation Technologies. Jay is an engineer, holding a BS in Mechanical Engineering and is a proven and experienced engineer, manager, and entrepreneur with 44 years in the aviation and wind energy industries. Jay has received numerous industry awards including the American Wind Energy Associations “Wind Energy Person of the Year” and the American Helicopter Societies "Paul E. Haueter Award".
Our Values - With integrity and a passion for excellence, utilize our individual talents as part of a team to create impactful value for the greater good of humanity.
Our Vision - Establish Carter Wind Energy as the recognized technology leader for low cost wind energy and become the premier supplier of wind turbine technology to the global electric power generation market.
Our Mission - Carter Wind Energy will concept, design, engineer, develop, manufacture, market and sell wind energy products which allow Carter, its partners and customers to grow profitably.
PO Box 9680
Wichita Falls, Texas 76308