Plowboy Interview: William H. Delp II on Hydroelectric and Wind Power

By the age of 24, Big Bill Delp already had started his own company specializing in hydroelectric power for small homesteads.


| July/August 1976



040-006-01

Big Bill Delp, manufacturer of the fastest and most homestead-sized hydroelectric impulse turbine in the west, stands beside one of the big, old turbine wheels that his new equipment is replacing.


PHOTOS: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

Away out West, running right up along Montana's north-western boundary, there's a range of peaks known as the Cabinet Mountains. And nestled down in those mountains is a river (the Clark Fork) that flows through the tiny town (a gas station, general store, school, and maybe ten houses) of Noxon. And just outside Noxon, up a dirt road, sits a rather ordinary Quonset hut. And inside that building—standing 6'7" and weighing 265 pounds—you'll find a man by the name of William H. Delp II.  

Now this fellow isn't just big physically. Bill Delps talents as a designer, manufacturer, and installer of "alternative" (water, wind, solar, methane, etc.) energy systems are just as outsized as his shoulders are broad. And the shadow that Delp has begun to cast—in the developing battle between ordinary citizens and the environment versus the vested interests of an entrenched power lobby—already stretches from Montana to Washington, D.C., and beyond. 

Big Bill Delp is young (28) and enthusiastic about putting low-impact technology directly into the hands of environmentally concerned people. He's also a capable technician who has personally pioneered new ways of getting that job done. Delp is licensed to work as a master electrician in the state of Montana, he's a founding member of the American Wind Energy Association, and he's the owner of a small (three-man) business—Independent Power Developers—that specializes in the design, fabrication, and installation of easy-on-the-planet energy systems.  

Although Bill works with a wide range of alternative energy hardware, he's currently best known for his breakthroughs in homestead-sized hydroelectric plants. Ed Vitale recently visited Delp's Quonset hut shop to inspect the "I.P.D. low-impact, high-head turbine-generator" . . . and found that Big Bill's work with this and related hardware has pulled Delp into a conflict that is destined to grow much bigger as decentralized sources of energy are increasingly tapped by the individual. During the conversation that ensued, Bill Delp revealed himself to be technically adept, vitally concerned about the fate of the planet and its "little people" at the hands of Big Business and Big Government, almost painfully devoted to careful documentation of all his statements . . . and a genuinely nice guy to know.  

Bill, you're a big, rugged, broad-shouldered guy—I'd guess about six foot seven and 265 pounds—who looks exactly like the type of fellow who'd tip his Stetson and say, "Howdy, ma'am" when the new frontier school-marm steps down out of the stagecoach. To put it another way, you surely do appear to belong here in the mountains of Montana. I hope you're not going to tell me that you just moved out from New Jersey last week. 

abvegail
12/31/2010 11:18:43 AM

We are scouting for Impulse Hydro Turbine suitable for about 600 gpm discharge (about 50 liters per second) @ 120 meter-head pipe pressure to be sustained by 20 x 14 pressure pumps actuate by wave motion. Sort of Impulse Hydro Turbine that could generate 50KVA on 100 - 120 meter-head and most likely four or more penstocks spiraling around the rotor blade drums with slower generator rotation of say around 700 – 800 rpm? One Impulse Turbine Generating Set to rate 50 KVA driven by 600 gpm x 120 meter-head from 0.50 cum primary tank to 4 - cum pressure tank sustained by 20 x 10 " diameter pressure pumps per set actuate by wave motion. The seven-buoy complex is composed of 14 units Impulse Hydro Turbine Generating sets capable of 700 - 800 KVA total power out put. The projected break-even in operation is about 4 – 6 years; depending on where the project is located.


abvegail
12/31/2010 11:08:03 AM

We are scouting for Impulse Hydro Turbine suitable for about 600 gpm discharge (about 50 liters per second) @ 120 meter-head pipe pressure to be sustained by 20 x 14 pressure pumps actuate by wave motion. Sort of Impulse Hydro Turbine that could generate 50KVA on 100 - 120 meter-head and most likely four or more penstocks spiraling around the rotor blade drums with slower generator rotation of say around 700 – 800 rpm? One Impulse Turbine Generating Set to rate 50 KVA driven by 600 gpm x 120 meter-head from 0.50 cum primary tank to 4 - cum pressure tank sustained by 20 x 10 " diameter pressure pumps per set actuate by wave motion. The seven-buoy complex is composed of 14 units Impulse Hydro Turbine Generating sets capable of 700 - 800 KVA total power out put. The projected break-even in operation is about 4 – 6 years; depending on where the project is located.






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