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The Right Wind Turbine for You
Sarah Kuck, 19 Jul 08


As gas prices climb and electricity prices follow, people looking for alternatives are turning to the wind. The popularity of wind energy is growing, but the turbines themselves are shrinking in size and cost, making affordable, personal wind power a reality.

Is wind power right for you? Absolutely, if you have the space and the resources, say Mike Bergey and Andy Kruse, co-founders of Bergey Wind Power and Southwest Wind Power, respectively.

Then all you need, Bergey and Kruse recently told, is to take a few first steps. To see if wind power makes sense for you economically, they suggest examining your electricity bill and your local wind speed:

These devices don’t come cheap. They start around $12,000. You may ask yourself if the money you save on your electric bills will amount to the money you spent on the wind turbine. “If you live in a state where electricity is very expensive, such as Alaska, Maine, or Hawaii, the payoff would be great, and would only take a couple of years,” says Kruse. “If you live in a state where electricity is not as expensive, the payoff may take up to fifteen years.”
Also, consider the wind speed in your area. An average minimum for local wind speeds of 10 MPH is required for the device to be effective. “Depending on your state’s wind speed, you can save anywhere from $100 to $300 a month on your electric bill,” says Bergey.

In addition, they recommend looking to see if your state offers any rebates. Both Bergey Wind Power and Southwest Wind Power offer a list of states that provide rebates on turbines.

But even if your pockets aren’t deep and your yard’s not expansive, you still have options and are likely to have more soon.

Take Freetricity’s roof-mounted micro turbine, for example. The E2D WindMaster is a battery-based system that can generate enough electricity to lower electric bills by at least 25 percent, according to Freetricity. The WindMaster ranges in price from $1,400 to $2,300, making them considerably less than their Goliath counterparts, which can cost 10 times as much.

If you’ve been thinking about wind power for awhile, but you just want more details, you can check out the American Wind Energy Association’s Wind Energy FAQ. Here you can find information about out how residential wind turbines work, how much they cost and how much they’ll save you, as well as practical answers about measurements, installation and maintenance.

The future of wind is bright, and many predicted it so (check out Worldchanging interviews with wind energy pioneers here and here). But with micro and refurbished vintage turbines helping to make wind power more accessible and affordable, that future looks like it's about to arrive.

UPDATE: See also "Innovation Powers Growth of Small Wind on Urban Rooftops" posted July 12, 2010.

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Great news, for me this is very timely information! My husband and I have been looking for a way to incorporate wind power into our home, but the steep price of the large turbines was holding us back. I am excited to learn more about the E2 Windmaster and hope to make it part of our plan to reduce energy costs.

Posted by: khris on 22 Jul 08

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