Sunday, August 27, 2006

A Windmill for Your Backyard?

I am a big fan of wind power because it is the cheapest form of renewable energy currently available. The larger they are the more economical they become, so I had assumed that they would only make sense for large projects. This Southwest Windpower turbine might actually make sense for individual usage.

The Skystream 3.7, a wind generator from Southwest Windpower in Flagstaff, Ariz., stands 35 to 100 feet tall — depending on the location — and costs about half that of conventional turbines currently available.

Southwest Windpower is planning to mass produce the Skystream and sell it for between $10,000 to $12,000 installed, about half the cost of similar size turbines, which are typically assembled by hand on a much smaller scale.

According to the developers, the system could save the average homeowner $500 to $800 per year on electricity.

"I think Skystream has a chance to break the 10 cent per kilowatt hour at the best sites," said Jim Green, senior project manager at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's National Wind Technology Center in Golden, Colo.
$500 on a $10,000 investment is 5% a year (or if you assume it will just work for 40 years it goes down to 3.9%), which is not too bad. $.10 per kWh would make it price competitive with most residential power. If you live in a windy area, especially one that currently uses coal based electricity, this might make sense for you.

via Discovery Channel

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