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Residential wind energy a lot of hot air?

All those large wind turbines along the highway make you want to run out and install a turbine in your backyard. But wait a darn minute because it may just make no sense or cents.

Over the last two months my home averaged 1,000 kwh of electricity. Can I generate all my electrical needs on site? The large ones along the highway generate 800 kilowatts an hour on average and would have to rotate for only 20 minutes a month, but my neighbors would complain and I would too at a cost of $2.5 million.

The large turbines generate electricity that goes into the grid where a home turbine generates electricity and continually recharges batteries. The electicity you would use then comes from the batteries.

The installed cost of the typical system can be $4,000 to $5,000 per kilowatt of generating capacity including a battery system.

I found several systems on the Internet in the 5kw range. In Iowa the average wind capacity factor is 33% which means whatever the rating of the system you only on average get 33%. So that 5kw turbine would generate on average 5kw times 720 hours per month times 33% equals about 1,200 kw.  That would theoretically handle my electrical needs but at a cost of $20,000 to $25,000.

I can buy electricity from MidAmerican Energy at about 9 cents a KWH. My electric bill last month was $100.  At that rate, which is during the summer peak load, the investment would take 20-25 years to pay for itself.  My suggestion instead is to conserve energy or do other measures like insulation or new windows.


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