Friday, July 28, 2006

Wind Power Generation

My latest project, that is very much a background project, is to add wind power generation to my home. My reasons for doing so are not primarily driven by economic reasons (although as the price of fossil fues rise, the economics get better and better, perhaps even to the point of paying off). My electric provider NOVEC is required by the state of Virginia to permit net metering (where my meter runs backwards when I'm generating more electricity than I'm using). I reached out to them via their web site "Contact Us" link and was suprised to get a knowledgable response within 1 hour! WOW. They were quite open in discussing the possiblities including:
NOVEC presently has no one with a wind system and three consumers with photovoltaic systems. I would recommend that you check the length of time for payback on the system you are reviewing. The photovoltaic systems, one an 8kw system and two are 1.4kw system, have shown an extremely long time before the cost of the system is recovered in savings. I would also compare the costs and savings to possible improvements in energy efficiencies (more insulation; high efficiency windows, doors, heating systems, etc>) for the home.

Which, if economics were a driving factor, would be good advice. Of course we do have a fairly good house from an energy perspective: Geothermal heating Brick enclosed, Tyvek Home Wrapped 1/2 inch plywood sheathed, 2x6 Walls with R-19 insulation.

So, why are we doing this if it isn't about economics? Well, economics do come into play, but more so, it's more a matter of a) do I want to burn my grandkids oil and b) do I want to contribute to global warming. I look at moving to renewable energy as a way of doing less of both and hopefully eventually making some money at the same time.

Still lots of work to do - things like figuring out the right type of system for my area and walking through the building & zoning process as there's a height limit of 35 feet here on most buildings and so I have to work out some form of an exception (I think) to put the windmill up where it needs to be (around 100 feet). As I was writing this, it's hot and very sunny outside here in VA, making me think also about solar energy... I'll keep you posted as I find out more.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bravo. Lots of information on small wind available here.

Good luck with your project!

Thomas O. Gray
American Wind Energy Association