Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Truly Affordable Wind Power

Here's some good news for folks who live in a zone with moderate amounts of wind: truly affordable personal windpower is here!

We found this one in our current issue of Popular Science, which features 2008's 100 Innovations of the Year. It's the Mariah Power Windspire, a compact, affordable wind turbine that can be installed just about anywhere.

According to the manufacturer, the Windspire is expected to generate approximately 2000 kwh's of electricity annually in a zone with 12 mph average windspeeds--what you could get on ridgelines in western Virginia, and in coastal zones along Virginia's shore.

The cost is roughly $5000--before the federal 30% tax credit. That's one-quarter what the Curmudgeon paid for solar panels that put out about 2500 kwh's per year.

Let's say it costs $5000 installed. You get back $1500 in federal tax credits, so your cost is $3500. If you live in Virginia, you're paying about $.11 per kwh for electricity from Dominion Power, so you're reducing your electric bill by $220/year. In less than 15 years, your Windspire would pay for itself, even if the price of electricity never went up (which is pretty unlikely).

You can get better paybacks from some conservation measures, but 15 years is not that bad an investment. It's certainly better than solar. And if utilities are required to pay consumers more for generating green electricity from wind, as proposed in some legislative schemes, the payback could be much quicker.

In any event, with the Windspire, you can do your part for the environment without breaking the bank.


Anonymous said...

My neighbors would love me if I installed that terrible-looking thing in my backyard.

X Curmudgeon said...

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Most of us have electric poles, electric wires, telephone wires and TV cable wires somewhere along our property (we have a transformer, too), but no one seems to notice.

Put up something new and folks are all aghast.

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