Currently, a client in rural Oregon, who owns a windy butte, is looking at installing a major sized wind generator on the mountain top, and selling power back to the grid. All of that sounds like fun, but what about a normal residential client who wants to look at wind generation? The fact is that small wind-electric systems can provide electricity not just on remote, off-grid sites, but also right in town connected to the utility grid. Local ordinances preventing wind generation are quickly being abolished in many jurisdictions, so be sure to check for local prohibitions. Wind systems do require more maintenance and attention than solar-electric or micro-hydro electric systems.
Unfortunately there are a lot of cheap systems on the market, which will break down after a year or two. But, if you do the due-diligence research before investing in a system, there is some great stuff on the market. Be warned: small-scale wind energy is not for the half-hearted, uninvolved, or uncommitted, and probably not for folks who never change the oil in their vehicles, or those who are not willing to spend the bucks to hire someone to do the tower work on their wind generator. But, for clients who are willing to do the homework before purchasing, designing, and installing a well-thought-out system and who are committed to maintaining the systems, or to hiring someone to do it regularly, this can be a great way to be “Green”.
So, if you have a client who is into wind, then go to one of my favorite info sources, Home Power Magazine, to find excellent articles on Wind Energy:
- Estimating Wind Energy
- Wind Generator Tower Basics
- Wind-Electric Systems Simplified
- How To Buy a Wind-Electric System
- Wind Turbine Buyer´s Guide
About the author
Alan Huguenot, Certified Energy Plans Examiner (CEPE), ASHRAE, NFPA, BCA, CABEC, U.S. Green Building Council (LEED) with over 20 years experience as a Mechanical Engineer and Commissioning Agent (CxA). As a California Certified Energy Analyst (CEA), Alan provides Residential Energy Audits and full HVAC and plumbing commissioning services, to make sure that the systems in the residence are operating at their full rated efficiency.