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Small wind turbines might not be worthwhile  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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The Oil drum just published some results of real-world testing of small wind turbines:

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6954

There are a lot of ways this technology can go wrong. If they're placed somewhere that isn't very windy, they might consume more energy than they harvest. In some cases, the time to payback of their embodied energy is many times as long as they are expected to last.

I'm a little more positive on this technology than the tone of that article, though. I think it's important for people to learn, and some waste always occurs in the process of education, research, and development. Simpler, more-robust, less energy-intensive, more localized, and less condition-sensitive designs will result from a broad-based deployment of small and medium wind turbines, and it makes a lot of sense for tinkerers to begin with small designs.

Wind turbines can also be useful to charge batteries off the grid, in which case even a failure to pay back embodied energy is OK, as long as it is better than hauling generator fuel to the site.
 
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Location: Pennsylvania
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I have heard and read nearly the same thing. I recently read "Homebrew wind power" by Dan Bartman and Dan Fink and this was address in a bit of detail. This is a very good book on the subject of not just building wind turbines but also accessing how they will work for your site.
kent
 
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Size matters. Low-tech magazine has some great articles on wind turbines and the historic use of windmills.

http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2009/04/small-windmills-test-results.html

http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2008/09/urban-windmills.html

http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2009/10/history-of-industrial-windmills.html

I really love the Low-tech Magazine site. Lots of great articles on the historic (and forgotten) uses of technology. We can learn a lot from the past.
 
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It has been several years (maybe around 2008?) since I did any research on small wind turbines. At that time, the average cost with government incentives was about $30,000 to install. This forum doesn't seem to get a lot of activity but I am wondering if turbines have become more affordable since my original research? I live in an area that would benefit from wind power more than solar. It is just too overcast to provide the full benefit of solar power, from what I have been reading recently on Permies.
 
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Location: Arkansas
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I read the article on theoildrum.com. The technology is not "fundamentally flawed" because I think two important factors were missed:
1. Wind power generation (as it relates to residential applications) is new, and all new technologies are week, wasteful, and impractical from a cost point of view. (Just take computers as an example, or any other consumer electronic device.They get cheaper as they gain technological advancements, acceptance and popularity. Or look at the GM EV-1 back in the 90's. Impractical, expensive, not profitable, marginally dependable... now there's the Volt, Leaf, Prius, etc. and they are cheap, profitable, and dependable.)
2. It is not a direct replacement for grid power. It is supplemental. I think most of us here would agree that humans need to change the way we use power, and be less wasteful, and take a different approach to... well, everything. It does not have to be 61 Degrees in your Man Cave all summer long.

Just my two cents y'all.
 
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G'day Mates,
I've been reading this forum for a while but decided it would be more interesting to contribute.
I currently utilize a hybrid system wth 16 solar panels and a 3 kW wind turbine. They charge 24 AGM batteries. I am using most of it but a little bit goes back into the grid.
As long as the grid is working (and that may not be long given the fact that the Iranians have completed their "project") I use grid power for things like the water fountain heaters for my cattle.
So far, the system is powerful enough to do almost all of what I actually need to be, shall we say, reasonalby comfortable in the 20th century way.
As for the small wind turbine not being worthwhile, I would suggest that the author of that statement live without any power, then put a small turbine on line with adequate battery system and see if their mind changes.
I have a 6000 watt inverter. I am able to use my lights (all CFC or LED), my frig and chest freezer, my washing machine, the well pump, a tankless water heater (propane) and the geothermal heat or pellet stove if things go really "south".
Obviously, not all of it can be used at the same time, but as you can see, I am able to live "within my means" (Energy-wise) and be able to enjoy the 20th century.
Now that I have this system up and running, I am working on building a rocket-mass heater and some assorted rocket stoves.
Since electrical energy is the one thing that separates us from the 18th or 19th century I believe that we can invest in alternative sources now so that if we get an "EMP" or some other form of "disturbance" life will continue at something that resembles sanity...assuming the rest of the world does NOT go completely haywire.
YMMV
Saepe Expertus, Semper Fidlis, Fratres Aeterni
Trim sends
//BT//
 
pollinator
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I would suggest that the author of that statement live without any power, then put a small turbine on line with adequate battery system and see if their mind changes.



Good point Gerald !

We too have a hybrid system and in winter it's often the two little Rutland 910s (17 and 20 years old this year) that allow us to have electricity.
 
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Hey all!
I really disagree it is not worthwhile.
The thing is that you need to have strategy in each business, which means you need to have strategy for small wind turbines, too!¨
I liked the idea of coastal wind turbines, made by Statoil. They have created wind turbines that are placed in the deep water. Thinking to implement the same thing
In the end, it is a small turbine, because most of it is in the water.
Check this out http://www.evolving-science.com/matter-energy-energy/powering-world-wind-turbines-00431
 
pollinator
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The article is definitely from the oily drum, you can feel the beat! Like everything oily, big is best....to big for the plebs to adopt.... even better, just like all solar technologies, (wind, geothermal, pv, solar thermal, hydro)

Pretty funny that people have had large success with smallscale wind electricity for a hundred years and more.

http://www.jacobswind.net/

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/environment/2008/oct/17/wind-power-renewable-energy

Its like home building.... i have seen many different outcomes depending on budget, materials, design and skill/knowledge level and care/effort of the makers. Wind installations are no different.

The generators in the dutch test are lined up way too close to each other.
Even with a prevailing wind direction that broadsides the line of towers, they are closer than recommended by manufacturers and installers.

The building mounted generators with hubs 10 feet above rooflines are doomed to underperform. The same generators mounted in a 9- 12mph avg wind stream 40 feet taller than any obstruction within 400 feet of the base should yield much better performance and is a common guide to siting wind generators.
 
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Sadly I agree with the oil drum, at least from a turn key point of view.

My Uncle has a 5000 watt wind mill and it cost him $14,000 for the entire unit. It is grid ties so it does not work when the power is out, and yet it only saves him around $65 per month in electric costs, or about half his normal bill. So a wee bit of math quickly shows that it will take him 18 years to pay off. By that time the wind mill will be junk...assuming it never needs service, and it has...twice.

That is the good news...

The bad news is, his wind mill screws me over royally, along with everyone else on the grid. While he is well-off financially as his wife worked high up for the federal government, he has the means to buy "toys" like that. Myself a full time farmer, I do not. But this is not about jealousy, this is about numbers, and so the current regulation is, for every kw he puts on the grid, he gets a credit of a kw. That means he is actually being paid retail prices for his wholesale produced electricity...that is already costing me more money than what my electric company could purchase from a power producer like hydro dam, boiler, giant wind mill, etc. Yet they can't because they are obligated to buy power from him, and others like him.

But it only gets worse...

Because the price of electricity continues to rise; him, along with others who have the ability to buy toys that have environmental rebates through the federal government, I not only pay in higher taxes, I also pay in higher electrical rates. Because the grid is based on pay-as-much-as-you-use, the wealthy buy the really expensive, but really low consumption products, YET the cost to maintain power lines continues to go up. labor, equipment, etc with less incomes from power consumption sales means the price per kw has to go up, and in Maine it is, again, 8% this month! So this just causes my Uncle to go out and buy more energy saving products, along with heat pumps, geothermal, solar, etc and a ton of other toys to play with, all while making my power bill go higher and higher.  It is what they call the grid death spiral and no one is saying anything about it. Sadly I do not see the rebates stopping soon, that would be crazy, imagine a politician saying they wanted to end such nonsense, their opponents in the next election would paint them as being against the environment!

Going 100% off grid helps those that do so, but also hurts those that stay grid tied.

There is no easy answer here. Talk is being made about a flat fee electrical system, that is everyone pays the same if you are tied to the grid no matter how much is consumed. It might help, but also introduce a host of other problems too.

Ultimately, building a low cost wind mill would reduce the overall return on investment of the wind mill, but not the other aspects of being grid-tied, or 100% off-grid.
 
frank li
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Travis Johnson wrote:Sadly I agree with the oil drum, at least from a turn key point of view.

My Uncle has a 5000 watt wind mill and it cost him $14,000 for the entire unit. It is grid ties so it does not work when the power is out, and yet it only saves him around $65 per month in electric costs, or about half his normal bill. So a wee bit of math quickly shows that it will take him 18 years to pay off. By that time the wind mill will be junk...assuming it never needs service, and it has...twice.

That is the good news...

The bad news is, his wind mill screws me over royally, along with everyone else on the grid. While he is well-off financially as his wife worked high up for the federal government, he has the means to buy "toys" like that. Myself a full time farmer, I do not. But this is not about jealousy, this is about numbers, and so the current regulation is, for every kw he puts on the grid, he gets a credit of a kw. That means he is actually being paid retail prices for his wholesale produced electricity...that is already costing me more money than what my electric company could purchase from a power producer like hydro dam, boiler, giant wind mill, etc. Yet they can't because they are obligated to buy power from him, and others like him.

But it only gets worse...

Because the price of electricity continues to rise; him, along with others who have the ability to buy toys that have environmental rebates through the federal government, I not only pay in higher taxes, I also pay in higher electrical rates. Because the grid is based on pay-as-much-as-you-use, the wealthy buy the really expensive, but really low consumption products, YET the cost to maintain power lines continues to go up. labor, equipment, etc with less incomes from power consumption sales means the price per kw has to go up, and in Maine it is, again, 8% this month! So this just causes my Uncle to go out and buy more energy saving products, along with heat pumps, geothermal, solar, etc and a ton of other toys to play with, all while making my power bill go higher and higher.  It is what they call the grid death spiral and no one is saying anything about it. Sadly I do not see the rebates stopping soon, that would be crazy, imagine a politician saying they wanted to end such nonsense, their opponents in the next election would paint them as being against the environment!

Going 100% off grid helps those that do so, but also hurts those that stay grid tied.

There is no easy answer here. Talk is being made about a flat fee electrical system, that is everyone pays the same if you are tied to the grid no matter how much is consumed. It might help, but also introduce a host of other problems too.

Ultimately, building a low cost wind mill would reduce the overall return on investment of the wind mill, but not the other aspects of being grid-tied, or 100% off-grid.



All i can say is.....

What? You must be kidding or ruthlessly tied to your own financial economics which are likely gleaned from industry propaganda. If your uncle bought a high quality generator, he should be just due for his fourth gear lube change in 20 years and an overhaul by around 35 years of operation.

We make our own electricity available onsite with solarand accepted not one penny of tax rebate or other incentive. All this and financially below poverty,

so i cut and paste for you!

I contest this. The advantages are known to be neutral much of the time when we are not at peak demand. Extra power during peak demand helps the grid with capapacity on the generation side and the distribution side by enhancing efficiency and off-setting the stress of peak demand on the entire system even if its a small fraction now. 

By that same token in return, people not adopting remewables for grid support or grid defection cost me money because you have made fuel resources scarce and increased my healthcare costs! 
And, because we are off grid, you are costing me money because i do not have a service connection and our taxes still subsidize your power bills. 

I do not think quite, that way. 
I will lean in that direction when people pull the 'you cost me money by using equipment belonging to the company i pay for power' though...it gets my hackles up because there is a net benefit to all involved parties even though if they dont belong to the net metering agreement, they dont have interest enough to be heard in-between or over the parties who have a direct interest, the utility and the intertied systems owner. This gets thicker and trickier as we ARE talking state regulation of a utility and i do have a bias. 

In michigan its more like an exchange than a person selling anything. One for one of the same material.

Renewables arguably have a higer value by extending fuel resources and reducing environmental impact. If we could put a number on it... 

I think it is the utility double dipping and greedily raising rates because of percieved loss of profit in the face of...record profits, that twists your abacus out of whack. That and being spoiled by artificially cheap energy. 

And i am not directing this rhetoric at you so much, Glen, as the idea. 

What i would actually rather see is, all subsidies removed from both fueled power and renewable energy and people pay the true price for energy. 
That would shape up our priorities right quick. 


 
pollinator
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Travis Johnson wrote:Sadly I agree with the oil drum, at least from a turn key point of view.


Because the price of electricity continues to rise; him, along with others who have the ability to buy toys that have environmental rebates through the federal government, I not only pay in higher taxes, I also pay in higher electrical rates. Because the grid is based on pay-as-much-as-you-use, the wealthy buy the really expensive, but really low consumption products, YET the cost to maintain power lines continues to go up. labor, equipment, etc with less incomes from power consumption sales means the price per kw has to go up, and in Maine it is, again, 8% this month! So this just causes my Uncle to go out and buy more energy saving products, along with heat pumps, geothermal, solar, etc and a ton of other toys to play with, all while making my power bill go higher and higher.  It is what they call the grid death spiral and no one is saying anything about it. Sadly I do not see the rebates stopping soon, that would be crazy, imagine a politician saying they wanted to end such nonsense, their opponents in the next election would paint them as being against the environment!

Going 100% off grid helps those that do so, but also hurts those that stay grid tied.

There is no easy answer here. Talk is being made about a flat fee electrical system, that is everyone pays the same if you are tied to the grid no matter how much is consumed. It might help, but also introduce a host of other problems too.

Ultimately, building a low cost wind mill would reduce the overall return on investment of the wind mill, but not the other aspects of being grid-tied, or 100% off-grid.



While I agree with much that you're saying, I disagree about the taxes.  Tax rebates don't 'technically' increase taxes for others, all they do is reduce revenue (from that individual)  In a sensible government, that might make a difference.  However, the one thing you can guarantee about the US government, no matter how much revenue they take in, they will spend all of it and then some more.
All things considered, I'd rather see some of that revenue going to buy green toys (that at least help a tiny bit) than have the government spend the same money on grants for gay porn, or studying African Teensy flies, or whatever other boondoggle is currently popular.

Almost everyone can conserve energy, LED lights are now down to $1 ea and make a significant difference in your electric bill.  Air source heat-pumps are not much more expensive that a gas furnace, and cheaper than a furnace and AC combination.  If you live somewhere that they work effectively and don't have one, then that's on you, not your uncle.

If someone wants to go off-grid, well more power to them.  It's certainly not their responsibility to help you pay your electric bill.  That sounds a bit like those folks that feel they are 'entitled' to have other people pay for their lifestyle.
 
Travis Johnson
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I stand by what I say. Financially speaking, small turn-key wind turbines do not make financial sense.

While I recognize that this is posted in a forum teeming with alternative power...something that is near and dear to my heart as well, the cost of turn-key wind generation either has to come down in cost, or small wind generation has to be home-built...my preference...to be feasible. I gave a real world, real life experience that was refuted, but not with data, rather based on emotion. "We have a wind mill and we love it", does not mean it is economically makes sense.

If you reread my post you will simply see what I was pointing out; the hidden cost of renewable power based on rebates from the government, and the cost of maintaining the grid as is based upon the current pay-per-kw basis.

You cannot tell me that if millions of dollars was not spent on rebates, we would have lower taxes. If I don't have a car payment, I have more money to spend on candy...it is that simple. Whether or not we should as a society spend money on alternative energy is an emotional response that is beyond the scope of what I wrote, and what the article is saying. Again, fiscally speaking, from my experience of a turn key, real world example, small wind mills are not cost effective.

You cannot tell me either that if 500,000 people in my state of 1,000,000 suddenly goes off-grid, electric rates would not go sky high because less people are paying to maintain the grid. Again, whether we all should go off grid or not is an emotional based one, not fiscally based. I plan to go off-grid in the coming years when the kids are out of the house, but there is no question it is a hidden cost to me as a grid-tied homeowner every time someone goes off grid in the State of Maine right now. Too look at it a different way, if half my town suddenly put their land in tree growth, my taxes would have to go up so that my towns expenses were somehow paid. Again it is that simple.

What the government could/should spend government tax payer dollars is worthy of the cider press and not allowed, nor should be discussed here. I limited my response to only that of the rebates given to wind power generation and how it effects the hidden cost of grid-based wind mills.




 
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The idea that people who use the grid shouldn't have to pay for that use is obviously not sustainable. Without knowing specifically all the schedules in every state (some of them quite complex varying according to time of day, peak usage, etc) the power companies and state governments  (and FERC) are trying to find that place/ rate schedule that works best for everybody.

Fossil fuels get massive subsidies at this point, many of them unseen. For instance, the ACP wants to put a natural gas pipe through the national forests and numerous 300-400 year old forests--it wants to explode its way through karst formations that actually feed and filter water into pristine trout streams, going through the birthplace of rivers, cutting trees on steep slopes and leaving a clear cut right of way for decades to come increasing erosion, possibly (likely) causing landslides that could do untold damage--and much of this cost is uncounted, these are all hidden/eco damage subsidies. (don't even get me started on the uncompensated damage fracking does, both to personal property and the environment in general.)

Add onto that the guaranteed 14% return on investment just for building the pipeline, and all the electricity users will be subsidizing that. Just because those subsidies have been going on forever and people don't think about them doesn't make them  less of a subsidy.

The economic feasibility of these wind systems may be questionable depending on size and alternatives, available wind, etc. I prefer solar in general, but on a cold stormy night with low batteries I love a wind generator.

Of course all wind gens aren't equal, my experience with small 1000 watt sized that mount on a 20 foot pole has been good, it doesn't take long to pay back 3-400$ cost of the wind gen in saved gasoline that would have been used  to power a gas generator backup to a solar array. (I have eeven jumped my house batteries from my car charging system in a pinch--talk about waste) Perhaps the 14kw sized wind gens get to that awkward stage where they are more a toy with limited payback and too much maintenance--with a grid tie solar array I probably wouldn't use a wind generator of any size.

But hey, it's not my money being spent and I have no real argument with someone that wants to play with alternate energy on any level. At this point in time we're all still trying to figure it out. By the time half of all the electricity in the grid is coming from decentralized production, I'm pretty sure they will have figured out a way to fairly charge each local producer, but for now, I'm in favor of subsidizing alternatives, we all have to get there anyway, and refinements of the details will have to come or the system will collapse of it's own weight
 
pollinator
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Travis Johnson wrote:

You cannot tell me either that if 500,000 people in my state of 1,000,000 suddenly goes off-grid, electric rates would not go sky high because less people are paying to maintain the grid.



Travis, isn't that the same thing people who use grocery stores would say if 500,000 people of 1,000,000 started growing their own food?  Someone is still going to pay to keep the lights on and the shelves full at the local Walmart superstore.
 
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There are some really small wind turbines available for home use 500W @240v from Sweden, I think they even have a smaller one The turbine its-self is only 1m in diameter From my analysis of a 600W one We would produce around half our electric usage yearly with a 600W turbine, but of course a fair proportion of that would go back to the grid over night, and here the price you get back isn't worth anything But we pay over 30c a KWH  (68%+25% TAX!) When I ran the maths a couple of years ago it would take 7-8 years to pay back. Solar however would be 20+ years since they reduced the subsidies.
In short where I am no small scale installation is worth it on a money standpoint. If you could get a whole house battery cheap enough then it would change the equation as we pay over 10x as much as they pay us for electricity.
 
Travis Johnson
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Todd Parr wrote:

Travis Johnson wrote:

You cannot tell me either that if 500,000 people in my state of 1,000,000 suddenly goes off-grid, electric rates would not go sky high because less people are paying to maintain the grid.



Travis, isn't that the same thing people who use grocery stores would say if 500,000 people of 1,000,000 started growing their own food?  Someone is still going to pay to keep the lights on and the shelves full at the local Walmart superstore.



Not really because people can chose to go to any store they wish, so competition keeps the costs down. If Walmart was in a town of say 10,000 people, and half started growing their own food, it would most likely close, only because Walmart's business model is volume business, not customer service or quality. It is not quite that way with a monopoly, I cannot go anywhere else.

Technically Maine no longer has a monopoly on power, but that is not entirely true, Central Maine Power is the only line I can tap into, and in a lot of ways that is good, as Bob points out, can you imagine the network of lines that would cross cross this country if x company went to my house, and y company went to my neighbors...all the way from the turbine and substations? But it is also bad...it should not come as a surprise that Central Maine Power Employees are also the highest paid in the state. Part of that stems from their dangerous blue collar jobs, but also because only 3 people regulate the cost of a monopoly on what most American's consider a necessity...grid tied electricity. Those three people are the Maine Public Utilities Commission Board, and they get an earful from me!

This is nearing Cider Press status here so I cannot say much, but Maine People would be outraged if they knew what occurred at the PUC level and why the State Attorney's general was called in, and then they dropped the charges against the former PUC members just a few years ago. It was 100% related to wind power, the Key Stone Pipeline and our current Senator.
 
frank li
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Because of this post and observations at our site, against my prior pv puritanism, we are going to install a 1500w wind generator for next winter, which is coming!

And, because they are expensive and dont work...!

Observation and understanding is key. Where our budget is not a sledgehammer, we stop gaps with what works well enough. At our site a small wind generator will suit just perfectly.

As much as towers and whirl-i-gigs add complexity and cost, in our case an internal combustion engine is out of the question for those reasons (major distaste for ICE generators) and as much as it hurts the on grid community, im just the callous person and impoverished fellow with enough determination to go ahead and raise your rates along with my wind gennie!

I cant believe people actually take the "tact", that my off grid costs them money or enjoyment. It is a weak argument, but the extra power and hot water that the wind generator provides will be perfect. And if it helps the bean counters we will definitely not persue any type of tax or rebate incentive to do so, its all our own!

 
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I was literally just on the computer looking at wind turbines right before I saw this post.  I'm fully off grid.

I have a 600w turbine installed, and I plan on installing at least two more.  I went with multiple smaller turbines instead of a single larger one for redundancy.  The turbines won't generate anywhere near the majority of my power considering how much wind I get and how often, but the investment in them is worth the cost for me.  The majority of my power comes from my PV setup.  But on windy nights and cloudy windy days it's very nice to offset my power consumption with the turbines, and if the wind blows hard enough it'll keep my battery bank fully charged...and then some.
 
pollinator
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I tought i noticed a recent post on wind power on this site - i don't find it back so perhaps i'm mistaken.

Here in Belgium most studies say that small scale wind is not economical, however that is subject to fiscal and financial concerns and limits posed by building codes. If you have no alternative windpower makes sense i guess.

Small wind power production is not a subject, i generally look into. No practical use to us given our circumstances. However i noticed this windmill - perhaps somebody here, can use the link.

https://solarenterprise.eu/en/eolie-500-2/

 
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Peter VanDerWal wrote:
While I agree with much that you're saying, I disagree about the taxes.  Tax rebates don't 'technically' increase taxes for others, all they do is reduce revenue (from that individual)  In a sensible government, that might make a difference.  However, the one thing you can guarantee about the US government, no matter how much revenue they take in, they will spend all of it and then some more.
All things considered, I'd rather see some of that revenue going to buy green toys (that at least help a tiny bit) than have the government spend the same money on grants for gay porn, or studying African Teensy flies, or whatever other boondoggle is currently popular.



I recently read and excellent book "A Fine Mess" which looks at the tax system in the USA.
https://www.amazon.com/Fine-Mess-Global-Simpler-Efficient/dp/1594205515

He talks in depth about the impact of rebates and special treatments for different industries, and points out that the rebate system in America is so widespread that almost every industry has some special treatment or other. The impact of this is a highly inefficient system (ie: tax lawyers and accountants make a killing administering it) that simultaneously forces the base tax rate higher.
Governments raise a certain amount through tax revenue - making large portions of the population exempt, or partially exempt, through rebates means the taxes need to get raised from fewer and fewer people. When tax rates get too high people protest, or stop paying.

The book is a very interesting read, and particularly helpful for understanding the unintended consequences of complex tax law and rebate systems.
 
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Erwin
I sent an email asking for small details like power out put and cost that appear to be missing from the advert :-)
Not a good sign

David
 
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http://web.eolie-energie.fr/?product=eolie500

I don't read French, but there are some numbers.
 
David Livingston
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These folks in Holland wanted 5,800€ and its a 500w machine  although the site Dale found was 1000€ cheaper :-)
I wonder how many solar panels I could get for this ?
David
 
Dale Hodgins
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My tenant uses very little power. He spent $600 on panels and about the same amount on a fiddly little windmill. About 90% of his power comes from the panels. I'm in a mountainous area where winds aren't predictable. It might be different if it were mounted along the seashore in an area with steady wind or possibly along the prairies.

The price of solar panels has been dropping for a long time. The price of windmills and maintenance of said windmills, doesn't seem to change nearly as much. So, for small installations, in most cases, solar wins.
 
David Livingston
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The price for this windmill is about the same as a 4 or 5 Kw solar panel system
Anyone any idea on how that would equate in real terms? Sounds like the solar system is 10 times as big :-)

David
 
Joshua Parke
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That amount of money for a machine that produces only 500w seems incredibly expensive.  Converted to my currency that's a little over $7,000.  I could build a 1kw 24v solar setup from scratch, with three battery banks using golf cart type batteries for that much money.  That would be PV panels, stands for the panels, batteries, battery box, 3000w pure sine wave inverter, fuses, charge controller, box to house the electronics, wiring and connectors, tools, switches, etc..  and it would probably still be less than $7,000 invested.

I paid $550 for my 600w turbine and it came with a charge controller.  No way would I pay $7,000 for a 500w wind turbine, that seems like a total scam.

I'm currently looking at a 2kw turbine that would be somewhere around a little over $1,500 for the turbine, charge controller, switch, fuse, wiring, pole....  Even if I were to splurge on parts I should be able to keep the investment under $2,000.  But I'm still looking and that's only one company.

I would invest in the PV setup first if you have more consistent sun than wind.  But if you live in a very windy area with more wind than sun, then it would make sense to use that to your advantage.  I live in a very sunny area, and most all of my energy comes from my PV setup, but the cloudy windy days and windy nights spin my turbine and keep my batteries charged.  So I find it to be a nice addition to my energy setup.
 
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Good debate. Wonder why commercial turbines are so big?  And getting bigger! Because the power produced is exponentially increased as the turbine windswept area increases. Power is proportional to the cube of the windswept area. Assuming other factors are constant.
I have a 24 V turbine waiting to go up because I believe in multiple sources of distributed energy. I think it's cool but I don't expect much from it.  I paid $1200 a few years ago. I think it would be fun to build a DIY axial flux alternator and carve the blades from spruce. I have not lived yet at a site where wind will outperform solar but hey are out there. If I get there that will be on my project bucket list.
I didn't see much mention of towers. In most sites the tall tower recommended costs more than the turbine. Some turbines might pay for themselves with a tall  tower. But in a very steady windy site maybe not necessary. As far as small turbines are concerned Ive been curious about flying numerous mini turbines on fence posts. Ease of installation and maintenance is important to me. Some may enjoy climbing towers but not me. The tilt down type are great but thats a lot of cables to deal with. Who has actually sent a wind gauge up 100 ft to check the difference? Not me but it's documented fact that most sites recommend a 80-100 ft tower.
Also, if they are not maintained then it won't be cost effective return on investment. Obviously like anything with moving parts and in extreme environment.
We could have a similar debate over solar tracking mechanisms. I would do one because it's cool. And useful. Or if there was no other option such as very limited space for more panels. Trackers are one more thing to break and maintain. My cargo trailer covered in panels is a tracker. I drive to the sunshine. I'm getting off topic.
I think it's very cool we can be our own power company.
 
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1kW Solar Panel Array =4kWhr/day or 120kWHr/month
1kW Hydro = 24kWHr/day or  720kWHr/month
1kW Windmill = 12kWHr/day or  360kWHr/month but only if you have 16mph winds at a height of 150ft which is around 10% of USA at a height of 30ft it is only 1% of USA
 
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