The increasing cost of energy along with doubts of safety of nuclear generation has more people looking at renewable energy sources for their homes and farms. One such source is wind, and while distributed wind generation is not a new concept, it is a concept that is gaining acceptance in the utility sector.
It’s the use of smaller wind turbines at homes, farms, businesses and public facilities to produce energy that can offset energy consumption from the grid. Trudy Forsyth is Senior Project Leader for the National Wind Technology Center. She says the increased acceptance by utilities is leading to a greater interest in distributed wind in the countryside…
“The first thing is really, is understanding what type of wind resource they have at their home or farm or wherever they may be, and whether they really have sufficient wind to make it economical. Of course, realizing that the further up into the atmosphere that you get, the faster the wind speed is, so the taller the tower you can put in, frankly, the better, from just generating kilowatt hours or electricity.”
According to Forsyth. the cost of a wind turbine is going to depend on the size. The smaller the turbine the higher the cost per watt. She says a one kilowatt system will cost somewhere between seven and ten-thousand installed. But there are resources available to help with the cost:
“There’s a federal investment tax credit which is good through 2016, which is considered very long-term federal policy, and it’s for 30% of the installed system cost up front, the year that you pay those monies, you can take it off on a tax credit. With that, some states and some utilities offer other incentives...”
Forsyth says the best way to learn more about the different state incentives is to check out The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency. The website is www.dsireusa.org. She suggests checking the database and talking with a utility service provider to see how easy it is to interconnect your system before making a purchase. By connecting a system to the grid - if a net metering policy is available - Forsyth says there’s an opportunity to get paid for any excess energy that’s produced.