August 03, 2005
Wind energy to the home
I found a wind energy calculator to help you assess whether or not to install a turbine on your property, based on a Canadian wind atlas, plus lots of other stuff. I plugged in my postal code, and found out that my region rates as "Good" (a 3 on a six point scale). Fantastic! I'd love some free power. So, what exactly does "good" mean?
Based on my consumption, in my postal code, the calculator recommended 4 1kW generators, each on a 19m pole. Neighbors are gonna love that. But hey, maybe they like green power too, and won't be concerned by the bird kill.
Installation cost, including hardware and labor, is estimated at $25k. More than I have in my wallet, but that's okay, maybe we can finance it. It takes money to make money, and the power is free, right? So what the ROI, or, in terms the efficiency types like, the payback on that puppy? The calculator knows how much power costs here, so it can work all that out.
The answer is (drumroll please): 91 years. No typo, ninety-one. I'll be dead, and probably my kids too, and no doubt my house will have been gone for decades before it pays off. Oh yeah, not to mention the turbine itself, which has only a 25 year life expectancy.
Unless, of course, you include financing costs. Or required maintainence and overhauls. Maintenence and overhauls, by itself, costs twice as much as the power its generating. Even if the system were entirely free, and sitting in my backyard tomorrow, it couldn't pay for its own maintenance!
So this is what it's like to live in a "good" spot for wind power. I'd hate to see the numbers for "mediocre".
Posted by TFox at 11:03 AM
So - okay - I tried the calculator out too - and the best estimate I can get says 53.5% of my power requirements can be handled by FIVE 1KW wind generators. For a mere $32,000 and $650.00 a year in maintenance. Yes, and the same 91 year payback.
So now I have on the grid - the "Green" option - where 25% of the energy comes from Enmax's Wind farm. and according to the chart I pay .7 per Killowat/Hour - not taking into account the priemium I pay for the "Green" enrgery.
The math is not adding up - is it?