Thursday, June 18, 2009

Is Wind Worth It?

No one can deny the seriousness of interest in alternative energy. This dedication is leading to advances in technologies to make alternative energy economically efficient.

Most recently, reported on a new wind turbine for the home. Weighing in at just 95 lbs (43 kg), it can be mounted on a pole, or a roof. The Honeywell Windgate wind turbine from EarthTronics is six feet across (1.8 m) and is able to generate power in wind speeds as low as 2 mph (3.2 kph).

These statistics are significant as most of the continental U.S. is in low wind areas making traditional wind turbines futile. The unit will go on sale with an MSRP of $4500, which is said to be a third of traditional wind turbines. Additional costs include the need for an automotive battery and a licensed electrician to hook the turbine into the house distribution panel. Mountain House Freeze-Dried Food

Do the numbers work? Will I put one up? Not yet. The turbine is said produce " up to 2000 kilowatt hours (kW) of power per year, which is about 15 percent of an average household’s energy needs." These numbers assume an average annual consumption of 13,333.33 kW hours. The average price per residential kW in the U.S. is $0.1138, thus making the annual average electric bill $1517.33. The wind turbine could reduce that amount by as much as $227.60 annually. Assuming only the cost of the turbine, it would take at least 19.77 years to get your money back. Cheap? No. 100% Free. Trade stocks for free on The Free Trading Community.

The only thing that is making this turbine interesting is the prospect of a federal tax subsidy. The subsidy itself varies between 0-100% for the cost of the turbine alone, depending upon location. CNN reports the subsidy is 30%. Let's run the numbers again. With the 30% subsidy, the turbine now costs $3150 and would take 13.84 years to recoup the cost of the turbine alone. TGC Get 4 books for $1 each

In my personal opinion, this would not be on my list of capital expenditures. It would be close, as my new HVAC system is going to take 12 years for total payback. If you have $4500 and money for an electrician, you may want to do this. Of course, the elephant in the room is whether President Teleprompter and his Congressional sycophants are going to impose a "cap and trade" energy mega-tax. If that tax brings up the price of electricity, which it surely will, this wind turbine may be just the ticket.

For now, I am sticking with coal, natural gas and nuclear, as they provide the most consistent and least expensive power. If the economics of wind improves, I will certainly think about it.

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