Thursday, August 13, 2009

Residential Wind Turbines to Generate Your Own Electricity

There is a lot of interest in residential wind turbines at the moment. The idea of generating your own electricity to protect yourself from increasing fuel bills is very attractive. But is self-generation of electricity really viable? Or does it just make you feel good about helping the environment?

There has never been more enthusiasm for generating electricity at home. And there are plenty of good reasons why you might want to:

  • The ever-increasing cost of utility bills.
  • The damage being done to the planet by the conventional generation methods.
  • The increasing dependence of Western Nations on imports of fuel supplies - often from places which are unsympathetic, or even downright hostile towards the West.
  • Insufficient electricity infrastructure investment over the last 20 years which has already lead to blackouts in the UK, USA and Australia.

This seems to make the case for self-generation of electricity a no-brainer. However, you also need to consider whether it is a realistic solution for your own home, or if it's just a way of salving your conscience. The main things you need to think about are:

  • Location. Where would you put your residential wind turbine? Do you have enough space on your property to have a wind turbine? And if so, does the wind blow often enough and strongly enough to make it work? Most experts agree that you need an average wind speed of around 9 mph to enable you to generate enough electricity to make the idea of self-generation worth considering.
  • Planning Rules. Although most nations are much more in favour of green energy sources now, don't think that you'll be allowed to have a wind turbine on the balcony of your 7th floor flat! In the UK you will need Planning Permission from your local authority, which will need to be satisfied the turbine will be in a suitable place. In the US you will need to comply with local building codes. Every other country has its own system, but you will need to stick to the rules.
  • Amount of electricity. Do you want to generate enough to go 'off-grid'? Or even sell some back to the utility company? In many countries there are financial incentives for selling 'green' electricity back to the energy companies. In some places they must buy any excess back at a very favourable rate. But if you do want to do this, your equipment will need to comply with the technical requirements of the utility company. Obviously you need to know that before you build your turbine.
  • Expense. How much will all this cost? And this is often the killer, as fully installed systems can cost $10,000 or more, often having a payback period of 15 - 20 years. This approach is more one of making a political statement than of finding a practical solution to the self-generation question. Fortunately there are more economical solutions - there are many self-assembly kits available, which cut the initial investment down significantly. Even more people will be interested in the full do-it-yourself approach. Surprisingly it is possible to build your own residential wind turbine using components you can get of the internet or at the local hardware store, for less than $200. If you know where to look you can find some of the parts free. That sounds like a better deal!

Does it make sense for you to generate you own electricity by building a wind turbine in your garden? Only you can answer this. There are certainly a few hurdles that you need to jump over to get a system which is legal, which works, and which gives you an economic benefit. But these can all be overcome if you have the right information.

Autor: Rob Knowles Rob Knowles
Level: Platinum
I used to have a great job - sitting around all day talking to people, then driving on to the next appointment. I stayed in ... ...

Find out more about residential wind turbines by visiting Then you can find your way through the maze, save money and save the planet.

2009 Rob Knowles

Added: August 13, 2009