Renewable energy – taming the wind!
Fear of climate change, tough emissions laws and rising oil prices has resulted in explosive growth in the wind power industry. Wind power is kinetic energy that has been converted into electric current using wind turbines. It is an alternative to electricity generated by fossil fuels and as a result environmentalists and those interested in sustainable living favour this readily available, clean energy resource.
Even governments are trying to shift from coal-dominated electricity supply to more green energy such as wind energy. US President Obama’s New Energy for America plan includes a goal of 10% electricity generated from renewable resources by 2014. In October 2014 Congress passed a bill implementing a federal tax credit of up to $4000 for small wind turbines installed until 2014. The bill was aimed create new jobs and encourage growth in the wind power industry. In the United Kingdom the renewable energy target is 10% of gross electricity consumption by 2014 and, in accordance with the EU goal, 20% by 2014. The French Renewable Energy Directive includes a goal of 21% of electricity production from renewable sources by 2014, while Demark has an impressive goal of 29% of electricity production from renewable sources.
While large-scale wind farms are being built to meet these renewable energy goals, individuals are also recognizing the benefits of residential wind power. Wind power is an ideal energy source for homes in very windy areas. As wind is an intermittent energy source, homes with wind turbines are served by both the wind power they generate as well as local utility companies. The more wind there is the more power the turbine generates and therefore the less power will need to be purchased from local utility companies.
The benefits of wind power
Although there are drawbacks to using wind power, these obstacles can be overcome by careful research and planning. The benefits of installing wind power far outweigh the drawbacks.
Installation of wind turbines is very simple and no wiring needs to be changed, even in older houses. While installation costs may not be cheap, they can save you between 50% and 90% of your electricity bill, making them a very worthwhile long-term investment.
Another benefit is that wind turbines are reliable, have very few parts and are designed for longevity. This means that the turbines don’t require regular maintenance. They operate automatically.
Wind power is ideal for those wanting to live a sustainable lifestyle that doesn’t harm the environment. This renewable energy source uses a “free” resource and doesn’t require any fossil fuels to operate efficiently. It doesn’t emit any greenhouse gases. In fact, the wind power you generate can be used to offset your carbon footprint.
Installing residential wind power
There are a variety of companies that supply small wind turbines for domestic use, including Bergey and Southwest Windpower. Most turbine supply companies offer customers the option of buying the product from the factory and installing it themselves using a step-by-step instruction manual and video. The advantage of this is that costs are lower, however it does require some know-how. The other option is to buy the wind turbine from the supply company who will install it themselves.
Regardless of the drawbacks, thousands of people are investing in domestic wind turbines in an effort to generate electricity that is renewable, clean and doesn’t come with a big bill at the end of each month. Instead of relying on traditional non-renewable methods of producing energy, people are harnessing the power of the sun and taming the wind for sustainable living.
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