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About Me


My name is Neville Pettersson and I have created the this site to help regular home owner’s like me make their own

energy at home. For more info about me check out the about page here. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and Pinterest.

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Wind Power Pros and Cons

Among all renewable energy sources, wind and solar power are among the fastest growing in the world. Wind power is generated by turbines which produce electricity when turned by the wind. In general the space needed for a site conducive to generating wind power would have at least a half acre or more of open land and have wind speeds averaging 10 MPH or more.


Today, domestic wind power is becoming more and more practical for home use and in many cases it is combined with solar power to supply all the electrical needs of a home. The systems complement each other as either system can be "on-grid" (tied into the conventional local utility electrical system) or "off-grid" (completely independent of conventional power). And naturally, there are both solar and wind power pros and cons.

Wind Power Pros And Cons List


One advantage of using wind power is that it is
100% clean and great for the environment. Wind turbines produce no greenhouses gases, and no chemical pollutants. Wind is completely renewable and there will always be a supply. Further, winds as little as 10 MPH can be used to generate power.

Another benefit of
wind turbines for the home is that it can be used in remote areas that have no access to conventional electricity. Wind energy can make less habitable areas much more comfortable to live in or go on vacation. But even in areas which also have conventional power, many states have buy back or "net metering" opportunities which allow you to "sell" (in effect) a portion of the electricity you generate back to the utility. With any system that has a high number of moving parts, maintenance cost and time can be issues. However, with many wind systems there are a reasonably lower number of moving parts and maintenance costs can be held in check.

Finally, while a certain amount of open space is needed to generate wind energy, that
space can still be used for other agricultural purposes at the same time, including gardening, light farming, and pasture use.

For the cons list, it should be mentioned that it would be difficult for wind power to expand to a mass scale as it does require land that might otherwise be used for conventional large scale farming purposes. It is true that there are wind farms out in the desert, but as of today those are not the most cost-effective because of the long distance the power must travel before it can be used. The farther electricity has to travel the more of it is lost due to resistance. The technology of the future could provide an answer for that, however.


Another potential drawback is in the eye of the beholder, as some people see wind farms as an eyesore. Hopefully, more people will see that the great benefits of wind power outweigh any such complaints. It should be noted that depending on the size of the system, manufactured wind farms can represent a fair amount of investment, sometimes in the tens of thousands of dollars. But even so, over time that money will be recouped in energy savings. And lastly, there have been several news stories about how many birds wind turbines for the home unfortunately kill each year. However, studies have found that collisions with things like building windows and vehicles (along with natural predators) actually cause more avian deaths per year than residential wind generators for home use.

Wind Power Pros And Cons Cost


As mentioned, the initial equipment investment of a wind turbine system
can be several thousand dollars, but as with solar energy, the proper way to measure wind turbine cost is by cost per watt. While professionally made and installed small residential wind systems can cost $5 or more per watt, there is always the option of the DIY wind turbine. Doing it yourself can lower costs to perhaps under a dollar per watt. In addition, it should be said that cost per watt is inversely proportional to the size of the system. That is to say that the larger a system is the more cost efficient it is. That makes sense since basically the same parts will be needed regardless of the size, so it doesn't cost that much more to make them a little bigger and much more electricity will be generated.


Continued below....

If we look at recent cost trending for wind power we see that costs have been steadily coming down over the last several years. In fact, a 2011 report from the American Wind Energy Association stated that wind costs have dropped by 5 to 6 cents per Kilowatt-hour recently. It goes on to say that since 2005, 35% of all new power generation in the United States has come from wind turbines. That couldn't be true if costs were not trending in the right direction.

Another cost element to be optimistic about is the
growing number of governmental subsidies (for startup costs) and tax credits becoming available even to the residential user. In the US, some states are even granting property tax exemptions for using wind power. And the US is not alone. Many countries around the world are becoming more conscious of the benefits of wind power and are subsidizing growth in the industry to the benefit of both individuals and those running large scale wind farms.

Wind Power Pros And Cons Of Solar Energy


In the renewable energy world there has always been the friendly
wind vs. solar debate. In many cases leaps in technology have favored one over the other for a time, but then the gap is narrowed by further advances. It's still a good idea, though, to review some basic differences and see where each stands today.

One obvious difference is that
wind turbines require much more space than solar panels. Another difference is that solar panels can only collect energy during sunlit hours, while wind energy can be collected around the clock. However, the actual collection of solar energy has tended to be a bit more consistent, and predictable. Winds can vary greatly over small periods of time while sunshine does not seem to vary by as large a degree.

Seasons also affect the collection of energy differently for wind turbines and solar panels. On average, solar panels collect more energy during the summer months rather than the winter because the days are longer. With wind energy, the winter months can actually be the best harvesting season as in many places wintry winds are greater. So one thing you might start to notice is that
any given location may be much better suited for either wind or solar depending on the attributes of the location. This should certainly be taken into account when considering solar vs. wind.

Given differences like these, then, where the location is not a major factor many people have turned the debate from wind vs. solar to
why not wind AND solar? Perhaps the greatest benefit of combining the two technologies on a residential level would be that it would be far easier to go completely off-grid and be fully self-sufficient for all of your power needs.

But for several reasons this may not be feasible yet for the average homeowner. So, if you are still deciding between the two, and if your location is considered equally good for both wind and solar, then a general rule of thumb goes like this: the
smaller the need for electricity the more efficient solar power is over wind. However, if the need is greater, then wind is more efficient. Right now it seems that a residential home is somewhere near the crossover point. If you are equally able to use either then you really can't go wrong either way. But if you intend to power your home and use comparatively more power then wind might be the way to go. If you use less, then perhaps solar is the better option.