Sunday, August 27, 2006

Wind Power Comes Home

Cross Posted at: Off the Grid

Mag-Wind has developed a residential rooftop wind generator that has the potential to make domestic wind power readily available and affordable. The unit promises an output of 1,100 kWh per month given an average windspeed of 13mph through a turbine that measures just 4 ft in diameter. The technology is similar to the recent advance made by Chinese scientists that will boost efficiency in large scale wind farms by 20% by harnessing the low friction generation capacity of magnetically levitated turbine.

Installed throught communities in large quantities, a domestic wind generator combined with solar has the potential to revolutionize the electricity business by making the domestic consumer a significant generator of energy - while doing so with a zero carbon footprint. However, despite the appeal of these innovations, the major barrier facing widespread adoption is still cost. Even with an attractive return on investment, the consumer remains on the financial hook in order to convert their home (for Mag-Wind about $7,000 and upwards of $10,000 - $20,000 for solar). Here is an opportunity for governments at all levels to demonstrate true leadership in tackling global warming and promoting renewable energy.

What is required from here are 1) meaningful tax incentives for both purchasing and installing units in existing homes 2) municipal by-laws to push for inclusion of these technologies in new developments and 3) government negotiated contracts for large scale purchasing and supply to help drive down costs. With a concerted green taxation and policy regime such as this, real progress in bringing renewables to domestic consumers could begin, while simultaneously addressing global warming.

2 comments:

Manley Man said...

There is still the problem with the offsetting of the variability of the grid when more than around 5% of the power comes from wind.

When power is most needed in Toronto - super hot days with no wind - these would be useless.

Odiyya said...

I'd love to address that problem, but maybe we should hold off until 5% of our power actually does come from wind. Until then, I'd say we have some room for improvement