Backyard Wind Turbines Gain Traction

by | Jan 13, 2009

wind_turbine.jpgTo date, most attention has been focused on large-scale wind farms – but there is growing public interest in backyard-scale wind turbines, PEI potato farmer Randy Visser told

Visser is installing a 50-kilowatt wind turbine on his farm, which will allow him to cut his electricity purchases by a third to a half, depending on the strength of the gusts. Visser expects his business-scale turbine, which cost about $190,000, to pay for itself in 10 to 12 years.

The primary benefit of backyard turbine is not immediate financial savings. Wind power currently costs more money to produce. In fact, a backyard residential turbine costing about $5,000 will probably produce electricity at about 20 to 25 cents a kilowatt hour, double the typical utility rates, said Sean Whittaker, VP of the Canadian Wind Energy Association.

So the real reason people like Visser are installing turbines may be their own personal effort to reduce their environmental impact.

The American Wind Energy Association announced that in 2008 the industry had over 21,000 megawatt of wind capacity up and running, surpassing the amount generated in 2007. The U.S. has also passed Germany to become the world leader in wind generation.

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