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12/6/2019 7:27:02 PM
Posted: 9/28/2011 6:52:01 AM EST
Is it possible to use a residential size windmill and run AC back to the power grid to reduce electric bill? Saw one of those houe building reality shows where the house was so energy efficient the meter was running backwards and the power company cut a check for buying electiricity from the home owner. Not looking for that much efficiency, just enough to slow down my meter and reduce my electric bill.
Link Posted: 9/28/2011 8:18:07 AM EST
Aviator did a big project like that a while back. You might try to search his name. I'm sure someone will be along to help out.
Link Posted: 9/28/2011 11:08:31 AM EST
Are you talking about converting a farm windmill, or one of those scaled-down wind turbine generators?

Link Posted: 9/28/2011 3:43:02 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/28/2011 3:43:30 PM EST by thebeekeeper1]
Link Posted: 9/28/2011 3:47:19 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/28/2011 3:48:43 PM EST by IAMLEGEND]

Originally Posted By thebeekeeper1:
I understand it to be possible, but the costs of getting into it typically aren't recouped during the lifespan of the thing. If you are willing to ignore/forget the HUGE cost of the turbine you are GTG, but that rather defeats the purpose.

ETA: That's never discussed in the shows and other propaganda promoting such things.

Depends on how suitable the wind regime is and how much you are paying for power. There are situations where they pay for themselves.

ETA: Inappropriate siting, insufficient wind data, and inappropriate turbine selection are also probably factors where breakeven isn't achieved in an acceptable time frame.
Link Posted: 9/28/2011 3:54:17 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/28/2011 4:01:15 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/28/2011 4:03:58 PM EST by IAMLEGEND]

Originally Posted By thebeekeeper1:
Originally Posted By IAMLEGEND:

Originally Posted By thebeekeeper1:
I understand it to be possible, but the costs of getting into it typically aren't recouped during the lifespan of the thing. If you are willing to ignore/forget the HUGE cost of the turbine you are GTG, but that rather defeats the purpose.

ETA: That's never discussed in the shows and other propaganda promoting such things.

Depends on how suitable the wind regime is and how much you are paying for power. There are situations where they pay for themselves.

ETA: Inappropriate siting, insufficient wind data, and inappropriate turbine selection are also probably factors where breakeven isn't achieved in an acceptable time frame.


What percentage of the country would fit that criteria? Obama seems to think we don't need no stinkin' coal fired generation plants, nor natural gas fired generation plants, nor nuclear powered generation plants, nor hydro plants––all due to the transition to solar and wind. I call BS.

I work on energy and infrastructure projects including renewable and I will tell you my opinion is that we need a mix of sources. Renewable is a tiny fraction currently and even dramatic growth in renewable production will leave us meeting the majority of our needs using other technology (coal, natural gas, nuclear, whatever).

As for what percentage of the country, it's not that simple. That's why I reference a wind regime rather than just saying strong winds. That's why I mention inappropriate WTG selection. Some WTGs hit their sweet spot at different speeds so lower wind speeds might favor certain WTGs. Turbulence is a huge factor and can have dramatic negative effects on some WTGs performance while others are less affected by it. Terrain affects it. WTGs affect each other (spacing is a factor). Proximity to demand and transmission is a factor. There are a lot of variables and basically "it depends". It has to be a context sensitive application/solution that is geared to the conditions and power demands at the site in question. Some places it will simply not be feasible.

Renewables have had problems with people wanting to slap up a installation anywhere and get the nameplate rating out of the equipment. It doesn't work like that. But if it's researched and planned well it represents and awesome, efficient, and economically feasible alternative in certain situations.

I think the people who want to bet our future exclusively on renewables (at least in the short to medium term) are ignorant. I think people who think it doesn't work or break even anywhere or ever are also ignorant. It's complicated.
Link Posted: 9/28/2011 10:27:42 PM EST
I live in southern Oklahoma and on top of a small hill. My property is nothing but prairie grass and mesquite. The wind blows all the time like a $10 crack whore. I'm talking about windmills like these http://mikeswindmillshop.com/.

My house is 100% electric and I will be expanding the house and building a shop later. My electric bill ranges from $100 - $300 depending on how hot or cold it gets. With a windmill like the ones above, I would think it would pay for itself in a few years and might even pay for itself the next time a drunk slams into a power line and I'm without power for days.

I see most of the windmills like the ones linked to are DC. Are there small AC generators that can be used instead?
Link Posted: 9/29/2011 6:35:46 AM EST
did a little research a while back.
http://windspireenergy.com/

one of the companies I was looking at.

I live in the suburbs. without a hoa, so I coudl get away with a 35 foot tall turbine.
the vertical stlye seemed like a better choice.

there are no a/c turbine types.
you use an inverter to change it to a/c.

the cheapest I found was about 5k per kw.
problem is payback would have been very slow even at that price.
at 12 cents a kwh, it did not make sense to me to invest that kind of money.
solar of course is even worse. but it truly depends on how much you pay for power.
Link Posted: 9/29/2011 6:43:58 AM EST
even dramatic growth in renewable production will leave us meeting the majority of our needs using other technology


All the wind turbines in the world will not generate enough power when the wind is not blowing.
Link Posted: 10/1/2011 8:19:09 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/1/2011 8:25:57 AM EST by LesBaer45]
Originally Posted By TANGOCHASER:
I live in southern Oklahoma and on top of a small hill. My property is nothing but prairie grass and mesquite. The wind blows all the time like a $10 crack whore. I'm talking about windmills like these http://mikeswindmillshop.com/.

My house is 100% electric and I will be expanding the house and building a shop later. My electric bill ranges from $100 - $300 depending on how hot or cold it gets. With a windmill like the ones above, I would think it would pay for itself in a few years and might even pay for itself the next time a drunk slams into a power line and I'm without power for days.

I see most of the windmills like the ones linked to are DC. Are there small AC generators that can be used instead?


Before you go too far down this road, you might want to check for you location on the wind map of OK*. Gives you some idea of average wind speed which will determine just how much of a chance you have of generating a steady source of power.

You'll need an inverter of some sort plus other "boxes" to help you convert your power back into the grid if that's your goal. So it's not just the cost of the tower/windmill, you'll have to factor in all the cables/meters/inverters as well. Sorta adds up in a hurry. **

http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/images/windmaps/ok_50m_800.jpg

http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/maps_template.asp?stateab=ok

http://www.seic.okstate.edu/owpi/

You might want to look around this site a bit as well:

http://www.mwands.com/

And this:

http://homepower.com/article/?file=HP143_pg52_Woofenden

*Granted this is a 50m height which is more along the lines of "utility" grade wind power, but it should give you some idea of your chances for a "individual" powered windmill.
** This applies to solar and hydro as well. At least according to my experience. Like guns, it's the little add ons and gotta haves that run the cost up.
Link Posted: 10/1/2011 8:26:16 AM EST
Before you go too far down this road, you might want to check for you location on the wind map of OK*. Gives you some idea of average wind speed which will determine just how much of a chance you have of generating a steady source of power.


Did you notice I mentioned the wind blows all the time at my place? I mean all the damn time and never less than 5mph.
Link Posted: 10/1/2011 10:44:36 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/1/2011 10:47:53 AM EST by zegermanznew]
Originally Posted By TANGOCHASER:
Before you go too far down this road, you might want to check for you location on the wind map of OK*. Gives you some idea of average wind speed which will determine just how much of a chance you have of generating a steady source of power.


Did you notice I mentioned the wind blows all the time at my place? I mean all the damn time and never less than 5mph.


Hey OP (and others), I spent the prior 3 years working for a renewable energy integrator in the northeast.

To answer OP's question, long story short, yes. Yes you can. haha But I would recommend contacting an integrator in your area.

Much of this stuff falls under heavy federal and state funding here in the U.S (I don't know about you OP). If you are lucky enough to live in a region where the funding can be used in your favor this stuff is absolutely worth it. I told all inquiring homeowners to do their homework, and heavily at that, there is very little knowledge on the subject in the general public, and a lot of falsities floating around about it.

I specialized in Photovoltaics (Solar Electrical Systems) and contrary to popular belief, with new programs such as SunRun and lease programs offered by larger companies, a homeowners average system size pays itself off in 5 years, in some cases as little as 3 years. And will cover on average 80% of their electric bill. Of course the fat cats will never vouch for that because they have 4 computers, 6 tvs, 2 refrigerators, and a hot tub running 24/7. They only cover 10% of their bill and complain to congress its junk. The smartest people I encountered were the "prepper" types and they were going off grid. 100% dependent on their renewables. Of course the best way to achieve that is to combine the three, solar wind and hot water.

Some things to note for wind generation, most turbines do not produce until winds hit between 10-15 mph, and sustained at that. If winds reach over a specified rate (varies by turbine size and manufacturer) they will either disconnect at the generator and let the blades spin freely, or in most cases have built in brake systems and will slow themselves to a halt to prevent damage.

The taller the better, 35 ft would in my opinion be almost ineffective in my region. Too many trees and hills etc. Keep in mind that the ground and any objects will cause to wind what a river bank causes to the river. Its creates "eddies" and swirls in the wind that can counter-act production. General rule of thumb, an object will create a disturbance in the air at least 3 times its own size.

Zoning is a bitch.

For PV (photovoltaics) the most common systems installed are grid-tied. Meaning that whatever you produce actually heads out to the grid before being introduced to your house. This is so a reversible meter can be installed on your building and the utility can keep track of your production and usage. Yes, if you are producing more than you are using, your meter will in fact spin backwards, and if you can get it into the negative then you are owed by the utility. Generally speaking they fund and size the systems accordingly, they don't want the utility paying out.

If you are smart about it you can get max funding for up to 100% of your power usage on your previous years average and then scale back once the system is installed. I have met households that were making money off their systems.

For the nay-sayers - This absolutely is a viable answer if done right and on a large scale. I used to work home shows and such on weekends for over time and it never got old listening to the nay sayers and the input they had. All I can say to you guys is don't harp on decade(s) old information. Comparing solar and wind of today to what once was is like comparing an AR to a musket. It has come a long way and if good focus is applied to it it will go soooo much farther. If the wind stops blowing or the sun just don't shine anymore electricity is going to be the least of our worries.

At the same time, neither one of them will be the answer in itself.

Good luck OP and let me know if you have any questions I might be able to help you with.

Link Posted: 10/1/2011 10:47:04 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/2/2011 12:10:13 AM EST by FrankSymptoms]
Originally Posted By thebeekeeper1:
I understand it to be possible, but the costs of getting into it typically aren't recouped during the lifespan of the thing. If you are willing to ignore/forget the HUGE cost of the turbine you are GTG, but that rather defeats the purpose.

ETA: That's never discussed in the shows and other propaganda promoting such things.


A neighbor has this setup. It cost him something like $20K to install and is very finicky; he has to have it fixed frequently.

ETA I forgot to mention he has an all-solar power generator, not a windmill.
Link Posted: 10/1/2011 11:43:57 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/1/2011 11:49:09 AM EST by LesBaer45]
Originally Posted By TANGOCHASER:
Before you go too far down this road, you might want to check for you location on the wind map of OK*. Gives you some idea of average wind speed which will determine just how much of a chance you have of generating a steady source of power.


Did you notice I mentioned the wind blows all the time at my place? I mean all the damn time and never less than 5mph.


I did actually thanks for pointing it out.

I still stand by my suggestion you look for average wind speed that occurs at least 30 ft above the nearest obstruction. As others have already pointed out, to generate *usable* wattage, it takes a hell of a lot more than "all the damn time and never less than 5mph".

Put up a aneometer that will record the data for at least thirty days. Chart it out. You might be surprised.


Link Posted: 10/1/2011 1:12:19 PM EST
I might give it a try but let me expand on my comments. There are no wind obstructions on my property except for my 1 story house. The nearest house is 1/4 mile away and would have no affect on wind at my location.The wind has blown off both my front and back screen doors while the were closed. Non storm related winds removed my trampoline completely. It left two poles in the ground but the rest is in some other county.

What I'm trying to say is the prevailing wind that blows through my property is unique in that is never stops blowing and is stronger on average than winds I've experienced in any other state I've lived in. The 5mph was a low guess as to the slowest wind speed, not an accurately measured speed. There may have been a day or two throughout the year where there was no wind, but II must not have been home that day as I've never experienced no wind or low breezes on my property. The only other place I've been where the wind never stops is here in Bahrain.

The constant high winds is what led me to look into the viability of a windmill to reduce my electric costs. The tornado alley that runs thorugh Oklahoma is normally east of my location. I get the high winds accompanying every storm that travels through northern Texas and southern Oklahoma. The rain and tornados haven't come near my property, just the acoompanying winds.
Link Posted: 10/1/2011 2:05:20 PM EST
I too live out on 40 acres of exposed praire at the top of a rise. Yup, wind, lots of it most the time. Have a few neighbors which have tried the Windmill thing. One place put up a row of 4 like the light weight units you linked to - there is only one left standing, not sure if its still fully functional.

Wind just tore them apart. While 5-15mph winds are common, having a few hours worth of 50-80mph is not that un-common also.

Another neighbor bought a much more robust unit and installed it all proper. Its been running a few years now, but I figure it might take a decade before they recoup the total investment.
Link Posted: 10/2/2011 7:44:01 AM EST
Did you notice I mentioned the wind blows all the time at my place? I mean all the damn time and never less than 5mph.


You put up a recording anemometer?
Link Posted: 10/2/2011 10:32:22 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/2/2011 10:33:01 AM EST by TANGOCHASER]

Did you notice I mentioned the wind blows all the time at my place? I mean all the damn time and never less than 5mph
.


You put up a recording anemometer?


I can't at the moment as I am in the middle east. I may be home in january depending on contract.
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