Residential Wind Energy: Worth the Cost?

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Hugh in Maine has an energy question. What can we do for you?

    HUGH: Hi. I have a question regarding a wind turbine. I was – I’ve been seeing a lot in the press and advertisements, what-have-you, lately about wind turbines for residences. And we were thinking about buying one and putting one in but just kind of wondered what – whether it was worth it and what kind of energy savings we might expect to get on our electric bill.
    TOM: You mean a windmill?
    HUGH: Exactly.
    TOM: Yeah. Well, I’ve got to tell you, they’re probably pretty expensive to use on a residential basis – expensive to buy and install on a residential basis – and I do question how quick the payback would be for that expense. So I think you need to look at how much electricity it’s going to generate and what the per-kilowatt hour value of that and then you need to figure out how long you’re going to have the thing and what the warranty is.
    See, in my experience with active devices like that, that the payback isn’t that quick. Now, when you’re doing wind generation on a large-scale basis where you have a big field or you have wind generators out at sea, you know, that can be very efficient because you can share the costs among all of the customers of your utility company. But on a one-off basis, I’d be surprised if it gave you a good return on investment; there are probably better things that you can do with that money, Hugh.
    HUGH: OK. Alright. That sounds good. They’re a few of the factors that I thought about but not all of it, so I really appreciate the advice.
    TOM: You’re welcome, Hugh. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

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