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ASK THE EXPERTS: Tying a Home Wind Turbine to the Grid?

From time to time, we here at ChelseaGreen.com will get a question from a reader that leaves us scratching our heads. Sure, the experts that comprise Chelsea Green Publishing’s Web department know where all the good swimmin’ holes are, and when it comes to hard cider, why, we’re all over that. But sometimes there are questions that can’t be answered with commonsense folksiness or even alcohol.

That’s when we turn to our stable of expert authors, each one an authority in his or her chosen field—from organic farming [1] to high finance [2] and just about everything in between.

Our question today comes from reader Scott F. and concerns sustainable home heating. Fielding the query is Greg Pahl [3], author of a number of sustainable energy books, including Natural Home Heating: The Complete Guide to Renewable Energy Options and The Citizen-Powered Energy Handbook: Community Solutions to a Global Crisis.

Are there any wind turbines ready for the mainstream? I’m looking into alternative energy sources for my home. I read on your site that wind power can be used to heat a home [4]. What about lighting and electricity? Can a home wind turbine be combined with the grid in any way?
—Scott F.


Yes, there are a number of wind turbines that are ready for the mainstream. Companies such as Bergey Windpower (www.bergey.com), Abundant Renewable Energy (www.windenergy.com [5]), all have good, solid turbines for the residential market.

While using wind power for heating a home is not a common strategy, using it to generate electricity for lighting and many other purposes is widespread in both off-grid and grid-tied settings. New net metering laws and regulations in at least 29 states make connecting a wind powered system to the grid relatively straightforward these days. See: http://apps3.eere.energy.gov/greenpower/resources/maps/netmetering_map.shtml [6] for additional information on which states are included.
—Greg Pahl


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