Wind turbines for the rest of us
One of the challenges that faces the wind industry is that the most economical turbines from the point of view of cost per kilowatt hour generated are massive structures that are 80-120 meters tall, have blades with a radius of up to 90 meters and cost upwards of $3 million per unit.
Those are not numbers that make the turbines friendly neighbors; they are projects that need to be undertaken by relatively large organizations on plots of land that are somewhat removed from nearby residents. (Of course, atomic power plants have similar but far larger “barriers to entry” challenges.)
There are some companies, however, that manufacture smaller turbines that are appropriate for individual users or small groups of neighbors. One such company is a Swiss company called Aventa AG. If you visit and want the English version of the site, simply click on the LoWind Turbines link from the home page. You probably would have figured that out yourself – the other links on the page are in German or French.
I think the concept is interesting and worthy of some reading, research and number crunching. If you are interested in the data that supports possible decision making, you can find most of it at http://www.aventa.ch/englische%20Homepage/eAV7/eAV-7.htm. The base model is a 6.5 kW machine on an 18 meter tall tower and can produce between 8,000 and 24,000 kilowatt-hours each year depending on the average wind speed (2.5 m/s average for the low estimate, 4.5 m/s for the high estimate.)
The following excerpt from the page titled Wind Energy, LoWind Concept might help you to understand why I think that the company is going to sell quite a few turbines:
Wind energy – the convincing option…
… for commercial reasons
Wind installations offer companies an additional opportunity to fulfil their environ-mental management goals in an unconventional manner.
Wind installations are outstanding advertising media.
LoWind Turbines are aesthetic; they arouse emotions and project an image of being committed to the future.
There is also a useful page linked off of the home page with a simple, honest PR label. Take a look and tell me what you think.