Incentives for smallscale wind power systems

Small-scale wind power has proliferated due to net metering laws, as well as tax rebates and credits.

Without net metering, also called intertie, wind power economics would be hopeless under most circumstances. Net metering, selling excess energy back to the utility, is great for wind power economics because every wind system has a certain maximum capacity determined by the total amount of wind that blows past a turbine in a given day. While maximum capacity depends on a number of things — on a still day, system capacity is much less than on a windy day, for example — consumption is governed simply by what you need and want. In a typical household, power consumption peaks in the morning and evening while wind production peaks in the afternoon when the wind blows hardest. With a wind power system tied in to the grid, you can use as much power as you need, and your wind system merely contributes whenever it can. What you don't use from your wind system is all sold back to the utility.

The government has mandated that utilities not only allow wind power customers to connect to the grid, but that they pay the same amount for power they receive from wind systems as for the power they dispense to their customers. Without the mandates, the utilities would probably not allow wind intertie systems at all.

Investment tax credits have also been expanded to include wind production systems, so the use of wind turbines by individual homeowners will increase over the next few years. While these systems don't make much of a dent in the big picture, like solar, every little bit counts and adds up.

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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