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A friend of mine in Louisiana pointed me to an interesting site a few days ago. Scoraig Wind, a website full of one man’s experience and accumulated knowledge from years of making his own power with wind turbines. Using primarily wood, old pipe, and junkyard car alternators, Mr. Hugh Piggott and a few of his mates have had some impressive success harnessing the wind, and it’s all done in spare time from their garages.

Whether or not you buy into the green revolution, you have to admit that making enough of your own juice for the city to pay you is a pretty cool notion. I really like the idea of an off-the-grid house, and if you happen to live in the right area, wind power might be a great trick to save a buck or three. The site’s primary offering is a book with step-by-step instructions for making a completely scratch-built turbine, right down to arranging the stator yourself from purchased magnets. Not a bad way to kill a few weekends.

Wind Power Generators [Scoraig Wind]

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11 Responses to Home-Brew Wind Power

  1. Daniel Rutter says:

    See also the well-established otherpower.com:
    http://www.otherpower.com/

    They deserve a visit just for the time when they tested a new rotor by tearing around nearby roads with it bolted onto a Model A Ford.

  2. _Jon says:

    It is all good stuff and very inventive. I’ve helped build them (based on a website I found) using struts and rotors from a car – including the wheel bearings.

    However, the “city” doesn’t pay them, *we* pay them through taxes, fees, increased rates, and subsidies. I don’t have a problem helping someone be more green, but I think we need to be clear who is footing the bill.

  3. FredP says:

    _Jon,

    Having an opinion is not the same as knowing the facts. If someone builds a wind turbine, we aren’t paying them through taxes, fees, etc. That’s just conservative boogey man talk.

    Pay attention so I only have to explain this once. If you pull power out of the grid, then you pay for it. If you put power back into the grid, it acts as a financial credit against the power you draw in. Many municipalities won’t credit you for any power above what you take. If you generate more than you use, then it’s free to the power company.

    That’s it. You’re not footing the bill for anything but your own consumption, and the power company can get free power which they sell to the rest of the users. If someone generates more then they use, then they subsidize you through their capital investment.

  4. Mike47 says:

    I don’t know about _Jon, but I take pride in being a Conservative boogeyman. (or is it Boogie Man? Yeah, let’s boogie, man!) Generalization can be understanding’s biggest enemy. In many places where wind energy is promoted (as being “green”), there is a tax incentive. Put one in, get a state tax rebate, which everybody shares in paying you. This is just income redistribution under a different name, for the sake of some feel-good go-green propaganda. On the other hand, many power companies will encourage solar or wind energy for private use, and allow your meter to run in reverse when the private supply exceeds demand. In this way, you are selling power back to the power company. The power companies that I know of that allow this sort of arrangement are public owned, non-profit. Some companies see cost-sharing in this sort of thing as an alternative to the more-costly building of new power plants and transmission lines. That’s the free-market motivator that I prefer.

  5. fred says:

    Net metering seems to be a concept that is taking hold – with many different utilities participating. Here is a link:

    http://www.irecusa.org/fileadmin/user_upload/ConnectDocs/October_2008_NM_table.doc

  6. Benjamen Johnson says:

    My understanding is that many states had to pass laws to get power companies to buy back power from individuals. Power companies up until recently didn’t want it — that is until they were already required to do it and spun it into a campaign to piggyback on the growing “green” movement.

    Why wouldn’t they want buy back the power? Warning this is purely speculation on my part. For one there are probably overhead administrative and infrastructure costs that exceed any money they would save. Also depending on the laws they might have to pay an inflated rate for a trickle of power from many small sources when it would be more economical to buy power from larger sources.

    In short my bet is that you are actually paying more for power when the power company is required to buy back a trickle of power from many randomly distributed sources, but in the long run I think a smarter more distributed grid is probably worth the extra cost regardless of whether it’s “green” or not.

  7. PeterP says:

    I remember reading something about the distinction between wholesale and retail power rates. In short the power companies want to reimburse at the wholesale rate, which is substantially cheaper, but the meter spinning backwards only allows them to do retail rate. Newer meters should let them fix this.

    I’m not sure how much of that is so much propaganda from the power companies, but it makes a little bit of sense.

  8. RLW says:

    It’s funny as we live on a sailboat (writing this at anchor in St Martin) we take for granted being self sufficient energy wise. We have a small wind generator and three fifty watt solar panels which provides all mod cons as well as proving power for our electric propulsion. and tools which we use often.

    Solar and wind work as long as you combine it with smart use of appliances nd suchlike.

    Right now there are a about twenty boats here at anchor and every single one has solar and wind gens…

  9. Mike47 says:

    At least one power company in California has found the permitting process for new plant capacity to be so onerous (due to rampant environmental extremism legitimized by a left-wing dominated state legislature) that they have turned to encouraging conservation as a source of “new” power. This includes incentivizing residential solar panel installation, both in new construction and retrofitting existing.

  10. bob says:

    Public and private utilities receive various forms of subsidies/inducements too. Supporting infrastructure is a basic part of being in a community.

  11. Shopmonger says:

    This is just income redistribution under a different name, …….

    so the government should not pay people for producing anything,,,,,god what would happen to all those government contracts………..

    Again not understanding is the key to the demise of great societies,,,

    But as for the article, great idea, great stuff, and being green and making your own energy form parts that will simply go to our landfill anyway is a great way to support our environment.

    ShopMonger

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