Wind power in New England: Is it a good renovation option?(Read article summary)
For a green home renovation in New England, wind power looks like a good option. But it's not easy to find out if that's true.
The foam insulators are still going great guns â€“ spray guns, that is â€“ at Sheep Dog Hollow, our green renovation experiment.
And as I mentioned in my most recent post, itâ€™s a sign that the renovation is winding down. Once the insulation is done, then itâ€™s on to sheet-rocking, painting, trimming, and getting all of the bathroom, kitchen, and lighting fixtures installed.
Itâ€™s almost done!
OK, OK, maybe may not quite â€śalmost doneâ€ť but weâ€™re further along than I expected. So, Iâ€™m looking to the future â€“ the electrical future.
Since weâ€™ve installed a geothermal system, we plan on using it for a year or so to get a sense of how many kilowatts weâ€™ll use on a regular basis. Then weâ€™ll decide on what kind of green supplemental electrical power weâ€™ll use.
Iâ€™ve looked into solar as a viable alternative and am now exploring wind.
What has become quite evident is that anyone serious about wind in New England needs to be a self-starter â€“ more so than if one lived in, say, Iowa or Texas.
Thatâ€™s because wind energy and its state of development is dependent, like almost every other green technology, on the weather, geography, and mindset of a region.
In places with abundant breezes and an experimental mindset â€“ say, California â€“ wind has been a viable option for the past few decades. This Department of Energy website, Wind Powering America, has an informative time-elapse map that shows where and when wind began generating noticeable amounts of electricity in the past decade.
It took me a while to figure the site out, but click on this link and patiently wait for the animation to go through a 10-year cycle, and youâ€™ll see where wind has taken wing, as it were.
Many of those states have fairly sophisticated wind energy programs, including university-based systems to rent out anemometers, which are used to estimate wind speeds.
An anemometer, by the way, is a device that measures wind speed and its potential to turn that energy into power. It is crucial to determining whether your property is appropriate for wind power.
Unfortunately, Connecticut, a rather more conservative clime where Sheep Dog Hollow resides, is not one the states that offer a state-of-the-art anemometer loan program to help homeowners understand if they could benefit from wind power.
When I Googled â€świndpower New Englandâ€ť I came across several companies, but each one I called had the same advice: Get ready to investigate and then, do battle.
What that entails will be the subject of my next blog post.