Wind Energy

October 27th, 2005 1:24 AM

The BBC ran a piece the other day on wind turbines becoming popular in residential settings, describing the potential economic and environmental benefits to generating power with a wind turbine. However, towards the end of the article, the ability to be totally self-sufficent on wind power is called into question:

It isn’t possible to be totally dependent on wind because it doesn’t blow every minute, says Alison Hill at the British Wind Energy Association.

“You may get the 4-5,000 units a year to run a household but not every single hour of every day so you would need to have standard electricity grid connection to get electricity from the grid.

“We are quite lucky in the UK because when we have most wind we have most demand - winter. That profile of generation is quite beneficial, but no-one can have 100% self-sufficiency on wind alone.

I’m calling bullshit on this. It should absolutely be possible to be 100% self-sufficient on wind alone without a “standard electricity grid connection.” It’s not possible in every region, nor with every setup, and the investment in hardware might make the system prohibitively expensive for an individual. With the right mix of turbine, batteries, and careful conservation of electricity, however, there’s no reason why this shouldn’t be possible.

I could be way off on this, but I’m pretty sure I’m not. I’m guessing that when quoted as saying, “It isn’t possible,” what Ms. Hill really meant is, “Given lots of assumptions about where we live, and the economics of the situation, it isn’t possible for average consumers.” If so, the article should clarify this point, because the use of universal statements like this just seems wrong.