Windmill provides power for Plateau home

  • Tue Feb 10th, 2009 5:30am
  • News

Josh Hulburt installed a wind turbine on his Enumclaw acreage. An 8-mph breeze can generate power for his home.

Josh Hulburt, the owner of a 20-acre parcel on Warner Avenue just east off state Route 410 in Enumclaw, has successfully installed a 35-foot tall Skystream 3.7 wind turbine. He has been interested in renewal energy for many years and he saw the wind turbine as great opportunity to utilize Enumclaw wind. Although the turbine has only been operational for a few weeks, the output looks very promising and profitable.

How does it work?

Skystream is a wind generator installed on top of a tower that converts the kinetic energy in the wind into electricity to be used in a home’s electrical system.

In a typical residential application, a home is served simultaneously by the Skystream and a local utility. If the wind speeds are below “cut-in speed” – 8 mph – there will be no output from the generator and all of the needed power is purchased from the utility. As wind speeds increase, the Skystream’s output increases and the amount of power purchased from the utility is proportionately decreased. When the Skystream produces more power than the house needs, the meter spins backward creating a “credit” that can be used later. All of this is done automatically without any interaction by the homeowner. Batteries are not required with Skystream.

A homeowner looking to install a wind turbine of this size needs at least a half acre of land.

How much electricity does it produce?

The Skystream 3.7 has a capacity of producing 2.4 kw, but in general will produce 40 to 90 percent of a household energy needs. The biggest variable is how much the wind blows in you area. At http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/ you find wind maps.

Tax credits

On Oct. 3, 2008, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, H.R. 1424 was passed which included a new federal-level investment tax credit (ITC) for qualified small wind turbines. The ITC is worth up to $4,000 and is available for units installed from Jan. 1, 2008, through Dec. 31, 2016. This legislation marks the first federal incentive for small wind systems in more than 22 years.