Home Wind Turbines in the Fringe Suburbs

According to a recent Denver Post feature article, written as a human interest story, wind turbines are coming to the suburbs. A snip from the article: "The home, equipped with electric heat, was generating winter power bills of $400 a month. As soon as the 80-foot-high turbine started spinning, the bill was cut in half". Well that certainly gets 'em thinking in the land of rural mansions, well beyond what the media tends to call "off grid living". Sales are apparently brisk enough, the Post reports, "The small-wind sector is growing fast enough that the American Wind Energy Association -- a trade group dominated by large-scale wind developers -- set up a separate small-turbine section this week in the exhibition hall at the Colorado Convention Center". Here's a metric: "Sales of small turbines in the U.S. are projected to double this year from 2004 to 8,367 turbines, and manufacturers are forecasting 20 percent annual growth over the next decade".The National Wind Technology Center estimates "that 50% of the United States have enough wind resources for small turbine development and 60% of U.S. homes are located in those wind resource areas".

Think of these exurban wind turbines as badges of self-sufficiency. Their popularity started with farmers, faded, then ascended after a limited adoption by TreeHuggers; and now is returning to the "collar counties" where the landed elite have their horsey farms and McMansions. Eventually these will be permeating the mental model of what a landscape should look like. You'll see them as props on TV shows. When that happens, the symbolism will have fully trancended the "farmers" and "damn hippies" stereotypes.

Finally, have a look at the exhibitor list from the Denver Convention mentioned above. Amazing number of partipants. Lots of good TreeHugger fodder!

by: John Laumer