Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wind power and living off the grid

    One of my dreams for Dusty Acres is to build at least one windmill, a fancy one overlooking the "town". It obviously won't be as big as the one pictured here, but it will be fully functional, and it will power our home. I really have no idea how much power one windmill will generate, so I may need two or even several for all the power we will need, or even couple the wind power with solar power. If there are two things we have a lot of in the high desert, they are wind and sun.
     I found a website that details how to make a home-made wind turbine out of "common household items" per-se. You can view it here if you are interested. Putting one of these up saves the environment. But honestly, that's the least of my worries. I want to be off the grid because there's really no reason to be on it. You can build your own wind turbine for probably 300 - 400 dollars (the guy in the website above built his for $140, but had some parts on hand already). I heard of a guy today who built one in his yard and it not only powers his house, but the extra is hooked into the grid for the rest of the neighborhood, so he gets no electric bill and Edison pays him $25 a month for the electricity he generates for them. That's a sweet deal.
    Not only do wind turbines look cool, they can also provide all the power you would need for your house and everything you do around it. If the power ever goes out in the neighborhood, yours should stay on (if you've got a good store from the turbine). Storms, which generally knock out power lines, actually produce a lot of wind and thus if your turbine is strong and secure enough, you should get extra energy during storms instead of none. But probably the number two reason I want to build this (just beneath not wanting to pay an electric bill) is for the experience and challenge of creating the turbine, from scratch. The author of the website referenced above states that anyone with a little mechanical bent and some knowledge of electricity should be able to do this easily. I have neither of those attributes at my disposal. So this will not be easy for me.
    I will carefully document the process and you can all laugh along with me at my foibles and terrible mistakes. Hopefully we will come out in the end with a beautiful and functional turbine that powers our house, and makes Dusty Acres look a little more like we want it to be in actuality: a throwback to simpler times gone by.


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