This question is being asked more and more as members are looking for ways to reduce energy costs. The answer is maybe, depending on many factors, and how fast you want to see a return on your investment.
Start with energy efficiency
Before installing a wind energy system, consider reducing your energy use by making your home more energy-efficient. Many energy efficiency measures have a faster return on investment, and the initial investment is less than that of a renewable energy system.
Is wind energy right for me?
If you have made your home as energy efficient as possible and now want to install a wind turbine, contact your local electric cooperative in the initial planning stages. Be sure to conduct thorough research on all aspects of the system before making the investment. Determine what your goal of installing a wind system is. Do you want to install wind energy because you believe it is the right thing to do? Or are you looking to save money? If you want to save money, look at the financial considerations first.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) indicates that in Missouri, it is difficult to buy and install a wind energy system at your home, farm or business that will “pay back” its cost (recover the investment cost through utility bill reductions during the life of the system). DNR states that in most of the United States, in order for small wind energy systems to be economically attractive:
1. The site must have an average annual wind speed over 12 mph at 80 to 120 feet. Based on the map below, the majority of the state does not meet that requirement.
2. Retail cost of residential electricity must be above the national average. Recent Department of Energy data reports the Missouri average at over two cents per kilowatt-hour less than the national average.
Given the above information, the Missouri DNR states that use of small-scale wind turbines to generate electricity at homes, businesses or farms is often economically marginal, even on the most promising sites.