Southwest Windpower CEO Andy Kruse is currently in Washington lobbying the government for better small wind turbine subsidies. Individual homeowners would stand to benefit, as the Skystream wind turbine would fall under this new subsidizing should it be approved.
Currently the wind power stimulus package has a $4,000 cap on it. Kruse would like to see that increased to 30% of the cost of a wind turbine in the form of a federal tax credit.
What is interesting about Kruse’s crusade is that he is also emphasizing the importance of wind turbine software and wireless Internet in rural areas. If the federal government provided better financial incentives for this kind of support, Kruse claims, wind power consumers would benefit from detailed information on the relative availability of wind in a given location.
Kruse points out that knowing how much wind energy a particular site is capable of producing is invaluable. If a certain area has high electricity costs and strong winds a home wind turbine could pay for itself in five years. If the opposite is the case however, and electricity costs are low and wind is weak then it could take as many as 20 years.
Rural wireless Internet access is important because some of Southwest Windpower’s turbines have LAN capability. If all these wind turbines were linked over the Internet Southwest Windpower would be able to recognize any potential problems remotely.
With wind turbines connected via a smart grid a wind turbine’s voltage could be changed from a computer should the grid needs some of the turbine’s load to be reduced.
Assessing where strong winds blow is crucial to determining whether a location will provide sufficient wind energy on a turbine. Last year 3Tier revealed their free wind resource map which charts the average wind strength of any given location on the planet. Through 3Tier Southwest Windpower believes that approximately 13 million locations in the U.S. alone are suitable for the use of their home wind turbines.