Though the wind that blows over our head does not cost us a cent, the cost of harnessing it for the purpose of generating electricity do cost a bit. However, it is encouraging to observe that in spite of the cost of equipment, the higher shipping charges for bringing the equipment from elsewhere (most large scale turbines are not exclusively manufactured in the US) and other incidental expenses related to their installation, the overall cost of wind power generated electricity is showing a downward trend. And in the not too distant future, it is likely to fall further. And when you consider the fact that once the personal wind power system has been installed the power bills are sure to go down dramatically, it becomes a great idea indeed. Yes, over time, wind power is sure to save you a lot of money.
The lion’s share of the cost of power from wind generators/turbines is taken by the up-front fixed cost of installation, the expenses incurred in operating and maintaining them on an ongoing basis, together with royalties payable to the sponsoring landholders who have allowed the installations at their sites as also the local taxes and tariffs. On top of all that comes the question of decommissioning reserve fund generation, an issue so far unthought-of. It was previously believed that the cost of decommissioning (dismantling and removal of the turbines at the end of their workable life) would be more than compensated by their salvage value; a theory no more workable today.
Nevertheless, most of the long-term costs that involve wind power generation from a commercial point of view are given below.
Ř Up-front fixed costs
Ř Performance related costs
Ř Operation and maintenance costs
Ř Taxes and tariffs
Ř Financing costs
But the good news is, if you can learn how to build a wind generator, you can decrease the cost in installing the system as well as you can get the parts in the local hardware store itself. No, learning how to do it, and the actual process is not that difficult really – you can yourself do it, without any professional help.
The up-front fixed cost in regard to a commercially viable wind energy project involves the purchase cost of the turbines and their components, their delivery, installation, interconnection to the nearest electric grid and many other minor but essential issues. Moreover, project developers also pay for pre-construction development schedule related to land leases. Permits, engineering, contracting and community outreach. Expenses are also incurred for wind assessment, site studies and erection of costly turbines at appropriate height and location.
Performance related costs are variable since they in turn are related to capacity factors. As wind power projects do not consume any fuel, the lower will be the per-unit cost of energy if more of the fixed costs are spread over more units of production. Conversely, the lesser the number of producing units, higher will be per-unit cost of electricity.
As for operation and maintenance cost, once a project is commissioned, its owner has to incur all these. However, these involve staffing of technicians, checking of turbines, payment of royalties to landholders and taxes and insurance.
In the project finance set-up, costs of development and construction financing interests are characteristically brought into the project’s permanent financing along with developer fees and equipment costs.
It is always a good idea to make your own power – you will thus be able to reduce the cost of wind power to a great extent. And once installed, you will successfully reduce your power bills and also contribute to clean up the environment. All you need to know is where to set up the system in your home, how to set it up, how to wire the system, where to get the parts cheaply from and of course the safety precautions that must always be followed.