The huge blades of giant wind generators can be seen turning at several wind farms looming over the North Dakota landscape, indicative of a nationwide trend toward cleaner and more efficient energy. Dan Redding is hoping that North Dakota residents begin to discover the advantages of owning individual wind generators.
Redding can be found at the GR-8 Country Wind Power of Bismarck display at the State Fair.
"The source of the energy is cheap. Buying the equipment and installing it isn't quite so cheap, but there are some incentives to help with that," said Redding. "There's a federal tax credit and a North Dakota utility credit that helps offset the cost. You have to make the investment, but once you've got your equipment paid for, then you have some really inexpensive power."
Steve Redding, Bismarck, visits with a fair-goer interested in learning more about wind energy at the GR-8 Country Wind Power display across from the grandstand.
Visitors to the fair have been showing plenty of interest in learning more about the possibilities of owning their own wind generating equipment. Redding has been answering lots of questions, many from people who have long been interested in owning their own wind generator but have never had the opportunity to gain some first-hand knowledge.
"It's a relatively new thing and not necessarily an easy sell," said Redding. "We have some of the lowest electricity rates in the nation, but those things can change. People who are interested in wind power are interested for the long term. We're kind of on the beginning edge of people buying their own generators, they just didn't have anybody to talk to."
GR-8 Country generators are available in several sizes, ranging in height from 33 feet to nearly 150 feet. According to Redding, a customer should have an idea about how much energy they'll need before deciding on which size wind generator would be best suited for their application.
"The smaller units are good for half a house or maybe all of the house," explained Redding. "We have units that size or ones that can take care of an entire farm or small business."
Electricity produced by the wind generators flows directly into a customer's electric meter and is the first power used. If additional power is needed, it will be drawn from the existing grid. If a home-owned generator produces more power than required, customers can be compensated for the difference.
"The benefit is there, 24 hours a day, if there is wind," said Redding.
The primary market for home-owned generators is outside of most city limits where the building of generators is usually permitted.
"There's plenty of one- and two-acre sub-divisions near towns with plenty of room to put one up," said Redding.
Redding said one of his customers, admittedly power conscious, gets by with a much smaller wind generator than expected. That's one of the messages he's sharing with inquiring visitors at the State Fair. Also, added Redding, going green now will help absorb some of the dollar shock should electricity rates increase in the future.