Grid-integrated Wind Energy Systems
If you wish to use a wind energy system to reduce your reliance on conventional utilities, you can integrate your wind energy system with the conventional grid. In this system, you will draw power from your wind energy system when there is a strong enough wind, but your power system will switch over to its conventional source during windless times.
Even if your wind or hybrid energy system produces only a fraction of your total energy needs, you will still save money on your hydro bill by integrating with the grid.
In integrating, you may also want to use wind batteries, though this is no longer necessary if you are integrated with the grid.
Wind power and net metering
In many areas, too, the law requires utility companies to participate in net metering. This allows you to sell energy back to the utility company, reducing your utility bill. At times when your wind energy system is producing more energy than you are using, your utility meter will actually wind backwards.
At times when your wind energy system is producing more energy than you are using, your utility company will actually roll back your bill.
This is also called "net billing," "energy banking" and other names. You can click here for a full explanation of net metering.
With changing economic and political climates, tax breaks and other incentives vary. In a short US history, these were popular in the 1980's, suffered setbacks after that and are now making a big comeback. US users can get up-to-date details from DSIRE.
All of the above assumes that you have already
- decided that wind is right for you (including a site assessment)
- thought about wind turbine sizing and
- read about choosing a supplier
Be sure to consider bylaws and regulations and how you might deal with them.
The inverter, the system component that converts direct current energy to alternating current energy (DC to AC) is different for an independent system than it is for a grid-inter-tie system. Read more about grid inverters.