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Montana Green Power

Your Guide to Renewable Energy in Montana


New Legislation Would Trim Cost
of Small Residential Wind Turbines

U.S. Rep. J. C. Watts (R-Okla.) Introduces Proposal 
for 30% Investment Tax Credit for Home Systems

A brighter future for residential wind generators is likely if legislation introduced recently by U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) to provide a 30 percent investment tax credit for the units becomes law.

H.R. 2322, the Home and Farm Wind Energy Systems Act, is cosponsored by Reps. Wes Watkins (R-Okla.), Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), and Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.). At a news conference on the bill, Watts said he has spoken with President Bush about it and that he hopes to see the proposal approved by Congress this fall.

Commented Watts, "We think it's a great way to create an energy alternative for homes, for farms and small businesses." The current cost of residential wind turbines, Watts said, is hindering their sales. With a tax incentive to lower the up-front cost of the machines, increased sales will result, helping manufacturers to increase their volume and lower costs even further.

"Home owners, small businesses, and farmers are squeezed by energy costs, especially in California and the northeastern U.S.," Watts said. "Wind power, solar, nuclear, and petroleum sources are all needed to solve the country's energy problem. We need to raise the consciousness of the American people on the importance of wind power."

Mike Bergey, president of Bergey Windpower of Norman, Okla., a leading small turbine manufacturer, welcomed Watts' bill. A typical 10-kilowatt residential wind turbine, he said, costs about $32,000 and takes about 15 years to pay for itself in terms of lowered electricity costs. As an example of what can be done if the initial cost of the systems is reduced, Bergey pointed to the state of California, which enacted a 50 percent rebate last year. Since the rebate went into effect, Bergey said, 70 percent of his company's sales have been to customers in the Golden State.

While annual sales of household wind turbines are numbered in the hundreds of units, Bergey added, "there are over 20 million homes in America with an acre or more of land that would be suitable for one of these machines."

Bergey said similar legislation is expected to be introduced soon in the U.S. Senate.

Randy Swisher, executive director of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), applauded Watts' proposal. "Small wind turbines have been overlooked for far too long as a potential contributor to our nation's energy supply," Swisher said. "In terms of energy produced per dollar expended, they are one of the best options for homeowners and small businesses to consider. Hopefully, a tax incentive will help make that happen."

2001 Wind Demonstration 
Montana Wind Resources
Montana Wind Energy Atlas
Native American Wind Links
U.S. Wind Speeds

U.S. Wind Resources
Wind Power Books
Wind and Weather
Wind Power Links






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