If you're a digital home devotee, you'll probably want to equip your house with a large flatscreen TV, PVR, DVD player, wireless network, games console, Media Center PC, broadband and all manner of fad gadgetry that needs regular charging, so your electricity bill is going to go up. Your carbon footprint is going to get bigger.
For example, an Xbox 360 on its own demands a terrifying 140 Watts. The average big plasma TV has a power consumption close to that of a fridge.
Wind turbines and solar panels are now becoming much more affordable. Windsave is just one company producing affordable domestic turbine products and it's association with B&Q is undoubtedly boosting its profile. Stealthgen is another. The Tory leader David Cameron has been championing the cause of the D400 model.
But do the claims stand up? Can a £1,500-£3,000 turbine really provide 15-20 per cent of a home’s annual electricity requirement? Can it offset the sharp rise in electricity usage from that brand new 42-inch plasma you've just put on your wall?
In short: is it worth the trouble?
If anybody reading this has already taken the plunge and invested in an urban wind turbine, then drop me a line about it at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to hear from you. Otherwise, I'm going to look into getting one myself (wind speeds permitting, of course).
The wind is a clean and plentiful source of energy. The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) believes that wind energy could potentially supply up to 20% of Canada's electricity requirements.
Wind turbines used to generate electricity come in a wide variety of sizes. Large wind turbines, which are usually installed in clusters called windfarms, can generate large amounts of electricity. Large wind turbines may even produce hundreds of megawatts (MW) of electricity - enough to power hundreds of homes. Small wind turbines, (see Figure 1), which are generally defined as producing no more than 100 kW of electricity, are designed to be installed at homes, farms and small businesses either as a source of backup electricity, or to offset use of utility power and reduce electricity bills. Very small wind turbines (20-500 watt units) are used to charge batteries for sailboats and other recreational uses.