Industry powerhouse GE has teamed up with small scale wind turbine expert Southwest Windpower to introduce a new micro wind turbine called Skystream 600. Like a number of other new micro turbines on the market, this one promises high efficiency combined with ease of installation, but with a twist: Skystream 600 is being presented as the first fully smart grid-enabled wind turbine for residential use.
Smart, Renewable Power
The trick is in Southwest Wind’s proprietary “Skyview” system, which enables owners to track the turbine’s energy production through any Internet connection. That’s little more than a neat trick by itself, but in combination with other emerging smart grid technologies it could provide home owners and business owners with some powerful new choices. For starters, you could remotely turn on your dishwasher, clothes dryer or commercial equipment when the wind is high, to take more advantage of free renewable power and minimize your use of grid-supplied power. A battery storage system would provide additional flexibility, too.
A Wind Turbine in Every Pot
Like solar panels, micro wind turbines are coming down in price, and researchers in the American Physical Society anticipate further declines as the technology improves. Quieter wind turbine technologies are also in view, as are compact new wind power concepts designed with tight urban spaces in mind. Pretty soon these alternative energy options will become part and parcel of owning a home or business, much like any furnace, central AC unit or other piece of machinery.
Image: Thinker (Rodin) by Brian Hillegas on flickr.com.
Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.