The Home Energy Independent – Simply An Excellent Alternative Energy Newsletter

May 2012 Edition

Our alternative energy newsletter newsletter always contains:

Article of the month – on a current & interesting alternative energy topic

Product review – a straight-talking review of a renewable energy product

Events of Interest – news of special events in the alternative energy field

New developments – exciting new research in renewable energy

Note: The alternative energy newsletter is published on the 15th day of each month and this page will be refreshed accordingly.

Article of the Month

The Community Wind Phenomenon

There is a fast-growing trend in many countries, usually known as community wind. This exciting concept involves people in small communities pooling their resources and efforts to install a wind turbine(s). The electricity generated by the turbine(s) is sold to the local electricity supplier and the resulting profits are used for the benefit of the shareholders and to assist with local community projects.

These groupings of people are usually referred to as co-operatives. While researching material for this newsletter we noticed that 2012 is the United Nations Year of Co-Operatives. We hadn't realized that co-operatives were such big business. They exist in all sorts of areas, not just wind power. Roll on people power!

But moving on...

This community wind power development is well established in several European countries but is now catching on world-wide. The value lies in the fact that using the wind to generate electricity is using a free resource, entirely renewable and resulting in clean production of the energy.

The community benefits are many – local employment, pooling and sharing of skills, profits returning to the community.

However, such projects are not easy to bring to fruition. There are many hurdles to be overcome and it requires both creativity and persistence.

We wanted to make you aware of this, in case it was something you hadn't come across before.

You can read more at the page on our site devoted to Community Wind Power.

We like to add value in our alternative energy newsletter – therefore we suggest you visit the following link which gives a good analysis of several such community projects, including an outline of the benefits experienced and the difficulties faced. This is a down-loadable pdf which is a mine of information about co-operatives.


Product Review


In this month's edition of our alternative energy newsletter, we review an interesting DIY product that allows home owners to build their own solar panel and/or wind turbine.

Maybe you are not into building things yourself but don't be quick to say “that's not for me”. Let's just think about the realities for a minute.

Power companies make a handsome profit from the charges they impose on you for electricity. Those charges go up on a very regular basis, often with no justification given fo the increases. Unfortunately, we continue to gobble up ever-increasing amounts of electricity and so we are prisoners of both the power companies and our own desire for more power.

Subsequently, we have seen the growth of renewable energy industries as we try and solve environmental problems and come to terms with the decreasing supply of fossil fuels.

These new renewable energy technologies don't come cheaply either, although they do have the ability to cut our costs in the long term as well as becoming cheaper to purchase as the technology improves and demand for them grows.

Enter the opportunity to do it yourself and save even more...The product we wish to review is Earth4Energy a comprehensive manual, complete with videos, that teaches you how to build your own solar panels and also how to build a wind turbine.

This product is great for those wishing to do-it-yourself. The parts are readily and cheaply available – and it is claimed thatyou can build a 72 watt solar panel for about $150. Our advice would be to check out and compare prices at your local hardware suppliers as you will probably find the costs have risen since the book was written.

You don't need specialized tools and equipment, other than a soldering iron, and the instructions are easy to follow. Apart from the manual, there is a set of videos with 2 hours of step-by-step instructions that make building them a breeze.

Once you've mastered the building of your panel you can build more panels and connect them so as to have a system that generates more electricity. In other words, you can make your system as big as you want, depending on your ambitions about how much you want to reduce your power bill.

The instructions for the wind turbine are designed to construct a turbine that is said to have a blade length of 3 feet (0.91m) and will generate 300 watts of electricity at wind speed 20 mph (9m/sec).

Our critical comment here is that you need to take into account what your annual average wind speed will be which is likely to be very near to 5m/sec. There are very few places with an annual average wind speed of 9m/sec. In that case you would probably only generate about 60 watts. Still, that would give you maybe 500 Kilowatt-hrs per year which is a worthwhile reduction on your energy bill.

If you blend that with your solar panel(s) then you will make some serious inroads into your power usage.

We think the writer doesn't understand all the principles governing wind energy production. For example, he recommends a 10ft (3m) tower. Be advised – if you only use a tower of that height you will not generate the amounts of electricity discussed above. It may be OK (but higher is much better) for a very open rural area but in an urban area it would be pretty ineffectual. Also mounting it on your roof, as advised, is not good either as wind turbulence will cut your power output significantly?

However, that said, we think this is a very worthwhile product. The detailed instructions and the cheap sources of materials make this a very worthwhile investment, just for the solar panel material alone.

Check it out at Earth4Energy *********************************************************

PLEASE NOTE: FREE alternative energy education course!

If you are not already enrolled in our alternative energy education course than you can sign up by clicking on the link below and filling in the sign-up form on the page you reach.

The course is FREE and you get one lesson per week for thirteen weeks, covering all the major areas of renewable energy. A great introduction to the renewable energy field.

Visit Alternative Energy Education and sign up today.


Events Of Interest

In this section of our alternative energy newsletter, each month we will bring you news about any special events such as conferences, webinars or trade shows, any of which highlight information about alternative energy topics.

This is difficult to do for a diverse audience so we've come up with a compromise solution. Each month this section will include information from three different areas – Europe, North America and Asia/Oceania.

This month:


Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE) held its Information Day on 24 January in Brussels with over 700 people attending. There were a variety of plenary sessions and workshops on various energy topics. Although the event is now past you may find some of the topics interesting. Just visit the link below and then download the files on topics that appeal to you.

North America:

CanWEA’s 28th Annual Conference and Exhibition will be held October 14-17, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario.  This premier wind energy event will bring together over 2,500 experts from all over the world to discuss the opportunities and latest developments in the wind energy industry. 

You may have an interest in attending or even presenting and you can get further info from:

And if you have an interest in the facts about wind energy in Canada then download the following fact sheet.


During the recent National Meeting of the Indonesian Renewable Energy Society (METI), the Director General of New, Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation, Dr. Kardaya Warnika stated that “starting by now and to the future, renewable energy will be the champion in fulfilling domestic energy needs.”. Dr Warnika will present his view at Clean Power Asiain Bali this 14-16 May 2012.

This annual conference gets rave reviews so consider attending & combining it with a holiday in lovely Bali.

You can see the program at a glance: *****************************************************************

New Technologies & Developments

In this section of the alternative energy newsletter we will always try and present you with information about new technologies in the renewable energy field.

This month we wanted to draw your attention to an exciting new development that produces electricity from algae. The research is still under development but the results to date are very promising.

Professor Barry Bruce at the University of Tennessee and his research team have used the age-old process of photosynthesis and allied it with non-biological material to produce electricity that is clean and potentially, very efficient.

Read more at: *******************************************************************

We hope you enjoyed this edition of the Home Energy Independent. Help us to serve you better by leaving a comment in the form below.

Let Us Know What You Think

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.

Please enter the word that you see below.



If you have a question about any alternative energy topic then please lodge your question at Energy Questions.

Return From Alternative Energy Newsletter To Home Page

Subscribe to the Home Energy Independent, our monthly newsletter, and receive a FREE copy of "Sustainable Energy - Without The Hot Air".