Electric dream a reality
WHEN the wind blows and the sun shines, John Humphreys' house in east Bundaberg becomes his own private power generator.
Years ago Mr Humphreys installed solar panels on his roof to absorb energy from the sun and feed electricity into the power grid.
Yesterday Bundaberg Regional Council approved his proposal to set up a private wind turbine in his backyard to add wind power to the electricity he produces.
“It's really just to help the solar panels out on a cloudy, windy day,” Mr Humphreys said.
Mr Humphreys said he was not self-sufficient in electricity, with the solar panels generating about three quarters of the power needs of his house.
But on a good day, with the panels and the turbine both working, he can power his whole house.
The solar panels, and now the wind turbine, put the electricity they generate into the grid, and Mr Humphreys gets paid 44 cents a kilowatt.
Then he draws electricity from the grid for his needs.
Mr Humphreys had to have a special meter installed at his house that records both the outgoing and incoming electricity.
He said the idea to erect the wind turbine, which he believes is the first private one in Bundaberg, came about after a discussion at work.
“We were talking about it because Bundaberg is a fairly windy place,” he said.
Yesterday the weather let him down, with hardly a breath of wind, and certainly not enough to spin the 1.2m long blades on his turbine.
Mr Humphreys has an air speed sensor installed on the turbine, which lets him monitor conditions.
“I need a 2.5m-a-second wind to get it to run,” he said.
“Today I'm only getting 1m a second.”
Mr Humphreys, an electrician for Bundaberg Regional Council, made the pole for the turbine himself.
He also installed a winch so the rotating turbine could be lowered to the ground if there was a threat of a cyclone.
Mr Humphreys said the turbine generated very little noise.
“At the weekend it was very windy and it was whizzing around, but I didn't even know it was going,” he said.
Mr Humphreys said he expected to see more and more private wind turbines go up over time.