Family Wind Turbines Gain Momentum in Denmark

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November 4, 2009—Part of a growing trend, a Danish family of seven has installed its own wind turbine to produce all the electricity the family needs while reducing its carbon footprint.

© 2009 National Geographic

Unedited Transcript The Jeppesen family lives on a small farm in Thisted (TEES-vedth), Denmark, and like most, they use a lot of electricity.

But this family is part of a growing trend of folks who have vowed to decrease their carbon footprint. They create their electricity with a wind turbine.

SOUNDBITE: Hans Chresten Jeppesen, Wind Turbine Owner Well, I got this windmill because I wanted to produce some electricity for our household. And I wanted to produce the electricity carbon-dioxide-free,

The family of seven uses electricity like a typical household.

SOUNDBITE: Hans Chresten Jeppesen, Wind Turbine Owner We like using computers, and watching the television. And we like taking hot showers like everybody else. By having a windmill we can do that with a good conscience, because we know that the power we consume doesnt expose the environment. Now we produce electricity without producing carbon dioxide. It feels right to take our little part of the responsibility of getting a better environment.

SOUNDBITE: Hans Chresten Jeppesen, Wind Turbine Owner Right now the wind is approximately five-point-two meters per second and right now the windmill is producing 4.2 kilowatts And Id guess the household right now is using approximately two kilowatt. So right now, we have an excess production of two kilowatt.

This means that some of the electricity is sold to other households. And when it is windy the turbine produces enough electricity for 7 other families. Next, they want to replace one of their vehicles with an electric car.

SOUNDBITE: Hans Chresten Jeppesen, Wind Turbine Owner One of our plans is to reduce the carbon-dioxide emissions from the cars. We plan to exchange one of the cars for an electric vehicle. Right now, its not possible to buy one of those cars, because they are not at the market. But I guess they will be at the market during a year or so, and then we will change the little car for an electric vehicle. By using an electric vehicle, we can charge it from the windmill during the night. We dont use very much electricity during the night, and of course, this electricity can, as well, be used to charge the batteries on the electric car.

Costs for a home wind turbine system can vary, but materials alone start at a few thousand dollars-US.

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