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Aerial View of a Wind Farm

Having lived in Vermont for twenty years and enjoyed the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains and Lake Champlain, my husband and I started thinking about installing a wind turbine at our house. We had tried very hard to lead a holistic and sustainable lifestyle and were wondering what else we could do to help offset the carbon footprint of a house that was larger than what we should be living in.

After studying the various options we installed a 10 kw Bergey wind turbine on our property in 2009. We hoped to take advantage of a new law in Vermont that guarantees that any electricity generated by residential turbines must be purchased by the local utility at $.20 a kilowatt hour. It was a good deal for us considering that in Vermont we pay between $.10 and $.13 for the energy we purchase.

While the price of installing a wind turbine is still prohibitive to most home owners, my hope is that a day will come when the price of installing turbines and solar panels will be so cost effective that alternative energy at the residential level will be the norm.

For now, every time I look out my window and watch that turbine turn I feel proud to be part of the solution to the single greatest challenge facing our planet. I know the investment is unaffordable to many, but just imagine the impact if everyone who could afford it committed to do the same.

As for the noise that accompanies the spinning on really windy days -- I like to think that it's the sound of a cleaner environment for the next generation.

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Sheila Hollender likes to blog about the environment and health issues.