An article in this Week’s Parade magazine notes how government (national, state and local) incentives are likely to boost use of small wind turbines residentially, noting that the market for these mindmills grew 78 percent last year. One telling part of the article is the following:
If you’re thinking of setting up your own, you’ll need a big down payment and some patience—the systems cost about $40,000 to install and take five to 15 years to pay for themselves. Zoning restrictions and objections from neighbors also pose obstacles.
In short, what this means is that government has had to prop up this environmentally friendly industry in order for it to survive. Political incentives have been the source of its success, not market incentives. If the industry was such an economic plus (in short: profitable), it would not need such government incentives.