14 Wind Turbine FactsMarch 2, 2011
As more and more people look to the possibility of harnessing the wind to generate electricity, some points need to be shown that will help determine the feasibility of such energy production as it applies to both individuals and large companies. Although energy from windpower is not a new concept, the rapidly changing industry calls for the need to present some relevant wind turbine facts.
Wind Turbine Farms Generate Enormous Amounts Of Electricity
The largest wind turbine farms make use of dozens of very tall (200ft. and more) towers that support giant blades that are themselves 100 feet or more in diameter. One of these towers can supply enough electrical current to power 200 homes.
Farms Are Either Privately Or Industrially Owned
Most of the giant-sized turbines are located on land owned by a private individual and its use is leased to a corporation, or the land is owned outright by a utility company and the power generated is linked to their existing grid.
Power Is Generated Where Wind Is Abundant
Wind turbines will only operate satisfactorily if there is enough sustainable windspeed, the ideal conditions being a minimum of about 8mph for at least 18-20 hours per day. When the wind is not blowing, the turbine cannot produce electricity.
Turbine Generators Are Specially Manufactured
Modern wind turbines have technologically advanced design; their large nacelles contain a generator that is connected to the propeller shaft. A computerized control module uses the tower's anemometer to detect wind speed and direction, and a yaw motor connects to a swivel assembly that keeps the propellers aimed properly.
Little Maintenance Required
This is one of the important wind turbine facts when considering the enormous amount of wear and tear that would otherwise be suffered by the unit when wind direction changes. The yaw motor and swivel assembly make for smooth motion of the unit, and the gearbox is of very high quality and is manufactured to operate constantly without wearing out.
No Pollution Is Produced
The greenest of all green technology, wind turbines produce no pollutants, since the wind powers the generator. The only biochemical pollutants would be from machinery used to build the system.
Where Wind Turbine Farms Are Found...
The United States, Germany, Spain and Denmark all have large numbers of wind farms, and these countries are currently adding to the total megawatts produced. However, less than 1 per cent of today's energy is currently being produced from these farms.
Roof Mounted Units Are now Available
Some homeowners are installing smaller units on their rooftops, mainly because their property does not have enough open space for a tower model.
Most Areas Do Not Provide Enough Wind
Some very important wind turbine facts; the governments of many countries, including the United States, have produced extensive maps showing the average sustained windspeed for a local area.
Different Models Are Available
Besides the usual propeller-driven wind turbine, the Darrieus vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) is a popular variant, with its blade design undergoing constant upgrading to produce more efficient rotation. Tiny blade driven units no more than 2 feet in diameter are available to power battery chargers.
Startup Costs Can Be Excessive
Even a small wind turbine on a property containing a single family home can be somewhat expensive to purchase and install. Most towers and turbines that can generate enough electricity to power an entire house will cost in excess of $1000USD, and this price does not include installation or the connection of conduit or cable to a structure or battery bank. Commercial wind turbines come with a price tag of up to $100,000USD.
Permits Often Required For Homeowners
Many jurisdictions only allow towers to be built after obtaining a permit.
Selling Excess Energy
Much like hydropower, homeowners may be able to sell excess electricity to the local power authority.
Manufactured Units For Sale
Quite a number of companies manufacture and sell units for homeowners; their turbines are advertised on the internet.