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Understanding Wind Power

Wind Power, Explained

So you see a lot about wind power these days. Huge wind fields with crazy skyscraping propellers whose size boggles the mind when seen up close. Enough of these out in the world and we can replace conventional power plants all together. So they say. And they may be right. These wind farms are popping up in a lot of places recently. And believe it or not, they’ve even started appearing out in the middle of the ocean. Wild.

Let’s face it, wind power is available, and it’s got great potential! Along with large scale wind power production, small scale production is also available. Nowadays we see everything from those giant wind farms to small versions of wind power generators that fit right on your roof or out in your yard. So, you ask, can this work for me? Sure can. But there are catches.

First catch, and the most obvious of course. The wind is not always blowing. For wind to provide a significant amount of power, it has to be blowing. At least a little. This is more of an issue with your ‘home size’ wind power generator, as the ‘skyscraper size’ generators are always strategically located in areas where the wind is abundant (open plains, on top of mountains, offshore.) Since I don’t think that anyone reading this is in the market for megawatt generators like those, we’ll keep the focus more on the ‘home size’ option.

So we already know that the ability to utilize strategic wind farm locations where the wind is always abundant is somewhat limited for most of us, since we don’t all live in places like I mentioned above. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy the potential power that the wind can produce. Even if you live in an area where the wind blows mildly, you can still use wind power to supplement your grid power supply. You can even store it in battery banks for use at a later time, like at night, when your solar panel array is no longer able to produce power for you.

Wind power setups are getting very edgy too. It’s no longer just the airplane propeller type generators most of us are used to seeing. There are some truly innovative designs out there that can take advantage of any type of wind setup you can imagine. From ultra modern barrel designs that can take advantage of extremely turbulent wind like you might find in a crowded city, to covered deigns that can harness the power of the winds riding up and over a building. There’s something for almost every wind scenario you can imagine.

Viability for wind power in the home? Well it’s a good start to an alternative power project, but don’t expect wind to power your entire home unless you live in a place where the wind almost never stops blowing. For most of us, an open windy field isn’t an option. Wind is more of a supplement to your existing power feed (grid, solar, etc.) than anything else. Let’s face it; it comes from a mostly unreliable source, unlike solar power.

Is it still worth it? Sure it is! Wind generators are inexpensive and can pay for themselves in relatively short periods of time, especially if you’re supplementing an existing system where you already have inverters in place and room to expand with them. My recommendation? Stick with solar unless you really do live in an area where there is a reliable and plentiful source of wind to harness. As I look outside right now, there’s not a tree branch or leaf moving in the wind. But the sun is still out.

Rating? 3 out of 5 stars.

Wind is great, but as a supplement only. It’s less reliable than the sun for small scale home use.

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