Wind Power: Could it Work for You?

March 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, Wind Energy

Did you know that the wind that blows away your garbage cans can be put to good use to run your home? And that using wind power in place of traditional fossil fuels can decrease your energy bills by as much as 95%? Wind power, harnessed through turbines, provides a clean source of energy that is inexpensive as well as safe for the environment. Wind power is renewable, since there is no danger of running out. Any electricity generated by a wind turbine and not through wasteful fossil fuels is a boon to all of us.

A wind turbine is simply a hollow pole or metal tower featuring three sizeable blades on top. As the wind moves the blades, electricity is created. If you’ve ever considered installing a turbine for your home energy use, you should keep in mind that they are tall, noticeable, and not always aesthetically pleasing, so if you have close neighbors and not a lot of land, it might not be a good option. But if you have plenty of space and live far from populated neighborhoods, turbines might be worth considering. If you’re worried about them making too much noise, you can rest assured. The blades constantly spin, but the noise isn’t substantial. A wind turbine makes about the same amount of noise as a clothes washing machine.

Residential wind power users clearly need to live where there is wind all year long. This includes close to 17 million homes in the United States, according to a recent census. Also, the average wind speed needs to be at least 9 miles per hour in order for your turbine to be worth the investment. Wind maps are actually available for purchase that can reveal whether or not your home is located in a spot where wind power turbines are feasible.

Normally, residential wind turbine users need to have both the wind turbine and the utility company hooked up for energy coverage when there isn’t enough wind. Whereas with a solar energy system there are batteries to store extra electricity to use later, wind power turbines don’t have batteries to hold excess. However, when it’s very windy and more electricity is produced by the turbine than needed, excess can be purchased back by the electric company. It all adds up to environmental and economical savings.

Aside from harnessing wind power for personal residential use, it can be used on a much grander scale, to power entire cities, towns, or even countries. Usage of this magnitude requires the creation of wind farms, comprising several turbines over open flat areas and connected to a grid in order to produce electricity for multiple homes. Wind farms can be relatively small, with only a few turbines, or very large with more than 900. Most turbines are 80 feet tall at a minimum, well above anything that could get in the way of the blades. Hawaii boasts the largest turbine, which is 20 stories tall and has blades that are as large as football fields.

Whether for residential or municipal use, wind power provides a clean, renewable energy source. Converting wind power into energy is a great way to be kind to the environment and save money on energy bills.