(the world of wind turbines)
Wind turbines are able to capture and convert to electricity the clean, green renewable wind energy that flows along most places on Earth. While windmills may pump water, or in some locations grind grain, wind turbines are used to create electricity and to do so without the burning of fossil fuels.
Turbines, known for being intermittent renewable energy resources, are the fastest growing alternative energy segment in the United States, outpacing solar, hydropower, bioenergy and geothermal.
Wind turbine for residential use
These wind generators can be classified generally as either commercial or residential.
These two classes of wind turbines can also be divided into horizontal axis or vertical axis. The commercial or utility scale turbines typically tower above the ground at 60 to 200 feet where the air moves more rapidly and freely.
Wind Turbine Tips …
Commercial wind generators commonly have three blades that help balance out the devices and reduce wear and tear on the bearings. The large scale wind power generators also have a horizontal axis with a gearbox that drives an electrical generator on the backside. The tip speed on the wind turbine blades can be as much as six times the speed of the wind itself.
Some of the advantages of utility scale turbines are the variable blade pitch with an optimal angle of attack and the tower size it can be placed upon, which reaches stronger winds that are typical higher up from the ground.
Some of the disadvantages of large commercial horizontal wind turbines is that construction, transportation and installation can be quite expensive. Some local residents may object to a wind farm disrupting the appearance of the landscape or their winged friends.
Large commercial wind turbine
Environmentalists object to some horizontal turbines that disrupt migratory bird paths and sometimes create bird fatalities. Utility scale horizontal wind generators are also prone to structural fatigue both from within the turbine and from being downwind from another turbine.
Residential wind turbines, on the other hand, offer homeowners a break from total dependency upon the utility companies. Home turbines may be either horizontal axis or vertical axis.
The vertical axis turbines can be installed lower to the ground and may offer more unique design than horizontal turbines with typical blades. The energy provided by residential wind turbines can offset part of one’s monthly bill or in some instances will provide the homeowner the chance to sell power back to the utility company. Not bad!
Net Metering …
Many states now have net metering programs where the electrical meter is rolled back with the surplus of alternative energy that is supplied by one’s home to the local power company.
Home wind generators, whether on the rooftop or in one’s yard provide those with houses the opportunity for individual energy independence including lower bills.
Utility Scale Turbines
Whether one talks about utility scale wind turbines such as outlined in the Pickens Plan or residential turbines, horizontal or vertical, matters not.
What does matter is to get started today in using clean, renewable energy from the world’s most abundant source, the wind. The zero emissions answer my friend is blowing in the wind. And that’s not just a lot of hot air. Oh, the humanity!
Wind Power Fun Facts
Approximately 145 terawatt-hours of wind energy are produced every year in the United States.
In the U. S., wind power provides over 42-percent of new electrical generation.
Google has invested in both an Atlantic Ocean wind farm and Makani Power, a wind farm start-up.
Some wind turbines are taller than the Statue of Liberty and have blades over 260 feet long.
Updated October 07, 2015