Wind Powered Energy
Wind powered energy is a cousin of solar power as the sun heats the air, hot air rises, cooler air replaces it and wind is created. While the reality of the sun and wind relationship is much more complicated, it’s interesting to see how things are related. Wind energy is being created in many fields around the world; you can see clusters of giant wind turbines spinning continuously taking advantage of the power of the wind. Without the need of fuel, the constant spinning generates electricity and these wind fields are providing large and small communities with wind power energy to fulfill some or all of their electricity needs.
This basic technology of producing electricity by utilizing a renewable resource can be applied to homeowners as well. While wind powered energy can be produced day and night, it is part of an alternative energy solution and may not be the total answer.
How Wind Turbines Work
Wind turbines are required for wind powered energy to be converted into electricity. The main objective is to have these wind turbines exposed to wind speeds ranging from a minimum of 7 mph to 10 mph. Since there can be instances where there is no wind, you must still be connected to an electrical grid in order to keep your electricity consistent.
Wind Turbines of all Shapes and Sizes
Horizontal axis wind turbines are the most common types of wind turbines because of their best potential in generating good amounts of electricity. They are easily recognized, by their main rotor and generator with 2-3 long blades located on the top of the tower. For these to work best, the wind turbine must be facing against the wind so it can extract as much power as possible.
There are small horizontal wind turbines that are available for the homeowner providing wind energy, as a portion of your total energy needs. Vertical axis turbines or the turbines that look like a DNA helix have a different arrangement where the main rotor shift is arranged vertically. This arrangement gives a distinct advantage over the horizontal wind turbines because of its ability to catch wind from any direction. This is a newer type of turbine and also comes in a variety of sizes. This is the type that actor Ed Begley has on his home. And can make having a wind turbine possible where it might not have been earlier.
Electricity that Wind Makes
Today’s turbines generate electricity in watts. You will see kilowatt (kW or 1,000 watts) and the measurement you see on your electric bill, megawatt (MW or 1000 watts) and finally gigawatt (GW or 1 billion watts). The wind turbines sizes on the market today range from 250 watts to 1.8 megawatts, which provides the homeowner a wide range of options. How much electricity your turbine produces depends on turbine size and wind speed. Again, net metering is an opportunity to sell or receive credit from your electric company when you are producing more electricity than you need.
Wind powered energy is one of the fastest growing forms of alternative energy both for energy companies, communities and homeowners. The technology is improving; the size and shapes are varied making them viable solutions in many more situations.
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