Things to Consider About Wind-Generated Power
There is a direct relationship between the size and design of the blades and their ability to turn generator motors that produce an electrical current. The force of the blades as they are spinning needs to be strong enough to transfer energy through gears into the generator in order to produce a decent amount of electricity. This generally translates into the need to have large blades that are aerodynamically designed to not only spin, but to spin with enough force to drive the motor.
Small, home-built wind turbines do not generate a lot of electricity, and they are generally connected to generators that are small enough to spin at high rates of speed. While they may be perfect for powering a radio, light or small appliance, they will probably not create enough electricity to power your overall off-the-grid needs. The solution is to create a number of smaller turbines or invest in a larger unit in order to really capture enough electricity.
It goes without saying that wind turbines need wind to work. If you are in an area where prevailing winds are inconsistent or blow at low speeds most of the time, then a turbine is probably not the best option. Winds also tend to die down after sunset and don’t pick up until the sun heats the atmosphere in the late morning. You will need to create and install battery banks in order to compensate for these discrepancies.
Storms are another factor to consider. If you are in an area that is prone to strong and gusty thunderstorms or substantial amounts of precipitation, then the performance of the wind turbine will be affected as well. You will need to design your units to be able to withstand inclement weather in order to avoid damage or short-circuits.
Consider whether or not you have the space, material and capability of building suitable wind turbines at your location. Where will you put them? What kinds of local laws govern their use? Do you have to meet certain environmental criteria? These are just a few questions that you will need to consider before you decide to start building your turbines.
You will also need to calculate the overall cost of material and construction. Consider how much time will have to invest in experimenting and tinkering with different options until you find the best design for your needs. Will the power output be worth the trouble? Will solar or hydro-power provide a better alternative? You may discover that wind energy is not the best solution to incorporate into your strategy based on a simple cost vs benefit calculation.
Wind energy does work, and it has its place in the realm of off-the-grid power generation. However, it is important consider how well it will work for you before investing and relying on this option.