How Wind Turbines Work
There are many alternative sources of energy. Solar energy, hydro electric and wind energy are three of the most common options. Wind energy may be one of the most promising resources to explore.
What is a Wind Turbine?
A wind turbine is essentially a wind mill much like you’d see on farms or in Holland. However, instead of being attached to a mill to grind grain into flour, the turbine is attached to a generator. The result is energy. How much energy? Well it depends on the size of the blades and the wind speed.
Wind turbines can be used on a large scale to produce energy for a city. The turbines generally have two or three blades or rotors. On sunny, windy days they can produce several megawatts. The energy can also be stored for non windy days. On a smaller scale, for home use, a wind turbine can produce about 100 kilowatts. They work well to compliment a solar electric power system.
How a Wind Turbine Works
The sun is what heats the earth. This heating and cooling creates wind. In a way, wind energy is also solar energy. When wind is created it has force. It has energy. If you’ve ever stood outside on a very windy day you know that this energy is quite powerful.
A wind turbine captures this energy and turns it into electricity. The wind turns the blades or rotors. The rotors are attached to a rod. When the rotors turn the rod turns as well. The rod is then attached to a gear. In an old fashioned wind mill that gear connects to a heavy gear at the bottom of the mill. It turns as the teeth of the gear rotate and it grinds the grain. In a wind turbine the gear is attached to a smaller gear and a generator. As this gear spins it creates electricity.
The generator creates electricity by using a magnetic rotor inside the generator. As the rotor spins around the core it electromagnetic induction and generates an electrical current.
Environmentally Sound Energy Source
As you can see, there’s no byproduct of wind energy. The energy is either used or stored. There is no byproduct of the energy. The only downside to wind energy is that if the wind doesn’t blow at least 10 MPH then little to no energy is created. Additionally, the generator can be quite expensive.
If you’re looking to include wind energy for your home you may want to investigate the costs and lifespan of a typical generator. Over the life of a good generator you’ll definitely make your money back. And you can rest well knowing you’re using one of the cleanest and most environmentally friendly energy sources available.
The benefits of wind turbines
- Cut your electricity bills
- Wind is free, so once you’ve paid for the initial installation your electricity costs will be reduced.
- Get paid for what you generate
- Through Feed-in-Tariffs, you get paid for the electricity you generate even if you use it. What you don’t use, you can export to the local grid – and get paid for that too.
- Cut your carbon footprint
- Wind electricity is green, renewable energy and doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants.
- Store electricity for a calm day
- If your home isn’t connected to the national grid you can store excess electricity in batteries and use it when there is no wind.
Maintenance checks are necessary every few years, and will generally cost around ?100 to ?200 per year depending on turbine size. A well-maintained turbine should last more than 20 years, but you may need to replace the inverter at some stage during this time, at a cost of ?1,000 to ?2,000 for a large system.
For off-grid systems, batteries will also need replacing, typically every six to ten years. The cost of replacing batteries varies depending on the design and scale of the system. Any back-up generator will also have its own fuel and maintenance costs.
Generate electricity at home with small-scale wind turbines. Wind turbines harness the power of the wind and use it to generate electricity. Forty percent of all the wind energy in Europe blows over the UK, making it an ideal country for domestic turbines (known as ‘microwind’ or ‘small-wind’ turbines). A typical system in an exposed site could easily generate more power than your lights and electrical appliances use