Wind Power Generators

Throughout history human civilizations have been harnessing the energy of the wind. It was a major advancement that opened us up to sea travel, exploration, and international trade. It was also a handy tool on farms in the creation of windmills. Wind power has been taken to the next level in the modern age and is now being used for electrical generation.

Wind power systems work well in locations with wind speeds in excess of 7 mph. This wind should be available on a frequent basis. Wind turbines are somewhat of a specialty, however, since they can be used only in locations with constant patterns of winds. These patterns are often related to mountain Chinooks, coastal climates, and locations in the Great Plains under the influences of the jet stream.

Wind power systems are usually coupled to an AC or DC generator and battery bank, and may be outsourced to the electrical grid. Since wind speeds often change, then so too our wind turbine rotational speed will want to change. Wind turbines have an ideal operational speed based on their aerodynamics. Modern load control and variable pitch blade systems are often used to help maintain the turbines within this operating range.

Most wind turbines on the market rotate about their horizontal axis. They take on the wind power and spin much like the propeller of a plane. A wide variety of sizes can be purchased between the ranges of a kilowatt and a megawatt, and for a multitude of applications. These designs should have a mechanism to make sure they are always oriented correctly with the wind.

Vertical axis wind turbines have seen limited time in the market place. They take on the flow tangentially and use a different style of blades. Historically, their design was compact and easy to install, but at the expense of some output and efficiency. They are nice for someone considering a smaller output roof mounted wind power unit, however very few designs are available on the market today. Some newer designs are under development, however, and so with some time market conditions may change.

The most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to wind power is your local wind velocities. The amount of energy you can produce is a function of the wind velocity to the third power. The difference between a 14 mph and 8 mph breeze, then, is actually quite good. It is for this reason that a wind turbine installation should be at a higher elevation, to avoid land obstructions and maintain the best possible wind velocities.

This cubic relationship between wind power and wind speed is nice, but there is such a thing as too much wind. When we get into heavier gusts and storm like conditions, then the aerodynamic stresses can become too great. Therefore, we must protect our systems from overload and overspeed in some way. This could mean decommissioning the units when we’ve exceed our load regulating capabilities, and orienting them to the least stress position.

The decision whether to use wind can be pretty easy. Just by experience, you should know your local wind patterns and couple of measurements should tell if you are in excess of 7 mph. In certain locations, wind power works nicely hybridized with solar panel installations.

Using the local wind patterns is an ancient practice for obtaining energy. If you have the right weather conditions, then wind power is a good choice for you. There will be some planning and forethought in the type of system you select. But once in place, you will have an energy source that is clean, reliable, and free for generations to come.