Wind turbines harness the power of an everyday breeze. They convert blowing wind into electric energy for use in homes and businesses around the world. Wind generated power is clean and renewable, making it an essential component for creating an environmentally friendly source of sustainable electricity.
Commercial wind turbines are mounted on poles reaching 50 meters or higher into the air, and have three blades measuring more than 100 feet long apiece. Residential turbines are often called windmills, and the blade assembly can range from a fan like arrangement with multiple blades, to a miniature three or four blade assembly similar to commercial versions. Turbine assemblys are usually mounted on mountains, tall buildings or poles because they need height to provide clear, unobstructed access to wind flow.
Wind makes the blades of a turbine turn, causing a shaft inside to spin. The shaft is connected to a battery bank or small generator to store the generated energy for use later.
Most home owners set up wind turbines to help reduce or eliminate their electricity bills. Wind generated power also allows you to be more self sufficient, and to protect yourself from the rising costs of conventional energy over the long term.
Residential turbines can cost as little as $200 to build from simple materials, or they can be purchased in do it yourself kits. Costs range widely based on the type of kit you buy and the amount of energy you plan to generate.
As of late 2008, TreeHugger listed several ready-made wind turbine models ranging from $600 to $12,000.3
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, minimum wind speeds of 14.3 mph are “Fair” as a wind power resource area.1 If you live in an area that doesn’t get that much wind on a regular basis, wind turbines need to be supplemented with other alternative power sources such as solar energy.