Personal Power: Wind Turbines at Home

June 23rd, 2013 BY Jen Lukenbill | 7 Comments

Look up there, on the rooftop! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a wind-powered whirlybird!

Many of you may have seen wind farms or heard of wind power’s potential. It doesn’t stop in the fields a more and more commonly seen item on rooftops happens to be the propeller-like turbines on a smaller scale, of course. Are we ready to utilize this power residentially, though? It may come down to where you live, or it may come down to research and development flaws. All wind turbines vibrate, and they transmit this vibration to the structure on which they’re attached. All rooftops create turbulence that interferes with the wind turbine’s operation. Even if engineers were able to design a sophisticated dampening system that isolated the wind turbine from the structure, they couldn’t eliminate the power robbing and damaging turbulence created by the building.

An extreme, but not uncommon, example of the damage wind turbines can do to anything they’re directly attached to comes from New York, where a homeowner’s Air turbine destroyed itself on a stormy night before crashing through his roof. He decided not to replace it.

So rooftop turbines, while a great idea, need some tweaking before we can expect to see them dotting rooftops all around town. Wind farms, however, have experienced much more success.

“Wind power has an enormous potential,” said Lester Brown, author of Eco-Economy: Building an Economy for the Earth. “According to a U.S. Department of Energy wind resources inventory, three of the most wind-rich states North Dakota, Kansas, and Texas have enough harnessable wind energy to satisfy national electricity needs. China can double its current electricity generation from wind alone. Europe’s offshore wind potential is sufficient to meet the continent’s electricity needs.”

Advances in wind turbine design have reduced electricity costs from 38¢ per kilowatt-hour in the early 1980s to 4 to 6¢ at the best wind sites now. That is the best possible figure from the best possible conditions in the best possible wind-farm locations, and should not be used in figuring actual costs for the rooftop turbine variety.

The lowered costs are due to higher efficiencies, improved rotor design, and variable speed operation, to name a few. However, smaller system costs vary significantly, with installed costs at around two to three thousand dollars per installed kilowatt.

So is wind energy the wave of the future? It IS the fastest-growing energy source, after all. Take a look at these advantages and disadvantages of wind power:

Advantages:
  • Wind energy is fueled by the wind, which makes it a clean fuel source. Wind energy doesn’t pollute the air like power plants that depend on combustion of fossil fuels like natural gas and coal. Wind turbines do not produce atmospheric emissions that cause greenhouse gases or acid rain.
  • Wind energy is a domestic source of energy, produced in the United States. The nation’s wind supply is abundant.
  • Wind energy relies on the renewable power of the wind, which can’t be used up. Wind is actually a form of solar energy; the heating of the atmosphere by the sun, the rotation of the earth, and the earth’s surface irregularities cause winds.
  • Wind energy is one of the lowest-priced renewable energy technologies available today again, based on the wind resources of the area.
  • Wind turbines can be built on farms or ranches, thus benefiting the economy in the rural areas where most of the best wind sites are found. Farmers and ranchers can continue to work the land because the wind turbines use only a fraction of it. Also noteworthy: wind power plant owners make rent payments to the farmer or rancher for the use of the land.
  • Disadvantages:
  • Good wind sites are often located in remote locations, far from cities where the electricity is needed.
  • Wind power has to compete with conventional generation sources on a cost basis, and if a wind farm isn’t located in an energetic wind site, it may not be cost-effective. Despite the lowered costs in the last 10 years, the initial investment is greater than what is required for fossil-fueled generators.
  • Despite being located in remote locations, there have been complaints about the amount of noise produced by the rotor blades and the unsightly appearance of the giant fans. More people are upset upon learning that birds have been killed when they fly into the blades.
  •  

    What it comes down to is that wind is intermittent regardless of location. It doesn’t always blow when electricity is needed, just as it doesn’t always blow when you’re stuck in the middle of the river in your little sailboat. Regardless of the downside, don’t forget the state of emergency our planet is approaching. It just makes good sense to explore every option that seems plausible, especially if it’s an option that goes far beyond plausible. This is a proven success story in optimal conditions, but further research is necessary to provide this on a residential scale all over the world.

    A good case for the benefits of wind power can be found at http://www.pink-globalwarming-awareness2007.com/2007/01/21/wind-power/ if you have further questions.

    Additional sources: www.wind-works.org

    See also:

    http://www.aboutmyplanet.com/alternative-energy/installing-wind-turbine

    http://www.aboutmyplanet.com/environment/alternative-energy

    http://www.aboutmyplanet.com/environment/wind-turbine-power

    1. cassandra degni
      1

      it is very weird! thank-you @

    2. flamini
      2

      hi sir,
      so far i get some inportant knowledge about the geothemal power generation. so keep in touch on providing some important informations

    3. priyantha
      3

      Wind power can be utilized as a viable option to satisfy future electricity needs in sri lanka. sir if u can give me deatails about above.thanks.

    4. M A Rahman
      4

      Now I live in Bangladesh but I was in UK for 4 years. Now I want to setup a small wind power plant for my home and one large wind power plant for commercial use. Can you please give me the details of price to install a 10 Mwatt power plant for commercial purpose in Bangladesh. for my home, can i set ip up on my building’s roof. I assume that there is enough wind to produce electricity for my home only.

    5. Pari en ligne
      5

      We got to fight against big industry. We got (for the moment) only one earth !!!

    6. neeherika.g
      6

      Now i live in india[thirupathi].now i want to setup a small wind power plantfor my home.can you please give me the more details of price.can i set up on my building roof.i assume that there is enough wind power to produce electricity for my home.

    7. Sandy Predmore
      7

      Looking for some one in the Rochester, NY area to set up a wind turbine on a very windy hill.


    8. What do you have to say?