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Wind Power

Wind Generators

Wind power can be harnessed to be a non-polluting, never-ending source of energy to meet electric power needs around the world.  Wind power is a form of renewable energy – energy that is replenished daily by the sun.  Wind power is created when a portion of the earth is heated by solar radiation;  the heated air raises creating a vacuum while cooler air rushes into the low pressure areas to create wind power.

Wind turbines come in a variety of sizes, depending upon the use of the electricity. The large, utilityscale turbine may have blades over 132 feet long (40 meters), meaning the diameter of the rotor is over 264 feet (80 meters) – nearly the length of a football field. The turbines might be mounted on towers 264 feet tall (one blade would extend about half way down the tower), produce 1.8 megawatts of power (1.8 MW or 1800 kilowatts, 1800 kW), supply enough electricity for 600 homes and cost over a million and a half dollars!

Wind turbines designed to supply part of the electricity used by a home or business, and farms are much smaller and less costly. A residential- or farm-sized turbine may have a rotor up to 50 feet in diameter and be mounted on a metal lattice tower up to 120 feet (35 meters) tall. These turbines may cost from as little as a few thousand dollars for very small units up to perhaps $40,000-$80,000.

Very small turbines may be designed to charge batteries and supply electricity to homes that are not connected to the utility system. In these systems, the batteries store the electricity until it is needed.  Small agricultural systems may not need any storage devices because the generated power is consumed immediately.

Wind Power Notes:

The wind is slowed dramatically by friction as it brushes the ground and vegetation, it may not feel very windy at ground level. Yet the power in the wind may be five times greater at the height of a 40-story building (the height of the blade tip on a large, modern wind turbine) than the breeze on your face.

 Furthermore, the wind is accelerated by major land forms, so that entire areas of the country may be very windy while other areas are relatively calm. Since our country’s founders tended to build our cities and towns where the wind doesn’t blow strongly, the vast majority of people don’t live in high-wind areas. 

Yet, when wind power is converted to electricity, it can be sent long distances to serve the needs of the cities and towns where we do live.
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