Wind Power Generation
Wind power is one of the cleanest types of energy generation. There are two main types of wind power generation: small scale and large scale; the latter currently is the most popular and the main source of wind power. Wind power generation uses turbines to produce electricity. Wind turbines come in a wide range of sizes. Large wind turbines are used in large-scale wind farms and can generate a great amount of power. Some may produce hundreds of megawatts of electricity, which could power hundreds of homes. Small wind turbines are those where wind power generation does not exceed 100 kW and are designed to be installed at residential buildings, farms and small businesses. They can work as electricity backup systems, to cut electricity costs and mitigate emissions. It is estimated that a residential wind turbine can generate up to 70% of the electricity needed by the building it serves.
It is necessary to carry out a technical evaluation to find out whether a given site is suitable for wind power generation. It will depend mostly on the wind resource available. It is necessary at least 9 to 12 miles per hour to make it cost effective. You can calculate that using online tools like this one. Those who would prefer to be really precise about the wind speed on their site need to purchase a wind resource evaluation system. It is expensive but if the property is hilly or has unusual features, then it may be worthwhile buying one. In the case of small turbines, it is advisable to build one year’s worth of data to get a clear picture of the potential to generate wind power.
In terms of design, there are two basic types of wind turbines. The most common one is the horizontal axis turbine, which has to be aimed directly at the wind and comes with a tail vane that will keep the turbine continuously pointed in the direction of the wind. There are also vertical axis turbines that work in whichever direction the wind blows. These require more ground space to support their wires than horizontal turbines do.
Although wind power is not a novelty – its use goes back 5,500 years when it was propelled sailboats and sailing ships – it’s becoming an important component of the energy mix of some countries, especially Denmark, where it accounts for 20% of the total. 80 countries across the globe explore wind power commercially these days.