Wind power involves converting wind energy into electricity by using wind turbines. A wind turbine is composed of 3 propellers-like blades called a rotor. The rotor is attached to a tall tower. The tower looks like a very tall pole. On average wind towers are about 20m high. The reason why the tower is so tall is because winds are stronger higher from the ground.
Vertical and horizontal axis turbines used for residential electricity generation
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Wind comes from atmospheric changes; changes in temperature and pressure makes the air move around the surface of the earth; all of which is triggered by the sun. So in a way, wind energy is another form of solar power. A wind turbine captures the wind to produce energy. The wind makes the rotor spin; as the rotor spins, the movement of the blades spinning gives power to a generator which makes energy. The motion of the wind turbine turning is called kinetic energy, this power is converted into electricity.
The conversion of wind into electricity
Wind power is converted into electricity by magnets moving past stationary coils of wire known as the stator. As the magnets pass the stator, AC electricity is produced. It is then converted into DC electricity which can be used to charge batteries which store the electrical energy or can also be fed into a grid interactive inverter for feeding power into the electricity grid.
The benefits of wind power
Wind power is a clean energy source that can be relied on for the long-term future. A wind turbine creates reliable, cost-effective, pollution free energy. It is affordable, clean and sustainable. One wind turbine can be sufficient to generate energy for a household. Because wind is a source of energy which is non-polluting and renewable, wind turbines create power without using fossil fuels, without producing greenhouse gases or radioactive or toxic waste. Wind power reduces global warming.
How are wind turbines installed
Wind turbines can be installed on properties, on boats, or caravans. Getting a wind turbine depends entirely on the amount of wind generated in your area. The first thing you need to do is to find out the average speed in your area. While using freely available data gives an indication, the most reliable method is a reading taken at your site. Once a terribly expensive exercise, this can now be done economically using the Power Predictor.
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The average wind speed needs to be above 5m/s (18km per hour) to make installing a wind turbine worthwhile. Ideal locations for wind turbines are in the country, on farms, or on the coast: basically anywhere away from built-up areas. The more buildings around the wind turbine, the less wind there is. Energy Matters can do full installations of hybrid, wind and solar energy systems. Setting up a wind turbine is a big job that takes time but it can be a very cost effective way of creating power as long as the average wind speed is high enough.
In certain cases, installing a wind turbine can be even better than installing solar panels because it can create a bigger mass of the energy required. Learn more about wind energy vs. solar power or read our guide – Is Wind Power Right For You?