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Wind Energy

First look at some quick facts so you understand wind generated energy. What is wind generated energy? The terms "wind generated energy" or "wind power" describe the process by which the wind is used to generate mechanical power or electricity. Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy into mechanical power. This mechanical power can be used for specific tasks (such as grinding grain or pumping water) or a generator can convert this mechanical power into electricity to power homes, businesses, schools, and the like.

What causes the wind to blow? It is a form of solar energy. Winds are caused by the uneven heating of the atmosphere by the sun, the irregularities of the earth's surface, and rotation of the earth. Wind flow patterns are modified by the earth's terrain, bodies of water, and vegetative cover. This wind flow, or motion energy, when "harvested" by modern wind turbines can be used to generate electricity.

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Wind Energy Generation


When was wind energy first used? Since earliest recorded history, wind power has been used to move ships, grind grain and pump water. There is evidence that wind energy was used to propel boats along the Nile River as early as 5000 B.C. Within several centuries before Christ, simple windmills were used in China to pump water.

In the United States, millions of windmills were erected as the American West was developed during the late 19th century. Most of them were used to pump water for farms and ranches. By 1900, small electric wind systems were developed to generate direct current, but most of these units fell into disuse as inexpensive grid power was extended to rural areas during the 1930s. By 1910, wind turbine generators were producing electricity in many European countries.

Today however the green house effects of fossil generation, the ever rising cost of buying your energy needs and the advancement of technology makes wind power generation a very viable option for many homeowners to reduce their energy costs by creating free energy.

With a low cost home turbine and generator you can turn the wind into a power generating system for your household needs. Modern technology and ingenuity has brought the cost of wind generators down to the point where anyone can afford the installation and understand the simplicity of the design. Modern wind technology takes advantage of advances in materials, engineering, electronics, and aerodynamics.

How big are wind turbines? Wind turbines are available in a variety of sizes, and therefore power ratings. Most people are familiar with the large commercial turbines but these provide power quantities well beyond household needs so the home unit is considerably smaller.

However if you choose a larger unit or a small group of units you are able to sell excess power to utility companies. Now that is a switch we can all enjoy, us selling power to the utility company. Homeowners sell excess electricity to the utility? Under the Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act of 1978 (PURPA), any qualifying individual can install a wind generator and the local electric utility must pay for any excess power produced. PURPA was specifically intended to create a market for clean, renewable, electric-generating technologies by guaranteeing a buyer for the excess power. Prior to PURPA, selling power to the utility was an option but was the discretion of the utility. With PURPA, small power producers meeting specific criteria are guaranteed purchase and interconnection. Many states now permit "net metering," in which the utility must buy wind power generated by homeowners at the same retail rate the utility charges. This essentially allows the customer's meter to turn backward while wind energy is supplied to the grid by the customer's turbine.




Wind power...tomorrow. Wind power has an expansive future according to experts. Wind energy has been the fastest growing source of electricity generation in the world in the 1990s. However, the majority of this growth has been in Europe, where government policies and high conventional energy costs favor the use of wind energy. The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced the Wind Powering America initiative with goals to power at least 5% of the nation's electricity with wind by 2020, increase the number of states with more than 20 megawatts of wind to 16 by 2005 and 24 by 2010, and increase federal use of wind energy to 5% by 2010.

With all this in mind Ask Yourself: 1.Will energy costs go down over next ten years? 2.Will I be able to reduce my power consumption to offset increasing costs? 3.Will my income offset increasing costs? 4.Would I rather find a way to produce my energy needs? 5.Is wind energy right for me?

Remember in closing that energy is produced by an industry that is allowed to set rates to cover their fixed costs plus a return on their investment. If they sell less power than their rate structure will adjust upward to cover their fixed costs and the return on their investment. It is a never ending cycle for the consumer. Answer the questions above and look at the alternatives so you can get out of the cycle. As a former Utility Manager for 32 Years I got out of the rising rate cycle and produce my own power.

Wind Energy Generation