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Wind Power

One of the advantages of wind power is that the wind may still blow even if the sun is covered by clouds. Developing a two-energy source system by using both solar energy and wind power is an excellent method for alternative energy self sustainability, however initial costs may be daunting.

Assuring the wind has the strength for the turbines is essential. Just because a site looks windy, it may not produce the necessary wind velocity to produce sufficient energy. Turbulent wind can negate benefits of a rotating propeller. Turbulence can be developed from nearby trees, buildings, etc. It is therefore important to ensure the proposed turbine site is above any "external" influence.

To ensure an even air flow in the area under scrutiny, place a ribbon on the end of a long pole and position this in the wind stream. If the ribbon flows strong and evenly, then this is a good indication of a good site.

Air speed is best measured by an anemometer.

Air speed increases with height because air that is moving higher up has less friction (drag) from contact with the ground). At a height of 26 metres, the wind speed reportedly is about 50% more than at ground level, which can equate to about 300% increase in power at this height.

To charge a 12 volt battery, the wind generator must produce more than 12 volts to be of any affect. It is worth noting that voltage output of an alternator is directly proportional to its speed or RPM.

SOME FACTS ON WIND GENERATION

  • Power generated from wind is an indirect form of solar energy.
  • Wind generators can run day and night depending on the presence of winds.
  • Electricity generated by wind can be stored in batteries, or used directly to power devices (e.g. water pumps).
  • Wind turbines for power generation have low environmental costs.
  • The southern coastline of Australia and New Zealand is in the "Roaring Forties" one of the best wind regimes for power generation in the world.
  • Wind generators occupy only a small space for the tower with the rest of the land available for other uses (e.g. agriculture).
  • A wind generator will produce the energy used in its manufacture in 1 to 4 years depending on its location.

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