Residential Wind Turbines:
Alternative Energy Basics
Why residential wind turbines?
Alternative energy sources are hot news today – wind turbine energy being one of the most discussed.
With the volatile oil situation in the Middle East, energy sources such as solar power, hydroelectric energy and wind power are gaining an even wider audience. It looks to have a promising future in the alternative energy realm.
What Is A Wind Turbine, Anyway?
If you’ve seen pictures of the old mills, or of a peaceful scene in Holland, you’ll likely recall what a windmill looks like. They are often popular fixtures on some farms as well.
But instead of using the power created to grind grains into flour, the newer wind turbines are attached to a type of generator, which can store energy. How much energy it can create depends on the blade size and wind velocity present.
Wind turbines can be used on a small or large scale. Sometimes they are harnessed to provide energy for an entire city. You will typically see turbines that have either two or three blades, or rotors, as they are often called. On windy and sunny days, they can often produce several megawatts of power. This energy can then be stored for days when the air is calm.
On a smaller scale, residential wind turbines intended for home use might produce around 100 kilowatts of energy. Sometimes they are coupled with solar electric systems to create a complementary alternative energy resource package that packs a powerful punch.
How Does Wind Turbine Energy Work?
If we return to the basics of how our environment works, we know that the sun is responsible for providing the earth with heat.
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The effects of heating and cooling (when the sun “goes down” and the earth cools at night) is what creates what we call wind. In a general sense, wind energy is a type of solar energy.
Wind is powerful - just think of footage or pictures you have seen of tornadoes or hurricanes, and you’ll have no doubt. Even standing outside on a windy day shows us the power of this type of invisible energy.
The job of residential wind turbines is to capture this invisible energy and in turn, produce electricity from it. The wind causes the blades, or rotors, to turn. These are attached to a rod, which also turns in unison with the blades. This rod, in turn, is attached to a gear, which then connects to a smaller gear and a generator, which is located at the bottom of the windmill.
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