How Does Wind Energy Work?
How is Wind Energy Used on the Homestead?
Wind power is the invisible force able to save you money. But how does wind energy work?
Wind power is one of the oldest forms of energy for how to live off the grid. There are many windmills across the world which have stood for generations. Some are next to a house while others are in the middle of wind-swept pastures. Pasture-based windmills have traditionally been used to power a well for the watering needs of livestock and homesteaders.
Many of the older windmills have become a monument to a homestead heritage instead of a tower of renewable energy. Yet I was surprised to learn wind power is the fastest-growing supply of energy in America.
Solar panels for homes are readily available in different systems and styles, as well as price ranges. Hydro-powered systems are not as common, yet, can be cost effective when you take into account the money you’ll save over years to come. However, wind power is more affordable and customizable than you may think.
Comparatively cost-effective, wind turbines are still a clean, productive way to harness the energy supplied by the wind. This makes wind power an appealing choice for people who are trying to find an alternate solution to powering their off-grid battery banks.
Many off-grid systems can benefit from a combination of solar, gas/diesel generators, hydro, and/or wind turbines. When you combine two or three of these, you have a good chance of having power regardless of the weather and other conditions.
Wind turbines may be used to power a house, or several turbines may be linked to power a large electrical grid. By using wind power to supplement an on-the-grid home, the average homeowner’s electric bill can be reduced by as much as 90 percent, a lot depends on your power usage needs.
How Exactly Does all this Work?
Wind turbines are engines which convert kinetic energy into electricity. Today’s modern wind turbine consists mostly of two or three which rotate in the wind. When the blades move, they rotate the generator, creating electricity. This electricity can be stored in a battery bank, much like a common solar system. There have been real breakthroughs in wind power and battery banks over the last few years.
Is Wind Power a Money Saver?
In residential uses, wind turbines are generally utilized as a partner to the utility company. Electricity is supplied by the utility company, in the event the wind speed falls below 10 miles per hour. This is the speed required for the turbine to utilize the power of the wind. The wind turbine operates together with the power system to provide supply.
The more the wind blows, the faster the blades move and the more electricity the turbine will generate. This transfer of electricity involving the utility and turbine supplies doesn’t have to be managed by the homeowner. They are computer controlled on most modern systems.
Of course, wind turbines only operate in places which get adequate winds. Houses tucked away in the shelter of hills will not be fully satisfied by wind power alone. A second power source must be attached to the home.
Wind turbines don’t take up a lot of flat space, however, they must tower over trees and nearby houses. In suburban areas, wind turbines aren’t usually found because of this. Actually, the American Wind Energy Association recommends, at the very least, a property size of a single acre. You will need to check zoning laws and any home association you are part of to see what rules, if any, apply to you.
Make sure to investigate carefully about restrictions and potential legal concerns. Some counties have height constraints on construction.
Neighbors might object to their view of the outdoors being blocked by a wind turbine, or they may complain about the sound it makes. While the sound is minimal, not as much as a generator, some people may still object.
I don’t know how people get used to living a few feet from a major road with all of the road noise, or living a few feet from a train crossing with the loud blast from the engines. I’m told you get used to it.
We lived in a small house next the the railroad for a few weeks once. I was constantly startled, day and night, by the train and its horn. I was glad when we were finished with the job in that area and were able to move home.
Wind powered systems range from a single, small tower for powering a well, to a large tower or multiple towers powering a larger homestead. When we moved to Idaho last year, I saw my first wind turbines, they powered the whole surrounding areas.
The financial investment for a wind tower system will not be recouped by the typical homeowner for at least six months. It could take up to 6 years depending on the size and complexity of the system you choose.
The investment made in creating dependable, clean energy may have a favorable and immediate effect on the surrounding environment, as some scientist have pointed out.
In part two of how does wind power work, we’ll look at the pros and cons of wind energy and some little known wind energy facts. Our goal is to help you discover if wind energy is right for you and your homestead.
Do you use wind power on your homestead? Can you share how does wind power work on your homestead with us?
Safe and Happy Journey,
Rhonda and The Pack