Wind Energy: is it right for you?
Depending on where you live, you need to consider whether you can integrate your wind energy system with the grid or not. Read more about types of wind energy systems.
Before you seriously consider setting up a wind energy system, know how much wind you need. Some more fussy wind energy experts say that unless winds are always high at a site (they affect tree growth, for example) don't even bother setting up a wind turbine. This may be fair advice.
Before you consider putting up a wind turbine, consult a wind speed map. This will show you how your site compares to other areas of the country in terms of wind energy feasibility.
In order for wind energy to be maximally feasible, you need regular, strong wind. Harvesting the wind is like harvesting anything else: you want to get a good return on your investment.
Putting up a wind turbine is not as simple as finding a "reasonably windy" spot.
If you have a site that you suspect might be appropriate for a wind turbine, there are a few measures you can take before going ahead and investing several thousand dollars on a wind turbine:
- call in an expert or experienced wind farmer to survey your site (or)
- set up a wind gauge or wind meter (anemometer) to determine average wind speed at the exact site, and keep careful records, on your own.
Ideally, you will want to make a comprehensive study over one year (or more), in order to get a fully detailed picture of seasonal variations, from several possible locations.
Wind power has a cubic relationship to wind speed: a site where average wind speed is 20 miles per hour will actually generate more than twice as much power as a site where wind speed is only 15 miles per hour on average. So, elevating your tower or placing it at the correct spot on a hillside (maximally free of obstruction) can make a great difference.
We also have a page of advice of special concern to Midwest wind proponents adapted from the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs. Read more about site assessment.
If you have found a suitable micro site for a wind energy system, take our advice on setting up a wind turbine.