Wind Energy Manufacturers
Many makers of wind turbines
There are a number of makers of wind turbines, coming in at many different sizes. In North America, the most successful small-scale turbine manufacturer is Southwest Windpower, a company that makes turbines ranging in size from 400 Watts up to 3.5 Kilowatts. Southwest is based in Flagstaff, Arizona and was started in 1987. As of 2005, the company had shipped over 80,000 wind turbines of various sizes totaling 7,000,000 Watts or 7 Megawatts. The company had a total of 59 employees at that time, but has been expanding since, with sales growing annually at 23 percent.
Their newest product is a wind energy system called the Storm, which is designed to be installed on a typical light pole, and can produce electricity at the cost of $0.06 / kilowatt-hour (kWh) in an area with typical wind speeds of 12 miles per hour. Since the average cost of electricity in the United States is $0.09 / kWh, that represents a significant savings. Southwest estimates a payback period of fewer than five years in proper wind conditions.
Bergey Windpower Co. is another major North American manufacturer of small-scale independent systems like wind turbines, producing models ranging from one kilowatt (kW) to ten kW. The company was founded in 1980, and has since gone through several prototypes of each of its products, but has continued since 1994 without major changes to their product lineup. They have become one of the world's most successful manufacturers in the larger small-scale turbines.
In the large-scale world of wind turbines, Danish company Vestas dominates with almost 30 percent of the global market in utility-scale wind energy. Vestas is followed by American multinational GE Wind (General Electric), German wind engineering company Enercon, and Spanish wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa.
The large scale turbines produced by these major windmill manufacturers have an average hub height of around 80 meters - 240 feet. That's not including the top of the blade, which, with a diameter of 120 meters, can stretch that height number to 420 feet when the blade is pointing skyward. These machines are absolutely massive, capable of powering more than two thousand homes each. When assembled together into a wind farm either onshore or offshore, these machines are capable of outputting more power than a nuclear reactor or a coal-fired generation plant - offering an excellent solution to issues of pollution and energy security.