Is a Small Wind Energy System Right for You?

From the U.S. Dept. of Energy, Wednesday, November 17, 2010:

When I think of wind technology, an image comes to mind of a towering fleet of turbines. Although I’ve never seen a wind farm up close, I’ve heard from several people that it’s an awe-inspiring sight. I may not have the chance to see a large-scale wind farm anytime soon, but I have had the opportunity to examine a small wind energy system—an alternative source of energy that can fully or partially provide power for the home.

During a recent visit to the U.S Botanic Gardens (USBG) in Washington, D.C., I noticed a vertical wind turbine on display. This single turbine, relatively small in stature, provides up to 2,000 kilowatt hours per year for the USBG. The Garden’s horizontal wind turbine provides an additional 2,500 kW hours per year. Although D.C. is not an ideal windy city, the USBG estimates that these turbines generate enough electricity to light its annual holiday show and power its electric utility vehicle.
In the same way, a small wind energy system can provide a significant amount of clean, renewable energy for your home. Wind turbines work by converting the kinetic energy of wind into electricity. The blades of the wind turbine are aero-dynamically designed to capture the maximum energy from the wind. The wind turns the blades, which spin a shaft connected to a generator that in turn produces electricity. Check out our Energy 101 video series to learn more about wind energy basics.

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