Generating electricity using the free natural source of wind energy is friendly to the environment and creates no pollution. As a general rule, wind energy can be used in places where the wind speed is 16 Km/h or greater. Wind energy is one of the fastest growing renewable energy sources in the world for more than a decade. As the technology improves, extracting wind energy is much more efficient, the cost is expected to decline and the market for this source continues to develop.
The green energy of wind provides energy solutions in on and off grid locations to meet the needs of homeowners and communities, businesses, public facilities, and institutions worldwide.
Wind energy is ideal in remote locations like mountains communities, off grid countryside areas, island electrification. It can be also combined with other sources of renewable energy like solar energy to provide power in off grid areas and developing countries.
Types of Wind Turbines
The most common wind turbines can rotate on a horizontal or a vertical axis. Horizontal axis wind turbine is the most cost-effective way of capturing wind energy. This type of turbine has the main rotor shaft arranged horizontally. Because of the turbulence that a tower produces behind it, the turbine is usually positioned upwind of its supporting tower. The blades are made stiff and are placed at a certain distance in front of the tower to prevent them colliding with the tower by high wind.
Upwind horizontal axis wind turbines are more efficient and more used than downwind turbines because they don't encounter the turbulent wake shed from the support tower into the path of the downwind rotor.
Vertical axis wind turbine has the main rotor shaft arranged vertically and does not need to be pointed into the wind. This type of turbine is suitable for locations where wind direction is highly variable, for example when a turbine is mounted on a rooftop, the building generally redirects wind over the roof increasing the wind speed at the turbine. Vertical axis wind turbine has a lower power coefficient and are less efficient than horizontal axis wind power turbine.
Wind turbines are designed in different sizes and shapes in order to exploit to the maximum the wind energy that exists at a location.
Small Scale Wind Turbines are generally used for off grid areas to supply electricity to farms and residencies by charging a battery. Wind Turbines can be used in combinations with another form of generation to provide back-up when the wind is not blowing.
Small wind turbines are typically placed closer to the ground in comparison with large wind turbines. Because the wind found on this lower height switch directions frequently and has a wide range of speed, a small wind turbines must be able to produce energy in this conditions and must work quietly.
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Small Scale Wind Turbine Manufacturer and Suppliers
Large Scale Wind Turbines are mainly connected to the grid and are a important source of commercial power. Wind turbines have towers in a range from 60 to 90 meters high. At this height the wind increases its speed, has a relatively constant flow throughout the year and less turbulences. These make wind energy due to the higher capacity of the individual wind turbine reliable and efficient. They have a small footprint so the land around turbines can be used for other purposes.
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Large Scale Wind Turbine Manufacturers and Suppliers
Wind Farms are groups of wind turbines placed in the same location at a certain distance from each other and are used for commercial production of electric power. The electricity generated by wind farms is cheaper than conventional power and has less invasion of the environment. They are sited where the wind speeds are higher: on the shoreline, at the top of a hill, with no obstacles in the way and with a road access to them. Modern wind turbines used in wind farms are usually three bladed, make less noise and are highly efficient and reliable.
Europe is the world leader in wind energy, producing wind powered electricity of 72% of all wind power generated globally.
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Wind Farm Owners and Operators
Offshore Wind Farms are located in body of water to benefit from the strong winds blowing over the surface of lakes, seas, oceans and coastal areas. The efficiency of offshore wind turbines is higher than onshore because of the better wind speed available offshore.
The cost involved in installation and operation of a large scale offshore wind farm is greater than an onshore one. The largest offshore wind farm in the world is The Thanet Offshore Wind Project in United Kingdom, with a capacity of 300MW.
There are many other projects under construction in European waters. Once completed, they will represent an additional installed capacity of 2844 MW.
Before You Start…
Before you decide to install a wind turbine on your property, you have to take in consideration few important aspects;
Placing the wind turbine is the most important consideration because it determines the efficiency of it. Higher wind speed will produce more electricity. Obstacles such trees, buildings will negatively impact the performance of the turbine.
Ask a local Independent advisor about all the aspects of your project; location, size and type of the turbine, wind speed and of course cost and efficiency. In many EU countries wind turbine installation require planning permission.
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Wind Farm Designer and Consultants
Wind energy systems require regular maintenance to keep it operational. A well maintained wind turbine will work with the best efficiency and will last more than 20 years.
For offshore turbines, the cost of maintenance is higher than onshore ones and requires professional maintenance.
Here are our links to:
Repair and Maintenance Companies for Wind Turbines
Wind Power Organizations and Publications
Local, national and EU grants, funds and financial support are available for domestic, community and commercial Renewable Energy projects. See Information Service Category on the left hand side of the page.