How To Make A Wind Turbine
Although renewable energy sources (wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal) taken together supply only about 4% of our nation’s electrical energy, the US has become the world leader in wind power generation with a total capacity of around 25,000 megawatts. Germany has a maximum capacity greater than 23,000 MW; and Spain has around 16,000 MW.
The current administration of President Barack Obama has renewed the interest in the renewable energy sector. Which has led to a lot of people wondering how to make a wind turbine of their own.
In response to the government’s position, the Department of Energy has released a report outlining the potential accessibility of an additional 8,000 gigawatts of land-based wind energy. Worldwide, wind energy capacity has gone up more than 27,000 MW last year to a total of about 121,000 MW, an increase of about 29% from the 2015 figures.
That said, and if commercial-scale renewable energy continues to gain acceptance, it probably will still take about a decade or so before the average consumer can appreciably benefit from the commonplace use of electricity from wind and other renewable sources of energy. There is the option, of course, of acquiring (or building) one’s own small-scale wind turbine for personal or domestic use.
There are already numerous manufacturers and parts suppliers of domestic/household wind energy systems in the country. A few of the popular wind turbine manufacturing companies include Abundant Renewable Energy, Bergey Windpower, Enertech, Jacobs, SkyStream, SouthWest Windpower, World Power Technology, etc. Parts suppliers include Forcefield Magnets, Royal Fabrication, Hydrogen Appliances, Northern Tool, SouthWest Wheel, Wind Blue Power, and Wind Turbine Works. Total costs for a 1.8-kilowatt wind turbine installation can come up to $15,000 or $20,000.
Building wind turbines from scratch is a pretty labor-intensive undertaking. Things to consider include the material for the propeller (typically wood or fiberglass), propeller design (number of blades and the shape of the blades), the choice of generator (usually automotive alternators, or washing-machine motors for one company in New Zealand), choice of parts and design of the electrical wiring, installation configuration (usually tower or roof), installation height (the higher the better), lightning protection, strong-wind protection, etc.
Before installing purchased or custom-built wind turbines, there are several things to consider: zoning regulations (zoning fees alone could equal the cost of a small turbine assembly), location (a critically important factor: no wind, no power), electrical-design safety certification (UL endorsement, National Electric Code compliance, etc.), and the presence (or lack) of state government incentives (net metering, rebates, buyouts, tax credits, etc.).
Under the Renewable Energy Resources Program, thirty-six states and some municipalities (in the other 14 abstaining states) currently implement net metering and/or other incentive laws for on-grid residents that have installed wind or solar energy systems on their property.
Small-scale wind turbines can significantly lower charges on one’s electric bill or eliminate them altogether, but any family or individual interested in utilizing this technology has to do the research, the cost-benefit analysis, and the planning to ensure both short-term and long-term satisfactory results.
Information on the ins-and-outs of wind turbine energy is freely available on the Internet. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has an extensive and search-able online database on numerous topics concerning renewable energies.