Friday, January 29, 2010

Using Wind Energy For Residential Applications

What is wind energy? Wind energy is tapping into the second largest abundant renewable resource on the planet, the wind. It is harnessed by the use of wind generators, either with horizontal axis turbines, or a rather new technology, the vertical axis turbine. When the wind is blowing, the blades on these turbines turn, producing power for homes, farms and businesses.
Here in Texas, we get quite a bit of wind that will produce vast amounts of Texas energy.

The power of the wind is not a new concept. It has been used for generations to pump water, and grind grains. With the energy crisis today, it has been a way to seek alternative sources of power, that doesn't use our non renewable resources. It is becoming more and more popular all over the world, and large amounts of Texas power are now being generated by wind 'farms' can be seen in just about every country around the globe.

Because of the technological advances in this area, wind turbines can now be applied to individual residential homes. No longer are they so large that a whole acre of land has to be wasted in order to put up one turbine. Not only are they becoming smaller, but they are able to capture wind at just ten miles an hour.

So how affordable can these be? Not only has the price of prefabricated turbines come down to less than a thousand dollars, but there are also many DIY project kits available today that you can use to build them yourself. Including the price of these kits, the materials needed, and the time it takes to make them, the cost can be well under $500.

One man in middle America actually spent much less. He purchased three ten foot lengths of 3" PVC pipe, and using an alternator, three bicycle rims, and materials around his house, he made a vertical axis turbine that cost under fifty dollars. This he set on his back porch, and on windy days it produces enough electrical energy to run part of his home.

Vertical axis turbines are becoming increasingly popular, because they can gather minimal amounts of wind, can be made from practically nothing, and don't need long poles to be mounted. They are used by celebrities like Jay Leno, who uses them to power the garage where he stores his collection of vintage vehicles.

While not everyone has wind blowing on a constant basis, used in combination with other renewable resources like solar power, you can run a family home totally from renewable resources. Using batteries to store the electricity when not in use, cutting down on energy consumption, and using high energy efficient appliances, like inline hot water heaters, not only can you save thousands of dollars annually on energy bills, but you are helping Mother Nature in many ways.

For one, you are not drawing upon our quickly depleting resources. Two, because these alternative power sources do not burn fossil fuels, you are not contributing to climate change. Three, in some cases, if you are hooked into the power grid, and produce more electrical energy that you can store and use, this extra energy goes back into the grid, and utility companies by law have to buy it back from you thereby cutting down on their emissions.

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