Home > Energy Sources > Wind Generators

Wind Generators

By: James Murray-White - Updated: 3 Feb 2014 | comments*Discuss
Wind Turbine Energy Electricity Power

Wind generators are generating a lot of interest right now, due to a high street DIY chain offering the first small wind generator commonly available for the home. We understand the argument that we need to dramatically reduce the emissions from the fuel and carbon we use, and wind as well as solar is one of the energy sources in plentiful supply, that we are learning to use.

Most of us has seen, or may live close by, one of the dozen wind farms established in barren, exposed parts of the UK - the Scottish Borders, and on Exmoor, are examples. Current plans to site up to 500 turbines on moorland on the Scottish Island of Lewis are provoking controversy.

One of the first areas to exploit the potential of wind farms was California, on America's windy east coast. 3 huge wind farms, San Gorgino, Altamont Pass, and Tehachapi, in 1995 contributed 30% of the world's wind-generated electricity. In 2004, 4,258 million kilowatt hours of electricity was generated by wind in California, 1.5% of the State of California's total. It may not sound so much, but that is enough to power the City of San Francisco.

Once thought ugly, and the focus of initial community opposition, these farms with their huge, towering generators; new white megaliths on the land, are often now tourist attractions. We need them to contribute an increasing part of our energy needs, within a package of energy providers, as the public learns to wean itself off dwindling and polluting fossil fuels. But how do they work, and how much energy can they really contribute to our national grid system?

Harnessing Energy From Wind

Wind generators work by having their turbine blades, usually 3, rotate in the wind, turning a copper coil inside a magnetic field, which in turn creates an electrical current. Clearly the stronger the wind the faster the blades will turn, hence the importance of siting the generator in a high, exposed place, where wind is continuous, or as continuous as can be expected.

Electricity created inside this unit, the current, can then be fed through the system directly into the grid, via a grid tie inverter, which converts the currents voltage.

Contributing Energy

How much energy can this system really provide? And could it ever be enough to become the sole source of energy? At the moment, the total amount of energy harnessed and converted into usable power from wind turbines is low - estimates vary but it is probably below 3% of the total energy amount used within the UK. The solution to increase that amount is to build more wind farms, and plans are underway to do just that in the UK, as mentioned above on Lewis, and in the region of the Solway Firth, as well as in other areas, including off the North Sea off the North Norfolk and Northumbrian coastlines.

Suitable For Home Use?

Media reports about the small wind turbines that DIY stores are now selling are implying that this is just a craze and an effort to be seen to be green, following the lead of several politicians who are publicly declaring their intention to install them.

The most important aspect to consider is if your property is exposed enough to utilize enough wind. What really is worth considering first is a green energy audit for your home - if you are embarking on a self-build, then environmental considerations will be built in to your design and remit for the property. If you already have a property, and are looking for environmental improvements, possibly including a small, energy-generating turbine, then seek advice from an expert. Grants from local authorities are available which can offset the cost of these products, but only with certain types, and fitted by certain installers.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not install wind gen in all new homes by law, give 100% grants to all homeowners to be repaid from savings in energy bills over period of time,
David - 3-Feb-14 @ 11:16 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • SaSha WarLen
    Re: Straw Bale Construction
    Hi All, Here's hoping I'm in the right place! I am looking to build a 3-4 bedroom Straw Bale House approximately 120 square metres…
    2 December 2018
  • Rahi
    Re: New Developments: Environmentally Friendly Concrete
    What is novacem n how can this bring change n be environmental friendly?
    26 November 2018
  • Tommo
    Re: Transport Links to New Build Developments
    Our Council has refused planning permission for a well known developer to build 300 houses on land outside the…
    22 November 2018
  • Colm Breathnach
    Re: Straw Bale Construction
    Hi there, does anyone know of construction grade straw bales for sale, and can they be delivered to us in County Kerry, Ireland?
    16 November 2018
  • Lyn
    Re: Pollution From Construction
    Hi. Good day to the editor of Sustainable Build. Hope you're doing fine. I'm Romalyn. I'm a writer and I’m learning a lot from…
    15 November 2018
  • Chanti
    Re: Financing Your Sustainable Development Project
    Hi I am very keen on building an eco earth home with self sustaining energy and food supply I would like…
    13 November 2018
  • Sarah
    Re: Straw Bale Construction
    Hello, i am planning a simple rectangular strawbale home (2 bed, one bathroom, 2 storey, with one downstairs living/cooking spacd) in…
    9 November 2018
  • DrG
    Re: Grants and Loans for Green Development
    Hi. My wife & I are self building a highly airtight, insulated eco home with GSHP, MVHR, PV solar etc. Can anyone…
    7 November 2018
  • Alessandro Aroni
    Re: Pollution From Construction
    Very useful information, but i would love to know the sources of the pollution rates information, shown at the begining. And what…
    6 November 2018
  • Hudsondorset
    Re: Straw Bale Construction
    I’m a builder with a degree in environmental science & policy, and am highly experienced in sustainable living and building. Our team…
    4 November 2018