Image of wind turbine inside light bulb

 Wind energy is considered as one of the most traditionally used forms of alternative green energy. Our application of wind energy went through an evolution through time, from simple sails for propulsion and navigation, to wind turbines that generate electricity for modern residential areas and communities.

 

Like any other type of energy, it also has its own advantages and disadvantages. Knowing these pros and cons is essential in helping us understand the true potential of wind energy, and if it would be strategically and economically viable for us to use it in a certain area or application.

 

Pros of Wind Turbines for the home

The principal foundation for most of the advantages of wind energy lies in the fact that it is a source of energy derived directly from the fluid kinetic energy of air, in much the same way as how hydroelectric energy depends on the kinetic energy given by flowing water.

Other basic advantages of wind turbines for the home are as follows:

  1. The energy generation process of wind turbines is 100% emission-free. This makes wind energy one of the greenest and cleanest kinds of energy that we can harness.
  2. Wind energy is completely renewable. Unlike biofuels that largely depend on harvestable crops and agricultural infrastructure, wind energy can simply be harvested indefinitely. The energy yield of wind turbines is potentially infinite.
  3. Operation can go on even if it is night or day. The greatest disadvantage of solar photovoltaic energy is that the panels could only operate when the sunshine is bright. Wind turbines however can keep on working even at night, and in fact, may work even better amidst some atmospheric phenomena such as storms.
  4. Wind turbines for the home usually occupy a smaller amount of space than standard power plants or solar arrays. You only need a few turbines placed at a technical distance from one another, and the land underneath and in between can still be used for other productive purposes.

 

Close up of wind turbineCons of Wind Energy

Fundamentally, even if wind energy can be harnessed day or night, we are actually only capable of successfully harnessing it at optimal levels. This is the basic disadvantage of wind turbines for the home, as it would mean that there would always be a definite limit on its actual and practical efficiency.

Other related disadvantages of wind energy are:

  1. Wind is an unpredictable element. Even if wind turbines for the home can operate at night, if wind speeds are too low, it would not be able to generate the required amount of electric energy. This also means that wind turbine installations are impossible for some areas.
  2. The overall efficiency (economic and energy generation) of today’s wind turbines is still low compared to nuclear and fossil fuel energy. Wind energy technology today is currently still far from the level of grid parity.
  3. Noises created by the wind turbine for the home can be disturbing to wildlife and to the people living in near the structures. The low frequency sounds that the rotating blades create might be the source of this problem.
  4. Birds might accidentally be killed by wind turbine blades. Although the occurrences are relatively rare, there are still quite a number of incidences each year. Because of this possibility, wrong wind turbine placement could ironically make it harmful to the environment.

 

Other pros and cons of wind energy are already somewhat generic in all of the other green energy sources. For example, while multiple installations are possible for renewable energy systems, widening the area used for the installation (wind turbines for the home in this case) could eventually have a negative impact on the environment.

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Solar vs. Wind power for your home

by admin on July 18, 2012

 

Solar and wind energy are the two most commonly known types of renewable energy. This is perhaps because these two are the most typical types of energy that are used for a standard residential off grid power system.

 

But when given the choice of which is better than the two, we usually get confused. Would either of these two types of renewable energy have any significant advantage over the other? That is what we are going to find out in this short and simple categorical analysis of solar versus wind power.

 

Installation

Installing solar panels requires precise calculation of where around your house does sunlight strike the most. You also need to be careful of power lines, utility poles and trees that might block sunlight from the panels. For wind turbines, even if its efficiency could also be affected by the same elements, at least you can simply raise it higher to get clear past the obstructions. In this category, wind power for your home is definitely more advantageous.

 

Intermittency

Both solar and wind power systems have their own issues about intermittency. Solar energy for example is especially inefficient during cloudy days and does not work at all during night. Wind energy on the other hand, tends to have shaky energy outputs throughout the day as wind speed variably changes. All in all however, the intermittency issue is probably the strongest with solar power. This means that in terms of energy stability, you have better odds if you use wind power for your home.

 

Operation

Solar panels generate electricity when sunlight strikes the solar cells, as it emits electrons that would be transmitted directly through wires.  This operation does not need the panels to move or change its position in any way. For wind turbines to generate electricity, the blades have to be spun by the wind, turning a shaft which is connected to a generator. Unlike solar panels, wind turbines have various mechanically moving parts, so if you want wind power for your home, you have to keep in mind the (slightly) increased risk of internal damage or failure.

 

Maintenance

Following the facts given in the operation category, properly installed solar panels need almost no maintenance at all. It would probably need a few dusting and sweeps every once in a while, but no technical skill is necessary to keep it in constant operation. For wind turbines, maintenance can be a hassle, because not only do you need to check the internal mechanism of the turbines, but you also need either lower it from its position or have the technician climb up to the turbine, practically restarting part of the original installation process over and over again.

 

Even with these facts and information in mind, it is important for you to know that the final element or factor that would determine the dominance of solar or wind power for your home is still the geographical location of the installation. If there are too much trees or power lines, drop solar power. If wind speeds are less than 8-10 mph and does not sustain for at least a quarter of a day, then you also need to drop the idea for a wind power installation.

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The Basics of Wind Power for the Home

July 18, 2012

Wind energy is technically described as the kinetic energy of air as it flows or moves. It can be indirectly considered as transformed solar energy, as winds are usually caused by the uneven atmospheric temperatures brought about by sunlight-heated air.   Generation and usage of this type of energy can take many forms. However, harnessing [...]

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Vertical Wind Turbine – The Pros and Cons

September 30, 2011

A vertical wind turbine is somewhat a radical change from the normal wind turbines we see being used in wind farms today. A wind turbine uses the power of the wind to turn its blades. This motion in turn is used by a power generator to produce electricity. The usual design is a horizontal one [...]

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Wind Power Pros and Cons

March 20, 2011

Weighing the Wind Power Pros and Cons can help in your decision-making in choosing the best source of alternative energy for your home. If you’re planning to set up a wind power system in your home knowing the pros and cons. Here are just some of the interesting advantages of wind power pros and cons [...]

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