Wind, which is the movement of air, is caused by the inconsistent way in which the sunís heat warms different areas of the earthís surface. For example, during the day by the seaside the air above the land is warmed faster than the water in the sea and so air flows from the sea to the land creating sea breezes.
The windmill in its simplest form comprises a set of sails which converts the momentum of the air it captures into rotational (mechanical) energy of a shaft; this can be converted to electricity using a generator. Modern wind generators range from very small turbines of 1.5 metres or less, which can be used at home, to very large turbines which are connected directly to the electricity grid either singly or in clusters called wind farms.
These pages concentrate of micro-wind turbines which are suitable for household and community use rather than the larger commercial scale turbines. The key advantages and disadvantages of this technology are:
- Micro-wind turbines if sized and sited appropriately give a good return on any capital invested.
- In suitable wind conditions wind turbines can generate at times of low light therefore they can provide an excellent companion to solar electric generation panels.
- Turbines can be fitted to suitable existing buildings, without significant disturbance, as long as they have been approved as structurally sound.
- Wind turbines make a sound when they are working.
- Some members the general public and special interest groups donít like wind turbines. It is therefore recommended that you consult your neighbours before putting in a planning application and or installing a turbine.
- The efficiency of the turbine is dependant on the wind conditions of the proposed site.
- Not all buildings have the capacity structurally of having a turbines mounted on them.