Wind power is one of the fastest growing forms of new electricity generation in the U.S. In recent years, around 40% of all new generation capacity added to the electric grid in the U.S. was from wind power projects. Electric utilities are increasingly adding wind power to their power supply portfolios as a clean, inexhaustible, and domestic source of electric generation.
Wind energy technologies use the energy in wind for practical purposes such as generating electricity, charging batteries, pumping water, and grinding grain. Water pumping and grain grinding has been documented as early as 5000 B.C!
Most wind energy technologies can be used as a stand-alone application, connected to a utility power grid. For utility-scale sources of wind energy, a large number of turbines are usually built close together to form a wind farm that provides grid power. Several electricity providers use wind farms to supply power to their customers.
Stand-alone turbines are typically used for water pumping or communications. However, homeowners and farmers in windy areas can also use small wind systems to generate electricity.
The Parts of a Wind Turbine
Installing Your Own Wind Turbine
Each state and community has its own set of codes and regulations that you will need to follow in order to add a small renewable energy system to your home or small business. These regulations can affect the type of renewable energy system you are allowed to install and who installs it. A local renewable energy company or organization, your state energy office, or your local officials should be able to tell you about the requirements that apply in your community. They can also affect whether you decide to connect your system to the electricity grid or use it in place of grid-supplied electricity as a stand-alone system. Since wind patterns vary greatly from one place to the next it is a good idea to check with experts on wind generation in your area before investing in a turbine system.