Fundamentals of Wind Power

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section 1: Introduction to Small-Scale Wind Energy

  • World Wind Energy Resources
  • The Pros and Cons of Wind Energy
  • The Purpose of this guide
  • Organization of this guide

section 2: Wind and Wind Energy

  • What is Wind?
  • Large-Scale Wind Currents
  • Wind from Storms
  • Friction, Turbulence and Smart Siting
  • The Mathematics of Wind Power
  • Closing Thoughts

section 3: Wind Energy Systems

  • Wind Turbines
  • Towers
  • Wind Energy System Options
  • Hybrid Systems
  • Choosing a Wind Energy System

section 4: Wind Site Assessment

  • Assessing Electrical Demand
  • Conservation and Efficiency First!
  • Assessing Your Wind Resource
  • How Much Electricity Will a Wind Turbine Produce?
  • Does a Wind System Make Economic Sense?
  • Putting It All Together

section 5: A Primer on Wind Generators

  • The Anatomy of a Wind Turbine
  • The Main Components of Wind Turbines
  • What to Look for When Buying a Wind Machine
  • Other Considerations
  • Building Your Own Wind Machine
  • Conclusion

section 6: Towers and Tower Installation

  • Tower Options
  • Tower Kits
  • Tower Anchors and Bases
  • Proper Siting of a Wind Machine
  • Tower Height Considerations
  • Aircraft Safety and the FAA
  • Protecting Against Lightning

section 7: Batteries and Charge Controllers

  • Which Types of Batteries Work Best?
  • Will Any Lead-Acid Battery Work?
  • Wiring a Battery Bank
  • Sizing a Battery Bank
  • Battery Maintenance and Safety
  • Living with Batteries

section 8: Inverters

  • Types of Inverters
  • Buying an Inverter
  • Conclusion

section 9: Final Considerations

  • Covenants and Neighbors’ Concerns
  • Zoning and Permits
  • Connecting to the Grid:
  • Working with Your Local Utility
  • Insurance Requirements
  • Buying a Wind Energy System
  • Maintaining a Wind-Electric System
  • Parting Thoughts

Humans have harvested energy from the wind for centuries.

Harnessed by the Europeans as early as 900 years ago, wind was used to grind grain and manufacture goods. Wind powered ships that helped open up new territories, spurring international trade. In North America, wind energy has been used since the late 1800s.



Over the years, tens of thousands of farms in the Great Plains relied on wind pump water for livestock and domestic uses - some still do.



Windmills began to emerge in the 1860s in rural America. By 1890, there were over 100 manufacturers of water-pumping wind mills. All told over 8 million were installed in this country. Many of these water-pumping windmills have been restored and are still operating today with minimal maintenance.

Next: section 1: Introduction to Small-Scale Wind Energy

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