Is Wind Power in Your Future?

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Wind isn’t for everyone. In fact, if you live in a city or town, chances are wind power is very likely not going to be an option for you. Although the wind blows in cities and suburbs, and sometimes blows quite fiercely, in heavily populated built-up environments, wind flows are often pretty turbulent.

That is to say, although the wind blows, it doesn’t flow smoothly. It can’t, There are too many obstructions — trees and buildings — that cause wind turbulence. Turbulence is pure hell on wind machines, viciously tearing many of the lighter-weight models.

Even if turbulence wasn’t a problem, there’s often not enough room in urban and suburban neighborhoods to install wind generators. and even if there is room, chances are neighbors would complain, saying the wind machine is unsightly. Or city officials might tell you that wind-machines violate height ordinances.

Wind power is primarily useful as a source of electrical energy in rural areas on lots of one acre or more, but only in places where there are no ordinances prohibiting installation of a wind machine. Even though that limits the potential for residential wind energy, there are still plenty of suitable sites. According to Small Wind Electric Systems published by the US Department of Energy, “Twenty-one million homes in the United States are built on one-acre and larger sites:’ About ten percent of the US population could theoretically take advantage of wind energy. But that number may be a little smaller. Wind power will work only for those who live in rural areas with sufficient wind resources. (Be sure to check with local authorities and neighbors, if any, to be certain you’re not going to have a problem.)

If you live in a city or town, though, don’t be dismayed. You can still power your home with wind energy by buying wind power from your local utility. I’ll explain how at the end of this section.

Next: Wind Power: A Quick History

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