Evidently for Windmills — size matters…

Row of Windmills
I’ve been keeping my eye out for articles about windmills and Low-Tech Magazine had a great article, “Small Windmills Put To The Test”, with links to information that I haven’t found in other places — such as how many of these small windmills would you need to power your house. Granted I’ve seen articles with pages and pages of step-by-step instructions on the bazillion bits of information you need to collect in order to figure out what your home’s power usage is and how to match that to the output of a windmill…but mostly what I’ve been looking for is a ballpark figure for gross economic calculations. Of course, in our case we have too many trees and no clear space to put a windmill so this is mostly an exercise to satisfy my curiosity…I just like to know about things.

Anyway, in this test twelve windmills of various designs and sizes were tested in an open plain by the Dutch in the province of Zeeland (reportedly a very windy area) and their output measured over a year. The article then lists how many windmills of each type it would take to generate the energy for a typical Dutch household. Depending on the design and rotor dimension it could take anywhere from 47 windmills to 2 windmills. Two is not bad but 47 seems a bit extreme, might as well get a ginormous windmill and get it over with. Anyway, I thought others might be interested in the results of this test.

I’ve also been keeping my eye on the Broadstar Wind Systems, these seem to me to have some very interesting applications since they can go in parking lots and on rooftops. I’m waiting to see how it turns out as they actually put out the systems for use. If they work as advertised small towns could purchase systems to add to their generating capacity or as backup…don’t see why not.

Here in the US there seems to be an all or nothing attitude. Personally, I think that having multiple methods of gathering/generating energy means less chance of everything going off-line for extended period of time — as happens so often around here. (We lost our power today for five minutes. Clear skies, no storms…a puzzlement.) Every alternative method of generating power lowers the cost on the environment and makes us less depending on oil and that’s a good thing.

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