Green Energy: Electricity From Wind

Oooh, I want one so bad!! A windmill, or wind turbine, that is. And not just any turbine, I want a vertical axis wind turbine. I want to generate green energy, or electricity, from wind.

After we installed a solar array to generate about 7.5kW/day I got to thinking that we were missing some valuable energy production time by not having a wind turbine. A that time the guy who installed the photo voltaic array told us we weren’t good candidates for wind energy. Huh? It seems to me the wind blows all the time here. How could we not be good candidates?

His reply was that the wind we get is erratic, going from nothing to 14mph, down to 5mph and up to 35 mph. Traditional turbines need higher wind speeds to efficiently generate electricity, and don’t deal well with gusts and wind shears like we tend to get around here.

In my heart I knew there had to be a better way. The west was tamed with the help of windmills. How, in the age of improved technology, couldn’t there be a better deal than there was over 100 years ago?

Turns out there is. I first saw and appreciated the brilliance of a vertical axis turbine at a greening of the hotel industry meeting several years ago. An architect was sharing his energy-conserving design for a building he had just built. Not only did he employ a green wall on the south side of the structure to create shade for the building, a very cool concept — if you’ll excuse the pun, but also he had a wind turbine.

The way he placed the wind turbine was part of the cleverness of the arrangement. He had turbines placed at the corners of the buildings in what looked like stairwells, sticking above the roof line. The “stair well” housing the turbine was open on the roof side so that not only did the turbine catch blowing wind, but also wind “bouncing” off the roof. How cool is that?! Very.

I came right home and tried researching a vertical axis wind turbine so I could sell My Bigger Half on getting one for his office space. It was challenging to find enough information to share with him on the subject, much less to get him excited about it. I found a short video clip (linked below) of Jay Leno installing one on his garage warehouse in Burbank, and one or two manufacturers, and a few DIY models, but that was about it.

But today there is lots of information. Yaahooo! Now there are several videos of different vertical axis wind turbines, lots of manufacturers, and various wiki entries about them.

Here are a few of the ideas that appeal to me.

  • The Gale Wind Turbine
  • The Helix Wind Turbine
  • The Windspire Wind Turbine

The past few days I so wish we had wind energy going at the house, it’s been too windy for anything but generating electricity! I bet we could avoid paying any electric bill if we hand a wind turbine at My Bigger Half’s office. One day we’ll have one and I’ll be so happy about it.

Wind energy sure beats oil spills!