Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Wind Power To Save Your Wallet And Your Bacon

The state I live in, Alaska, recently made me very proud by going online with its first serious wind power generation. It is called Fire Island Wind. It produces 4% of the power provided to customers of the power company that runs it.

They hope to offset more building and operating costs by selling Renewable Energy Credits and are now offering them for sale. Here is their site: http://chugachelectric.com/inside-chugach/projects/fire-island-wind-power

You tube has videos showing how some people built their own wind turbines, so that you can make one also. Many of these are free to watch and learn from. Several of them tell you how to get started at little or no cost.

A common problem for people who want to use wind power is not enough wind at their location. There are some ways to solve this difficulty. One is through the use of sails instead of propellers. These will get the motor turning at a relatively low wind speed. Another way, that I do not understand very well, because of my low tech abilities, is low R.P.M. motors. 

Since I have checked into people power for power generation also, I have a small amount of understanding that I would not have otherwise. 

When you get a motor started to charge a battery, it needs to get going fast or there will be a reverse charge and you will actually drain your battery. For some arcane reason, when you put an electric light bulb into your circuit for using a bicycle to charge a battery, this prevents the battery drain.

Another way to stop this battery drain is to use a flywheel on the bicycle to get the R.P.M.s up. I gather this is like using gears to increase your effective power.

I believe you can do something similar to work with low wind speed to have wind power work for you.

There were a couple of problems that the videos on You Tube showed. One is that you need to be very careful once you have a propeller. As soon as it catches some wind it can kill you. One you tube video maker decided to test his propeller by holding it in the back of a moving truck. Not a good idea. He survived that test, but it could have killed him and he knew it.

One man who made a video hinged his mast so that when gale force winds were coming he could lay it down flat to prevent damage. I believe this is better than simply detaching it from your  electrical system. Since tornadoes and hurricanes or monsoons are increasing worldwide, it could be too costly to replace your propeller every time it gets hit by high winds.

One you tube video showed how to cut your own propellers from a large piece of PVC tubing. I think this is an efficient and economical way to get sturdy propellers. It would require that your craftsmanship be very good, however. Most people would probably need to buy propellers. There are vendors on ebay that sell wind power equipment. Some of them look fairly reasonable in price.

Prices change very rapidly in alternative power equipment, so it is useless to offer you links for those. It will be necessary for you to search and compare prices to get the best deal for your time and location.

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