50 FACTS (or more), QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT WIND TURBINES AND WIND POWER
1. Is wind power safe?
Of 90,000 wind turbines in the world, no member of the public has been killed or seriously injured by wind, ever. This compares with thousands of injuries coming from Coal, Gas, Nuclear, and other Electricity production. Wind power is the safest alternative energy on earth.
2. What causes wind to produce electricity?
The turbine, a "fan" spins a generator, thus converting energy in the wind into electricity. Most believe wind is caused by solar impacts on the earth. So wind energy is a dynamic form of solar energy.
3. How much electricity can a turbine produce?
It depends upon the location, size and design of the turbine. A small unit for your home can produce 1 kW or about $100 per month in power. A larger home unit can produce 5 kW or $300 to $700 per month in electricity. A 20 kW unit can produce from $1,200 to $2,800 per month. An 80 kW unit can produce $2,500 to $7,000 per month. A 250 kW unit can produce from $12,000 per month to $28,000 per month. A 1000 kW (megawatt) can produce up to $100,000 per month.
4. What do turbines cost?
From $5,500 to $3,000,000. See www.wind-inc.com
5. What is a typical rate of return on my investment in a turbine?
We have seen a range of 19% IRR to 27% IRR. This will vary with location, winds, design, cost of electricity and quality.
6. What are the variables of wind production?
7. Can I predict what my production will be?
Yes, find out the average wind speed for your location, find out the capacity and "rating" of your turbine, and find out the cost of electricity (electric rate). With these three numbers you can give a reasonable estimate of what your production will be. Most turbine distributors can give you this information, such as www.wind-inc.com, for customers when they purchase.
8. Are wind turbines noisy?
Some have "lattice" towers that produce more wind speed noise. Some have poor blade design that cause them to whine. Most of the turbines made in Holland are of good design, are almost silent. The average wind turbine produces less noise than a typical swimming pool pump motor.
9. Do wind turbines kill birds?
Official studies indicate that a typical wind turbine will kill 1.5 birds per year. About the same as a typical car.
10. Do wind turbines cause headaches?
The giant turbines create a low frequency pressure wave, that can be felt by some people if they are standing within 20 feet of the turbine. There is no evidence that this is harmful. But, most large turbines are built 1000 feet away from any buildings. Small wind turbines cause no physical problems and often cannot be heard or felt.
11. How is a turbine rated?
The rated speed indicates how the unit is engineered, so that it will show how much electricity is produced at certain RPM's. For example a "5 KW unit" will produce 5000 watts of electricity per hour for 24 hours a day.
12. How deep does a wind turbine have to be "planted"?
This depends upon the location, winds, soils, and size of the unit. For example, a 5 kW unit with a 37 foot pole, should have another 10 feet in concrete underground. If it is planted in sand or marshy lands, it will need a deeper hole. If in solid rock, it can have a smaller hole. Most installers will determine this in the installation process.
13. Should I have a "wind study" or "paid wind consultation"?
You can, if you are ...