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Wind Turbines
Wind energy has been used for centuries, for grinding grain, pumping water and generating electricity. Small wind turbines were an important source of electricity for rural families in North America in the 1920s and 1930s. Wind energy faded into the background with the rural electrification efforts of the 1940s and the development of reliable small engine generators.

Today, we are seeing wind gaining tremendous popularity in generating significant amounts of power both off-grid and as a source of energy for large utilities.

How it works
Wind turns the blades of the turbine which spins a shaft within the turbine structure. The shaft drives a generator to produce electricity. The electricity is either used or stored in batteries.

Types of Wind Generators
There are many different types and styles of wind generators. Many of the older, multi-blade units as seen on farms across the nation generate mechanical energy, often used to pump water.
Small-scale units (under 3 kW): used to charge batteries or direct use (such as pumping water). We feature a selection of small scale units on the following pages.
Medium sized units (up to 50 kW): used in a grid-intertie environment to generate power and feed it to the utility grid. Energy Alternatives designs and installs medium scale units. Due to the nature of these projects, each system requires a detailed assessment prior to quotation or ordering products. Please contact us for further information.
Large-scale units (megawatts): large, towering units that cost millions of dollars and generate power to run hundreds or thousands of homes or businesses. Generally suited to large utilities and power co-operatives.

Wind Towers
Wind generator operation is dependent on the quantity and quality of the wind hitting the blades. Turbulent wind will reduce the power output as the turbine swings back and forth hunting for the wind. The unequal stresses caused by turbulence and the variation in wind speed between the upper and lower blades of a wind turbine installed too close to the ground will reduce power output and wind turbine life.

Wind speed increases rapidly with tower height. Doubling tower height increases the available wind power by about 40%. It is often more economical to install a higher tower rather than purchasing a larger generator. A wind generator should be installed a minimum of 33 feet (10 meters) above any obstruction within 330 feet (100 meters).

Tower Construction
Guyed towers are economical and are able to withstand very high winds if properly installed. They require a fairly large area of cleared land around the tower to facilitate the installation of the guy lines. To supply the desired amount of support and keep the stresses on the tower to a minimum, the guy lines should extend as far as possible around the tower to a maximum radius of 80% of the tower height. Guyed towers may be either lattice towers or tubular towers. The tubular towers are frequently designed for tilt up installation. They have the advantage of easy installation and turbine maintenance.

Self-supporting towers are the least visibly intrusive wind turbine towers. They can be installed in rough terrain with a minimum of cleared area. Very small wind turbines may be installed on a short self-supporting tubular tower, but larger turbines require a lattice tower.
Wind Accessories and Replacement Parts
Wind generators often require some accessories to complete the job

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