Micro-wind turbine

Figure 1: An example of micro wind turbine used for a home. [1]

Micro-wind turbines are used in micro-wind generation and are much smaller in scale than those used in conventional wind generation making them more suitable for residential energy production. Micro-wind generation is a method of microgeneration that uses the flow of wind energy to produce electricity for a house or farm. Broadly speaking, there are two types of wind turbines that can be installed: vertical axis wind turbines and horizontal axis wind turbines.

What is a micro-wind system?

The installation of a micro-wind turbine usually consists of the turbine and an inverter. Wind causes the blades of the wind turbine to rotate, generating mechanical energy. The mechanical energy from the rotation is converted to direct current (DC) in the turbine and using the inverter, is converted to alternating current (AC). The inverter output is connected to a breaker panel where the electricity can be shared among the electrical equipment in the home. Excess electricity can be exported from the home to the electrical grid using a bidirectional meter and credits will be provided accordingly by the retailer based on the electric current tariff for electricity.[2]

Installation requirements

The approvals and permits required for micro-wind generation are the same as what would be required for other forms of microgeneration. These approvals and permits are normally obtained from the organization of the judicial government responsible for electric utilities. This will normally be obtained prior to the installation at which point the retailer will provide a home evaluation to ensure the qualifications required for installation are met. Additional approvals may also need to be attained such as in Alberta, Canada where the installations of these turbines must comply with air navigation or aeronautical safety.[3]

Factors affecting generation performance

The generation of electricity is mostly based on the rotational wind speeds of the wind turbines. Certain geographic locations are more suitable for producing electricity compared to others. Depending on the amount of wind that can be obtained from a region, the generation can vary. Another factor that can affect the performance of wind turbines is the obstructions in the area of the installed turbine. Obstructions from trees or other buildings will hinder the turbines from producing at its optimum capacity.[4]

References

  1. By Andol [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons [Accessed: 11- May- 2018]
  2. Alberta Energy. (2010, November 3). What is Microgeneration? [Online]. Available: http://www.energy.alberta.ca/Electricity/2396.asp
  3. Alberta Utilities Commission. (2013, July 5). MICRO-GENERATOR APPLICATION GUIDELINE [Online]. Available: http://www.auc.ab.ca/rule-development/micro-generation/Documents/Micro_Generation/MicroGeneratorApplication_Version1-3_20130705%20.pdf
  4. Enmax Energy. (2013). Features and Benefits [Online]. Available: http://www.enmaxhomesolar.com/wind-power/features-and-benefits

Authors and Editors

Bethel Afework, Microgeneration Alberta, Braden Heffernan, James Jenden, Kailyn Stenhouse, Jason Donev
Last updated: April 28, 2020
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