10:47am

Thu August 26, 2010
Reinventing the Windmill

What to expect when you’re expecting a turbine

Purchasing a household wind turbine works a little differently than purchasing  a refrigerator. That probably makes sense given that a small turbine can be a hundred feet tall and produce up to 100 kilowatts of power, enough to run about ten refrigerators.

Luckily, there’s a way to get a sense of what to expect from your small turbine before you bring it home.

Try as we might, we couldn’t find anywhere where you could walk in and pick from small wind turbines on a lot. But we did find the Small Wind Explorer tool from NYSERDA.

Put your location in and the Wind Explorer map spits out a report on the performance you could roughly expect from a turbine in front of your house. The information generated includes an estimate of your average windspeed, based on the wind your block has seen in the past, and the expected power you can expect to get from models of different heights and rotor diameters.

If you want to see more, you’ll have to go through a wind turbine installer. Wind professionals can access the roped-off backroom full of more data to create detailed simulations of particular sites.

By the way, expected performance of a small wind turbine in front of WSKG, Binghamton: ‘Very Poor.’