Wind Turbine

                            Utilities and wind power


Wind power is one of the fastest growing forms of new electricity generation in the U.S.  In 2007, 35% of all new generation capacity added to the electric grid in the U.S. was from wind power projects.  Electric utilities are increasingly adding wind power to their power supply portfolios, as a clean, inexhaustible, and domestic source of electric generation.

AWEA works with utilities of all types – investor-owned utilities (IOUs), municipal public power utilities, and rural electric co-operatives – to provide practical information on wind power development, operation, and procurement.  AWEA provides a forum for utilities to support each other as they bring their first projects on-line or as they integrate increasingly large amounts of wind power on their systems.

Electric utilities have a unique role in bringing wind power to their retail customers.  Utilities are the connection to the end-use customers who are expecting that their electricity providers use more clean energy to power their homes, schools, businesses, and institutions.  Wind power is available now, as the largest and most readily-deployable form of new clean energy generation available, and the utility role is critical to deliver this energy to retail electricity customers.

Wind can generate on-site electricity for homeowners. Wind is created by unequal heating of the earth's surface and can be harnessed to directly produce electricity. A wind turbine captures the energy of the wind and converts it into rotary motion that drives a generator to produce electricity




                                                               Basic parts of

Basic Parts of a Wind Turbine

Much like home PV solar systems, small wind systems can be either off the grid or
grid connected
. With grid connected wind systems, the homeowner can sell excess electricity to the utility or purchase electricity from the utility if necessary during low wind or no wind conditions.

Grid Connected Systems

The ability to use wind systems to produce electricity is more limited than opportunities for solar systems. While solar systems can be used in many U.S. locations, careful study is required to ensure there is adequate wind to allow wind systems to function efficiently. Zoning requirements in residential areas may also limit use of wind power systems.

Hybrid Wind/Solar Systems

There are advantages to considering an on-site electric system that combines wind and solar. This hybrid approach is common for homes that are in off-the-grid, remote locations. By combining wind and solar, the weakness of each approach (lack of wind or sunlight) can be offset. In the United States, wind speeds are often lowest in the summer when the solar energy from the sun is strongest, while wind tends to be stronger in the winter when less sunlight is available. A wind/solar hybrid system offers a more reliable approach to year-round electricity production than either approach alone. Typically, these off-the-grid hybrid systems utilize a battery system to store electricity when household energy demands are low and to supplement the system's output when household needs exceed the electricity being produced.

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