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Solar Is Awesome But What About Wind Alternative Energy

E56: Solar is Awesome But What About Wind Alternative Energy

Are you yearning for a simpler life and moving to a more rural location? Maybe you want to take it a step further and live off-the-grid. For those who may not know, Gary (the host of Your Better Life Podcast) has built a house and lives off-the-grid part of the year and other parts in his RV. Today, Gary brings on Ken Kotalik of Primus Wind Turbines to discuss alternative energy, as it applies to living off-the-grid and the benefits of using wind power. 

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Understanding how to use alternative energy is critical for those looking to live this lifestyle, but is also interesting for others, as it is being used in our modern energy-producing infrastructure more and more. Gary shares his experiences, and how he installed his system, and what it consists of.

Why off-grid wind power? Starting with the basics, a wind turbine converts kinetic energy in the wind to electrical power.  Considering the equation below, the more dense the wind, the higher the wind speed, and the larger the rotor area, the more power that is captured.

Power= ½ x Air Density x Wind Velocity^3 x Rotor Area

While maximizing the rotor seems like a favorable option, wind turbine cost escalates as a function of the rotor area.  In analyzing weather data in detail, the following conclusions can be drawn relative to wind power generation:

  1. Average wind speeds are highest during wintertime
  2. Colder, wintertime air is denser and increases power generation, particularly in northern climates with frigid winters
  3. Stormy, inclement weather has a reduced solar resource and an increased wind resource
  4. The wind is highly variable, but statistically speaking, blows as often at night as during the day which reduces the severity in-depth of battery discharge (significantly extending battery life)

Wind Alternative Energy for Homes Topics Discussed:

  • Ken and Gary discuss what is alternative energy and how it is used while living off-the-grid
  • What are the basic components of an off-the-grid and grid-tied energy systems
  • Understanding the difference between a grid-tied and off-the-grid energy systems
  • The advantages and disadvantages of trying to install an entire alternative energy system yourself
  • Make sure if you hire a professional to do your installation they have a background in off-the-grid energy systems
  • The benefits of doing everything to code during your off-the-grid project
  • How battery storage works in an off-the-grid system and new technologies in this area
  • Gary discusses his recent Primus Wind Turbine install the good, the bad, and the ugly
  • What Gary and others will use wind power for while living off-the-grid
  • How much a basic wind power system will cost
  • How to determine if you live in an area where wind power can be used
  • What is the future of alternative energy
  • How wind turbines fit into the alternative energy concept
  • Other applications for alternative energy
  • Where to go on to find out more information about basic wind power systems and take a free online course

Resources and links:

Gary Collins, MS

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