Windmills for electricity certainly aren’t a new concept. The rural windmill has been used for centuries to pump water out of the ground as well as to grind grain, and as far back as the nineteenth century, windmills were used to generate electricity.
But with the advent of coal and oil, the windmill seemed destined to become a picturesque reminder of days gone by.
For years, fossil fuels were cheap, but not so today; with rising oil costs and the concern by some that oil production has peaked and is now in decline, more and more people are looking for alternative, homegrown ways to produce power.
Plus, windmill power doesn’t have a negative impact on the environment the way fossil fuels do.
But does that mean it’s time to run out and invest in a windmill? Not so fast.
Windmills for Electricity, like this one, are now regaining popularity as an alternative source of energy.
Here are some basic facts and reasons why you might, or might not, consider investing in a windmill, or - as they’re called today - a wind turbine system.
As the wind pushes the blades of a windmill, they turn a large magnet rotating around a length of wire. This creates a magnetic field that electrifies the wire. An electric current then flows through the wire and is pushed through a transformer to converts that direct current (DC) into an alternating current (AC) that can be used in your home.
If you live in an area where the wind blows at a fairly steady rate, and, if you have some mechanical skills and aren’t afraid of heights, then a windmill might be a good alternative energy source for you.
And while installing a windmill has a high initial cost, it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run with a cheaper electric bill and provide you with an energy source that will last for years.
Using windmills for electricity is definitely not for everyone. You will need a good site and the right machine for the job. If your system is poorly designed or if you don't maintain it properly, you will have problems and end up discouraged. Installing and maintaining a windmill can be a pretty hairy experience, as you are working far above the ground. But you do get the satisfaction of investing in the future (and a nice view of your homestead!).
But overall, other sources of power might work better for you, depending on where you live. Solar panels in recent years have become much more affordable and are much easier to install. You can build a solar generator for about $400, while a wind turbine system can cost anywhere from $400 to more than six thousand dollars, depending on the system you choose.
There are several good books available about wind power, including Wind Energy Basics, Second Edition: a Guide to Home and community-Scale Wind-Energy Systems, and Wind Power for Dummies.
You can also find wind turbines online and purchase a Wind Generator Kit through Amazon.