Wind turbine technology is far more efficient, quiet, and sophisticated than similar technology just 10 years ago. Largely due to technological advancements, the cost of energy produced from wind turbines has fallen nearly 80% in the past two decades, making this renewable resource competitive with conventional sources of energy like coal and natural gas.
Small and Large Wind Systems
Small wind turbines are quite different from their larger cousins, each playing an important role to meet various energy demands.
Small scale wind turbines (also know as home or residential wind turbines) can either be connected to the utility grid or stand-alone as an "off-grid" application, normally providing electrical power for home, farm, school, or business applications. Small scale wind machines can have blade length between 3ft-30ft, with a 100ft tower, and can power between 1/4 to 6 average American homes (and even more if they are energy conscious). Small wind turbines require average annual wind speeds of at least 9 mph. according to the American Wind Energy Association, the US is the world leader in small-scale wind energy manufacturing markets.
Large scale wind turbines (also know as utility wind turbines) are normally tied directly into the utility grid and are used to provide electrical power for entire communities and municipalities. Each of these large, "utility-scale," wind turbines can have blade lengths up to 150ft and sit on a 200ft tower, and produce enough electricity for 500-600 average homes per year.
In general, small and large wind turbine systems share similar components:
- Generator and Blades to harvest the wind's energy
- Nacelle to enclose the internal components
- Braking or furling system to provide over-speed protection
- Tower to position the turbine in advantageous winds
- Wiring to transmit power to controller
- Electronic Controls to monitor the power and conditions.
Wind Turbine Research
- Vestas A/S Life Cycle Assessment Reports
Vestas Wind Systems, Inc. reports on the Life Cycle Assessment of offshore and onshore wind power plants to determine potential environmental improvements.
NC Wind Turbine Dealers/Installers
- Northern Power
Contact: 877 90 NORTH
- Argand Energy
- Charlotte, NC, (704) 583-9295, (877) 939-9599, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Innovative Solar
Charlotte, NC, 704-583-0016, 866-856-9819, Fax: 704-583-9588, email@example.com
- Blue Ridge Energy Works, LLC
- Boone, NC, Clay Sulik and Kent Walker, (828) 773-1103, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Green Professionals Directory
Find a renewable energy professional in your area.
- Southern Energy Management
Raleigh and Charlotte, NC, (919)836-0330
- FLS Energy/Cypress Creek Renewables
Asheville, NC, (828) 350-3993
- Sun Volt Solar
Boone, NC, Brian Revell,(828)773-2008
- Blue Ridge Electric Service
Morganton, NC, Bill Poteat, (800)689-8824
- Appalachian Energy Solutions
Sugar Grove, NC, Kent Hively, (828) 773-9762
- Solar Dynamics
Asheville, NC, Ole Sorensen, (828)665-8507
- Sundance Power Systems
Weaverville, NC, Dave Hollister, (828) 645-2080
Small-Scale Wind Turbine Manufacturers and Dealers
- All small wind turbines
All the world's small wind turbines in one overview
- Aerostar Wind Turbines
- Wind Turbine Industries
- Solar Wind Works
- Xzeres Wind
- Kingspan Renewables
- National Wind Technology Center Field Verification Project
- Lake Michigan Wind and Sun
- Hugh Piggott: Scoraig Wind Electric
- Bergey Wind Power
Utility-Scale Wind Turbine Manufacturers and Dealers
- Mitsubishi Power Systems
- Clipper Windpower
- GE Wind Energy