Site Assessment for Wind Power

If you're considering wind power, then a site assessment is something you'll need to start with. Simply put, it's an analysis of how well suited your location is for generating electricity from wind resources.

Some of us don't have to make much of an assessment. If you live in Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas or along the coast somewhere, the answer is probably "yes," but it pays to know for certain.

No sense investing thousands of dollars for little or no payback.

You'll want to make certain that wind power is feasible, at least for a portion of the year. You might even consider what the payback period is before you make any investment.

A simple site assessment involves sticking an anemometer high in the air and taking readings for a while. For my site assessment, I mounted an anemometer on a tower, and mounted the tower on a trailer and then parked it for a week at a time in various places on my property. The anemometer read wind speed instant, high and average. That was sufficient for my purposes.

I also looked at the shape of trees on my site to see how they responded to the prevailing winds. You might take a look at wind maps as well.

Here in Wyoming, we curse the wind. It's not uncommon to hear people exclaim "damned wind." I recognize it as "people repellent." Enough said about the potential for wind power here in The Equality State.

In addition to knowing whether you have sufficient wind, you also have to know whether you can get relatively "turbulent free" wind. Turbulence will batter your wind turbine a bit, so avoid them if possible. Turbulence are often caused by obstructions.

One of the concepts of wind power is "fetch," the ability of the wind to get to your turbine. A site assessment should look at this carefully because you generally want to have unobstructed fetch for your turbine.

From a more technical standpoint, that means positioning your wind turbine well above (at least 30 feet) anything that is within about 100 yards of it. Sometimes that isn't possible, but you need to do the best you can.

Obstructions can include buildings, hills and outcroppings, and trees. Consider the prevailing winds when you look at fetch.

Another factor to consider during a site assessment is property lines and structures. Should your turbine fly apart or fall, you don't want to be anywhere near it. You also don't want it to fall on your neighbors property or structures.

Lastly, I would consider proximity to your neighbors. Wind turbines make sounds, sometimes they are louder than the wind, so you want to make certain you aren't going to place it somewhere that your neighbors might object to it, especially at night when they're trying to sleep.

Also, some people don't like to look at wind turbines. Go figure. Kites, airplanes, power lines, power poles, communications towers and the like are all around us, and some folks have a hard time with a rotating object that generates power for their neighbors.

Any serious site assessment will include a talk with your neighbors to make certain they don't become "show stoppers" right after you erect your tower and start flying your turbine.

Check local ordinances, homeowner association restrictions, and generally be mindful that it might be objectionable to some people. I enjoy seeing them fly, but I'm not like everyone else - thankfully.





Done with Site Assessment, back to Alternative Energy Sources

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If you ever hope to see an abundance of wealth, you need to plug the hole in your boat. The wealthy don't necessarily make lots of money, instead, they know how to hang onto what they make, and make it work for them.