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Please tell me the minimum amount of wind that can run a small wind turbine for house hold electricity.? I have a feeling that I don,t live in the right part of the country for a turbine! I do remember growing up that we use to have windmills in this area on farms. What do you think? (Central SC)

It depends on the turbine.  There are some turbines that are designed for light wind. Here's one for example, that, according to its manufacturer's website, can generate electricity on just 10 mph wind:

Helix Wind Turbine

Of course they're charging an arm and a leg for them, but if you're looking for a survival skill set, this could be your opportunity to learn how to make one yourself.


--- Quote from: hideousmonster on August 01, 2009, 09:51:58 AM ---It depends on the turbine.  There are some turbines that are designed for light wind. Here's one for example, that, according to its manufacturer's website, can generate electricity on just 10 mph wind: (pic)

--- End quote ---

Well, the first thing you should do is look up your location on a wind map. (Just Google it!)

That will tell you what your average wind speeds are (roughly).

If you don't have at least 6 knots wind speed, don't even bother with it.

You can run a wind turbine in lower wind speeds (laughs maniacally) but two problems arise:

1) You won't get enough electricity to sneeze at with any ordinary turbine (no torque!), and

2) an "extraordinary" turbine (say, one 60-feet in diameter) might get you enough energy to sneeze at, but the cost wouldn't be a sneeze, I can tell ya!

You can't get much energy out of a wind stream if their isn't much energy in it.

At that point, dollar fer dollar & Watt fer Watt, yer better off with solar heat + generator + batteries, or photovoltiacs + batteries.

Notice that with that sucky little "low-speed" wind turbine they don't tell you HOW MUCH energy you'll get. It won't be much. Maybe enough to light up an LED--on a brisk day.

You can make electricity with a party pinwheel, if you want. You just can't make much.

As for designing your own low-speed wind turbine--don't even think about it. (Or, better yet,  do!)

I've been involved with wind turbine development for years. I had a great chance to make my next several million dollars by designing a (cheap!) low-speed wind turbine for the government of Malaysia.


(Too bad I already spent all my other millions!)

I gave it a good shot, but it all boiled down to the fact that you can't get a big bucket of energy out of a small bucket.

You need a BIG bucket--and they aren't cheap.

Don't waste your time and resources re-inventing the wheel unless you are one hell of an inventor. (A powerful low-speed wind turbine is the Holy Grail of Antioch.)

Just buy something off-the-shelf that will do what you want.

If you have "marginal" winds--low but enough to maybe barely bother with--check out the small wind turbines available for yachts.  They are reasonably inexpensive, reasonably efficient, and pretty durable.

Good luck with your project--there is a LOT of good stuff to be found with a little surfing. You can probably find out what you need, and where to get it. Or how to build it.

Yeah, they're not good for powering a house, but you can slowly build up energy in batteries. The LED idea is a good one.  I thought about using LEDs to light my house, and powering those with a small wind turbine might be possible. Powering a freezer, or an air-conditioner, or a TV, or a computer, or even a box fan, however... not the best idea. There are many alternatives, though.  In fact, if you want to create a house that doesn't depend on the electric company at all, you might have to use multiple types of alternative energy sources for multiple types of appliances. Believe it or not, there are actually freezers that run on propane and natural gas. Plus you can also look into methods of heating and cooling your home passively, using things like "earth tubes," window and door awnings, and roof venting.

soccer grannie:
Welcome Shingman. We're in the CSRA area of SC. There's a thread under Region 3 asking if anyone is in the CSRA area of GA or SC.


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