Wind Power Systems
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Wind Power Systems
Electricity harnessed from wind power using turbines is a rapidly growing technology. Australia provides an ideal environment in which to take advantage of this tried and true system. Australia’s sustainable wind resource is the key to significantly reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.
iWolf wind turbine systems are efficient, cost effective, pollution free and easy to install.
Available in many different sizes they are perfect for use on tall buildings, rural properties, houses, caravans and even boats.
How do I choose a site for my new wind power system.
To generate electricity effectively, wind turbines require “clean” and reasonably fast wind. Clean wind is laminar, which means it’s velocity, pressure and other flow properties remain constant at each point in the air stream.
Open spaces like open coastal locations, flat rural areas and tall buildings offer the most laminar wind flow.
Turbulence caused by the local terrain such as hills, cliffs and ground obstacles such as trees and nearby buildings or structures depreciate wind quality
Efficient wind power systems are installed on tall towers to ensure a supply of clean wind by being well above areas of turbulence caused by obstacles.
Installing a wind system.
Small to medium sized wind generators are often connected to:
- The electrical grid and do not incorporate any battery storage
- Stand-alone power systems. They are off-grid or independent.
- The electrical grid with additional battery storage.
Grid connected solutions allow wind system owners to push electricity into the grid when excess electricity is produced and pull electricity from the grid when needed.
Stand-alone power solutions are useful in locations that are a long distance from the electrical grid.
Evaluating your wind resource.
Measure your sites wind resources by using a wind site assessor or installer. iWolf’s wind source assessors will calculate how much electricity a wind turbine will produce at your location.
Typically measured in metres/second calculating wind speed and velocity may be challenging at some sites. Australian state governments are currently developing ways to help people asses wind resources.
Some methods used to estimate the output of a wind power system are;
- Automatic weather stations, nearby monitoring sites, wind maps or terrain modelling to monitor wind patterns.
- Site visits to appraise obstacles that can cause turbulence, creating an “un-clean” wind resource.
- Review the power curve specifications of the wind generator system to be used.
This information can be obtained from the systems manufacturer. It states the expected power output of the turbine at any given wind speed.
A small off-grid wind system generally requires a minimum average annual wind speed of 5m/s to be cost effective. On-grid connected wind power systems require greater than 6m/s to generate access power.
The “cut-in” wind speed of generator or turbine is the speed at which it begins to turn and generate electrical power. A low cut-in speed is vital for maximum output in areas with light winds.
Sites on elevated, open land where winds are unimpeded by trees and buildings are ideal
Recommended tower heights
A common mistake made when installing small wind systems is putting the wind generator on a short tower.
Tall towers can access faster winds that will return greater results. Remember, wind speed increases, and turbulence decreases with height. Doubling the wind speed available to your system will increase the power it generates by eight to ten times.
Use towers taller than 24m in areas where the land is flat or elevated when there are no obstacles within 150m of the installation site. A minimum tower height of 20m is recommended to avoid the friction between wind and earth.
You can test for smooth laminar air flow using a balloon, tag lines and a tether line. Your site assessor will calculate the minimum tower height required based on the proximity and height of the surrounding terrain and ground based obstacles.
The general rule of thumb recommends a minimum tower height of 10m above the tallest obstruction within 150m measured from the bottom of the turbine rotor or blades.
Always consider future plans for building development and tree growth.
Turbine wind speed controls.
As wind generators spin faster they generate more power at a higher voltage. However if the wind speed increases too much, the generator could be damaged or wear out too soon.
This is why most wind turbines incorporate a wind speed “cut-off” to either stop the unit generating power or control the rotational speed to produce consistent electrical power.
Mechanical braking and feathering are the most common controls.
If the batteries are fully charged, surplus power is redirected to a dummy load to avoid the risk of fire or explosion.
In general, turbines require some regular upkeep i.e. at least once a year.
Quality wind turbines have a life expectancy of 25–35 seasons. Develop a regular maintenance regime to ensure system longevity.
Most turbine and tower maintenance schemes involve basic routine inspections.
Towers should be designed specifically to allow the easy servicing of major mechanical components .