Wind Energy At Home, Is It Really Effective?
In USA, wind energy has become a reference within the range of renewables. Our country’s climate and orography are ideal for producing electricity thanks to the action of windmills. It is undoubtedly the most widespread renewable source in the world. However, it is not so common in homes. While solar thermal and photovoltaic energy are much more common, it is not so common to find wind energy solutions in homes.
In fact, we can have energy solutions that use the wind to provide electricity inside our homes, but they are certainly not common. However, with small accumulators it is possible to use the energy produced by turning a windmill during windy days.
It should be noted, however, that wind energy cannot be stored, so it can only be used when the accumulator is working, thanks to friction. So on very windy days we can use that wind to supply our home electrically, but we will not store that energy. That’s the main problem with renewable wind sources.
In order to have wind energy in our homes, it is necessary, first of all, that wherever the turbine is installed, there is a good wind resource. But, in addition to that, we have to take into account the noise that the wind installation can generate, which can be very disturbing for those who are nearby. In view of this, it is recommended that there should be a wide area to locate the wind turbine far from the rooms where it will spend more time.
As we have said, it is quite annoying to have a wind energy system at home nearby, but it can also be an alternative to take into account. When? Especially in those more isolated places, where it is not easy to receive electricity in a common way or power cuts can occur.
Typically, home solutions are a mini wind turbine, which can have a power of up to 100 kilowatts (kW) and would harness the wind in the same way that photovoltaic energy uses the sun’s rays. With such a solution it would be possible to supply a large part of the electricity of a home, and in situations of strong wind supply all the demand.
While in Europe many homes have mini wind solutions to supply electricity, in Spain it is not common and there is no official registration. According to estimates by the World Wind Association, about seven megawatts (MW) are generated, and there could only be about 10,000 installations throughout Spain.
Such domestic wind power installations are often found in very isolated environments and rural areas. They are also found on farms and in rural houses or hostels, and some of them are illegal and not regulated. The most common is to install turbines of between 3 and 5 kW in grid-connected environments and with a distributed generation system for several users.
Why Is Wind Energy Not Popular In Homes?
As we have mentioned, wind energy is the most important renewable energy in volume within our country. But, at the domestic level, it is one of the least exploited. And the main reason perhaps lies in its necessary installation, which requires an investment of up to 10,000 dollars, which normally would not be taken into account unless it was compulsory by regulation.
Even so, many experts believe that this is not the only explanation. For example, there is the fact that the technology used at the global production level for the domestic market has not been exploited, so costs remain high. While solar panels have an affordable price, mini wind turbines do not. But this is not the only factor that plays against them either.
Solar panels will always be quiet, but wind mini turbines can cause noise. But it also plays against them that, in urban environments, they have not performed well. Likewise, there is no good manual on how to install wind turbines and very bad results have been obtained when they were installed incorrectly or in places where it was not possible to benefit from the wind.
What could be the solution for it to start becoming more popular in a better way? Without a doubt, the wind energy associations are aiming at the regulatory regulation of the sector. Although it is completely legal to install a system of self-consumption wind at home, there is also a draft Royal Decree very unfavorable to self-consumption, which speaks of disproportionate fines. This causes distrust among those who fear that, in the near future, use will be limited. In addition, it is commented that some of the electricity producers could promote a regulation to prohibit wind energy in homes so as not to lose profits.