We occasionally get very strong winds, but it’s often dead calm. I was toying with the idea of getting a good wind speed gauge to get some idea how much electricity I’d get out of various wind turbines, but then I came across the Beaufort Scales which offer a decent heuristic for wind speed and cost nothing. It’s by no means as accurate as a wind gauge, but it’s close enough to get some idea of whether or not a wind turbine would be feasible.
Today, we have 25mph-32mph winds, by my rough estimation. If I got a low-end $538 turbine (and the cost doesn’t include shipping or installation) it seems that I’d get between 250W and 500W(*) right now. At 9.5c/kWhr in my area, $538 would buy 5,663kWhrs (5,663,000 Whrs) of electricity. Doing the math, it’d take the turbine between 1.29 and 2.58 years to produce that amount of electricity if the wind were always as strong as it were today. That isn’t really feasible, given that wind speed here is usually low. I guess I’ll just have to wait for nanosolar to sell to the general public.
(*) The specs say it can do 400W max, but the chart indicates 500W max. It’s not clear which to believe.
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There’s a wind advisory today, and we have winds as rough as we did the last time I thought about this. The interesting part is that the Beaufort Scales are pretty accurate. The advisory says: “SUSTAINED WESTERLY WINDS AT 25 TO 35 MPH WILL CONTINUE TONIGHT.” My previous estimate of 25-32 seems to be in the right ballpark.