electricity

Wind Energy

Similar to solar energy, wind is in many areas in New Zealand a very consistent renewable resource. In this technology wind turns the blades, which then turn the rotor. The rotor is joined to the main shaft, which turns a generator and creates electricity. My father has built a windmill in the mid 1980s in our backyard, sadly he had to take it back down due to the shadow and noise created in the neighbourhood. The good news is that since then our knowledge of aerodynamics has improved and the wind turbine blades are now made smaller to achieve the same outcome while creating a lot less noise, becoming more acceptable. 

Although it is more common to see country houses with wind turbines, options for houses in the city do exist. The average efficiency for wind turbines lies between 35-45%. However, it is important to keep in mind that the efficiency is measured for a specific wind speed. Varying wind speeds mean that the wind turbine will provide often a part of its rated energy output. If your property does get a lot of wind, this might be the right solution for you. So, what are the pros and cons of wind turbines?

Advantages of wind turbine energy:

  • Wind is a renewable and fairly consistent available resource in New Zealand

  • Wind turbines are space efficient compared to other technologies with similar outcomes

  • The cost of wind turbines has steadily decreased, making it possible for households and businesses alike to look at

  • Wind turbines can protect the homeowners in power outages

Disadvantages of wind turbine energy:

  • Wind is not always available so to be off grid batteries are required which add to the cost

  • Noise. Though technology has improved, noise still is an issue of wind turbines

  • There is a potential risk of birds being harmed by the wind turbine blades

  • Wind turbines require an initial financial outlay, only paying back over time

  • In high winds wind turbines shut down to ensure blades will not fly away to harm anyone or anything in its potential way

  • The blades are often made out of fibreglass which is a non recyclable product at present

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Christchurch, New Zealand

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