Wind Power Pros and Cons With Wind Turbines

Understanding wind power pros and cons is essential if you're considering installing a residential wind turbine.

We all like the idea of free or cheap wind power in our homes but is it all as straightforward as many companies would have us believe?

As with any of the eco technologies available on the market today, residential wind power did take a bit of a pounding in the mid 90's as the early attempts weren't that great.

But the technology is improving faster and faster and the end result is that residential wind turbines are now a viable option.

wind power pros and con

Advantages of wind power for homes:

  • The wind itself is free (and as far as I'm aware no-one will ever be able to charge you for it).
  • Wind power generators don't produce any waste products such as carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases.
  • If your annual wind speeds are sufficient and you choose the right turbine, home-made wind power can provide you with an income source (through the Feed In Tarrif Scheme and NIROCS scheme).
  • Grant aid is usually available to help with the initial cost of installation.
  • The electricity produced from wind power is sustainable and doesn't rely on fossil fuels, the cost of which can be volatile, to say the least.
  • Installing a single turbine can save up to 4,500 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the Earth’s atmosphere. 
  • A wind turbine is normally connected to the grid allowing sell your unused electricity in addition to getting paid for producing it in the first place.
  • The technology is improving and getting cheaper every year.

Disadvantages of wind power for homes

  • Some people think they're an eye-sore, and depending on your location, planning restrictions may be an issue. So always check with your local planning office before doing anything.
  • Buying the turbine and associated equipment along with installation is expensive (but, after the initial outlay, the cost of wind power is low).
  • Lightning strikes can damage turbines.
  • They can be a little noisy, so sitting them properly a safe distance from your and your neighbours properties is important.
  • While it's not impossible that a domestic sized turbine could cause interference with TV signals it's extremely unlikely.
  • Wind speed can't be guaranteed so they won't produce electricity all the time. For more information see my article on wind power graphs.
  • They're not suited to all locations, due to wind speed, housing density, turbulence, planning restrictions in certain areas etc.

Wind Power Pros and Cons Summary:

As you can see there are quite a few wind power pros and cons but personally I feel the pros outweigh the cons. The most important things to get right if you're looking for a domestic wind turbine is knowing how wind power works, what the average wind speed is for your site and getting the right size of turbine.

In other words you need to understand the various wind power facts, wind power efficiency and how to use wind power graphs.

Although the initial outlay is expensive, you should be able to get a grant to reduce the sting a little, and don’t forget your total wind power cost is spread over the lifetime of the wind turbine (typically 20 years).

Having read all the wind power pros and cons if you now don't think your site will be suitable for wind power you can still consider generating your own electricity with photovoltaic panels.

For more detail on the disadvantages of wind power click here for the 2nd part...

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