For thousands of years, humans have been asking the question, “How to build a windmill?” Wind-powered water pumps and grain mills were used by the Persians in A.D. 500-900 and by the Chinese in A.D. 1200 for pumping water and grinding corn.
Renewable energy sources like wind energy and wind power were used to power windmills designed to generate electricity (also known as wind turbines) for hundreds of years. These were especially popular in Denmark at the end of the 19th century (1890).
With the development of the internal combustion engine, availability of coal, cheap oil and electrical grids, wind power became almost obsolete until air pollution and dire warnings of climate change brought it back into use.
What Is Wind Power?
Wind power or wind energy is the use of wind to power wind turbines and generate electricity that can either be used to power devices or stored in a battery.
In a wind turbine, two or three rotor blades are linked to the shaft of an electricity generator and the wind spins the blades, turning the generator that produces electricity.
By the end of 2018, the overall capacity of all wind turbines installed worldwide reached 597 Gigawatt. In the future, renewable wind energy could supply a large part of our electricity.
At the moment wind power supplies less than 1% of all electrical power, but scientists estimate that half of the electricity needs in the United States could actually be met by wind power.
Wind farms flourish in places where the wind is the strongest, such as in North Dakota and California. Because wind farms take up large tracts of land, they can be installed on land that is used for farming as well.
While erecting a wind farm there are a number of things to be considered, including wind speed and consistency of wind. Offshore wind farms have great potential because strong winds blow more consistently out in the ocean and the open waters prove an excellent location for wind turbines.
State incentives have encouraged small wind systems to flourish, and the impetus for renewable wind power to flourish will likely come from rebates or incentives provided to those who invest in it.
At the moment you can only make use of these incentives if you’re in California, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, but more states are being added all the time.
The Advantages Of Wind Power
Wind power is one of the best sources of natural energy other than solar energy. There are a number of benefits that renewable wind energy has over fossil fuels.
Wind power is a free and inexhaustible natural resource
The fact that wind energy is a free, inexhaustible and renewable energy source has made it one of the best and most popular renewable energy solutions.
As the wind is going to keep blowing for all of eternity, we don’t have to worry that we’re going to run out of wind anytime soon. The same can’t be said about fossil fuels.
Electric power from wind is cheaper than power from gas and nuclear plants. The maximum cost of wind energy is due to the initial wind turbine costs and the cost of wind turbine installation.
The only other costs are maintenance and operational costs as wind turbines need to be checked and oiled regularly to maintain wind turbine efficiency.
Wind power is non-polluting
Unlike electricity generated by fossil fuels, wind energy does not generate any pollution or greenhouse gases whatsoever (except in the manufacture and installation of wind turbines and wind generators).
In fact, wind power helps us reduce the use of fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal, and once a wind farm is installed there are no additional greenhouse gas emissions.
Wind power is good for the economy
Investing in wind power could provide a major boost to the economy by creating an abundance of new, well-paying wind power jobs.
The Disadvantages Of Wind Power
Although there are many benefits of wind energy, it does have some major disadvantages as well, mostly because of issues caused by wind farms.
Wind farms cause noise pollution
The biggest disadvantage of wind energy is the noise that wind farms create because a wind farm requires not just one wind turbine in a field but hundreds or even thousands of wind turbines making a huge amount of noise.
Commercial wind turbines make so much noise that they’re often compared to the noise that a jet plane makes. With wind energy, you may avoid environmental pollution but you’re stuck with noise pollution instead.
The wind is an unpredictable source of energy
Another of the other major disadvantages of wind power is the fact that wind can never be predicted. One day you’ll strong winds blowing while on other days there could be nary a gust.
Since the availability of wind energy depends on the weather which is not easy to predict, it’s not a good idea to depend solely on the wind as a source of power.
Instead, investing in wind and solar kits, such as a wind turbine solar panels hybrid system will allow you to harvest energy from both solar and wind power and use it to charge an off-grid battery system.
Wind turbine installation is expensive
If you get plenty of wind in your area and want to set up a wind farm on your property, you’ll find that the wind turbine prices and wind turbine installation can be pretty expensive.
Also, you have to get government and land consents to build your wind farm. A better option might be to install a domestic wind turbine or home wind turbine on your property, depending on how much space you have.
The good thing about wind power is that after the initial residential wind turbine cost, you’ll be able to cut down on your utility bill significantly and spend very little on maintenance.
If you’re looking for off-grid power solutions, wind power is a very good source of energy as long as you have a sustained wind speed of at least 6 to 9 MPH to make it viable.
If you want to learn whether your location can support a wind power system, read the book, Build Your Own Small Wind Power System.
How To Build A Windmill
When you learn how to build a windmill you’ll be able to get off the grid and tap into an inexhaustible and free source of energy. But before you get started on building your own windmill you need to understand how does wind power work.
You must spend some time understanding the technology of wind power and what a windmill actually does. These books can help you get up to speed:
- Wind Energy for the Rest of Us
- Wind Power For Dummies
- Homebrew Wind Power: A Hands-On Guide to Harnessing the Wind
The wind is converted into electricity with the help of a windmill or wind turbine that has a number of blades attached to the shaft of an electricity generator. The wind spins the blades around and this generates electricity.
Now it’s time to find out how to build a windmill. Unless you’re an electrician and can build the motor for the windmill out of recycled materials from a scrap metal yard, you’ll have to buy the motor for the windmill.
If you want to DIY it and learn how to do it yourself, you can get started with a Wind Power Science Kit that will show you how to assemble a wind turbine complete with electric generator and adjustable rotor blades.
You can even conduct experiments to optimize the performance of your wind turbine by adjusting the angle of the blades.
Once you’ve purchased a motor for your windmill, invest in some good oil because the motor in your windmill will require regular maintenance to run efficiently.
The oil is usually not very expensive and comes in two-gallon containers for approximately $20.
When learning how to build a windmill, keep in mind that you need sufficient space to carve the blades, especially if you want to build a decent size windmill.
Many DIY hobbyists find it difficult to get all the materials together when learning how to build a windmill, so a number of DIY wind power kits or windmill kits have been patented and developed to make it easier to get all the materials you need.
For most people this is the best option for building a windmill, as it’s much easier, you’ll get a better result and end up spending less time searching for the materials to build your windmill.
The book we recommend to help you with this is 40 Projects for Building Your Backyard Homestead: A Hands-On, Step-By-Step Sustainable-Living Guide, which provides details on how to use home wind turbine kits to build your windmill.
If you don’t like the idea of using a windmill kit and prefer building your own from scratch we recommend buying a book that shows you how to build a windmill step-by-step, like How To Build A Micro Wind Turbine.
This book is a practical manual full of pictures, plans, tables and comments to learn how to build a 100W wind turbine and 6-metre tower from scratch, for less than $250.
Wind energy is becoming one of the best off-grid power options to generate electricity in your own backyard and soon everybody will want a small windmill to help them cut down on their utility bills.
If you do know how to make windmills and enjoy the process, you could start up your own home windmill power business or sell residential windmill kits and tap into the booming wind power industry which is on track to become a $1 trillion business.