Wind Power For Dummies®

Table of Contents


About This Book

Conventions Used in This Book

What You’re Not to Read

Foolish Assumptions

How This Book Is Organized

Part I: A Wind Primer: Stuff You Need to Know

Part II: Assessing Your Situation

Part III: Assembling Your System

Part IV: Installing and Operating Your System

Part V: The Part of Tens

Part VI: Appendixes

Icons Used in This Book

Where to Go from Here

Part I: A Wind Primer: Stuff You Need to Know

Chapter 1: Introducing the World of Home Wind Electricity

Figuring Out Whether Wind Energy Is Right for You

Understanding the Components of Wind-Energy Systems

Focusing on Electricity Fundamentals

Perusing Wind-Energy Principles

Getting a Grip on Your Energy Situation

Conducting an assessment and increasing your home’s efficiency

Calculating your home’s potential for wind energy

Knowing your home’s relationship to the grid

Determining payback on your investment

Looking at other energy options

Designing Your Wind-Energy System

A team of experts to help

Wind generators


Other components

Tying everything together

Installing and Using Your Wind-Energy System

Staying safe

Installing your system

Monitoring and maintaining your system

Chapter 2: Is Wind Energy for You?

Exploring Motivations for Using Wind Energy

Green reasons: Living more sustainably

Getting a backup power system

Saving money

Experiencing the fun of doing it yourself

Being on the cutting edge

Increasing your self-reliance

Meeting Some Minimum Requirements for a Wind System

A wind resource

Wide, open spaces

The human factor: Skills and support

Dealing with Common Objections

Small capacity and inconsistent power


Design and installation dangers

Potential problems with birds


Lower property values

Getting the Green Light

Talking to your neighbors first

Facing some legal limits

Working with the utility company

Chapter 3: Deconstructing Wind-Energy Systems

Before You Begin: Understanding the Importance of Buying a Whole System

Surveying System Components

The turbine

The tower

Transmission wires



Utility interconnection equipment

Getting a Grip on Different System Configurations

Batteryless grid-tied systems

Grid-tied systems with battery backup

Off-grid systems

Chapter 4: Electricity Basics — a Shocking Amount of Info

Getting Up to Speed on Watts

Understanding that a watt is a rate

Measuring wattage, the flow of energy

Watt-Hours: Looking at Energy, the Most Important Measure

Using a formula for watt-hours

Measuring watt-hours

Volts: Putting on the Electrical Pressure

Understanding what voltage tells you (and what it doesn’t)

Measuring and interpreting voltage

Resisting the flow: Ohms

Amperage: Charging Ahead with the Electron Flow Rate

Understanding the flow of charges

Getting directions: Direct and alternating current

Measuring amperage

Converting amps and volts into watts with the power formula

Amp-Hours: Knowing the Battery Storage Capacity

A formula for amp-hours

Looking at amp-hours as a battery measure

Measuring amp-hours

Putting It All Together with a Handy Electrical Analogy

Checking Out Additional Electricity Terms and Concepts

Series or parallel: Joining the circuit

Hertz: Cycles per second

The power factor: A nerdy measure

Chapter 5: Blowing through Vital Wind-Energy Principles

Understanding Wind Speed Terminology

Instantaneous wind speed

Your crucial measure: Average wind speed

Peak wind speed

Gaining Lessons from a Basic Wind Energy Formula: P = 1/2DAV3

Power (P): What’s available

Air density (D): A hard-to-sway factor

Swept area (A): Collector size matters

Wind speed cubed (V3): A dramatic effect

Knowing that Energy, Not Power, Is Important When Predicting Output

Dangerous curves: Why power ratings are misleading

Estimating output: Why energy curves are better indicators

Balancing energy predictions with truth formulas

Other Lessons Based on Wind Principles

Dead turbines give no energy

Tall towers are essential

Part II: Assessing Your Situation

Chapter 6: The Home Energy Assessment: Gauging Your Energy Appetite

Before You Begin: The Essentials of Energy Assessment

Setting an energy goal

The importance of good numbers: Quantifying your wants

Examining Energy Assessment Methods

On-grid homes: Using utility bills and a detailed load analysis

Off-grid homes: Extrapolating from current energy sources

New homes: Making a detailed load list and reviewing past home history

Chapter 7: Increasing Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

Taking the First Steps to Greater Energy Efficiency

Tallying the shocking current system cost

Your goal: Cutting 20 to 60 percent

Boosting Your Thermal Efficiency

Considering heating and cooling sources

Looking at heating and cooling ducts

Evaluating the insulation

Wrapping up with the building envelope

Increasing Your Electrical Efficiency


Hot water



Other appliances

Clearing Out the Phantom Loads

Finding phantoms

Extinguishing phantoms

Adding Up Your Efficiency Results

Chapter 8: Determining Your Site’s Wind-Energy Potential

Understanding Wind’s Local Effects as Part of the Global Engine

Understanding patterns due to uneven heating

Looking at the influence of the shape of the land

Identifying Potential Turbine Sites

Living on-site with your eyes and ears open

Understanding the big picture of your area

Start high: Climbing something tall and looking

Considering nearby topography and local restrictions

Analyzing Wind Speed with a Variety of Tools

Taking direct measurements

Collecting other people’s data

Looking and listening

Chapter 9: Defining Your Relationship to the Grid

Simple and Efficient: Batteryless Grid-tied Systems

The pros: Simplicity, cleanliness, and cost effectiveness

The cons: When the grid is down, you’re out

The basic components and configuration sizing

In Both Worlds: Grid-tied Systems with Battery Backup

The pros: Reliability and ability to sell

The cons: Inefficiency, modest backup, and cost

The basic components and configuration sizing

Standing Alone: Off-Grid Systems

The pros: Independence, flexibility, and being mindful of what you’re using

The cons: Costs, maintenance, and wastefulness

The basic components and configuration sizing

Making Your Decision with Some Considerations in Mind

Chapter 10: Calculating the Value of Your Investment

Reviewing Your Wind Energy Goals

Saving the Earth

Saving money

Fulfilling personal motivations

Analyzing Costs and Incentives

Considering installation costs

Adding in maintenance costs

Accounting for incentives and discounts

Considering the cost of electricity you don’t have to buy

Crunching all the numbers

Getting a Grip on the Big Picture

Chapter 11: If Not Wind, Then What? Other Options for Green Energy

Here Comes the Sun: Solar Electricity

Looking at a solar-electric system’s longevity, reliability, and simplicity

Comparing solar- and wind-electric costs

Understanding the cons of PV arrays

The Waterworks: Hydroelectricity

Tapping the resource (if you have it)

Enjoying constant electricity

Looking at the cons of hydro power

Heating Things Up with Solar Thermal Applications

Warming the house

Getting into hot water: Solar hot water systems

Other Methods for Improving Your Energy Picture

Investing in green power

Cleaning up your transportation scene

Simplifying your home and your life

Part III: Assembling Your System

Chapter 12: Gathering a Team of Experts — or Going It Alone

Considering a Few Issues before You Move toward Wind Electricity

The difficulty of installation

The presence of serious hazards

Maintenance requirements

The probability of trouble, even with regular maintenance

Deciding Whether to Have Professionals Install Your System

The advantages

The disadvantages

Finding and Hiring an Installation Pro

The process of looking for a pro

The traits you should seek in a pro

Preparing to Do the Installation Yourself

Getting training and finding some partners in crime

Don’t try this at home? Heeding a few warnings

A Little Help: Taking the Middle Way

Partnering with your supplier as mentor

Thinking teamwork

Getting a professional review at crucial stages

Chapter 13: Weighing Wind Generator Options

Surveying Wind Generator Sizes

Sailboat-scale turbines

Home- and ranch-scale turbines

Utility-scale turbines

Considering Differences in Wind Generator Configuration

Battery-charging versus batteryless grid-tied

Direct drive versus gear driven

Horizontal axis versus vertical axis

Two blades versus three blades

Upwind versus downwind

Permanent-magnet alternator, wound-field alternator, or induction machine

Choosing a Wind Generator in the Real World

Site and wind resource evaluation

Owner evaluation

Budget evaluation

Putting it all together

Chapter 14: Talking about Towers

The Air up There: Tower Height

Understanding how height influences power output

Selecting the right height for your tower

Examining Types of Towers

Tilt-up towers

Fixed guyed towers

Freestanding towers

Steering clear of alternative towers

Choosing the Right Tower for You

Site evaluation

Owner evaluation

Budget evaluation

Putting it all together

Chapter 15: Checking Out the Rest of the System Components

Investigating Inverters: Getting the Right Current and Voltage

Defining an inverter’s main functions

Examining different types of inverters

Selecting an inverter with the correct voltages and wattage

Understanding the Basics of Batteries

The purpose of batteries: Storing energy

Looking at battery types

Minimizing the drawbacks of batteries

Checking Out Charge Controllers to Protect Your Battery Bank

The purpose of charge controllers: Protecting batteries from overcharging

Surveying series versus diversion controllers

Bonus features of charge controllers

On the Safe Side: Wire, Disconnects, Overcurrent Protection, and Grounding

Wire: Your energy carrier

Disconnects: Shutting it down

Overcurrent protection: Automatically breaking the circuit

Grounding: Offering excess charge a way out

Odds and Ends

Chapter 16: Tying Everything Together: System Sizing and Design

Sizing Important System Components

Using load, efficiency measures, and wind resource info to size your generator

Using your tower site and wind shear to determine your tower height

Sizing your battery bank (if you have one)

Sourcing and Arranging System Components Yourself

Finding and qualifying suppliers

Assembling your components into a successful design

Part IV: Installing and Operating Your System

Chapter 17: Safety First!

Being Aware of the Hazards





Live hazards

Climbing a Tower Worry-Free

Gathering gear for a safe climb

Climbing technique

Letting Your Ground Crew Help You Out

Staying Safe when Working with a Crane

Taking No Chances with Tilt-up Towers

Using Forethought and Communication

Thinking before you act

Communicating with your crew

Chapter 18: Installation Time

Laying the Groundwork

Siting and layout

Can you dig it? Excavating the area

Laying reinforcing rod and anchors

Pouring concrete

Backfilling the holes

Towering Over the Land: Getting the Tower Up

Starting with tower assembly

Hooking up guy wires

Lifting with a crane, gin pole, or tilt

Tending to Wind Generator Installation

On the ground

In the air

Electrical Considerations from the Tower to the Ground

Wired up: Getting the right transmission wire

You con-du-it! Protecting your wire with conduit

Brake it up: Stopping the system when necessary

You’re grounded! Grounding the tower

Balance of Systems



Charge controller


Breakers and so on

Chapter 19: Living with Wind Energy

What Are You Looking At? Monitoring Your Wind System

Watching the wind

Picking up on power

Examining energy

Listening up: Mechanical and electrical sounds

Tracking your system’s historical data

A Little TLC: Maintaining Your Wind System

Inspecting the tower

Checking the wind generator

Assessing electrical components

Maintaining batteries

Troubleshooting and replacing batteries

Part V: The Part of Tens

Chapter 20: Ten Essential Steps toward a Successful Wind-Electric System

Know Your Load

Shrink Your Load

Know Your Wind Resource

Know Your Site

Be Realistic

Use a Tall Tower

Use a Large Rotor

Buy Quality Equipment

Install Your System Expertly

Maintain Your System

Chapter 21: Ten Wind-Energy Mistakes

Running Afoul of Neighbors and Authorities

Underestimating or Overestimating Your Energy Use

Overestimating Your Wind Resource

Using Too Small a Rotor

Having a Light-Duty Turbine on a Heavy-Duty Site

Buying a Wind Generator without Customer Support

Using Too Short a Tower

Considering Only Upfront Costs

Using “Creative” Designs or Parts

Ignoring System Maintenance

Chapter 22: Ten Tales of Wind-Energy Users and “Abusers”

Frank and Deb: Reducing the Propane Bill

John and Lisa: Going On-grid

Doug and Alicia: Facing Maintenance Problems

Dean and Betty: Estimating Resources

Randy and Melissa Richmond: Giving a System a New Home

Hugh Piggott: Building His Own

The Dans: Sharing Innovation

Robert Preus: Being a True Professional

Highland Energy: Sharing Cell Towers

Yours Truly: Always Experimenting

Part VI: Appendixes

Appendix A: Glossary

Appendix B: Conversions, Abbreviations, and Acronyms

Wind Power For Dummies®

Ian Woofenden


About the Author

Ian Woofenden began exploring renewable energy as a preteen growing up in the Midwest, where he built a solar greenhouse, used a clothesline, and walked, ran, and bicycled extensively. Later, when he was a teenager in New England, his parents had a solar hot water system, and he read widely on sustainability, renewable energy, and country living. After marrying his college sweetheart and going on a 1,200-mile honeymoon on a tandem bicycle, Ian lived in a tipi in Maine and on an island in Lake Michigan before settling on an island in the inland waters between mainland Washington state and Vancouver Island, Canada. There, he and his wife bought 10 acres of off-grid property and began an experimental life with country living and renewable energy that has now spanned almost three decades. Raising a large family off-grid had many lessons to teach, and running a production woodcraft business for 14 years was challenging and instructive, too. Starting with an automobile battery and a few taillight bulbs, Ian’s renewable energy systems have grown to include three wind generators, multiple solar-electric systems, two solar hot water systems, wood heating, extensive gardens and orchards, and again, clotheslines. Ian’s favorite mode of transportation is a bicycle, and a solar recumbent tandem trike may be in his future. Ian comes to renewable energy first and foremost as a user and abuser, an experimenter and active learner. In the early 1990s, Ian decided to pursue this passion as a career and began to take workshops offered in Colorado by Solar Energy International (SEI). A year later, he was coordinating workshops in the Northwest for SEI. Three years later, he landed a job as an editor with Home Power magazine, his all-time favorite publication. Today, Ian is one of the senior editors at Home Power and is Northwest and Costa Rica Coordinator for SEI, organizing and co-teaching 8 to 10 weeks of workshops per year. Ian is author of numerous articles on wind energy and other renewable energy topics for Home Power and other publications, and he is one of the supporting coauthors of Power from the Wind by Dan Chiras. He also teaches wind-energy workshops for other organizations and does private consulting for individuals, businesses, and organizations. He particularly enjoys teaching and consulting in Central America, where he spends several weeks each winter. With his family mostly grown, Ian is excited to see some of his kids involved in renewable energy and environmental education. His family homestead is still an experimental lab where new products are tested and new lessons are learned. If he hasn’t already overcommitted himself, Ian likes to correspond with readers at


This book is dedicated to my seven children, who have the capacity to change the world they live in by changing themselves and the way they live; my wife, who has lived with my wind-energy addiction for lo these 31 years; my parents, who taught me by example to think for myself, read, write, and care about the important things in life; and my many friends, supporters, readers, and students, who have discussed, laughed, cried, critiqued, and ranted with me over the years.

Author’s Acknowledgments

As an editor, I have been intimately involved in shaping others’ writing, and I know from experience that no one is an island. Anything produced is the result of collaboration on many levels. I stand on the shoulders of others who have been working in the field much longer than I and on those I have shared space with in foundation holes and on top of towers in 25 mph winds. In particular, I’d like to recognize the following: Hugh Piggott has been a source of much information, experience, and perspective for many years. I appreciate not only his technical savvy but also his humility and generosity. Having him as technical reviewer on this book is another high point in a long trail as friends and colleagues. Mick Sagrillo is gradually leaving huge shoes to fill, and I appreciate his willingness to share his knowledge, his recommendations, and his time. As mutual thorns in each other’s sides, being around the two of us has been said to be “worth the price of admission.” Paul Gipe is a model of straight-up journalism, and he knows more about more wind generators — large and small — than anyone else I know. He calls a spade a spade, and for that I have great respect. Other renewable energy colleagues who have helped in my education are my earliest renewable energy guru Windy Dankoff, Christopher Freitas, Richard Perez, Joe Schwartz, Michael Welch, Johnny Weiss, Robert Preus, Dan New, Ed Kennell, Mike Klemen, Dan Fink, Dan Bartmann, Randy Brooks, Kelly Keilwitz, Rose Woofenden, Bill Hoffer, Brent Summerville, E. H. Roy, Roy Butler, Steve Wilke, Tod Hanley, Darren Emmons, Chuck Marken, Megan Amsler, Conrad Geyser, Tom Wineman, Randy Richmond, Victor Creazzi, Eric Eggleston, Jason Lerner, Dana Brandt, the crews at Home Power magazine and Solar Energy International, and many others. My island neighbors and renewable energy users have played a strong role in my renewable energy education. I especially appreciate wind-energy system owners Holly and Kevin Green, John Meyer and Lisa Kennan-Meyer, Frank and Deb Dehn, Blake and Nancy Rankin, and the Anderson family. My editors at Wiley, Mike Baker, Danielle Voirol, Megan Knoll, and especially Georgette Beatty, have been professional, patient, and insightful. They have formed my rough book into a saleable creature. The many people behind the scenes at Wiley also have my appreciation. I am blessed with many friends inside and outside of the renewable energy world who give me support, feedback, and encouragement in following my chosen paths in life, with its struggles and triumphs. In particular, I’d like to mention Clay Eals, Andy Gladish, Juby Fouts and clan, Heather Isles, my sister Laura, Susan Miller, Doug Moser, and Steve Dyck, among many, many others. My immediate and extended family has been an inspiration and a blessing. Several writers are among them, including my father and mother; my favorite and only surviving uncle, George; my brother Lee; and my terribly missed father-in-law, Dave Gladish. My children and future grandchildren are a big part of my inspiration. My hope is that this book reduces wasted resources, time, and money and helps people use one of our abundant natural resources more wisely. While I’m appreciative of all that these many people have contributed to my life and ultimately this book, responsibility for errors, missing info, and my ever-present personal biases is mine, all mine. Life is imperfect and short; take what you like and leave the rest.

Publisher’s Acknowledgments

We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments through our online registration form located at For other comments, please contact our Customer Care Department within the U.S. at 877-762-2974, outside the U.S. at 317-572-3993, or fax 317-572-4002.

Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:

Acquisitions, Editorial, and Media Development

Senior Project Editor: Georgette Beatty

Acquisitions Editor: Mike Baker

Senior Copy Editor: Danielle Voirol

Copy Editor: Megan Knoll

Assistant Editor: Erin Calligan Mooney

Editorial Program Coordinator: Joe Niesen

Technical Editor: Hugh Piggott

Editorial Manager: Michelle Hacker

Editorial Assistant: Jennette ElNaggar

Art Coordinator: Alicia B. South

Cover Photo: Ian Woofenden

Cartoons: Rich Tennant (

Composition Services

Project Coordinator: Sheree Montgomery

Layout and Graphics: Joyce Haughey, Melissa K. Jester, Mark Pinto, Melissa K. Smith

Special Art: Thomas Brucker, Precision Graphics (

Proofreaders: Caitie Copple, Evelyn C. Gibson

Indexer: Estalita Slivoskey

Special Help: Elizabeth Rea

Publishing and Editorial for Consumer Dummies

Diane Graves Steele, Vice President and Publisher, Consumer Dummies

Kristin Ferguson-Wagstaffe, Product Development Director, Consumer Dummies

Ensley Eikenburg, Associate Publisher, Travel

Kelly Regan, Editorial Director, Travel

Publishing for Technology Dummies

Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher, Dummies Technology/General User

Composition Services

Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services


Wind energy is without a doubt the most difficult renewable resource to capture. At the same time, it often ends up being the most attractive. Should you be discouraged by the difficulty of the job? No! But if you don’t take the difficulty seriously, you will be disappointed. In my many years of working with wind-electric systems, I’ve seen many, many problems and failures. Some of these were due to equipment design flaws or freaks of nature, but most were due to poorly designed systems and poor maintenance.

This book doesn’t sugarcoat the technology or the industry. This is to your benefit! I suspect that your goal is the same as mine: a successful wind energy system that gives you electricity that’s cleaner and perhaps less costly than what you’re using now. Getting to that goal requires looking seriously at what it takes to generate electricity with the wind for the long haul.

Whether you come to this technology with environmental, financial, independence, or hobby motivations, you can get some or all of your home’s electricity from the wind. The wind, driven by natural cycles, originating from the sun, is an abundant and renewable resource. Although you still have the capital and maintenance costs of any energy-generating system, you’ll never pay a fuel cost on a wind-electric system. (And a system is what you need — not a single component but a wisely designed collection of components that work together to capture wind energy, condition it, perhaps store it, and make it usable to you and your neighbors.)

If you do your homework, find good partners, and design, install, and maintain a robust system, you’ll be set up for years of satisfying energy. When the wind blows, you’ll smile, knowing that it’s working for you.

About This Book

Many people have written books about wind electricity, several of which I use and recommend. This book focuses on a real-world, nontechnical approach to designing and installing wind-electric systems. I didn’t write it to turn you into a wind-generator designer, a tower contractor, or an electrician. It’s for homeowners who want to explore the possibility of using wind energy and want straight advice from someone with nothing to sell and a great deal of experience with what does and doesn’t work.

You don’t have to read this book from cover to cover; it’s designed so you can dip into and out of any topic at any time. Read what you want, put the book back on your shelf, and bring it down again whenever you need.

If you decide to install your own system, you’ll need more than this book. If you decide to hire the job out, you’ll be well positioned to ask the right questions, scrutinize the answers you hear, and make wise choices about contractors and system design.

Conventions Used in This Book

To help you navigate this book, I’ve established the following conventions:

Boldface text emphasizes the key words in bulleted lists and actions to take in numbered lists.

New terms in this book appear in italics and are explained in the text (and often in the glossary in Appendix A).

All Web addresses appear in monofont.

Some Web addresses may break across two lines of text. Where that happens, rest assured that I haven’t put in any extra characters (such as hyphens) to indicate the break. When using one of these Web addresses, just type in exactly what you see in this book, pretending that the line break doesn’t exist.

What You’re Not to Read

Please don’t read anything that you think is boring or pushes your buttons. If my writing or opinion or the topic doesn’t capture your imagination, move on! Each chapter is written to stand on its own, and there’s no requirement to read it all or read in sequence. Also, any text preceded by the Technical Stuff icon or included in a sidebar (a shaded gray box) is extra, and you don’t need to read it in order to understand the subject at hand.

Foolish Assumptions

Some wit once said, “Assumption is the mother of all screw-ups.” I state upfront my basic assumptions about you so I can help you avoid making a mess. Here’s what I assume:

You are interested in successful wind-electric systems.

You want to know whether a wind-electric system is a viable option for your circumstances, and you want a solid grounding in the concepts and components of such a system.

You want your misunderstandings, myths, and fantasies about wind energy to be corrected. You’d rather hear straight talk than sales hype.

Your goals include cleaner, cheaper, or more local electricity.

You know that really valuable things cost — in time, money, and energy. In other words, you know that TANSTAAFL — there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

How This Book Is Organized

This book is divided into six parts. As a strong advocate of not coloring between the lines, I encourage you to seek out the parts and chapters that you’re interested in and read them first. Here’s how the general topics are divided.

Part I: A Wind Primer: Stuff You Need to Know

This part focuses on key wind energy information. It’s important to decide upfront whether you’re a good candidate for wind energy and to understand the basic parts of the systems and how those parts fit together. Electrical terminology and concept basics can help you understand how these systems work, and understanding some basic wind energy principles can help you understand the resource you’re trying to capture.

Part II: Assessing Your Situation

This part is perhaps the most important part of the book because it takes a hard look at your home and its energy use and your site and its energy resource. Energy efficiency is a vital strategy that helps reduce your energy load and therefore your system size and budget. Understanding wind site assessment helps you get realistic about your site’s potential. How you interact with the utility grid — or don’t — is covered here, as is economic “payback” and your options if you decide not to use wind energy.

Part III: Assembling Your System

After you’ve decided to have a wind-electric system, you have a number of choices about system design. An early question is whether you’ll be doing this all yourself or working with others. You also need to decide on a wind generator, a tower, and the other components. And then you pull the system design together into a unified whole.

Part IV: Installing and Operating Your System

The culmination of all your design work is the actual installation. Before you start, focusing on safety — with towers, mechanical and electrical aspects, and so on — is step number one. After your installation, you need to learn to live with, maintain, and enjoy your system.

Part V: The Part of Tens

This part, which is a feature of all For Dummies books, starts with ten goals for your wind-electric system. These help you get on track. I then outline ten common mistakes so you can steer around them. And ten stories — of successful and not-so-successful systems — give you examples to follow or avoid.

Part VI: Appendixes

In this part, you find a brief glossary full of important wind energy terms as well as abbreviations and conversion tables.

Icons Used in This Book

This book is peppered with the following icons to draw attention to specific concepts:

remember.epsThis icon highlights key theories and practices worth keeping in mind during your design and installation process.

technicalstuff.epsSometimes I like to show off my technical prowess. You can decide whether to read and indulge me.

tip.epsLook for text marked with this icon for ways to work or ways to look at things that you may not have thought of.

warning_bomb.epsSafety is the number one priority. Don’t ignore the advice you find with this icon.

Where to Go from Here

Scan through the table of contents and see what excites you, and then dive in. If you’re determined to be organized, read straight through. But this book isn’t entirely linear. As with my teaching style, it’s more circular, with recurring themes. This isn’t because I forgot I’ve already said something but because some ideas bear repeating.

If you want a quick overview, read Chapter 1, which summarizes the key concepts in this book. If that’s too much, check out Part V, the Part of Tens, where the chapters are bite-sized and pithy. Wherever you start and however far you go, I hope this book will help you become realistic about wind-electric systems. If you follow the advice here, you’ll be well positioned to capture an abundant, free, and dynamic resource!

Part I

A Wind Primer: Stuff You Need to Know


In this part . . .

This part gets you off to a good start in understanding wind-electric systems. Chapter 1 gives you an overview of wind energy. In Chapter 2, you look at your motivations and goals, common objections and legal issues, and your chances for success. Chapter 3 identifies the components of a typical wind-electric system and how they can be put together. To wrap up, Chapter 4 gives you a foundation in electrical terminology, and Chapter 5 covers wind-energy principles.