In the United States, wind power is a huge source of alternative energy, from intense wind farms to humble home wind turbines. The production of power by harnessing that strong breeze is second only to that which uses natural gas. In fact, a staggering 16,800 megawatts or more was produced via wind power, with about 30% of that capacity developed in 2007. In 2008, the total amount generated by home windmills would already amount to one percent of the United States' needs.
Currently, the large portion of this generation is due to commercial arrays of fans, although the portion provided by smaller, individually owned home systems is increasing. This corresponds to the increasing number of people who realize that they themselves also need to take responsibility for the environment, and take steps to help reduce our dependence on oil and other fossil fuels. Oil and coal are still the largest forms of fuel for generating electricity at different plants as well as fueling automobiles, and they produce an alarming amount of pollution that increases as and more and more energy is required.
In comparison to fossil fuel based generation, power generation of the breeze is much, much cleaner, producing no pollution once the turbines are installed. Most objections are relatively minor, such as some people's complaints that arrays of turbines spoil the visual beauty of landscapes on which they are installed. While this is true for most large-scale operations that indeed occupy large areas of land with manufactured blades, this is no problem for smaller, home wind turbines. Smaller scale setups, especially as technologies continue to develop, can be made more and more unobtrusive. In combination with solar panels, these small generators can, in fact, produce the large portion needed by an average household already.
These smaller blades are available commercially, already manufactured and ready for installation. There are generators that can be attached to your rooftop, while others may require their own tower. In many cases, the higher you can afford to mount your turbine, the better, with thirty feet being an often quoted suggestion. While the power these would generate is essentially free, the outlay at the start can be prohibitive – it would take some time before they pay off.
An alternative to commercial turbines is, of course, to build your own from available materials. While this would require a significant amount of know-how, in the end, you can really save a lot of money by building your own system. Home wind turbines can really prove to be wise money saving investments in the long run, especially if you can cut down on initial costs by building it the do-it-yourself way.