Proper Wind Turbine Siting

Careful wind turbine siting is an essential part of installing a wind power system. Keep these tips in mind while getting started.


Wind power is the fastest-growing source of energy in the world, and by the year 2020, it is projected to supply at least 12 percent of global electrical demand. Wind Power Basics (New Society Publishers, 2010) provides a clear understanding of wind and wind energy systems including turbines, towers, inverters, batteries, installation and more. Wind turbine siting is an integral part of installing a wind power system, and the following excerpt from Chapter 6, “Towers and Tower Installation,” will help you find the right location for your tower. 


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Wind Turbine Siting

A wind turbine must be mounted in a good wind site, well above ground clutter in the strongest, smoothest winds. Wind site assessors begin the process of siting a wind turbine by determining the prevailing wind direction at a site. Although winds blow in different directions at different times of the year, or even within the same day, they arrive from one or two directions predominantly over the course of the year. In many places in North America, winds come predominantly from the southwest — thanks to the Coriolis effect. They often blow from the northwest in the winter.

To determine the predominant wind flow, ask the advice of farmers, who work outdoors and hence are familiar with wind patterns, or contact a local airport. They may be able to provide you with a wind rose, a graphical representation of wind direction. In a wind rose, the length of the spokes around the circle is an indication of how frequently the wind blows from a particular direction. The longer the line, the greater the frequency. In the wind rose in the Image Gallery, the winds blow predominantly from the southwest. A wind rose also indicates the percentage of total wind energy from each direction, which is very helpful. You can also find data on wind direction at NASA Surface Meteorology.

In an open site, with little ground clutter, a wind turbine can be located almost anywhere — so long as the entire rotor is mounted 30 feet above the tallest obstacle within a 500-foot radius and you’ve taken into account future tree growth, if trees are the tallest objects.

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