Small Windmill Test

By Deane Barker on April 20, 2009

Low-tech Magazine: Small windmills put to the test: This is kind of a bummer. A Dutch group put up nine of the smaller, single-home style windmills for a year and measured their results. Sadly, they sucked.

An average Dutch household consumes 3,400 kWh/year. Listed below is the amount of windmills required, and their total cost, to power a Dutch household entirely using wind energy [results range from 2 windmills to 47]

[…] An average American household consumes almost 3 times more electricity than a Dutch household. Simply multiply the above figures by three.

At first sight, the results seem to indicate that the design of the windmill matters. However, if you combine these figures with the rotor diameter, it becomes clear that the concept of small windmills is fundamentally flawed. The turbines that score best, are simply the largest ones.

They weren’t writing off wind power as a whole, however:

Close to the test site stands a (relatively) large windmill with a rotor diameter of 18 meters. It delivers 143,000 kWh per year, or an average power output of 16,324 watts. It can power 42 Dutch households.

[…] Wind power rules, but small windmills are a swindle. Bigger is, in this case, better.