Wind Power: The Ups and Downs (and Ups and Downs and Ups)

I have a love/hate relationship with wind. I’m on the high plains, without a single tree, not even a stunted Bristlecone, on my thirty-nine acres. Therefore, it is windy. Very windy. This is great when it’s blowing the snow right across my driveway and powering my wind turbine, but bad when it’s covering my truck in a very deep drift.
When I moved out here in 2012, there was a small, 400W wind turbine already installed. Despite its size, it was great for those long and windy winter nights. Two days before Christmas 2012, it died. I stood at the bottom of the pole and stared at it, but that didn’t fix it (see Off-Grid Lesson #1). Since the 25-foot pole on which the turbine was mounted was not hinged at the bottom, there were a couple of options for how to access it: tie a 30-foot ladder to the pole and start climbing, or detach the guide wires and remove it from the conduit set in the ground. Since both options were a little beyond my skill set and/or bravery, I called in the professionals (i.e. Wind-Turbine-Fixer Dude).

It was late January 2013 before it stopped snowing and blowing long enough for a repair person to come out and take a look. He decided it needed to come down (for some reason, no one likes the tie-the-ladder-to-the-pole idea). When he detached the ground at the base of the pole, the turbine began working again.

Although I am ashamed to admit it, I took the easy fix. I know, I know—safety is no accident and all of that, but it was working! In fact, it spun merrily for exactly another year, until two days before Christmas 2013. And what came after that is a whole other blog post…

See the tiny wind turbine up in the top left?
See the tiny wind turbine up in the top left?