Buy or build your own wind turbine

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Australian energy company AGL Energy Limited and New Zealand company Meridian Energy announced on August 12 plans to construct the largest wind farm in the southern hemisphere at Macarthur in Victoria, Australia. On a smaller scale consumers can also buy or build their own turbines.

Due to be completed in 2013, the wind farm in Victoria is expected to have the capacity to power more than 220,000 homes saving 1.7 million metric tons of greenhouse gases every year - the equivalent to taking more than 420,000 cars off the road. The total cost of the project is estimated to be around $1 billion.

Wind power is being seen as an increasingly viable means of generating power; on August 11 Atlantis Resources revealed the world's most powerful wind turbine which is sey to be located in the North Sea.

In addition to giant wind farms, smaller scale turbines are also growing in popularity. A June 2009 study by the American Wind Association (AWEA) found that over 250 companies in the world manufacture small wind turbines; globally the five largest manufacturers are Southwest Windpower (USA), Northern Power systems (USA), Proven Energy (UK), Wind Energy Solutions (Netherlands) and Bergey Windpower CO (USA).  

Small-scale wind turbines can be used to generate power for schools, businesses or farms; a variety of government grants and funding options are available depending upon the country, but small-scale wind turbines such as the Grid Tied Proven 7 from Proven Energy retail for upwards of £12,000 (€14,700).

However UK-based organization the Centre for Alternative Technology has published a guide on how to build your own wind turbine, entitled ‘Windpower Workshop: Building your own turbine' by Hugh Piggot. the factsheet is available to download at .