New Zealand has one of the best wind resources in the world. Wind farms are becoming more common as a way of generating renewable electricity with no ongoing greenhouse gas emissions.
Micro and small-scale wind turbines are another means of harnessing the wind resource, to provide electricity, especially in rural situations.
Generally, small wind turbines are best suited to rural settings that are exposed to strong and consistent wind, and where there is no connection to the electricity network or grid.
The cost of investing in small-scale wind turbines means the electricity they produce is considerably more expensive than buying electricity from the national grid.
Households usually use micro wind turbines that are smaller than 5kW, and small communities or groups of houses might use up to 20kW in size.
Because wind blows intermittently, it is uncommon to rely solely on a small wind turbine for power in a stand alone power system. As well as storage in the form of batteries, wind turbines are usually combined with other generators such as:
A Canterbury tourist lodge uses wind to generate electricity, and sell it back into the grid - read case study