Low Cost Options
Option 3. Short-Term Measurement & Comparison to Monitoring Station
For turbines smaller than 10 kW, long-term wind measurement may not be cost effective or practical. However, you still may want to measure the wind speed at your potential wind turbine site using an anemometer (see diagram at right). If you decide to go this route, you can rent or lease an anemometer for 3-6 months and then correlate your wind data with long-term data from a nearby wind monitoring station or airport. In turn, you can then extrapolate what your wind performance (and turbine output) would be for an entire year. If you choose to do all the data analysis yourself, a local meteorologist or wind turbine dealer may be willing to check your results at no charge. Alternatively, you could hire a specialist to take your short-term wind readings for you.
An anemometer (seen above, courtesy of the NRCan Small Wind Buyer’s Guide) is an instrument that turns faster as the wind increases, thereby allowing you to measure the windspeed by visual or automated means. An anemometer can cost between $100 for a simple unit to $5,000 for an automated standalone unit with data storage. The measurement equipment must be set high enough to avoid turbulence created by trees, buildings, and other obstructions. The most useful readings are those taken at hub-height, the elevation at the top of the tower where the wind turbine would be installed.