Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Wind turbines -- are they really noisy?

For the boondocking RVer, one of the biggest concerns is getting enough electrical power. We've been using solar and wind power for years, and while there's plenty said and written about solar, wind power is still a pretty big mystery to most.

One of the questions we run across, "Isn't wind power noisy?" That's a pretty subjective question. We can certainly tell you that wind power is generally quieter than running a generator. And depending on how you mount your wind turbine, it can be practically whisper quiet. Here's a video we shot along a windy stretch of the Columbia River. We have the camera about 30 feet (or less) from the turbine. Outside, you'll notice the sound is fairly quiet. Inside, with our turbine mounted on the RV itself, you'll hear a kind of moaning sound. We find it to be rather soothing.

If the wind gets really strong, say in the mid to upper 30 mile per hour range, it is definitely louder. At 40 it howls -- and at 42, the blades on our turbine twist, feathering off the wind, and immediately stopping the rig. And when the batteries are fully charged, our unit shuts down -- the blades continue to spin, but the system is freewheeling and very quiet.

It's something that takes a little getting used to. But we find the "noise" is something we can get along fine with -- particularly on days when the sun leaves us in the lurch and the solar panels not producing.