Personal Weather Station Helps Wind Power

What’s the most important thing to know before you install a wind turbine to produce energy? That’s right: where the wind blows best. To that end, Urban Green Energy (UGE), the company that specializes in small, vertical-axis turbine systems for home installations, has come out with the UGE First Step weather station.

The station tracks temperature, barometric pressure, humidity and rainfall, but of course its most important feature is an anemometer. Data is sent wirelessly from the station to a handheld display, which can be attached by a USB cable to a computer to store data. UGE says the weather station can be assembled and put in place by one person in less than 20 minutes, with only a screwdriver required.

UGE First Step

image via Urban Green Energy

The First Step is selling on Amazon.com for $119, but UGE said it will give a rebate to those who go onto purchase one of its turbines.

UGE says “siting of the wind turbine is quite possibly the most important question you will face” in producing wind power, and looking at the data it’s easy to see why. The company’s eddy turbine needs wind speeds of 7 mph to begin generating power – that’s known as the “cut-in speed” – but output increases dramatically as wind speeds climb, going from just over 100 watts at 7 mph to around 650 watts at 12 mph.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.