Wind power should be taken into consideration as a viable alternative energy source because it works, is plentiful, and is clean.
Wind energy is clearly dependent on the availability of the wind itself which is usually plentiful in most places in the world. Wind generators as we know them, have existed since 1890. In Denmark, wind power was being experimented with 5-25 kilowatt wind electric systems. As technology changed over last decade new innovations came forth changing how we look at wind powered systems.
Environment friendly energy, clean energy and alternative energy many times mean the same things, but not absolutely. Renewable energy resources require substantial up-front money costs, but solar, wind, geothermal and even small hydroelectric technologies achieve considerable reductions from costless fuels, low maintenance prerequisites, and elimination of future fuel price and availability risks.
How does wind energy work in real world settings?
Wind power, often called wind energy, is power calculated by harnessing the kinetic energy of wind and changing it to energy through turbines. Turbines are oftentimes grouped collectively, and are referred to as a wind farm, and bring forth a great deal of power when they are working together in unison. Wind turbines can be used as stand-alone energy generators, or connected to a utility power grid for more powerful energy generation. More often than not, wind turbines are not stand alone installations. In large open areas it is not uncommon to see a couple dozen or even a couple hundred wind turbines working together.
Wind energy is produced by rotating the blades attached to the wheels of wind generators. The principle of operation is quite simple. Wheel blades gradually transfer the acquired energy to the generator. The generator in turn produces electricity that can be used and stored. Typically the wind towers, generating the energy, reach a height of about 6-10 meters (20 feet) and they must be located away from tall buildings or mountains or anything else that can prevent the flow of wind.
At the top of the tower is a wheel with extended rails (or bars). These rails are flat and bent at the same angle. They are bent at the same angle so that when the wind hits the blades, they rotate in the same direction and do not create resistance. Wheel size determines the power output of electricity. The larger the wheel the more energy it produces. This is true up until the point when the wheel becomes too large. When that happens the energy production drops due to the additional weight of the wheel.
Renewable energy can be an important instrument of advancing economic and societal development in various communities, but only if the projects are correctly designed and thoroughly planned with full local input and cooperation. The financial demands are high, and wind turbines need a great deal of space and the right locations, plus the wind turbines can be unsightly to some. These are understandable drawbacks but the long-term rewards are well worth it.
Also needed to be taken into consideration various pluses and minuses of wind energy so that they can be assessed for its feasibility in different areas. The only environmental downsides of your renewable energy source are noise (in some cases with extremely large wind turbines), and threat to birds (if wind turbines are not connected with radar to monitor air activity).
How does wind energy work to help alleviate poverty in developing countries?
In the last decade wind energy was the most common renewable energy source, and the fastest growing renewable energy sector. This trend may well continue in years to come mostly because the rapid development of wind industry throughout China, India, and other developing nations.
how does wind energy workOne of the most cost-competitive renewable energy sources, and wind turbines are becoming cheaper almost each month. However, in the United States wind power industry is lately somewhat struggling because of fluctuating natural gas prices which are usually pretty low due to the present recession. These low natural gas prices are one of many reasons why the US wind industry had a disappointing year in 2010.
Wind industry currently faces two big stumbling blocks which sometimes somewhat slowdown its further development. These are not enough transmission lines and also the intermittency issue since wind doesn’t blow on a daily, and sometimes consistent, basis. There are many ongoing scientific researches that making the effort develop adequate (cheap and efficient) wind energy storage option that allows you to tackle the intermittency issue.
For all its pluses and minuses, wind energy is still expected to be one of the leading alternative energy resources in the next few decades.
Wind Energy Impact on Ecology
In many countries, especially in those where there is a shortage of electricity, people are happy to welcome the construction of wind turbines. However, wherever there is an alternative choice, using one or another energy source depends upon their impact on the environment. It should be noted that the environmental impact of any energy source can be evaluated as positive, which naturally gives an advantage to this energy source, as well as negative. In this section we present the main “green” arguments most often encountered by wind energy opponents.
The noise is mainly produced the rotating blades and running mechanical parts of a wind turbine, like the transmission box. Due to the fact that noise is, in essence, a sign of inefficiency, but also because of many complaints, wind turbine manufacturers have given this issue a priority. The result – over the past five years they have managed to significantly reduce the noise produced by operating wind turbines. The noise level of 40 decibels is considered critical, but if we consider the noise as an impediment to sleep, then, of course, this level should be lower. The permissible level is usually attained at a distance of about 250 m away from a powerful industrial wind turbine. Nevertheless, the question of the noise is purely psychological; a car owner may perceive the noise generated by the engine as a sign of prosperity, while his neighbors may be annoyed by the invasion of “their space”.
In wind power systems the turbines should be separated from each other at least by distance equal to the height of five – ten towers. This distance allows the flow of wind to recover, and the turbulence created by the rotor operation of a wind turbine does not affect the nearby turbine, situated on the lee side. Accordingly, we find that only 1% of the land occupied by a wind farm is actually used for the installation of the towers and approaches to them. The higher and more powerful the wind turbine, the greater the distance between them is necessary. Megawatt systems must be separated by a distance of a mile. The area between the powerful wind turbines may not be used for construction of buildings or for forestry.
Wind turbines, located on the plains are always visible from a distance. The need for a large distance between wind turbines means that wind turbines can potentially be visible from a distance of 6-7 miles. However, at such distances for most people the view of a wind farm will be obstructed by different buildings, trees and hills. Most often wind turbines draw attention of travelling tourists, passers-by and pilots of small airplanes. For the latter, there is a danger of collision with a wind turbine in a low flight. Visual impact of offshore wind farms has not yet been determined in full.
Birds are often collide with high-voltage transmission lines, masts, antennas and windows of high buildings. They are also killed due to collisions with passing vehicles. Wind turbines are rarely harmful to birds. Observations made in Tyaereborge (western part of Denmark), on the wind turbine with installed capacity of 2 MW and a rotor having a diameter of 60 m, showed that the birds changed their flight route (regardless of time of day) at a distance of 100-200 m away from the wind turbine, flying over it at a safe distance. In Denmark, there are several species of birds (especially hawks) who liked to nest on wind turbine towers. The only area, notorious for problems with birds, is in an area of canyons in California (Altamont Pass). The “Wall of Wind”, formed by turbines mounted on towers, literally shut the exit out of the canyon. And as a result there were several cases of bird deaths due to collisions with wind turbines. The report of the Denmark Ministry of Environment of noted that the power lines, including the ones from wind turbines, are a bigger threat to birds than the wind turbines themselves. Some species of birds “get used” to windmills quickly, others take longer. Therefore, the decision on construction of a wind farm near birds’ habitats depends on the species of birds common to this area. While developing the site for a wind farm, the routes of migratory birds are usually taken into account. Offshore wind farms have virtually no effect on the habitat of waterfowl. This conclusion was reached as a result of a three-year study conducted on the Danish offshore wind farm of Tuna Knob.
There have been several independent studies related to the deaths of birds from the rotating blades of a wind turbine. Unfortunately this happens, but much less often than the death of birds due to collisions with cars, windows of buildings or high-voltage power lines. The argument in favor of wind power, as proven by experts, is the fact that the land around the wind turbine provides the perfect conditions for breeding birds
Advantages of Wind Energy
* Wind energy is a green energy source. Harnessing wind energy does not pollute the environment such as fossil fuels, coal and nuclear energy. However, there are some environmental impacts of wind energy that we will discuss later.
* Wind energy is a renewable. This means that the supply is practically unlimited. Wind energy does ultimately come from nuclear fusion on the sun. In other words, as long as the sun shines, we can harness wind energy on Earth. This is not the case for fossil fuels, which we heavily rely on today (e.g. oil and gas). Read An Overview of Non-Renewable Energy Sources if you want to learn more.
* Good availability. Although some places are better suited for harnessing energy from the wind, it can be done most places. However, it all comes down if we can generate cost-competitive electricity with current technology in the particular area.
* Prices have decreased significantly (some sources say as much as 60% since the 1980’s). Better technology and higher demand is expected to continue to push the prices even further.
* The possibility for people to produce own electricity using wind power is now a reality. Some companies specialize in these types of installations. There are also several DIY wind energy kits on the market.
* The fact that residential buildings can produce their own electricity opens up for several possibilities. The first is the ability to save money on the electricity bill. Some people take this to the next level and sell energy back to the grid.
* People can become energy self-sufficient, providing themselves with all of their power needs. Read Energy Self-Sufficient With Wind and Solar Energy if you are interested to learn more on this subject.
* Becoming energy self-sufficient if only just for a limited amount of time can be a lifesaver in emergency situations where you are cut off the grid.
* Works in harmony with other methods of harnessing energy such as solar panels and geothermal heating.
Disadvantages of Wind Energy
* Wind is unpredictable. The availability of wind energy is fluctuating. Therefore, wind energy is in most cases not suitable for providing a base load of energy. This is why wind turbines should be used together with other renewables or even non-renewables to meet the power demand.
* Are wind turbines cost effective? This is highly debatable. The wind turbines technology is relatively new. In most cases these projects heavily rely on incentives to lower costs.
* Wind turbine noise levels can be annoying. Living too close to big wind turbines could be a problem. However, this is most likely not the case for smaller residential wind turbines.
* Some complain about the aesthetics of wind turbines. This is debatable. I personally like the way wind turbines blend in the environment. One way to deal with aesthetic and sound problems is to make wind turbine parks, concentrating them outside housing areas. Offshore wind turbine parks are another solution.
* Wind turbines kill birds. Birds stand no chance when flying into rotating wind turbine blades.
* Wind turbines can be damaged in heavy weather and repair costs are usually expensive.
Are you sure you want to block this user?
¿Seguro deseas procesar este post?