Wind Energy

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Though wind energy has been harnessed since ancient times, its demand as an alternative energy source has been going since the initial oil shortages of the 1970s. Wind power plants, or wind farms as they are sometimes called, are clusters of wind machines used to produce electricity.

The kinetic energy of the wind can be changed into other forms of energy, either mechanical energy or electrical energy. Wind energy doesn’t use fuel, is pollution free and a sustainable form of energy.


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Wind energy continues to be the fastest growing renewable energy source with worldwide wind power installed capacity reaching 14,000 MW. Today with high utility prices and global warming, people are beginning to look at alternative energy sources like wind energy and solar power with a much keener interest, whether it is to save money or save the environment.

Since the late 1980s the importance of wind energy has been growing and manufacturers have steadily been increasing the unit size of the wind electric generators. Increased demand has led to the development of offshore (i.e. in the sea) wind farms in some regions of Europe, which have several advantages over the on-shore ones. Another major development has been the use of new techniques to assess the wind resource for techno-commercial viability.

In order to ensure that electricity production is not limited to only the windy days, the turbines can be utilized in conjunction with other types of power. This form of usage still reduces the reliance on the traditional power plants.

[edit] All about wind energy

For hundreds of years from old Holland to farms in the United States, windmills have been used for pumping water or grinding grain. Today, the windmills have been replaced by wind turbines to use the wind's energy to generate electricity.

[edit] How it works

Wind turbines, mounted on a tower at 100 feet (30 meters) or more aboveground can take advantage of the faster and less turbulent wind. Different types of turbines are available for use. The most common is the one with large rotating blades like old fashioned windmills. Two or three blades are mounted on a shaft to form a rotor and the turbines catch the wind's energy with their propeller-like blades.

When the wind blows, a pocket of low-pressure air forms on the downwind side of the blade. The low-pressure air pocket then pulls the blade toward it, causing the rotor to turn. This is called lift. The force of the lift is actually much stronger than the wind's force against the front side of the blade, which is called drag. The combination of lift and drag causes the rotor to spin like a propeller, and the turning shaft spins a generator to make electricity

[edit] Applications

Wind turbines can be used as stand-alone applications, or connected to a utility power grid. It can also be combined with a photovoltaic (solar cell) system. To generate large-scale wind energy, several wind turbines are usually built close together to form a wind plant. Several electricity providers today use wind plants to supply power to their customers.

Stand-alone wind turbines are typically used for water pumping or communications. However, homeowners, farmers, and ranchers in windy areas can also use wind turbines as a way to cut their electric bills.

[edit] Advantages

  • Abundant supply: Its abundant and virtually inexhaustible supply is one of the biggest advantages of wind power is the abundant supply. As it ca be used at homes too, it reduces our reliance on foreign sources of energy.
  • Pollution- free: Wind energy is pollution free. There are no wastes or harmful emissions generated when you use wind as a source of energy.
  • Low production cost: Low production cost is another advantage. Wind is free and no fuel is required to operate.
  • Benefits rural economy: It benefits the rural economies as it is is an excellent way to supply energy to these remote areas. Farmers who allow wind farms on their land are paid rent for the right to use the land. The land beneath the wind farm can continue to be used to grow crops because the turbines don't take up a lot of space.

[edit] Off-shore projects

Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Ireland are the five countries to have developed off-shore wind energy. Germany has approved 22 projects, with one ready to come online in 2008. There is no off-shore project in the U.S. Offshore wind energy brings all of the positive economic and environmental benefits of onshore development, as well as some unique characteristics.

[edit] CopperBytes

  • The wind resource in the United States is vast. Using today’s technology, there is theoretically enough wind power flowing across the country to supply all the electricity needs of the nation. [1]
  • Over 5,000 years ago, the ancient Egyptians used wind to sail ships on the Nile River. Later, people built windmills to grind wheat and other grains. The earliest known windmills were in Persia (Iran). [2]
  • American colonists used windmills to grind wheat and corn, to pump water, and to cut wood at sawmills. As late as the 1920s, Americans used small windmills to generate electricity in rural areas without electric service. [2]

[edit] Unlearn

Wind energy is very expensive to set up, so it requires significant amounts of capital to establish wind farms. After the initial investment and startup costs, however, it is one of the cheapest forms of electricity generation to maintain. [3]

[edit] References:

  • Wind energy
  • The Canadian Renewable Energy Network
  • Wind turbines and power generation
  • The Advantages of Wind Power
  • Off-shore wind energy

[edit] Source

  1. American Wind Energy Assiciation
  2. 2.0 2.1 Energy Kids Page
  3. Wind Energy Facts