With the expense of fuel nowadays, there is much talk about alternative energy sources. One such alternative is wind power, the potential of which when harnessed in bulk, as on wind farms, is being examined. Making use of wind as an energy source means having a renewable power that is fantastically clean. Wind power is essentially a form of solar power, because the inconsistent heating of the ground by the sun lends to the change and variability of the wind. The wind is hence channeled to create energy.
There are a number of governments that have embraced the use of wind farms as a way to effectively gather energy from wind. Like the propellers on an airplane, the blades of wind turbines, put up in large numbers in one location, are used to capture the power of the wind. With the collective power of the many wind turbines, the farms can produce a large amount of energy. An understanding of the principles involved in wind farms will demonstrate their likely effectiveness.
The blades are situated on a shaft, and when the wind blows, it turns the blades and thus the shaft. The shaft that is turning is linked to a power source, which is cranked by the spinning action, generating electrical energy. It uses the same principles as hydropower generation, except that wind power rather than flowing water is utilised.
One turbine by itself will not generate energy for more than a household or farm, so it takes more than one to produce energy for a big area. The large energy output possible from a wind farm is based on the collective capability of a number of turbines grouped together. The energy that is produced can be collected in cells, like batteries, or in an already existing electricity grid, making it possible to provide the power needs of entire residential areas. The technology behind wind turbines has matured remarkably, so that now they are effective regardless of which way they face compared to the wind – even swirling winds can be used.
It’s tough to ascertain common factors on different farms, because besides the size of the turbines being variable, the farms themselves vary so much when it comes to the natural terrain and the properties of the wind. Generally, the amount one turbine will convert the energy in wind to electrical energy is approximately 20 percent. When the wind is blowing between 5 and 20 miles an hour, that is when the output is the most efficient.
Compared to solar energy, wind power generation, found to be 20% efficient, is approximately 6 percentage points better, but solar doesn’t vary as much as wind. Wind technology is advancing, and when compared to other renewable energy sources, it is favorable. Amongst alternative sources of energy it has become important, but has not yet found worldwide favour. Among the leading countries in the adoption of wind power is Germany.
Law 270.6 – Lecture 9 – Resource Alternatives: Renewable Energy – The Technologies