Renewable energy sources are infinite, clean and affordable. Wind power is a major source of renewables that is continuously growing worldwide. So as to meet the high demand for alternative sources of energy, wind energy equipment and generators have been deployed in wind farms to harness this clean energy source. More so, home owners have adopted home wind power generators that are practical and efficient in electricity production.
For hundreds of years, old Holland has used the wind’s energy to grind grains and pump water. Today, a modern equivalent, the wind turbine, converts the wind energy into electricity.
Wind turbines are usually a familiar sight in most countries around the world, but do you understand how they actually work?
How It Works
Wind turbines, like the windmills, are setup on a tower to capture the wind’s energy. At the height of 30 meters above the ground or more, the turbines take advantage of fast wind with less turbulence. The turbines harness wind energy by utilizing their propeller blades. The 2-3 blades are placed on a shaft to set up the rotor system.
The turbine blades use a similar mechanism as airplane wings. When the wind blows near the surface of the blade, a low-pressure pocket forms on its base pulling the blade in its direction making the rotor to rotate. This movement is referred as a lift. The lift force is powerful than the drag force on the blade’s front. Combination of the drag and lift makes the rotor spin in a propeller motion. The turning shaft is connected to a generator that generates electricity. Wind turbines may be connected to a utility power grid system or used in stand alone applications. For large scale purposes, some wind turbines are utilized to create a wind plant.
Advantages of Wind Power
Since wind power is the among the fastest growing alternative sources of energy, it extends many benefits. No matter how much we use it at the present time, this renewable and free resource of energy will still be present in the future. The energy actually stems from nuclear fusion that occurs in the sun. Unlike the conventional power plants, wind power plants do not emit greenhouse gases or air pollutants. Moreover, large scale use of wind power creates energy independence from other conventional sources of energy.
Wind power is the lowest priced alternative energy technology available today. It only costs 4-6 cents for a kilowatt-hour. Thanks to the continual technological advancements, prices are expected to decrease due to demand in the future.
The potential of wind energy is unlimited. Harnessing may be done in almost any location. Additionally, wind power has the capacity of growing immensely. Although wind energy accounts for only 2.5% of electricity supply and production, it can grow up to 25% every year.
Operational costs involved in wind power generation are meager. However different turbines may necessitate different maintenance operations than others. Whats more, residential wind power gives homeowners the opportunity to save money and be free from power outages. Wind power provides good domestic potential as people may generate electricity the same way they do with solar energy
Disadvantages of Wind Power
Although the costs for wind power may appear significantly small, the technology begs for high initial investment compared to fossil geared generators. Due to this, wind power has little chance against the strong competition from the well-established sources such as coal.
The primary challenge facing wind power is its nature of being intermittent. It cannot address energy demand unless a storage method is used. It becomes difficult to harness the wind as their timing may interlock with electricity demands. Wind resource investment is a large development that necessitates a lot of space. It may compete with other land uses that may be lucrative than the generation of electricity. People that surround wind power plants report noise pollution as an issue that affects them.
Wind turbines may at times be a threat to wild animals such as birds and bats. When flying creatures hit the blades of a rotating turbine, the chances of them surviving are slim to none.
Regardless of these disadvantages, the future of wind energy is promising. The development of massive wind farms is taking place to boost the clean and efficient energy resource. Nations that are at the forefront of developing this renewable energy source include China, Germany, Spain, India, United Kingdom, United States of America and Canada.