The electrical energy produced by the wind is obtained by using the wind energy energy with turbines. To fully understand wind-generated electric power, it is necessary to understand how wind-generated electricity is made; resources needed to use wind energy; types and sizes of wind turbines; building a wind turbine; potential positive and negative effects of technology; where wind-driven electricity can be produced effectively; and balancing the costs of wind-driven electrical technology.
How is Wind Powered Electricity Made?
Wind-generated electrical energy technology works by generating electricity through the use of various styles of wind turbines. Initially, “So how do wind turbines generate electricity?” it may be asked. Simply put, a wind turbine works the opposite of a fan. Instead of using electricity to make wind, like a fan, wind turbines use wind to generate electricity. The wind turns the blades that turn a shaft that connects to a generator and generates electricity.
Required Resources to Utilize Wind Energy
The primary source of wind-powered technology is, of course, the wind. Wind is very abundant in many parts of the United States and other parts of the world. Wind sources are marked according to wind power density classes ranging from class 1 (lowest) to class 7 (highest). Good wind sources (for example, class 3 and higher with an average annual wind speed of at least 13 miles per hour) are found in many areas. Wind speed is critical to wind resources because the energy in the wind is proportional to the cube of the wind speed. In other words, a stronger wind means more power.
Wind resource development requires land and can compete with other uses of that land, and these alternative uses may be more valuable than electricity generation. However, wind turbines can be placed on land that is also used for grazing or even farming. Wherever a wind farm is to be built, roads are cut to make way for shipping parts. At each wind turbine location, the terrain is leveled and the pad area is leveled. Wind power also requires the construction of wind turbines.
Wind Turbine Types and Sizes
Modern wind turbines fall into two basic groups: horizontal axis diversity and vertical axis design, such as the egg-beater-style Darrieus model named after the French inventor. Horizontal axis wind turbines are typically two or three bladed. These three blade wind turbines are operated “upwind” with the blades facing the wind. Darrieus models or vertical axis wind turbines have two vertically oriented blades that rotate around a vertical shaft.
In addition to different types, there are many different sizes of wind turbines. Auxiliary scale turbines range in size from 100 kilowatts to several megawatts. Larger turbines are grouped into wind farms that collectively power an electrical grid. Single small turbines below 100 kilowatts are used for homes, telecommunications or water pumping.
Small turbines are sometimes used in conjunction with diesel generators, batteries and photovoltaic systems. These systems are called hybrid wind systems and are often used in remote, off-grid locations where there is no connection to the grid.
Building a Wind Turbine
The first step in building a wind turbine is to install the tower on which the fiberglass nacelle is installed. The nacelle is a strong hollow case that contains the inner workings of the wind turbine. The nacelle, usually made of fiberglass, contains the main drive shaft and gearbox. Its inner workings also include blade pitch and yaw controls. The engine section is assembled and attached to a base frame at a factory.
The most diverse use of materials and the most experimentation with new materials takes place in knives. Although the most predominant material used for blades in commercial wind turbines is hollow-core fiberglass, other materials used include lightweight wood and aluminum. Wooden knives are sturdy, but most knives consist of a skin surrounding a core that is hollow or filled with plastic foam or a lightweight material such as honeycomb or balsa wood. Wind turbines also include a utility box located at the base of the tower that converts wind energy into electricity. Generator and electronic controls are standard equipment with steel and copper main components. Various cables connect the electrical box to the nacelle, while others connect the entire turbine to nearby turbines and a transformer.
Potential Positive and Negative Impacts of Wind Powered Electricity
Wind energy technology has several potential positive and negative effects.
Potential positive effects include:
• Wind energy is environmentally friendly as no fossil fuels are burned to generate electricity from wind energy.
• Wind turbines take up less space than an average power plant. Windmills should occupy only a few square meters for the base; this allows the land around the turbine to be used for many purposes such as agriculture.
• Newer technologies are making wind energy extraction much more efficient. Wind is free and we can make money from this free energy source.
• Wind turbines are a great source to generate energy in remote locations such as mountain communities and remote rural areas.
• Wind turbines can be of different sizes to support varying population levels.
• Combined with solar energy, this energy source is great for providing a stable and reliable electricity supply for developed and developing countries.
Potential adverse effects include:
• Wind turbines generally generate less electricity than the average fossil fuel power plant and require more than one wind turbine to be built.
• Wind turbine construction can be very expensive and costly.
• Wind turbines can have a negative impact on the surrounding wildlife during the construction process.
• Noise pollution from commercial wind turbines is sometimes like a small jet engine.
• Protests and/or petitions often oppose any proposed wind farm development. People think that the countryside should be left intact for everyone to enjoy its beauty.
Where Wind-Powered Electricity Can Be Produced Effectively
In places around the world where wind is strong and frequent, people and businesses can use wind as an option to use it to generate electricity. Globally, these places include most of North America, southern South America, Greenland, most of Europe, northern Africa, eastern Asia, most of Australia, and anywhere with mountains or great peaks. The top 5 countries producing electric wind energy in 2007 were Germany, the United States, Spain, India and China, respectively.
Significant wind speeds also occur in oceans and large bodies of water. Because most of the world’s population lives near the oceans, wind farms with strong offshore and onshore breezes can generate plenty of electricity. On land in the United States, the main wind corridor is the Great Plains, which includes the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. The wind corridor also extends into states in the west, including eastern Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico, and into the great mountains in the west. There are also significant wind resources declining in eastern and southern Minnesota and the entire state of Iowa, south in Missouri, and east in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Parts of New York and New England states also have significant winds.
The Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that wind power can supply 100% of its electricity to the United States from just the Great Plains wind corridor or offshore wind farms alone. According to the “Pickens Plan,” a $10 billion wind farm with 2,500 generators could provide enough power for 1.3 million homes, and the Great Plains wind corridor could supply 20% of America’s electricity for $1 trillion. That would be around 250,000 generators to supply 130 million homes.
A report by the U.S. Department of Energy titled “Wind 20% by 2030: Increasing Wind Power’s Contribution to the U.S. Electricity Supply” concluded:
• Reaching 20% of wind power will require improved transmission infrastructure, streamlined settlement and permit regimes, improved reliability and operability of wind systems, and increased US wind generation capacity.
• Reaching 20% wind power will require the number of turbine installations to increase from about 2000 per year in 2006 to about 7000 per year in 2017.
• Integrating 20% wind energy into the grid can be done reliably at less than 0.5 cents per kWh.
• Obtaining 20% wind energy is not limited by the availability of raw materials.
• Transmission challenges such as the location of new transmission lines and cost allocation will need to be addressed to access the country’s best wind resources to achieve 20% wind power.
Covering the Costs of Wind Powered Electricity Technology
While wind-generated electricity may seem like an unlimited resource and the best wind fields appear to compete with market electricity prices in most US regions, there are several factors that make alternative energy less attractive in terms of economic cost. First, wind is not a uniformly priced resource. Costs vary greatly depending on project scale, wind speed, location, and other factors. Second, the criteria for comparing wind versus other fuels vary regionally. Third, extra revenue is required to make a project viable, the sunk costs are huge.
To offset the factors that make wind-powered electricity a less attractive alternative energy source and to encourage its continued growth, wind power receives some financial or other support to stimulate development in many areas. Wind energy benefits from subsidies either to increase its attractiveness or to offset subsidies from other forms of production such as coal and nuclear, which have significant negative impacts. In the United States, wind power receives a tax credit for every Kilowatt hour produced; This was 1.9 cents per kilowatt hour in 2006. There is an annual inflation adjustment in the tax of the loan. Many American states also provide incentives such as property tax exemptions, compulsory purchases, and additional markets for “green loans.” The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 includes loan extensions for wind, including micro turbines.
Secondary market forces also provide incentives for businesses to use wind-generated power, even if there is a premium price for electricity, with socially responsible generators paying utilities an outgoing premium to subsidize and build new wind power infrastructure. Companies use energy from the wind, and in return they can claim to be making a “green” effort.
Undoubtedly, more tax credits, subsidies and incentives will be needed to achieve the 20% Wind Energy target by 2030. Today, wind energy accounts for about 2% of the electricity produced in the United States.
Wind-generated electric power technology functions by generating electricity through the use of various styles of wind turbines. Although wind-generated electric power has some negative effects, this author considers that a renewable source, such as wind-generated electric power, should be used economically in terms of long-term cost and benefit compared to other forms of energy, such as burning fossil fuels. is becoming more and more environmentally and socially meaningful.