Brands Are Typically Less Fashion Oriented Types Of Retailers Defining Wind Generated Electrical Power and Discussing Pros and Cons of the Technology

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Defining Wind Generated Electrical Power and Discussing Pros and Cons of the Technology

Introduction

Wind generated electrical energy exists by harnessing wind energy with turbines. To fully understand wind-generated electric power, one must understand how wind-powered electricity is made; resources needed to harness wind power; types and sizes of wind turbines; build a windmill; potential positive and negative effects of the technology; where wind-powered electricity can be efficiently generated; and offsetting the costs of wind-powered electric technology.

How wind powered electricity is made

Wind generated electric power technology works by creating electricity using different styles of wind turbines. At first, one might ask: “So how do wind turbines make electricity?” Simply put, a windmill works the opposite of a fan. Instead of using electricity to make wind, like a fan, windmills use wind to make electricity. The wind turns the blades which spin a shaft which connects to a generator and makes electricity.

Necessary resources to utilize wind power

The primary resource for wind-powered technology is, of course, wind. Wind is very abundant in many parts of the United States and other parts of the world. Wind resources are labeled by wind power density classes ranging from Class 1 (the lowest) to Class 7 (the highest). Good wind resources (eg Class 3 and above, which have an average annual wind speed of at least 13 miles per hour) exist in many areas. Wind speed is critical to wind resources because the energy in 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 may compete with other uses of that land, and these alternative uses may be worth more than electricity generation. However, wind turbines can be placed on land that is also used for grazing or even agriculture. Wherever a wind farm is to be built, roads are cut to make room for parts to be shipped. At each wind turbine location, the ground is graded and the pad area is levelled. Wind energy also requires the construction of wind turbines.

Types and sizes of wind turbines

Modern wind turbines fall into two basic groups: the horizontal-axis variety and vertical-axis designs, such as the eggshell-style Darrieus model, named after its French inventor. Wind turbines with a horizontal axis typically have either two or three blades. These three-bladed wind turbines are driven “upwind”, with the blades facing into the wind. Darrieus models, or vertical axis wind turbines, have two vertically oriented blades that rotate around a vertical axis.

In addition to different types, there are many different sizes of wind turbines. Utility-scale turbines range in size from 100 kilowatts to as large as several megawatts. Larger turbines are assembled in wind farms, which supply bulk power to an electricity grid. A few small turbines, under 100 kilowatts, are used for housing, telecommunications or water pumping.

Small turbines are sometimes used in conjunction with diesel generators, batteries and solar panels. These systems are called hybrid wind systems and are typically used in remote off-grid locations where a connection to the utility grid is not available.

Building a windmill

The first step in building a wind turbine is to set up the tower where the fiberglass nacelle is installed. The nacelle is a strong, hollow housing that contains the internal functions of the wind turbine. Usually made of fiberglass, the nacelle contains the main drive shaft and gearbox. Its internal functions also include control of blade pitch and yaw. The nacelle is assembled and attached to a base frame in a factory.

The most diverse use of materials and the most experimentation with new materials occurs with the knives. Although the most dominant material used for the blades in commercial wind turbines is hollow-core fiberglass, other materials used include lightweight wood and aluminum. Wooden blades are solid, but most blades consist of a skin surrounding a core that is either hollow or filled with a lightweight material such as plastic foam or honeycomb or balsa wood. Wind turbines also include a utility box, which converts the wind energy into electricity, and which is located at the base of the tower. The generator and electronic controls are standard equipment, the main components of which are steel and copper. Various cables connect the utility box to the nacelle, while others connect the entire turbine to nearby turbines and to a transformer.

Potential positive and negative effects of wind-powered electricity

There are a number of potential positive and negative effects of wind-powered technology.

Potential positive effects include:

• Wind energy is friendly to the surrounding environment as no fossil fuels are burned to generate electricity from wind energy.

• Wind turbines take up less space than the average power plant. Wind turbines only need to occupy a few square meters for the base; this means that the land around the mill can be used for many purposes, for example agriculture.

• Newer technologies make the extraction of wind energy much more efficient. The wind is free and we are able to make money from this free energy source.

• Wind turbines are a great resource for generating energy in remote locations, such as mountain communities and remote landscapes.

• Wind turbines can be of a variety of sizes to support different population levels.

• When combined with solar energy, this energy source is great for developed and developing countries to provide a stable, reliable supply of electricity.

Potential negative impacts include:

• Wind turbines generally produce less electricity than the average fossil power plant, requiring more wind turbines to be built.

• Wind turbine construction can be very costly and expensive.

• Wind turbines can have a negative impact on the surrounding wildlife during the construction process.

• The noise pollution from commercial wind turbines sometimes resembles a small jet engine.

• Protests and/or petitions are usually faced with any proposed wind farm. People feel that the landscape should be left intact so that everyone can enjoy its beauty.

Where wind-powered electricity can be generated efficiently

In places in the world where the wind blows strongly and often, people and companies can take advantage of the wind as an opportunity to use in the production of electricity. Globally, these locations include much of North America, southern South America, Greenland, most of Europe, North Africa, eastern Asia, most of Australia, and anywhere there are mountains or large hills. The top 5 countries producing wind electric power in 2007 were respectively: Germany, USA, Spain, India and China.

Significant wind speeds also occur across oceans and large bodies of water. Since most of the world’s population lives near the oceans, wind farms with strong offshore and onshore breezes can produce an abundant amount of electricity. On land in the United States, the largest 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 west to the Great Mountain West, including eastern Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. There are also significant wind resources in eastern and southern Minnesota and throughout the state of Iowa, tapering south through Missouri and east through 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 the United States with 100% of its electricity, just from the Great Plains wind corridor or from offshore wind farms alone. According to the “Pickens Plan”, a $10 billion wind farm with 2,500 generators can provide enough energy for 1.3 million homes, and for $1 trillion, the Great Plains Wind Corridor can provide 20% of America’s electricity. That would be about 250,000 generators to power 130 million homes.

In a report published by the US Department of Energy, “20% Wind Energy by 2030: Increasing Wind Energy’s Contribution to US Electricity Supply,” this report concluded that:

• Reaching 20% ​​wind energy will require improved transmission infrastructure, streamlined siting and permitting regimes, improved reliability and operation of wind systems, and increased US wind generation capacity.

• To achieve 20% wind energy will require the number of turbine installations to increase from approximately 2000 per year in 2006 to almost 7000 per year in 2017.

• Integrating 20% ​​wind energy into the grid can be done reliably for less than 0.5 cents per kWh.

• Achieving 20% ​​wind energy is not limited by the availability of raw materials.

• Solving transmission challenges such as siting and costing new transmission lines to access the nation’s best wind resources will be required to achieve 20% wind energy.

Offsetting the costs of wind-powered electric technology

Although wind-generated electrical energy appears to be an unlimited resource, and the best wind sites appear to be competitive with market electricity prices in most regions of the United States, there are several factors that make it a less appealing source of alternative energy in terms of financial costs. First, wind is not a uniformly priced resource. Its cost varies greatly depending on the scale of the project, wind speed, region and other factors. Second, the benchmark for comparing wind to other fuels varies regionally. Third, additional revenue is required to make a project viable, non-disruptive costs are significant.

To offset the factors that make wind-powered electricity a less attractive source of alternative energy and encourage its continued growth, wind energy in many areas receives some financial or other support to encourage development. Wind energy benefits from subsidies either to increase its attractiveness or to offset subsidies received by other forms of generation, such as coal and nuclear, which have significant negative impacts. In the United States, wind power receives a tax credit for each kilowatt hour produced; it was 1.9 cents per kilowatt hour in 2006. The tax credit has an annual inflation adjustment. Many US states also provide incentives, such as property tax exemptions, mandated purchases and additional markets for “green credits”. The Energy Improvement and Expansion Act of 2008 includes extensions of credits for wind, including microturbines.

Secondary market forces also provide incentives for companies to use wind power, although there is a premium price for the electricity, socially responsible producers pay utilities a premium that goes towards subsidizing and building new wind infrastructure. Companies use wind power, and in return they can claim that they are making a “green” effort.

Undoubtedly, additional tax credits, subsidies, and incentives will also be needed to reach the goal of 20% wind energy by 2030. Today, wind power makes up approximately 2% of the electricity produced in the United States.

Summary

The technology of wind generated electric power works by creating electricity through the use of different styles of wind turbines is a very viable alternative energy. Although wind-generated electrical energy has some negative effects, this author believes that in terms of long-term costs and benefits compared to other types of energy, such as burning fossil fuels, using a renewable resource such as wind-generated electrical energy provides more economically, environmentally and socially and more meaning.

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