The pollution through fuel use, technology and many other aspects of civilized life has brought about many changes that humanity was not ready for, including a lessening of resources used for energy. But there are many ways to generate energy using clean sources, and one of them is wind power. It is thought to be one of the cleanest ways and has been used for some time (Dell, 2004).
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Energy is the force that runs everything present in the world. The law of conservation of energy states that no energy can be made out of nothing or destroyed, as it can only be converted. Energy changes states and cannot be produced out of emptiness, as some processes have to take place to bring it out (Lawson, 2001).
Due to this fact, humanity must use a source of energy to its advantage, and nature is the one that provides these sources (Niele, 2005). Unfortunately, the planet is seeing a major depletion in natural resources and fossil fuels which are the established source of energy that must be greatly counted, due to the decreasing numbers.
The conversion of wind energy into electricity is accomplished through building wind turbines, a simpler way of building windmills and of course ship’s sails. Windmills and sails are used as a more private energy source; whereas wind turbines can be build industrially and in greater numbers. This will allow for widespread access and a much higher energy output.
The most basic way that a wind turbine works is by using the kinetic energy of the wind and turning it into electricity that can be used by humans. It is applied as mechanical, thermo and any other form of energy, which can be used in the agriculture and other places.
Wind turbines are considered a renewable source of energy and the sun has great connection to the wind. The sun rays warm up the air masses, causing warmer air to rise, and as it cools down in the upper layers of the atmosphere, it sinks, thus causing a cyclical nature of air masses (Morris, 2006).
In the modern times, there has been an enormously significant increase in the use of wind power. Electricity produced using wind was estimated to be more than 2.5 per cent of all energy produced by humans in the world. The larger a wind turbine is, the more energy it will convert. The power of the wind generator depends on the area that the turbine covers and its height above ground.
Some of the most common wind turbines are above 100-115 meters in height. The wind masses that are closer to the ground are much slower than those that are above one kilometer, but the wind above 100 meters is already considered to be much faster and better flowing.
The rotary vane also plays an important role in converting wind into energy, as the greater the area, the more wind will hit the surface, thus turning the rotor at a higher rate of speed. The two factors of the wind turbine, which are height off the ground and area that it covers, are interdependent. The higher it is, the larger the area, and also, the space close to the ground can be used for other purposes.
The wind generator starts to produce electricity when the wind is higher than 3 meters per second and turns off when it is greater than 25 meters per second. This is a safeguard that will make sure the wind gusts or particularly strong winds do not damage the mechanism (Morris, 2006).
The most common design for the wind turbine is one that has three rotary vanes or blades. The efficiency of the turbine also depends on its position relative to the ground. The ones that are vertical or perpendicular to the ground are used in areas where the wind is not as strong. They are thought to have a complete absence of noise and are more durable, used for more than 20 years without any particular maintenance.
But a widespread use has seen wind turbines that are horizontal. These are built in areas with strong surface winds. The highest wind speeds can be observed near the shore lines, but it is more expensive to invest in, by 1.5-2 times. Also, there are offshore wind electrical stations that are built 10-12 kilometers out in the sea. Some of them are built on stilts while some are free floating.
The use of wind on shore and off is said to be one the most useful types of generating energy, as the amount of wind and its energy are higher than those of all rivers on the planet by 100 times. The strength of winds higher than 7-14 kilometers is stronger by 10-15 times than those on the surface of the ground.
There is a strong consistency of the currents and they practically do not change over the course of the year. The ecological safe use allows building turbines even in the highly populated areas without any damage to the agriculture or people (Morris, 2006).
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With all the advantages there are also some disadvantages, but the positives highly outweigh the negative sides. One benefit of wind power is its cleanest conversion and/or production of energy. The amount of wind power is a renewable source. It is quiet, safe for people and animals, as well as for the planet.
Wind turbines do not need any fossil fuels and the work of one wind generator with the power output of 1 mega watt allows saving 29 thousand tons of coal or 92 thousand barrels of oil, in 20 years. The use of the same powered wind generator decreases yearly air pollution in the atmosphere by 1800 tons of CO2. The durability and almost needless maintenance is another great advantage.
The fact that they can be built on mountains and on the sea, allow for widespread usage, as the territory covered by water is enormous. This provides for minimal interaction with human populations and all other living things. Even in places where the vanes are susceptible to icing, there is no damage to the generator, on the contrary, it has been shown to increase the power output (Ghosh, 2011).
Some of the disadvantages that have been registered are the process of manufacturing, assembly and technical, as well as economical difficulties. Sometimes, it is costly to build in remote areas with no particular guarantee that the wind strength will be adequate. The fact that weather is unpredictable and can change from time to time, means that it cannot be relied on steadily.
It is extremely difficult to regulate energy flow, making electrical production unreliable and destabilized. This inconsistency increases the cost of energy converted by the wind generators, which is a factor important for many populations and countries.
In case there is some maintenance or replacement needed, the repair cost is quite significant. There has also been supposition that a great amount of wind turbines can influence the speed and flow of wind over large areas and lead to a change of climate or weather shifts (Morris, 2006).
Some of European countries have been using wind power for several years. For example, wind turbines in Germany have produced 8% of the total electricity in year 2011. Denmark was able to generate 28% of power and is thought to be of the highest productions.
Also, wind turbines are used in countries such as China, the United States, Spain, India, United Kingdom, France and Canada, but many other countries worldwide as well. Even though the cost is sometimes higher than expected and some problems include reliability risk, the future looks rather promising.
Humanity has reached an age where clean energy has become a key to the survival of the planet and humanity. There is constant work on the better management and upgrades to the wind generators, so it is evident that the future will greatly use the available resource (Ghosh, 2011).
Currently, there are technologies that have already proven to be important in clean energy production. The sun and wind have shown great potential and has brought positive results. It is much more beneficial to people and environment, but it must be used with great care. It is evident that more safety procedures and preventative measures would have to be established, so that the risk is minimal to people, economy and stability of nations.
Dell, R. (2004). Clean Energy Cambrigde, United Kingdom: Royal Society of Chemistry.
Ghosh, T. (2011). Energy Resources and Systems: Volume 2: Renewable Resources. New York, NY: Springer.
Lawson, J. (2001). Conservation of Energy. Manitoba, Canada: Portage & Main Press.
Morris, N. (2006). Wind Power. North Mankato, MN: Black Rabbit Books.
Niele, F. (2005). Energy: Engine of Evolution. San Diego, CA: Elsevier.