Wind Energy

Wind energy turbines continue to change the face of energy conservation and dot the landscapes of locales far and wide. These statuesque forms represent an eco-friendly way to generate electricity for both private and commercial use.

Wind power can be generally defined as the production of electricity through converting wind’s kinetic energy into electrical power. This electricity is then used to provide power for a number of end-use applications. Wind power is actually a form of solar energy since the wind current production is due in part to the sun’s uneven heating of the earth.

A wind turbine interacts with wind currents through the use of three blades that resemble airplane propellers. These blades may be mounted on a vertical or horizontal axis. As wind causes the blades to spin, a shaft housed within the axis begins to rotate and supply power to a generator that produces electricity.

Wind energy turbines are commonly erected in groups known as wind farms which can be placed onshore or offshore. Turbines are best situated where consistent wind currents occur as wind frequency directly impacts the reliability of this power source.

Turbines are used worldwide to produce electricity for use in homes as well as businesses. While a small turbine mounted near a structure can produce enough electricity for use in an individual home or small commercial building, the largest wind turbines can supply power to more than 400 residences. Each of these giant structures can be more than ten stories high and have blades as much as 200 feet in length.

Unlike environmentally harmful methods of producing electricity, such as the burning of fossil fuels which releases harmful greenhouse gases, wind turbines are a clean energy source. They don’t pollute the earth’s atmosphere or water sources while producing megawatts of electricity. There are economic benefits of using wind power as well. Turbines do not require much in the way of operational expense and are used by power companies to reduce consumer energy costs. Although some individuals find the stately structures to be beautiful additions to the vistas they inhabit, opinions regarding the aesthetic aspects of wind turbines tend to be as widely varied as the designs being used.

Unfortunately, it is possible for slowly rotating wind turbine blades to kill small flying creatures such as bats or birds, although not in such large numbers as the harmful by-products of other energy production methods. Some people who reside within earshot of wind turbines complain about the amount of noise generated by these structures, an aspect which may be more noticeable in quiet, rural areas. An obvious disadvantage in using wind power is that when there is no wind, there is no power.

The use of wind turbines has increased during the last decade as the quest for renewable and sustainable energy sources has continued. Despite the increased usage, only a small portion of the world’s energy is produced in this manner. However, if the wind power industry continues at its current rate of growth over the next four decades, it is possible that as much as one-third of the earth’s electricity can be produced using wind energy.

The impact of utilizing wind energy turbines will be experienced for many years to come. Wind is a renewable and sustainable energy source which does not have a great negative environmental impact. The advantages of using wind energy may well outweigh the disadvantages.