Contribution of Wind Energy to the Energy Needs of the Globe

Subject: Environment
Pages: 6
Words: 1716
Reading time:
7 min
Study level: College

Introduction

Wind power is a form of solar energy that uses wind to generate electricity. Wind energy is produced when wind converts kinetic energy in the turbines to mechanical energy. A generator is used to convert the mechanical power into electricity. At times, the mechanical power can be utilized directly to perform tasks such as pumping water. The wind is formed when there is uneven atmospheric heating by the sun and global rotation (Shoaib et al., 2019). Earth terrain such as mountains, water bodies, and vegetation can influence the wind pattern of a given locality. Wind turbines are used to convert the energy from the wind by rotating its blades around the rotor. These turbines are influenced by wind speed, swept density, and air density.

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Mode of Production

The basic principle of wind energy functionality is using wind turbines to make electricity. The propeller-like blades connected to the motor spins to generate electricity when wind passes it. Wind power production started after the invention of the electric generator. Engineers started figuring out modes of harnessing wind and converting it into electricity. The first attempt at wind power generation happened in the United Kingdom then moved to the US in 1887.

Modern development took place in Denmark in 1891. Denmark developed the horizontal axis wind turbines, and the turbine started its operation in 1897. The wind is moving air; the kinetic motion of the wind creates some force that hits the turbine blades (Shoaib et al., 2019). When the blades are hit, they start rotating and turning the turbine linked to them. The movement of turbine blades converts the kinetic energy into rotational energy hence producing electricity via electromagnetism.

The amount of power produced that can be harnessed influenced by turbine size and blade length. The energy output is directly proportional to the rotor and wind speed. Theoretically, the power produced increases by a factor of eight when the wind speed doubles. When wind power started, wind turbines had a maximum capacity of 0.05 megawatts (MW), and their rotor diameter was 15 meters (Shoaib et al., 2019). In the current century, wind power has revolutionized to having turbines that can produce 4 MW offshore and 2MW onshore (Shoaib et al., 2019). In commercially available turbines, it can hit up to 8MW with an average rotor diameter of 164 meters.

Advantages of Wind Energy

Wind energy lacks pollution as compared to other non-renewable forms of energy. For instance, fossil fuels pollute the environment, which falls under the finite resource that will not be available soon. Wind power does not produce any form of nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, or sulfur dioxide that leads to environmental, economic, and health problems. The gases are responsible for greenhouse gases, and they cause acid rain. Since wind is renewable, it can never run out or get exhausted. When technological advancements take the course, the turbines can be made better to the extent that they supersede current power provision (Chen et al., 2018).

The fact that wind power is clean and renewable makes it the future source of customer energy. Wind energy is cost-effective because wind as an energy source is free. Wind turbines located in offshores produce the cheapest electricity on the planet. Therefore, it provides the basis of constant electricity without fearing a sudden hike in prices.

Wind energy is space sufficient because the turbines are getting bigger and larger yet maintain the same footprint. The current turbines can produce electricity for 600 typical homes, yet more giant turbines can be located within the same locality (Chen et al., 2018). This means that wind power spaces between the turbines can be used for food production, unlike solar energy, which occupies space that cannot be used for any form of production (Chen et al., 2018). The operation cost of wind power is low since they require little maintenance once they are erected. The mechanic of the rotor system is straightforward, although the technology might seem sophisticated. When a system has a low operation cost, the electricity cost will be lower, thereby attracting more consumers as time goes.

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Disadvantages of Wind Energy

Wind turbines produce noise and aesthetics within a radius of 2 kilometers (Chen et al., 2018). The more the turbines locates within a given radius means, the more there will be some form of noise pollution. Although the noise is less compared to a busy highway, some people find it irritating. This is the reason behind placing the turbines away from areas that people live. The noise pollution can reduce the settlement rate of a given vicinity, hence creating some wastage of land if it cannot support vegetation growth (Tawfiq et al., 2019). The best turbines are those placed onshore because it does not cause any noise disturbance; however, not everyone is close to the sea, making some of the turbines be placed offshore.

Wind energy has an impact on local wildlife because it kills some of them. For instance, in the US alone, over 20,000 birds are killed annually when the turbines rotate (Tawfiq et al., 2019). The turbines are affected by wind fluctuation and changes in directions. When the wind direction changes, the energy goes to waste (Tawfiq et al., 2019). That is why engineers have tried to develop rotating turbines to reduce energy wastage. During calm days it means the turbines also stop producing electricity. Such unreliable circumstances place wind energy rank lower than other forms of energy.

Economic Benefits

Wind energy provides people with direct and indirect employment because it requires supplementary services. The manufacturing companies of rotors and turbines employ people, and installation of the turbines needs some workforce. After the construction and installation have been done, the facility needs security to reduce theft rates. When all people revolving around wind energy are paid, they sustain the economy of the areas they come from. Places, where wind turbines are installed are at times leased (Shoaib et al., 2019). Land lease payments are structured in three ways: revenue-based payment, fixed payment, and project developers’ negotiations scheme. The land lease matrix brings economic impact to the locality that hosts turbines.

When the government takes the initiative seriously and commercializes wind energy, they build massive reserves that attract the tourism sector. People are attracted to the idea of wind turbines in a commercialized setup because they want to learn their success and failures to make it a reality in their local environment. The tourists promote the country both directly and indirectly. The direct means are paying for hotels, buying food from the locals, and boarding taxis for mobility purposes. Indirect promotions include paying taxes during the purchase of things and payment of customs duties.

Environmental Benefits

Wind energy, unlike fossil fuel, is a clean source of energy that does not emit poisonous gases into the atmosphere. Wind energy is not transported like fossil fuel; hence it does not put other lives in danger. The global population has been affected by gas leakages and accidents due to handling non-renewable sources of energy. Many human lives have been lost, and underwater pipes have made sea creatures die when spillages. Large-scale production of wind energy does not put living organisms at risk. The turbines generate clean energy that is emission-free and inexhaustible. The rate of global warming has decreased over since wind energy was implemented.

It is projected by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) that if wind energy is commercially used in various countries, the rate of greenhouse gas emissions will go down (Shoaib et al., 2019). Equally, accidents resulting from non-renewable energy will reduce hence saving lives.

Places, where turbines are erected can be used for farming; unlike places where solar power and hydroelectric power stations are placed, their land use must be dedicated to the power grid systems. The multiple production rate means that large-scale production of wind energy will not waste the amount of land used for agricultural purposes. Despite, the wind turbines have a large surface area on the turbines or propellers. Their base area is minimal, thereby reducing the rate of land wastage.

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Projected Production and Future Research

The wind technology office in the US has done a comprehensive analysis to mark future pathways of the wind industry. Using the broad-based collaborative effort, wind vision has made four significant objectives.

  1. Document wind power areas within the US and identify their technological accomplishments and their benefits to society by 2030.
  2. Help other nations that are willing to use wind energy to acquire the latest technology to reduce the rate of greenhouse gas emissions. It can take various stakeholders in seminars to acquire basic knowledge of wind power to encourage them through sensitization programs on the best ways of using it in their local setup.
  3. Identify the best course of action that can enable wind energy to eliminate its negative outlook of crushing birds and wind diversions.
  4. Quantify the costs and benefits of using wind energy in the US and ensure industrial advancements build more reliable rotors and turbines.

Wind energy can support up to 600,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector by 2050 (Carvalho et al., 2017). When there is a solid support base, engineers can revolutionize the number of watts each turbine can make. Wind power has the capability of reserving water reserves that are used in electric power stations. It can also increase community revenue hence an increase in tax revenue.

Conclusion

Wind energy has the potential of contributing to the energy needs of the globe. Every locality has wind, and installing them in strategic places can make the country have clean energy. In the US alone, if wind energy is fully utilized, it can contribute up to 10 percent of the national electrical needs. The environmental profile will remain clean, and the rate of global warming will reduce. Wind power plants can create jobs for various individuals ranging from security provision to engineers who can maintain the turbines. Due to the global fluctuation of electricity prices, wind power can stabilize the price because it is consistent and clean.

Many companies can use wind energy in their grid system because it is a form of assurance to their energy needs. When appropriate measures are put in place, wind energy can supply the global energy needs and reduce gas pollution and accidents emanating from other forms of energy.

References

Carvalho, D., Rocha, A., Gómez-Gesteira, M., & Silva Santos, C. (2017). Potential impacts of climate change on European wind energy resource under the CMIP5 future climate projections. Renewable Energy, 101, 29-40. Web.

Chen, B., Yang, Y., & Wang, Z. (2018). Scavenging Wind Energy by Triboelectric Nanogenerators. Advanced Energy Materials, 8(10), 1702649. Web.

Shoaib, M., Siddiqui, I., Rehman, S., Khan, S., & Alhems, L. (2019). Assessment of wind energy potential using wind energy conversion system. Journal of Cleaner Production, 216, 346-360. Web.

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Tawfiq, K., Mansour, A., Ramadan, H., Becherif, M., & El-kholy, E. (2019). Wind Energy Conversion System Topologies and Converters: Comparative Review. Energy Procedia, 162, 38-47. Web.