The wind is the most abundant source of renewable energy. It’s available in every country, everywhere, at all times and in many different forms.
As a fossil fuel, coal is expensive, and the technology for oil and gas extraction is very energy intensive. Wind power is much cheaper than either of these energy sources and has been for years.
How Wind Energy Works
Wind energy is the most flexible source of renewable energy. It can be produced by wind turbines, horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWT) and vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT).
A wind turbine is a simple, inexpensive mechanical device that converts the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical energy. In the UK, most wind turbines are vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT), which means the turbine spins in the direction of the wind.
While turbines are the most common and most productive type of wind turbine, horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWT) are more efficient. These are relatively new concepts for electricity production and haven’t been widely used. HAWTs spin in the same direction as the wind, but the rotational axis is horizontal. This means that the wind hits the blades and rotates the wind turbine in the same direction as the wind.
Wind turbines and their associated products are very reliable. There are many thousands of wind turbines around the world in all weather conditions. There are still fewer than a hundred wind turbines in the UK that are older than 30 years.
What are the benefits of wind as a source of renewable energy?
The wind is not carbon-free, but it’s much more carbon-efficient than fossil fuels. In the UK, wind power produces only 0.037kg of carbon per MWh. This compares to fossil fuels that produce 4.0kg of carbon per MWh. In some areas of the world, the carbon advantage of wind can be even greater.
This carbon advantage is the reason wind can be a great renewable source of electricity in an effort to cut carbon emissions. However, there’s a very important caveat that needs to be considered. The cost of extracting the wind power itself can be carbon-intensive and require enormous amounts of energy to complete the process.
The most commonly known advantages of wind power include:
The noise that is produced is at a safe level and is unlikely to cause any problems. The wind is known to reduce noise by 10dB, which means a 10% reduction in wind turbines is equivalent to a 20dB reduction. Wind turbines with larger blades are noisier than those with smaller blades. In addition, the smaller the spacing between turbines, the noisier it is likely to be.
Due to the production of wind as renewable energy, it is seen that there will be no detrimental effects on the environment. In fact, it is likely to contribute to reducing carbon emissions and will therefore be seen as a renewable energy source.
The wind is considered to be one of the most reliable sources of energy. One of the reasons for this is that as a source of renewable energy, the wind is an on-demand source of energy which means there are usually not many fluctuating power needs that need to be met. When you consider the variability of other sources of energy such as fossil fuels, the fluctuating supply and demand of energy can be a significant issue and, therefore, can cause problems.
Due to this, it is also a source of energy that is much less affected by the seasons. As long as the winds are blowing and there is sufficient space available, the wind is a reliable source of energy. This means that wind energy can provide energy when required and even during the quieter, colder months of the year.