Wind energy is efficient renewable energy making decarbonization of the environment and energy transition in different countries a reality. Wind farms with numerous onshore and offshore turbines are beneficial for the economy in rural areas, allow to produce electricity locally, and create new jobs. Both costs of the wind energy produced and maintenance of the turbines are rather low making them particularly efficient in the areas with strong wind.
Wind energy is a clean, inexhaustible, efficient, and free source of renewable energy exploited by humans for centuries and is actively picking up steam today. ‘Eolic energy’ is the academic term for wind power originated from the name of the keeper of the wind in Greek mythology, Aeolus. After the invention of the electric generator in the 1830s, wind power generation cases occurred in the UK and the USA in 1887 and 1888. Later in 1891, the modern wind power turbine was built in Denmark. Today the leading countries in using wind energy have become the United Kingdom, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, and China. The world’s most powerful offshore turbine in Haliade-X is located in Gansu Wind Farm in China. It has a 220-meter rotor, 107-meter blade and has a target capacity of 20,000 MV by 2020.
How is the wind generated?
Solar radiation affects the surface of the Earth in different ways. In warmer areas, the air weighs less, tends to rise and creates low pressure, while in colder areas the air weighs more, descends and creates high pressure. The air moves producing the wind due to this pressure difference. Wind generates electricity by applying kinetic energy. Electricity is produced by wind spinning turbine blades, causing the turbine rotation. The kinetic energy is transformed into rotational energy with the shaft connected to a generator movement. The wind turbines are joined by underground cables to a transformer substation and form together with a wind farm.
The two types of wind energy depending on the location of the turbines:
onshore wind energy generating the energy from the farms situated on land
offshore wind energy generating energy on the high seas
The advantages of the wind energy
Clean energy. While generating wind energy no toxic and damaging substances are emitted into the air.
Inexhaustible resource. With sufficient air currents, wind energy can be produced without a limit and damage to the environment.
Cost-effective. Both costs of the energy produced and maintenance is rather low, in particular in the areas with strong wind.
Strengthen the economy of the rural areas. The wind farms are normally developed after considered analysis and prevail in depopulated areas and existing farms. In many countries the farmers get rent from the areas with the turbines and continue working on the land as only a small part of it is used.
Wind creates jobs. Wind energy already employed 1.17 million people globally and the number is increasing each year.
Energy import reduction. Most of the wind energy is generated locally today. Although Denmark generating enough energy for its needs, exports to Norway, Germany, and Sweden.
Wind power challenges
Noise from turbines. The blades of the turbines produce noise, which makes it difficult to place them next to the inhabited areas where the electricity is most needed.
Cost of wind power. Although the cost of wind energy is constantly going down, still, there is a competition with traditional energy sources.
Impact on the wildlife. Birds and bats are very frequently killed by the spinning blades of the turbines. The innovations and research making it possible to reduce the damage to the wildlife are constantly going on.
Aesthetic view. There is an opinion that the gigantic turbines in rural areas create a negative visual impact on the landscape and at the same time often attract many tourists driving by and admiring the synergy of nature and technology.