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Wind Power: Energy Of The Future!

Updated on February 6, 2013

Wind Power Basics For Everyone!

Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into useful form, such as electricity, using wind turbines. In windmills, wind energy is directly used to crush grain or to pump water. At the end of 2006, worldwide capacity of wind-powered generators was 73.9 gigawatts. Although wind currently produces just over 1% of world-wide electricity use, it accounts for approximately 20% of electricity production in Denmark, 9% in Spain, and 7% in Germany. Globally, wind power generation more than quadrupled between 2000 and 2006.

Wind power is produced in large scale wind farms connected to electrical grids, as well as in individual turbines for providing electricity to isolated locations.

Wind energy is plentiful, renewable, widely distributed, clean, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions when it displaces fossil-fuel-derived electricity. The intermittency of wind seldom creates insurmountable problems when using wind power to supply up to roughly 10% of total electrical demand (low to moderate penetration), but it presents challenges that are not yet fully solved when wind is to be used for a larger fraction of demand.

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Is Wind Power In Your Future?

Wind power is something that we should all take a look at.

With the cost of oil and the push towards "going green", wind power is on everyones mind; and this site is an attempt to make information easily accessible to everyone.

I've researched information from Wikipedia, government sites and other sources and brought it all togeather here. You can bookmark this site as a starting point for keeping up on the latest for wind power.

Wind Energy From U.S. Department of Energy

Wind is a clean, inexhaustible, indigenous energy resource that can generate enough electricity to power millions of homes and businesses. Wind energy is one of the fastest-growing forms of electricity generation in the world. The United States can currently generate more than 10,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity from the wind, which is enough to power 2.5 million average American homes. Industry experts predict that, with proper development, wind energy could provide 20% of this nation's energy needs.

Much of the wind industry's success can be attributed to the research conducted at NREL's National Wind Technology Center (NWTC). Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Wind Energy Technologies Program, research conducted at the NWTC has led to the development of multi-megawatt wind turbines that produce electricity at a cost that is starting to compete with conventional energy sources in the marketplace. To make wind energy fully cost competitive and increase wind energy development, researchers at the NWTC are working in partnership with industry to develop larger, more efficient, utility-scale wind turbines for land-based and offshore installations, as well as more efficient, quieter small wind turbines for distributed applications.

NREL's Advanced Research Turbines allow researchers to examine the complex interaction of large turbines with specific wind characteristics, and to evaluate new turbine control schemes and components.

Wind Power For Homes, Farms & Individuals

Small Wind is defined as wind generation systems with capacities of 100 kW or less and are usually used to power homes, farms, and small businesses. Isolated communities that otherwise rely on diesel generators may use wind turbines to displace diesel fuel consumption. Individuals purchase these systems to reduce or eliminate their electricity bills, to avoid the unpredictability of natural gas prices, or simply to generate their own clean power.

Wind turbines have been used for household electricity generation in conjunction with battery storage over many decades in remote areas, but increasingly, U.S. consumers are choosing to purchase grid-connected turbines in the 1 to 10 kilowatt range to power their whole homes. Household generator units of more than 1 kW are now functioning in several countries, and in every state in the U.S.

To compensate for the varying power output, grid-connected wind turbines may utilise some sort of grid energy storage. Off-grid systems either adapt to intermittent power or use batteries, photovoltaic or diesel systems to supplement the wind turbine.

In urban locations, where it is difficult to obtain predictable or large amounts of wind energy, smaller systems may still be used to run low power equipment. Distributed power from rooftop mounted wind turbines can also alleviate power distribution problems, as well as provide resilience to power failures. Equipment such as parking meters or wireless internet gateways may be powered by a wind turbine that charges a small battery, replacing the need for a connection to the power grid and/or maintaining service despite possible power grid failures.

Distribution of wind speed (red) and energy (blue) for all of 2002 at the Lee Ranch facility in Colorado. The histogram shows measured data, while the curve is the Rayleigh model distribution for the same average wind speed. Energy is the Betz limit through a 100 meter diameter circle facing directly into the wind. Total energy for the year through that circle was 15.4 gigawatt-hours.

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Wind Distribution: Problem With Wind Turbines

Windiness varies, and an average value for a given location does not alone indicate the amount of energy a wind turbine could produce there. To assess the frequency of wind speeds at a particular location, a probability distribution function is often fit to the observed data. Different locations will have different wind speed distributions. The Rayleigh model closely mirrors the actual distribution of hourly wind speeds at many locations.

Because so much power is generated by higher windspeed, much of the energy comes in short bursts. The 2002 Lee Ranch sample is telling; half of the energy available arrived in just 15% of the operating time. The consequence is that wind energy does not have as consistent an output as fuel-fired power plants; utilities that use wind power must provide backup generation for times that the wind is weak.

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Got Sun? Go Solar: Get Free Renewable Energy to Power Your Grid-Tied Home
Got Sun? Go Solar: Get Free Renewable Energy to Power Your Grid-Tied Home

A straight-talking book tells grid-connected homeowners how to use free energy from the sun and wind to reduce or even eliminate their electric bills, and what to expect from this independent, thoughtful lifestyle. Whether you live in the sun-soaked Southwest, or windy North Dakota, alternative energy has come of age with affordable modern technology. Now with rebates and incentives from most states, installing a home system is an economically-attractive and environmentally-responsible option. Chapters include: - Why invest in alternative energy for your home? - Is it legal and safe? - How solar electricity really works - Batteries or not? - Sizing a system to fit your home and your needs - Got Wind? - What does it cost? - Does your state offer rebates or incentives? - Permits, Paperwork and Financing - The Nuts & Bolts: what to look for, what to avoid - Who does the installation? - Extensive appendix with resources, manufacturers, sizing worksheets, glossary, and more

 
Power with Nature: Alternative Energy Solutions for Homeowners
Power with Nature: Alternative Energy Solutions for Homeowners

Be your own power company and let Mother Nature provide the energy! By investing in affordable, new technologies, you can join the thousands of homeowners who get free electricity from the sun, wind and water. In this updated 2nd edition of Power With Nature, you'll learn how easy it is to use renewable energy to become self-sufficient and live well anywhere! - Off-Grid Solar PV, Wind & Micro-Hydro Systems - Homeowner Profiles (Personal Power Companies) - Utility Grid-Tie Options - Sizing Your Renewable Energy System - Charge Controllers, Inverters, Batteries - Putting It All Together Safely - Heating of House and Water - Pumping Water - Worksheets, Maps, Resources, Glossary, Index and much more!

 

The Cost Of Wind Power

In 2004, wind energy cost one-fifth of what it did in the 1980s, and some expected that downward trend to continue as larger multi-megawatt turbines are mass-produced. However, installation costs have increased significantly in 2005 and 2006, and according to the major U.S. wind industry trade group, now average over US$1,600 per kilowatt,[30] compared to $1200/kW just a few years before. A British Wind Energy Association report gives an average generation cost of onshore wind power of around 3.2 pence per kilowatt hour (2005). Cost per unit of energy produced was estimated in 2006 to be comparable to the cost of new generating capacity in the United States for coal and natural gas: wind cost was estimated at $55.80 per MWh, coal at $53.10/MWh and natural gas at $52.50. Other sources in various studies have estimated wind to be more expensive than other sources (see Economics of new nuclear power plants, Clean coal, and Carbon capture and storage).

Wind and hydro power have negligable fuel costs and relatively low maintenance costs; in economic terms, wind power has a low marginal cost and a high proportion of capital cost. The estimated average cost per unit incorporates the cost of construction of the turbine and transmission facilities, borrowed funds, return to investors (including cost of risk), estimated annual production, and other components, averaged over the projected useful life of the equipment, which may be in excess of twenty years. Energy cost estimates are highly dependent on these assumptions so published cost figures can differ substantially.

Wind Turbines

Wind turbines are designed to exploit the wind energy that exists at a location. Aerodynamic modelling is used to determine the optimum tower height, control systems, number of blades, and blade shape.

Virtually all modern wind turbines convert wind energy to electricity for energy distribution. As described, the modern wind turbine is a system that comprises three integral components with distinct disciplines of engineering science. The rotor component, which is approximately 20% of the wind turbine cost, includes the blades for converting wind energy to an intermediate low speed rotational energy. The generator component, which is approximately 34% of the wind turbine cost, includes the electrical generator, the control electronics, and most likely a gearbox component for converting the low speed rotational energy to electricity. The structural support component, which is approximately 15% of the wind turbine cost, includes the tower for optimally situating the rotor component to the wind energy source.

The aerodynamics of a horizontal-axis wind turbine are not straight forward. The air flow at the blades is not the same as the airflow far away from the turbine.The very nature of the way in which energy is extracted from the air also causes air to be deflected by the turbine. In addition the aerodynamics of a wind turbine at the rotor surface exhibit phenomena that are rarely seen in other aerodynamic fields. There are several ways to design a wind turbine.

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Much of the information used here has been researched from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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    • Brewsterboy profile image
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      Brewsterboy 5 years ago

      @BeaGabrielle1: Thanks for the lensroll and the visit. I'll be over to check out your lens.

    • BeaGabrielle1 profile image

      BeaGabrielle1 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing info on wind power electricity. Just lensrolled your lens to my Solar Power electricity lens.

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      rmstouffer 6 years ago

      In my experience, since I have actually built a diy wind turbine in my backyard, I can say that it generates enough power to cut my electric bills in half. Definitely worth it and I have already seen a return on the investment. If you can do it and have the room, go for it.

    • HenryE LM profile image

      HenryE LM 8 years ago

      Your lens is great! I am into < a href="http://sarasotageothermal.com/"> geothermal energy myself, but I realize that there is a lot of good to come from wind energy improvements, too. Thanks for the info :)