HARNESSING WIND POWER: THE CLEANEST ENERGY SOURCE?

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    Wind power provides mechanical power using wind through turbines to turn electric generators for electric power. Compared to burning fossil fuels, a popular, renewable, and sustainable energy source, the wind has a much smaller impact on the environment. Wind turbines power electrical generators to produce electricity. Wind turbines use the wind to make electricity through their propeller-like blades, which spin a generator and creates electricity. Depending on their technology, the edges of a wind turbine turn between 13 and 20 revolutions per minute, at a constant or variable velocity, where the rotor’s speed changes concerning the wind’s momentum to reach greater efficiency.

    Wind is a form of solar energy caused by three events:

    1. The sun unevenly heating the atmosphere.
    2. Irregularities of the earth’s surface.
    3. The earth’s rotation.

    When wind flows across the blades of a wind turbine, the air pressure on either side of the edge decreases. This difference in air pressure across the two sides of the blade creates a lift and a drag.

    The lift force has to be greater than the drag force to cause the rotor to spin. The rotor is connected to a generator directly or through a shaft and a series of gears (gearbox). Electricity is generated through the translation of aerodynamic force to the course of a generator. Three key factors are responsible for the energy a turbine can harness from the wind: wind speed, air density, and swept air. Hence, turbines are created and shaped to utilize these factors and generate electricity.

    WIND FARMS

    Wind farms consist of wind turbines in the exact location used for electric power production. It may be several hundred wind turbines spread across an extended area. The Gansu wind farm in China is the largest globally and consists of several thousand wind turbines and generates up to 8000 megawatts of power.

    Individual turbines are connected with a medium voltage power collection system and communications network in a wind farm. A distance of 7 times the rotator diameter of the wind turbine is set between individual turbines. Wind turbines consume about 0.3 hectares of land per megawatt, but excess space is usually used for agriculture.

    WHY IS IT THE CLEANEST?

    Greenhouse gases produced by fossil-fuel-based energy sources and other renewables are much more than that produced by a wind turbine over its lifetime, including its manufacturing and installation. Only ocean energy and hydropower have lower emissions than wind. As a clean, fuel-free energy source, wind turbines create energy without generating the usual air pollutants associated with burning coal, gas, or fossil fuels.

    ELECTRIC POWER COST

    Wind power has no fuel costs but is capital intensive. Its price is more stable than fossil fuel sources. Its marginal cost is less than a cent per kWh once a station has been created. A 2011 report from the American Wind Energy Association stated, “Wind’s costs have dropped over the past two years, in the range of 5 to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour recently”. When comparing energy sources using electricity compare sources, the wind is 2 cents cheaper than coal-fired electric power or other forms of fossil fuel burning.

    COMMUNITY BENEFITS

    The wind industry generates thousands of jobs and billions of dollars for economic activity. Wind energy benefits from subsidies in many areas to increase its attractiveness. Some American states provide incentives, such as exemption from property tax and mandated purchases. This helps energy providers significantly reduce the amount of money paid by individual users of energy. This means you might be paying more money than you are supposed to for electricity. Electricity compare helps identify how you can spend less for the same amount of energy supply.

    HOW IS AUSTRALIA EMBRACING WIND ENERGY?

    Australians have been harnessing the power of wind for many decades. As technology has advanced, windmills used in rural areas across Australia to pump bore or river water are now being converted into sophisticated wind farms. According to the Clean Energy Council, in 2019, wind overtook hydro as Australia’s leading source of clean energy for the first time, supplying more than 35% of the country’s clean energy and more than 9% of Australia’s overall electricity.

    Thinking of adding renewable energy to your energy mix? Find out how much you could save when you use electricity compare plans from our range of energy providers.

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