What is Wind Power?
Wind power is, very easily, available by the Earth’s natural airflow. Turbines primarily produce this energy through mechanical power generators that produce electricity. Wind power is a great alternative to burning fossil fuels. It is plentiful, accessible globally, pollutant free and can operate without the use of water. It also needs very little real land to function. We can even build wind farms in the middle of the ocean. Additionally, wind farms do not alter the weather. Nor do they interfere with the migratory patterns of birds, or influence the flow of rivers. These are just some of the incredibly dull excuses that fossil fuel pundits attempt to pass as credible science. Wind turbines have been in operation on farms, for the production of power, electrical or manual, since the sixth century. The Persians were the first people to make use of wind turbines, to power water wells.
The Importance of Wind Power
The costs of mining and transporting fossil fuels and nuclear power are highly variable, and the cost of electricity from these sources often fluctuates. Many experts consider wind power a viable alternative to buffer these costs because wind is fixed and free. Use of wind-generated electricity promotes cost effective and renewable production of energy. Moreover, it reduces dependence on fossil fuel.
Benefits of wind energy are numerous. Wind energy is home grown, and local landowners and small businesses can operate single turbines or clusters of turbines. It doesn’t emit contaminants into lakes and streams or produce hazardous airborne pollutants. Wind energy doesn’t cause acid rain or contribute to global climate change. Most other sources of power, including natural gas and coal, produce greenhouse gases. Energy made from wind produces none. Wind energy has a minimal impact on crop production and livestock grazing as well, because wind farms cover only small areas of land.
How Does a Wind Turbine Work?
So how do wind turbines make electricity? Simply stated, a wind turbine works in the opposite way to a fan. Instead of using electricity to make wind, turbines use wind to make electricity. The wind turns the blades. In turn these spin a shaft, connected to a generator that makes electricity. Modern wind turbines fall into two basic groups. 1) the horizontal-axis variety, 2) the vertical-axis design. Horizontal-axis wind turbines typically either have two or three blades. These three-bladed wind turbines are operated “upwind,” with the blades facing into the wind. Others can operate downwind just as effectively.
How Abundant are Wind Farms?
There were 225,000 wind turbines spinning around the world at the end of 2012. One 6 MW offshore wind turbine can power 5,500 average-sized EU homes. This was just in 2012. Imagine the potential for expansion. By 2020, the wind power sector is expected to employ 520,000 people in the EU. By 2030, the figure will be 794,079, with 62 percent of jobs in the offshore wind sector. Today, American wind farms generate enough electricity to power more than 11 million homes. They provide manufacturing, construction and operation jobs for at least 75,000 Americans. It is predicted by specialists in the field that if used effectively, wind power could be used to provide clean cheap electricity for half of the globe’s current population.