Renewable Energy Wind Farms
By Eric Mwebe
As America’s economy is faced with tough challenges today, the possibilities of alternative energy are speedily becoming the subject of conversation within the media. Although the notion of using alternative energy is not new, American citizens seem to be opening their eyes as well as ears to these ideas. While there are various benefits to consider when choosing alternative energy, very many people are failing to recognize the lasting benefits renewable energy would have on the environment in years to come.
Non-renewable energy resources, including fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas, of which provide roughly 83% of all energy consumed within the United States. With the limited nature of non-renewable resources, alternate, renewable energy needs to be harnessed in order to fill the energy gap created as these non-renewable resources get depleted.
Renewable energy resources include geothermal, biofuel, wind, hydroelectric, wood, solar thermal as well as and photovoltaic, and biomass resources. Renewable energy production across America varies state by state.
The objective of this thesis is to show why renewable wind energy is safer, cheaper, and cleaner than cleaner than fossil fuels. In addition, renewable energy production in replacing depleting nonrenewable resources can increase energy independence (at state as well as national level) and reduce risks of climate change associated with energy pollution of fossil fuels.
Modern wind turbines in general have a rotor with three blades; a nacelle, which basically has a gear box, brake, generator, yaw motor, as well as yaw drive; and an anemometer. While the wind pushes the blades, power is transferred from rotor to gear box as well as generator and then deposited in the electric grid, which in turn distributes the power to the consumers.
Thanks to advances in technology, wind is becoming the fastest growing energy resource in the world. Wind power is environmentally safe and does not produce atmospheric emissions or greenhouse gases.
Salient Description of wind technology and its deployment cost and ability to meet surrounding population needs
The main salient description of wind technology is that it is renewable, free and can be efficiently captures. Renewable energy is important and also meets population needs, and some of these benefits are:
- Environmental benefits: this energy technology is a clean source of energy that has a much lower impact on the environment as compared to conventional technology energies.
- Future benefit: while other forms of energy are finite and are bound to get depleted in future, this form of energy will never run out.
- The economy and jobs: a lot of the investments made in energy are spent on materials as well as workmanship in building and maintaining facilities, rather than on imports of costly energy. Investments of renewable energy are often spent in the U.S, often within the same state and town. This simply means the energy dollars remain within the state or town which in turn creates jobs and fuels the local economies, instead of going overseas. While renewable energy technologies that are developed as well as built within the U.S are being sold abroad, this provides a boost for the American trade deficit.
- Energy security: after the disruptions of oil supplies in the early 1970s, the U.S increased its dependence on foreign oil supplies instead of reducing it. This incremental dependence impacted more than just the national energy policy.
Regarding cost deployment, a few issues have to be taken into consideration, the cost of renewable energy, the capacity of renewable energy and lastly the impact of renewable energy. It is argued that alternative energy is not cheap. When it comes to wind energy, the renewable resources are usually located in remote areas and it is also expensive to build power lines to the various cities. The usage of renewable sources is limited in that they are not always available, for example, solar power is reduced on cloudy days, calm days reduce wind power and drought reduces water availability for hydropower. These factors make renewable energy alternatives more expensive as compared to fossil fuels. These inefficiencies as well as costs result in insignificant contributions to the U.S overall energy picture. While the U.S is currently facing an energy deficit, the U.S consumes more energy than it produces hence the need to import energy from other countries. But in order for the U.S to alleviate the deficit, it must invest in local renewable energies like solar and wind. In addition, while huge tax subsidies have been allotted towards renewable energy projects to make them sustainable ventures, it leaves the taxpayer with the burden of covering the inefficiencies of renewable energy.
Why use wind technology?
Countless wind turbines are in use today. The main reason for this is that the wind turbines have proven to be cleaner as well as a very efficient form of generating electricity. This form of energy source can also be relied upon in the long term future and is also sustainable, affordable, cost effective, and is pollution free. Because wind is an energy source that is none polluting as well as renewable, the wind turbines create power without usage of fossil fuels without creating greenhouse gasses or toxic or radioactive waste, hence no carbon emissions. Wind power is also known to reduce on global warming. In addition, the increasing numbers of wind turbines have dotted the world’s landscape. Wind farms have now become common in countries like United States, Australia, Canada and many other European countries.
Roscoe wind farm located in Texas, U.S.A is currently the largest in the world. With about 627 wind turbines, the farm has the potential to produce more than 780 megawatts of energy. This is so much more than the average coal plants which generate about 550 megawatts of energy. The construction of the new Fowler Ridge wind farm in north Indiana, U.S.A., will be the closest to Roscoe in terms of output energy once completed. It is expected that Fowler Ridge will generate an estimated 750 megawatts of energy, of which is enough to provide about 200,000 households with power. At present, 220 wind turbines, with 400 megawatts of production capacity are up and running.
According to the wind powering update of America, a section of the U.S department of energy, that was published in June of 2010, the U.S.A is considered the world leader in terms of wind power capacity, with roughly 1.9% of its actually energy coming from wind turbines. Whereas Denmark the world leader with about 20% of its power coming from wind energy. Other world leaders in usage of wind energy are Portugal with 14%, Spain with 13%, Ireland with 11% and Germany with 8%.
Continuous research today has made renewable energy more affordable than it was 25 years ago. The wind energy cost has gone down from 40 cents per kilowatt hour to under 5 cents per kilowatt hour. The electricity cost from the sun through light electricity has fallen from $1/kilowatt hour in 1980 to almost 20 cents/kilowatt hour today. While ethanol fuel costs have plummeted from $4 per gallon during the early 1980s to $1.20 today. This goes to show that wind energy is one of the lowest energy price sources that have drastically dropped since the 1980s and the reason for this is the technological advancement in wind technology.
Negative externalities of environmental impact on wind energy
As wind power has proven to show, it does not emit any air pollution while in operation. Despite the fact that wind farms cover vast areas of land, majority of land use like agriculture remain compatible, with only tiny areas of turbine infrastructure as well as foundations readily available for usage. Reports have also shown bird as well as bat mortality at wind turbines just like any other artificial structures. The ecological scale may impact or may not be important depending on specific conditions. Therefore, prevention as well as mitigation of wildlife losses and protection of peat bog will affect the siting as well as operations of the wind turbines. Therefore it is safe to say that wind energy has no effect on the natural environmental assets and in terms of negative externalities they are none, if anything the externalities have proved to be positive. But current studies have although not proven have shown negative externalities especially at individual levels, and these include things such as noise pollution for certain individual, health risks, and restricted use of land. But all in all the upside outweighs the downside.
In summary, because wind power is regarded as the cheapest form of renewable energy, a number of countries are pursuing grand plans for the expansion of their dependence on wind. When combined with mechanisms to tie together other forms of renewable energy, such as tidal power and geothermal energy, wind power can contribute to global substantial decreases in usage of oil, coal, as well as other nonrenewable resources.
Wind technology is an alternative to fossil fuels of which wind energy is plentiful, widely distributed, free, clean, and emits no greenhouse gas during operation and also utilizes very little land space. The environmental effects are basically less problematic than those of other power resources. In addition, wind technology is very consistent annually but has significant variation during short time scales.