Wind Energy Advantages and Disadvantages

Wind energy is a renewable source of energy and nowadays it is used for the generation of electricity around the world. Wind turbines are utilized for the conversion of wind’s kinetic energy into electrical energy.

The Wind blows the blades of the turbine, which is attached to a rotor. The rotor’s rotation causes the generator to generate electricity. These Wind turbines come in two types: horizontal axis wind turbine (HAWT) and vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT). The HAWTs are the most commonly used type. It resembles the propeller of a plane. They have usually two-three thin and long blades facing directly towards the flow of wind.

The amount of electricity generated and the working application of wind turbines depend upon their size. The small ones generate 100 Kilowatts of power and are used to meet the power demands of a home. On the other hand, slightly larger turbines that are seen sitting on large towers as tall as 80 meters, these wind turbines have blades having a length of approximately 40 meters. They produce 1.8 megawatts of power. However, even larger wind turbines can also be observed that produce power of 4.8 to 9.5 megawatts.

The SG 14-222 DD from Siemens Gamesa is the largest capacity wind turbine in the world which produces 14 megawatts of power. When the electricity is produced, it can either be used right away by connecting it to electrical grids or can be stored for future use.

Apart from electricity generation, wind energy is used to propel sailboats for transportation, it is also used to draw water from the grounds through windmills, it is also used to run flour mills.

As technology develops, wind power may become the most economical and eco-friendly source of electricity in the upcoming 10-20 years.

Advantages of Wind Energy

Wind energy is an inexhaustible renewable source of energy and is truly a limitless resource of power generation.

♦ It generates electricity without polluting the environment. In the crucial time when the world is cheering for a healthy Earth, Wind energy acts as the ambassador of environmentally friendly-energy.

♦ The windmill generators do not emit any form of emission that could lead to greenhouse effects.

♦ Wind energy has the potential to generate energy on a large scale. For example, The Walney extension is the largest offshore wind farm in the world that has the potential to generate 659 megawatts of power which can supply power to 6,00,000 homes in the United Kingdom.

♦ The combination of solar energy and wind energy can be used to generate reliable as well as a steady supply of electricity.

♦ By mixing up the air and slowing the wind speed, the wind turbines affect the temperature around them, making nights warmer and days cooler, thus, the areas around the wind turbines can also be used for activities like farming.

♦ Wind energy can directly be converted into mechanical power. The mechanical power thus generated can be used for tasks such as pumping water.

♦ In remote areas without the availability of proper electrical grids, wind turbines can be used as a great resource for electricity generation.

Disadvantages of Wind Energy

♦ Wind energy requires expensive storage during the time of maximum production.

♦ As the winds are uncertain and unpredictable this makes wind energy an unreliable source of energy and power generation.

♦ It requires large open areas for setting up wind farms and thus it can be implemented in some specific geographical regions only.

♦ One of the most important disadvantages of wind energy is its association with problems related to Noise pollution.

♦ Wind energy can only be harnessed in areas where the winds are strong and the weather is windy for most months of a year.

♦ In most cases, it is observed that the wind turbines are set up away from the place of electricity demand, thus increasing the cost of transmission and in-turn increases the cost of electricity.

♦ The average efficiency of a wind turbine is very less as compared to traditional fossil fuels-based power plants. So, a large number of wind turbines are needed for delivering an equivalent amount of electricity demand.

♦ There are various mechanical parts in the wind turbine which carry the risk of undergoing wear and tear over time. Thus, increase the maintenance cost of Wind turbines.

♦ There are instances when birds are found dead or injured near the wind turbine setup. This usually happens when they try to fly into turbines. Thus, it is somewhat treated as a threat to wildlife.

Author

Pushpak Narendra Umale
G.H. Raisoni College of Engineering

References

1. https://www.nationalgeographic.org
2. https://renewableenergyworld.com

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