Wind Power 101: how to generate energy from airflow
Over the past decades, the technology used to harness the power of the wind has advanced significantly from what were once known as windmills. Traditionally wind energy was used for milling grain and pumping water but today it is most commonly used to create electricity.
Energy is derived from wind by converting the air motion into mechanical energy by wind turbines.
Turbine is a large structure with several spinning blades. Usually three these blades are connected to an electromagnetic generator that generates electricity when the kinetic energy of the wind causes the blades to spin.
Wind energy is a byproduct of solar energy. Wind is caused by the sun’s uneven heating of the atmosphere, the earth’s irregular surfaces (mountains and valleys), and the planet’s revolution around the sun. Because wind is abundant, it is a sustainable resource for as long as the sun’s rays heat the planet.
Like other renewables there are some locations that are suited for wind energy generation more than others. In fact there are optimal wind locations both onshore and offshore.
Wind is becoming an increasingly important part of the global electricity supply mix. A major advantage of wind is that the production of electricity has no direct CO2 emissions.
But wind generation is not without its challenges. As everyone knows the wind does not blow all the time causing intermittency issues for power grids. The price tag of wind power has traditionally been higher than conventional electricity generation sources. Though the wind cost curve has declined significantly in recent years. But there are also some concerns such as land use, noise and bird disruption.