Offshore Wind Farms

November 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Using Wind Energy

Offshore wind farms are built, as the name would suggest, in the sea. Turbines that look exactly the same as their onshore counterparts are erected into the sea bed, and protrude above the water line, with their blades in the open air catching the powerful winds.

The energy generated is then transported back to shore using under sea pipes. It is a simple case of: more wind, more power generated.

While we may all have seen wind farms on grassy fields, the most likely place for wind farms to really come into their full efficacy is out to sea. Off shore wind farms are becoming more common, and many experts predict they are the future of wind power.

The reason for this is simple: offshore, the wind is more powerful as it is not obstructed by surface objects. Particularly in deep water, the resistance on the surface of the water is minimal, and the wind can be extremely powerful. This was, of course, once utilized by sailing ships before the days of the engine, and this wind power is now finding a new purpose.

These wind farms are more expensive to construct than typical onshore wind farms, as they involve placing the base of the turbine in the sea bed. This initial cost and workload is, however, rewarded by increased efficiency.

The job is also made easier by offshore wind farms being built on areas of ocean that have naturally raised sections of the sea bed.

Offshore wind farms also solve the associated humanist issues with turbines – such as noise levels, shadow flight and aesthetic issues – and increase electricity production. Once more, man turns to the sea for its answers.

Presonal Individual Wind Turbines

August 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Using Wind Energy

Personal Wind Turbines

wherever they may be located, wind farms are now being seen as the modern equivalent to the old coal power plant. Scores of wind turbines all working in unison can now be seen both on and offshore throughout the world, but a wind turbine does not need a friend to be useful.

English: The three primary types of wind turbi...

The three primary types of wind turbine–Savonius and Darrieus vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs) and a standard horizontal axis wind turbine (HAWT)–all with three blades, are spinning as if they are in operation in real wind. They are spinning at the same speed (mathematically); 30 rpm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wind farms are incredibly productive, as anything that combines a singular might will be. However, there is still a place for the individual wind turbine being used to power a specific area. One wind turbine alone can generate a lot of electricity. For example, a singular wind turbine in Reading, England generates enough power to satisfy the electricity demands of 1,000 homes nearby.

Individual wind turbines also have an advantage over wind farms in that they do not require a lot of space. Numerous wind turbines combined to create a wind farm will require acres of land on which to erect the turbines and their electricity generators; just one wind turbine obviously only needs a fraction of this space. For this reason, individual wind turbines are being considered a viable solution for urban areas, where there is not enough floor space to erect anything more than a singular turbine.

While it is unlikely the future includes the idea of every street having its own wind turbine generating close-by electricity, the idea of individual wind turbines is growing. We could well see a day when town planning includes the usual wind turbine to generate electricity, and from an environmental point of view alone, this is wonderful progress.

Click here for easy to follow homemade wind generator plans.

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Wind Turbines Impact on our Environment

August 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Using Wind Energy

Wind Turbines Environmental Impact

When people talk of the environmental impact of wind turbines and wind power, they often forget to mention the problems wind turbines cause to local wildlife. Birds are an obvious problem to wind turbines; as many turbines are erected at cruising level for birds, many ecological campaigners were convinced bird fatalities would increase due to interference from turbines.

Landestypische Tier in Wesselburener Deichhausen

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wind turbines are usually painted white, so they seemingly blend with surrounding cloud. This, however, is what makes them such hazards to birds; who may not notice the turbines until they are fatally close to the revolving blades.

Statistics show that the effect wind turbines have on birds is negligible. That is, wind energy from turbines is no more costly to bird welfare than other forms of renewable energy production (such as nuclear power) and is actually 20 times less dangerous than traditional fossil fuel production plants.

While birds are safe, it is becoming apparent that bats are not. Nocturnal and blind, winged bats are becoming the silent victims of wind turbines as their usual navigational tools which help them avoid collisions are interupted by the rotating blades.

As well as collisions, bats have to deal with the low pressure caused by wind turbine tips. If they are lucky enough to avoid colliding with the tips themselves, the low pressure generated can cause a condition known as barotrauma. Bats lungs are damaged by exposure to this low pressure, and it can be fatal. Birds have more robust lungs and are not effected by this condition.

So while birds are doing well with wind farms, further research is required on the effects on the bat population. The most obvious solution is placing radar transmitters on top of turbines; bats avoid these, as they trigger their sonar navigational systems.

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