Mechanics

Wind Energy: Advantages and disadvantages of wind energy

What is Wind energy and How does it works?

Wind energy is energy obtained from the wind, that is, the energy produced by air masses that are converted into electricity or other useful forms of energy for human activities.
Today, wind energy is mainly used to produce electricity through wind turbines connected to large electricity distribution networks, among others. Onshore wind farms represent an increasingly cheaper and more competitive source of energy, and even cheaper in many regions than other conventional sources of energy.

How is wind energy produced and generated?

Wind energy is related to the movement of air masses that move from areas of high atmospheric pressure to adjacent areas of low pressure, with speeds proportional to the pressure gradient.
Winds are generated due to uneven heating of the Earth’s surface due to solar radiation; Between 1 and 2% of the energy from the Sun is converted to wind. During the day, the continents transfer more solar energy to the air than to the water bodies, causing it to heat up and expand, so that it becomes less dense and increases. The coolest and heaviest air from the seas, oceans and great lakes is launched to take the place of the hot air.
To take advantage of wind energy, it is important to know the variations of daytime, nighttime and seasonal winds, the variation of wind speed with height above ground, the entity of explosions in short periods of time, and the maximum values ​​occurring in historical data series with a minimum duration of 20 years. To use wind energy, it must reach a minimum speed that depends on the wind turbine to be used, but it usually starts between 3 m / s (10 km / h) and 4 m / s (14.4 km / h ), speed called “connection speed” and not exceeding 25 m / s (90 km / h), speed called stopping speed.
Wind energy is exploited using wind machines or windmills can transform wind energy into usable rotary mechanical energy, either to power directly the operators or to power the power generation machines. In the latter case, the most widely used today, the conversion system comprising an electric generator with its control and grid connection systems is known as a wind turbine. In these, wind energy drives a propeller and, by means of a mechanical system, the rotor of a generator is rotated, usually an alternator, which produces electrical energy. For their installation to be profitable, they are usually grouped into concentrations called wind farms.
A wind turbine or wind turbine is a machine that transforms wind energy into mechanical energy using oblique blades connected to a common axis. The rotary axis can be connected to various types of machines, be it for grinding grains (mills), pumping water or generating electricity. When used to produce electricity, it is called a wind turbine. Wind machines are of remote origin, and the older ones work like windmills.

Advantages of wind energy

It is an inexhaustible source of energy:

This makes it a renewable energy source. The wind is an abundant and inexhaustible source, which means that you can always count on the original source that produces the energy. It does not have an expiration date. Furthermore, it is available in many parts of the world.

It takes up little space:

To produce and accumulate the same amount of electricity, a wind farm needs less land than a photovoltaic energy field. It is also reversible, which means that the surface occupied by the wind farm can be easily restored to renew the existing territory.

It does not pollute:

Wind energy is a cleaner source of energy after solar energy. This is because, during the generation process, it does not involve a combustion process. Therefore, it does not produce toxic gases or solid waste. To have an idea. A wind turbine achieves an energy capacity similar to that of 1,000 kg of oil. Furthermore, the turbines themselves have a very long life cycle before being removed for disposal.

Low cost:

The maintenance costs of wind turbines and turbines are relatively low. The cost per kW produced is very low in very windy areas. In some cases, the cost of production is the same as that of coal and even that of nuclear energy.

It supports other activities:

Agricultural activity coexists harmoniously with the activity of a wind farm. This means that it does not have a negative impact on the local economy, it allows facilities not to interrupt the development of their traditional activity while generating a new source of wealth.

Disadvantages of wind energy

Wind is not guaranteed:

The wind is relatively unpredictable, so production forecasts are not always met, especially in small temporary units. To minimize risks, investments in this type of facilities are always long-term, making the calculation of their profitability more secure. This drawback is best understood with just one information: wind turbines operate correctly only in gusts of wind between 10 and 40 km / h. At lower speeds, the energy is not profitable and, at higher speeds, it represents a physical risk to the structure.

Non-storable energy:

It is energy that cannot be stored, but must be consumed immediately when it occurs. This means that it cannot offer a complete alternative to the use of other types of energy.

Impact on the landscape:

Large wind farms have a strong impact on the landscape and are visible over long distances. The average height of the towers / turbines varies from 50 to 80 meters, with rotating blades going up another 40 meters. The aesthetic impact on the landscape sometimes creates discomfort for the local population.

They affect birds:

Wind farms can have a negative impact on birdlife, especially among nighttime hijackers. The impact on birds is due to the fact that the rotating blades can move at a speed of up to 70 km / h. Birds are unable to visually recognize leaves at this speed, fatally colliding with them.
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