A. Introduction: Is Wind Power Green?
According to my analysis, wind power is the “greenest” energy in the truest sense of the
word, because of several factors, beating other renewable sources like solar power, tidal power,
nuclear power and power derived from cleaner fuels such as ethanol. A minimalist installation,
and a reduced Carbon footprint, low initial expenditures, wide availability and low transmission
costs, all contribute to great returns with minimum environmental liability. Wind energy
conversion does not result in emissions of any kind either, thereby staying clear of the green
house effect. Visual interference by installations is also minimal since the turbines are higher up
and add to the scenery. They may also be off-shore in cases, when they are even less intrusive
but cost higher (Deal, 2010).
I. Preliminary Analysis: Energy Forms
The precise methodology is harnessing the kinetic energy contained in the masses of
winds, converting in into a usable form. The latter does not merely refer to electrical energy, as
converted via wind turbines. However, wind mills are employed where the mechanical form is to
be preserved and wind pumps may be employed when the energy must be converted to
gravitational potential energy (of the water raised).
Wind energy harvesting is more easily harvested than perhaps hydro or conventional fuel
because wind farms that create electricity and transmit thereafter may be of any determined size.
They may range from having several hundred turbines to farms that seek to serve only a very
local purpose. All too often we hear of utility companies stepping in and buying excess energy
these small wind farms are converting.
B. Policy and Potential
There is a vast energy potential waiting to be exploited in this field. It was reported that
by the year 2011, Denmark was already deriving over 25 percent of its energy needs from wind
farms. Just as ambitious is the US energy policy that seeks to meet 20 percent of all its needs via
wind energy, an enormous number given this country’s energy needs by the year 2030. Scientists
however call this number modest in the context of the pragmatic potential.
It was also reported that over 83 of the world’s countries were already using wind energy
in some capacity for commercial reasons. While the growth rate was as high as 25 percent in this
sector of energy production, its share was a mere 2.5 percent of the total electricity production.
Potential is sometimes hampered when there is uncertainty over the amount of power that may
be produced, directly related to the strength and availability of winds. These potential issues are
more than nullified through the use of following methods.
Pumped Storage Hydro-electricity
Excess Capacity Storage for Peak Times
Natural Gas Dispatchable Supplies
Neighboring Area Trade.
C. Mathematics of Production
It is the mathematics of production that even establishes wind energy as a serious source
of contemplative power. Wind power quickly rises given a certain wind speed because it varies
as the third power of wind speed. A mere tripling of wind speed will result in the wind power
increasing twenty seven times. A higher efficiency is therefore needed for greater speeds of
wind, at the expense of lower speeds, given this difference.
Wind energy is feasible over large swathes because of the underlying mechanics.
Movement of air under influence of high and low pressure ensures that trends are to an extent
predictable. These pressure zones are created in part due to the uneven solar heating of the
surface. Land cover and the angle of inclination are both factors in this process. Turbulence in
the midst of this is caused from the rotation of Earth. Ever changing patterns are created from the
uneven heating of water bodies in comparison with the land. It is this omnipresence of factors
that allows for wind energy potential to be so high; economically extractable fraction estimates
too are higher than the combined energy needs of the world. Estimates range from 10TW to over
A probability distribution function is employed to garner data on wind speeds at a
location; average speeds are inaccurate due to the variation. The Weibull and Rayleigh
distributions are often used to advantage showing the challenge with accurately predicting yields
and the initial investment. Due to the greater speeds and better consistency, recent efforts have
been focussed on harvesting energy from the higher reaches. At present however, almost all
power comes from wind that is in close relative proximity with the Earth’s surface.
D. Offshore Wind Production
Another aspect that boosts the green energy tag comes from the offshore deployment of
wind farms, where again winds are stronger and more sustained (due to fewer obstructions).
Such farms are non-intrusive and do not take from the visual appeal of the ambience. Offshore
installations are larger and installed in great water bodies aimed at producing the maximum
electricity. The drawback is the installation and maintenance costs associated with a farm not
easily accessible. Estimates put these costs at three times the price of an on-shore installation.
These prices are supposed to flatten out as wind energy gains momentum and becomes more
common. While the bulk of offshore platforms exist in northern Europe, where the production is
estimated at about 3.16 GW, over 16 GW is additionally planned in the UK and Germany.
Increments are also being made in US, China and southern India.
E. Costs Associated
A true green energy should also be self justified, not merely in environmental but also in
economic terms. Only then can it justifiably be adopted by the masses. Wind energy has seen
tremendous adoption by amateurs and enthusiasts – the same cannot be said about other
renewable sources such as hydro or tidal.
This is possible because wind energy has average initial investment needs though the
long run costs are cheaper. Marginal costs then start to decrease with time. They are capped by
many estimates at only 1cent per “unit” or kWh. With technology adoption these costs are going
down and efficiencies are improving too. For example blades have increased in length and their
weight has sequentially gone down. Wind energy production has cost only 20 percent of what it
did in 1980, a testament to the crowd sourcing and subsequent reduction in related expenses.
Recently, wind energy became cheaper than coal produced energy by a few cents per kWh, a
remarkable jump, causing banks to take notice. A testament to the acceptance is the fact that over
a third of all new power generated in the US since 2005 has been wind power.
F. Incentives to Adaptation
The lop sided benefits to adapting the technology are not lost upon governments and
policy makers, who in their espousal of the cause, are proof to the potential of wind energy.
Incentives to adapt come from the increasing number of jobs being created and billions in trade
each year. Wind energy is boosting local sustenance by allowing farmers and others outside the
traditional grids to be self sufficient and stay invested in the local economy. Some of these local
producers are even selling to the larger power companies.
Financial and logistical support is frequently available through grants in the energy
sector. Subsidies too have been recently instituted so that subsidies offered to environmentally
aggravating sources may be balanced. Tax credit too is offered for energy production, adjusted
for inflationary pressures. Property tax discounts and mandated purchases together with other
“green credits” offered firmly establish the energy as a green renewable form of energy with
profound future usage.
The land area required for installation of wind farms is by far the lowest among all
renewable energy forms, being just the base of the turbine. Installations need little maintenance
when compared with other forms of installations, there are no natural resources to be relied upon
(such as water), habitat for wildlife and flora are not affected to any significance and the
performance is clean. These facts establish wind energy as the cleanest and greenest energy form
currently and one that has been successfully crowd sourced for development.
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