Wind Energy

Wind power is another alternative energy source that could be used without producing by-products that are harmful to nature. Like solar power, harnessing the wind is highly dependent on weather and location. However, it is one of the oldest and cleanest forms of energy and the most developed of the renewable energy sources.

There is the potential for a large amount of energy to be produced from windmill.

Advantages of Wind Energy

  • Wind energy is free of cost and reliable.
  • Wind power is clean and produces no environmental pollution.
  • In wind power generation, no harmful by-products are left over as in case of burning of fossil fuels.
  • Since wind is a renewable source of energy, we never run out of it.
  • Farming and grazing can still take place on land occupied by wind turbines which can help in the production of bio fuels. When used inland, the land beneath the windmill can still be used for farming purposes.
  • Wind farms can be built off-shore.
  • In some cases wind farms can even be tourist attractions.

Limitations of Wind Energy

  • Wind power is not available all the time, at all the places and has to be used while being produced, as it cannot be stored.
  • Persistent wind and consistent wind speeds are needed for continuous power generation. If wind speed decreases, the turbine lingers and less electricity is generated.
  • The wind farms, whether onshore or off shores are unsightly, noisy and generate a lot of opposition.
  • Large wind farms can have a negative effect on the scenery.
  • They are hazards for wildlife, especially birds who commonly fly into their blades.

Different parts of our country, which are windy most of the time, have windmills to pump water and generate electricity. These wind mills are big wind-wanes in which wind energy is used. Let us look into the working of a windmill.

Working of Windmill

A windmill is basically a mechanical arrangement to convert wind energy into another form of energy. It has blades. The blades of the windmill rotate in a vertical plane which is kept perpendicular to the wind. As wind flow crosses the blades of the windmill, the blades start rotating. The rotation of blades makes the turbine rotate.

The turbine is attached with an electrical generator which converts mechanical energy of the turbine into electrical energy. The blades are angled into the wind, so as to rotate in a way which maximize the generation of electricity.

In older windmills, wind energy was used to run machinery to do physical work, like crushing grain or pumping water. Wind towers are usually built together on wind farms. Now, electrical currents are harnessed via large scale wind farms that are used by national electrical grids, as well as small individual turbines used for providing electricity to isolated locations or individual homes.

The wind speed is vital in the production of electricity, and the optimum speed is approximately 25 km/h and this causes the blades to rotate.