Wind Energy

Carol asks…

how good is wind energy?

How do you know wind energy is reliable to us? has it worked before? would you recommend it and why?

Windmill Farms answers:

Wind energy is reliable-as long as you have wind.
This is why wind turbines are mostly built in areas like Texas and the midwest of the United States.
The energy balance (the amount of energy it takes to replace the energy it took to build the windmill) of the average wind turbine is six to eight months.
The average modern wind turbine-if strategically placed-produces electricity 70%-85% of the time.
One 1.8MW turbine at a reasonable site would produce 4.7 million units of electricity per year, powering the needs of 1000 average households, or run a computer for 1,620 years.

Unfortunately, I could not find the average wind turbines efficiency rating in terms of taking the wind’s movement and producing electricity, but I assume that this data proves that wind power is reliable if the location is good and would definitely recommend it if you live in a windy area. In a city where the buildings block most of the oncoming wind, it is not advise able.

Some of the windiest cities in the United States, spots where wind turbines are probably already in use, are:

1. Blue Hill Observatory, Massachusetts
2. Dodge City, Kansas
3. Amarillo, Texas
4. Rochester, Minnesota
5. Casper, Wyoming
6. Cheyenne Wyoming
7. Great Falls, Montana
8. Goodland, Kansas
9. Boston Massachusetts
10. Lubbock, Texas

If you live near one of these cities, a windmill may be a very reliable choice for producing energy.

I hope this helped.

David asks…

Pro/against wind energy?

What kinds of people would be
1. For
2. Against
wind energy/turbines??

thanks for your help :)

Windmill Farms answers:

I think more people would accept wind energy if the energy produced helped people near to wherever the wind turbines were placed. If they saw a direct benefit, nearly everyone nearby would say yes, lets have them. As it is, the people nearby get to endure the noise created by these turbines, damage to the environment (roads are built and massive damage is done in erecting turbines) and even aesthetically, they are often seen as an eyesore. But if the people nearby received electricity directly from these turbines for free or even at a low cost, they would say yes, they are okay. The main problems are twofold: Firstly, that the energy produced is to benefit people who do not live in the areas of the turbines, and secondly that, they do not stop the production of energy by any other means (IE, nuclear). There is a severe lack of thinking in the making of wind turbines, in that they do not account for when the wind is not blowing. This means, whenever the wind does not blow, energy must be produced in ways other than wind. Likewise, when the wind blows too much, much of the energy produced, is dumped as waste. In the UK, about one quarter of wind turbines are not operating at any one time. However, if wind turbines were combined with solar, built into the turbine towers, they would produce energy at times when the wind was weak. Then there is the dumping of energy. If that excess energy was used to pump water uphill, it could be used as hydro energy later, using an upland lake as a form of battery. Apart from these things I have mentioned, there is the view that these wind turbines do not blend in to the environment. They all look the same. Couldn’t they be made to look differently and pleasing to the eye? Do they really need so much concrete to act as a base? There is also the problem that local councils do not listen to the people in areas that they want to erect turbines. These people, who have lived in an area all their lives, have their countryside devastated. I just moved out of a log cabin in Wales not long ago, because the tallest turbines in the UK are about to be erected there. Spread about the whole hillside, they would, when built, give a flicker effect over the land that I lived on for half the day. Sunshine, broken by the movement of the blades. Imagine someone with epilepsy… That power which is planned to be produced, was to be directed to Liverpool, England, not Wales. Turbines put in Wales, do not even benefit the people in Wales. To try to convince people in an area that they are a good thing, the companies which make the turbines, tell them that it will create jobs in the area, through maintenance and such. This never happens. The jobs go to outside companies, and outside people. Then there is the land owner, of where the turbines are to be built. They often receive more money per year, per turbine, than these very same turbines can produce at full capacity over the term of a year.

Again, in North Wales, UK, a forest called Clocaenog Forest, has been given the primary go ahead of wind turbine construction. This forest, is one of only a very small handful of areas in which the native red squirrel still lives, yet if the construction of the turbines goes ahead as planned, the entire forest is set to be cut down. The cutting down of the forest is already in progress, even though the final agreement of the turbines has not been formalized. This does mean, that another rare species is closer to being lost. It also means, that an entire forest is lost. The reason they need to be chopped down, is because the lack of trees will mean that the wind will hit the turbines easier, with less turbulence which might be cause by the movement of the trees branches. It is a managed forest, used for paper and wood pulp, so jobs are set to be lost too. But I would like to know, how the heck can the total annihilation of a forest be good for the environment?

That is just the large scale turbines. In the UK, it is easier to install a six foot wide satellite dish than it is to install a two foot wide wind turbine. A friend of mine recently was taken to court, and told to dismantle a small wind turbine, even though he had been using it to power the lights in his house for over 12 years.

I am not against wind turbines. They could be useful. But at the moment, a heck of a lot of taxpayers money is wasted in building a system which is not efficient. People in the areas of wind turbines are lied to by business, councils and government.
By the way, the people against turbines are often refered to as “NIMBY’s”, Not In My Back Yard.

Hope this insight is useful to you…

Sandra asks…

how is wind energy used,what is the future of wind energy?

Windmill Farms answers:

Wind energy is used by allowing the wind to turn the blades of the device known as turbine. It is the opposite of a table fan. We use electricity to turn the fan blades. In turn the turning fan blades suck in air from behind and send it to wards us at a higher velocity so we can feel the breeze on us. In the case of wind turbine the wind which is flowing at a velocity turns the blades of the turbine. The turbine can be connected to a electricity generator or a pump. If connected to a generator it produces power and if connected to a pump it can be used to pump water from a well to the surface.
Wind powered electricity is getting very popular in those areas where we get good wind with a reasonable velocity. Pump are put in areas where wind is good but intermittent.
Future of wind energy is good. As the turbine is being modified to give more efficiency the cost of it is also coming down. This is making wind turbine more economical.

Mary asks…

What are some examples of wind energy?

Also what are the pros and cons of wind energy?

Windmill Farms answers:

Wind farms are the best example of wind energy. These are farms where 20 or more turbines are erected to catch the wind, turn an electric motor, and create electricity. (See the 1st link below.)

The greatest PRO is that the cost of wind produced energy is LOWER than electrical energy produced by diesel or oil. It is comparable with the cost of electricity produced by natural gas; but more expensive than electricity produced from nuclear fuel. Other “pro” wind issues are that it is non-polluting, takes up very little ground space, and is quiet.

The greatest “CON” is that wind blows intermittently–that is it isn’t always available, and we want electricity to be always available. The other issue is that the wind blows best off shore, and in the Great Plains of the US, but the energy is used where the people live. This means that building the needed transmission lines from where the wind blows to where it is needed is costly. To resolve that problem, wind farms are now only built where there is excess capacity on the existing electric grid, but soon there won’t be enough places to build new wind farms. The only other “con” is that you can see wind turbines; where most other means of producing electricity is contained in a small area.

Joseph asks…

where is wind energy found and how is it removed?

Windmill Farms answers:

Wind energy is found everywhere, just that is isnt found in constant amounts so “removing” it isnt feasable.

First, geographers work to find areas that have a fairly constant wind flow, from a fairly constant direction year round. These are usually places that form wind tunnels from nearby mountains or large plains. Once a nice windy spot has been found a “wind farm” of many large turbines (look like giant propelllers) is set up. Wind turns the turbines which in turn gernerates energy that can be used to power you house.

*Note – not all windy places make good wind farms. Areas that are environmentally sensitive such as bird migration routes generally are not used as wind farm sites for fear it may affect the birds.

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