Uses Of Wind Energy

Maria asks…

how is wind used to produce energy?

Windmill Farms answers:

All those answers are correct, maybe I can add a little more details. Just like the early windmills that were built well over 100 years ago, the wind turbines of today use blades that capture the energy in the wind. The blades are very similar to the wings on a plane and operate on the same principles. The faster the wind speed, the faster the wind turbine rotor assembly will turn (up to safe limits of course). This turns the shaft of a generator – very much the same way as a generator in any other kind of power plant. This in turn creates the electricity which is then transmitted back through the electrical grid and ultimately to homes.

It’s great to see questions about wind energy. I started working with this form of renewable energy 3 years ago after some time engineering more traditional power plants. Wind is the way to go for many reasons, I just hope we get more support and acceptance for it.

Sandra asks…

do the costs of wind energy technology make it prohibitive for common use? why or why not?

Windmill Farms answers:

You don’t use the term “electricity”, but rather “energy”, so then, I assume that you are not restricting it to electric generation (for which it only works with government changing the economics). If you meant to imply electric power, then, it cannot because of its erratic production, the land it requires, the materials use (a wind farm uses many times as much wire as a conventional nuke, hydro or fossil fuel plant because it is spread over 100s if not 1000s of hectares – and this adds to the amount of ore that has to be mined, and processed, etc.). And then it runs less than 40% of the time, so someone else has to put in a fossil fuel facility that has to be running, at least on stand-by all the time in order to provide the constant power for the level, or there have to be a lot of batteries (that use a lot of resources and have relatively short lives) to store the electricity for when the wind is either calm or too high. Kind of sucky, since it is unreliable and complex!

OTOH, Wind power has been in common use for centuries. Holland, Denmark and Spain have used windmills for a long time to pump water. They have been in use in the plains and other areas of the US, Canada, and Australia for at least 150 years to bring water to the surface for livestock and other uses. They run enough and are cheap enough to do the work needed.

Betty asks…

How would a town be affected, if they only used renewable energy sources (Wind turbines/solar pannels ect)?

How would an ordinary town be affected if they only used renewable energy sources such as wind turbines, solar panel’s, and (assuming they lived near the sea) tidal power?
Please help :)
also, how would a place like Amala, in India be affected?

Windmill Farms answers:

The great thing about tidal power in this situation is that it is predictable, you know when the tide is going out or coming in and so you can plan to distribute the energy.

A problem arises with Solar and Wind because they are intermittent and unpredictable. You may be generating lots of power when there is low demand and so it would be wasted and you may be generating very little during high demand so things would not work.

What this town would need would be to use some kind of energy storage which could store up the excess solar and wind and use it to react to demand.

A great way to do this and a very efficient way is to use pumped water storage. In this scenario a high mountain lake or resevoir is needed. The solar and wind power are connected to electric pumps which pump water up the mountain into the resevoir, when energy is needed the water is controlled through a turbine as it falls back down the mountain generating power and supplying it to the town.

In this way the town could probably function quote normally, but a lot of investment and a lot of land would required to be dedicated to generating the energy. For this reason it would be best to design a new town from the ground up and incorporate energy efficiency first and foremost, with generation capability designed into the buildings themselves.

Such towns do exist and are the subject of trials.

Hope that helps,

Colin Robinson

Laura asks…

How do the consumers use the wind energy source?

pls tell me how… we need it…. badly…. tnx and a source pls….

Windmill Farms answers:

How you use wind energy depends on
how much you are willing to pay for it.
You can purchase systems that only produce
electrical power (usually 12-24 volts) at a low cost.
The cost for such a system is around $650-$3000.
They dump the power as DC into 1-2 12v batteries.
I am building one of these to do the following:
(1) power my 12 volt outside lights
(2) power my 12 volt waterfall in the summer
(3) power a 12 volt heater in the winter.

If you are willing to pay more and you want to
generate power that you can resell to the electric co,
you will need more expensive equipment that puts
the power generated back onto the power grid.
That can run $3000-$100,000 for equipment of this type.

Michael asks…

how is wind used to make electric energy??

people say wind turbine, but what is that? please explain in a way that is simple enough to put as a sentence. Also, other than a turbine, is their any other way it is used to make electric energy?

Windmill Farms answers:

Ok. A wind turbine is basically an electric fan, but in reverse.

Wind spinds the large propeller. The large propeller is connected to a generator (“turbine”) similar to that on a bicycle. As the generator rotates, it generates electricity.

Rotational generation is the optimal when it comes to wind, because other methods of utilizing wind to generate power isn’t practical. In theory, one could use for instance wind pressure and tugs to generate electricity (think big kites, and using the tugging on the string to make electricity), but it just isn’t practical. Same goes for sails hooked up to, say, piezoelectric elements, but rotational generation is just superior in efficiency, cost per kWh generated, and so on.

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