Wind Energy General Discussion-Brainstorming

@theprogamer (10539)
United States
November 9, 2007 10:14pm CST
Wind power I know there's been some discussion on this. But usually its just "what do you think about it" and that's it. I'll at least put up some points about the power, its use, applications, future ideas and projects. As always, you can skip my input and focus on either the implementation of wind power, future wind power or ideas and opinions you have. Hopefully this counts as a 120% discussion. This can be added with the Photovoltaic discussion and the Machine/Robot discussion. To tease a friend (she knows who she is) I may do a discussion in quantum physics/theoretical physics and not just a fraction of it. ************* On the surface modern wind power consists of a windmill or wind turbine put into motion by appropriate gusts. The windmill spins a generator in order to produce electricity. Even though its a small fraction of world wide power production, wind power implementation and use has increased by more than 350% in the last few years. Wind power is implemented through several parts of the world, typically implemented on wind farms, plains, ridges and other open natural areas conducive to wind. Power generation itself varies since wind is never consistent. A wind turbine or farm can vary with power generation due to the amount of breezes, placement, elevation and the velocity of the winds. The types of wind turbine placement are as follows most of which is self explanatory. Onshore turbines are placed on hilltop, high or mountainous terrain to take advantage of wind speeds and elevation. Nearshore turbines are placed somewhere near the shore either a few kilometers from the shoreline on the beach or out at the shallow ends of water. Offshore turbines are placed in deeper bodies of waters, lakes, oceans. Speeds are higher due to less resistance and more atmospheric forces out at sea and in other bodies of water. Countries like the United States and Germany are leading with wind power production and implementation. Many other countries across the world are investing in wind power production like Canada, Spain, Italy and others. The countries benefit from both public and private development/operations in wind power. Upfront, the long run costs of wind power generation are lower than mainstream power(which depends on capital expenditures over the lifetime of the plant or facility), a staple of most green/renewable energy sources. Understandably, there are some issues with wind power. On the operation side, wind power never reaches a peak efficiency due to the random nature of wind. Wind power is also ineffective in areas not conducive to wind. Politically, some elected officials and citizens want wind power along with greener energy. However, some are opposed to the placement of wind turbines particularly in onshore or nearshore situations. Some cite ecological effects, like those on avian life and habitat; others(even those that want greener energies) cite aesthetic issues. Items like this arise and cause a lot of ironic situations with this form of renewable energy. Financially, the start up costs and current costs still make mainstream existing power sources a choice above wind power; though technologies in renewable energy continue to improve thereby reducing costs (financial and externals). There is also an issue with using more of the wind energy. Due to various factors, like nature and variance, its harder to use wind power to completely replace electrical energy. Cost comparison to other energy options is an issue depending on location (a common economic issue with several power sources). As with other forms of newer power, research and employment of wind power addresses these issues. Future applications and items Production side, wind power production is slated to grow another 200% by 2010. Canada and Italy are working on airborne wind turbines which would add to the total main wind turbine placement options available to wind power producers/consumers. Existing wind turbines are being reformatted with newer items to reduce noise issues. Placement and land use are also being revised for future and existing wind power sites. Environmentally, the footprint and space used of some wind farms and facilities are being reduced (or expanded for aesthetics), it depends on the situation. Some birds are also adapting to changes in flight, obstacles and general changes in the environment. There is also experimentation and research in creating a solar/wind hybrid plant and with that an economy. The hybrid power could be used with solar farms, wind plants as well as refitted solar top towns and biomass applications. Cities, houses, even cars(via recharge or recharge/fueling stations) could all be powered mainly by this dual or tri green energy setup. Again, future development and research is needed, but the technology is being deployed and it is getting better by the day. My opinion As with other renewable energies I’m a fan of the deployment and development. I’d like to see some of the future items implemented in time, especially with synergy green energy ideas. The inital costs, placement and citizen opinion will be issues; but with wavering power outlooks, there should be more encouragement, more drive to implementing available alternatives instead of paying through the nose. Just a thought. Of course I'm betting some don't agree at all. Fine, you're entitled to that opinion. It's interesting. With all of the talk of environmental protection, emissions, higher energy prices... its incredible seeing resistance to reasonable change. Yes there should be short term solutions, but that alone won't solve everything; we'll also be back at square one further down the road, its just procrastination for some parties. Development and implementation of newer and more efficient energy source, better energy plans, they will be greater for societies in the long term. ************************** Phew! Now then, your thoughts on this, if you would be so kind. They’d be quite interesting and I’d probably want to tweak some ideas that come up. If not, then I’ll at least thank you for your time and attention, like last discussion.
2 people like this
6 responses
• United States
10 Nov 07
There's another problem with windpower. Air is light. That means the amount of kinectic energy in moving air is rather small compared to almost anything else. Hydroelectric is many times more efficient due merely to water being heavier. So, do we give up on windpower? No. The best wind systems now are about 35% eficient at getting all the available energy from the moving wind. Theoriticians believe 59% is possible. We have not yet build the best windpower system possible! We can't stop trying,yet!
2 people like this
• United States
10 Nov 07
Technically kinetic energy is not determined by "weight" it is determined by velocity and mass as an object could have kinetic energy in the absence of gravity but could not have weight if the same is absent as weight is a function of gravity. This does not invalidate your point, I just thought a clarification was in order.
• United States
10 Nov 07
Thank you very much. Of course, you are correct.
2 people like this
@theprogamer (10539)
• United States
10 Nov 07
Thank you for your support both of you. You bring up some good points. I also intend to bring up hydroelectric, geothermal and biomass in other seperate discussions, along with other power sources (real, researched and theoretical) I have to agree, the research should stop at all.
1 person likes this
@Wingedman (238)
• United States
10 Nov 07
Personally I am more of a fan of geothermal energy than wind power primarily because we are already doing a lot of drilling anyway. It produces far more watts of electricity utilizing existing technology with less visual impact so it is more pleasing to the crunchies that don;t want to look out their window and see a wind farm. But the answer is not really one or the other, it is to use all of them and get off the oil period.
2 people like this
@theprogamer (10539)
• United States
10 Nov 07
Indeed. I am also a fan of geothermal, well all sorts of renewable energies and newer energies in general. There is also biomass, particularly the recycling of particular complex hydrocarbons for fuel (not just using grains and foods). I did say there should be combined research and implementation to reduce oil demands significantly. I also intend to make discussions for geothermal and other new energies as individual discussions. I'll get on it as soon as I can.
1 person likes this
@salam1 (1475)
• Malaysia
11 Nov 07
great discussion. i am not very sure about wind power but in my home country - a tropical place in which sunlight is there through out a year - i see a big potential for solar energy. i have a friend who doing research about solar energy, i hope he will success..
1 person likes this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
10 Nov 07
Hello Progamer, I live in an area that is very conducive to wind generation. What is particularly advantageous here is the existence of natural wind tunnelling through the mountains. Not unlike the San Juan Valley of Southern Colorado. Both areas are sparsely populated. There are other areas, here in the states, that are also prime spots for wind power generation (Montana, Wyoming, etc...) I think in such areas that it's rather ignorant to not take advantage of a pre-existing energy source, despite the low levels of current efficiency. Necessity is the mother of invention, so getting these farms up and running creates a certain environment for improvement of efficiency. I agree that setting up wind farms in such areas would be wisest if established off the migratory path of most ornothological species. Yet, if done responsibly, wind is but one source of renewable energy that we should be benefitting from. I missed your topic about photovoltaics. I'll bet that one was interesting enough for me to hunt down. I'm a huge fan of solar collection, in all its forms. I know quite a few folks who live completely off the grid, and they do quite well with simple photovoltaics. Imagine the potential benefit of large scale solar farms established in remote, sunny regions? Especially, if combined with solar- steam powered turbines. I'm all for research & development of renewable energy sources. Our global energy needs are only going to continue to grow. So, I figure, it's best to implement all pre-existing forms of energy. Great topic, by the way!
1 person likes this
@Fishmomma (11504)
• United States
16 Apr 08
I enjoyed reading this excellent article. California does have wind farms; however, we don't have very many based on the size of this state. This area isn't noted for a lot of wind production. There have been studies done at San Jose State University. In 2004, turbines in wind farms generated 4,258 gigawatt-hours of electricity - about 1.5 percent of the state's gross system power. That's enough to light a city the size of San Francisco. Additionally, hundreds of people are using smaller wind turbines to produce electricity for their homes and businesses. Sorry I don't use wind energy at all; however, if I lived in a winder area would sure consider it. We do use solar energy and I will see, if you have an article on that topic some other day.
@theprogamer (10539)
• United States
17 Apr 08
There isn't anything to apologize for. The power source itself is an option, one that's being improved on but admittedly has its problems. The photovoltaic discussion is probably a bit more "absorbable" and I'll admit the applications for this one are more straightforward. There's also another method of energy storage/generation I'm revisiting with that topic. I just have to remember to get back to it when the OTC drowsiness wears off.
@jennybianca (12915)
• Australia
13 Nov 07
We have at least three wind farms in South Australia. One is at Sellicks Beach, approx 30 kms south of Adelaide. Another is down the southern end of Fleuriue Peninsula, & the other is near Mt. Gambier. All are south of Adelaide. I have visited two of these wind farms. Both are located on highish locations, here there is a lot of wind. I am totally in favour of wind energy, although it is unlikely to cater for more than a few percent of our energy needs.