Individual Wind Turbines

August 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Wind And Solar Energy Info

Wherever they may be located, wind farms are now being seen as the modern equivalent to the old coal power plant. Scores of wind turbines all working in unison can now be seen both on and offshore throughout the world, but a wind turbine does not need a friend to be useful.

Wind farms are incredibly productive, as anything that combines a singular might will be. However, there is still a place for the individual wind turbine being used to power a specific area. One wind turbine alone can generate a lot of electricity. For example, a singular wind turbine in Reading, England generates enough power to satisfy the electricity demands of 1,000 homes nearby.

Individual wind turbines also have an advantage over wind farms in that they do not require a lot of space. Numerous wind turbines combined to create a wind farm will require acres of land on which to erect the turbines and their electricity generators; just one wind turbine obviously only needs a fraction of this space. For this reason, individual wind turbines are being considered a viable solution for urban areas, where there is not enough floor space to erect anything more than a singular turbine.

While it is unlikely the future includes the idea of every street having its own wind turbine generating close-by electricity, the idea of individual wind turbines is growing. We could well see a day when town planning includes the usual wind turbine to generate electricity, and from an environmental point of view alone, this is wonderful progress.

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Onshore Wind Farms

August 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, Wind And Solar Energy Info

A wind farm is an area which is host to several wind turbines, sometimes up to 100 individual turbines at a time. Rather than working as individual turbines, all of the energy collected by these wind farms is grouped into one larger generator of electricity; making such developments the power plant of the modern era.

The most common type of wind farm is the onshore wind farm. This essentially means where each wind turbine is anchored into land, usually on a grassy field or high on a hillside. Other forms of wind farms are possible; offshore wind farms are built in the sea, and airborne and near water wind farms are also increasingly common.

The reason for the onshore wind farm’s popularity is that they are easy to construct when compared with other options. Materials can be brought to the site, and while the transportation is expensive. When the component parts have arrived at the wind farm location, from there the erection of each turbine is relatively simple by modern engineering standards. Cranes are most typically used to winch the blades into place.

Onshore wind farms are most typically built in rural areas, though some cities are now building them close to urban areas. For example, a new wind farm in Glasgow, Scotland is only 20 miles from the centre of the city. While there are some aesthetic issues – particularly with local residents – this close proximity to where electricity is needed most means onshore wind farms can be extremely productive.

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The Forgotten Environmental Effect of Wind Turbines

August 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Wind And Solar Energy Info

When people talk of the environmental effect of wind turbines and wind power, they often forget to mention the problems wind turbines cause to local wildlife. Birds are an obvious problem to wind turbines; as many turbines are erected at cruising level for birds, many ecological campaigners were convinced bird fatalities would increase due to intereference from turbines.

Wind turbines are usually painted white, so they seemingly blend with surrounding cloud. This, however, is what makes them such hazards to birds; who may not notice the turbines until they are fatally close to the revolving blades.

Statistics show that the effect wind turbines have on birds is negligible. That is, wind energy from turbines is no more costly to bird welfare than other forms of renewable energy production (such as nuclear power) and is actually 20 times less dangerous than traditional fossil fuel production plants.

While birds are safe, it is becoming apparent that bats are not. Nocturnal and blind, winged bats are becoming the silent victims of wind turbines as their usual navigational tools which help them avoid collisions are interupted by the rotating blades.

As well as collisions, bats have to deal with the low pressure caused by wind turbine tips. If they are lucky enough to avoid colliding with the tips themselves, the low pressure generated can cause a condition known as barotrauma. Bats lungs are damaged by exposure to this low pressure, and it can be fatal. Birds have more robust lungs and are not effected by this condition.

So while birds are doing well with wind farms, further research is required on the effects on the bat population. The most obvious solution is placing radar transmitters on top of turbines; bats avoid these, as they trigger their sonar navigational systems.

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