Frequently Asked Questions About Wind Energy

Table of Contents

In this article we are going to explore the most frequently asked questions about wind energy.

wind turbines

What is wind energy?

Wind energy is a source of renewable energy that uses the force of the wind to generate electricity.

Solar radiation differentially heats the atmosphere, which causes the air temperature to be different in some areas. Hot air rises, reducing atmospheric pressure at the Earth’s surface, and cold air falls to replace it. The result is wind.

The air has mass and, when it is in motion, it causes kinetic energy through the effect of air currents, which can be transformed into electricity. It is a clean and inexhaustible source of energy. Therefore, it reduces the emission of greenhouse gases and preserves the environment.

How is wind energy produced?

The blades of a wind turbine are attached to the rotor of a generator. As the blades are moved by the kinetic energy of the wind, they rotate the rotor of the generator, which transmits this speed to the multiplier, producing electrical energy.

In other words, the kinetic energy of the wind turns into the mechanical energy of the generator, which then turns into electrical energy.

wind turbine schematic

How is wind energy transmitted to the national grid?

Wind farms distribute the electricity produced from their transformation center, through an electrical line, to a distribution substation. The distribution substations then further transmit the electricity, through the national grid, to the end users (homes, factories, etc.).

Is all the energy that comes from wind usable?

No. Wind energy only works with horizontal currents, and only if their speed is greater than 3 m/s and less than 25 m/s. Vertical currents do not have the necessary kinetic energy for their use.

How is a wind turbine different from a windmill?

A wind turbine transforms the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical energy, which then goes on to create electrical energy. Ancient windmills only produced mechanical energy.

What is a nacelle?

This term comes from the wagons of hot air balloons and refers to the element that is located at the top of the tower on which the blades rotate. The nacelle is a metallic structure that serves as a support for the set of elements that are located inside it and the fiberglass panels that protect the equipment from adverse weather conditions.

nacelle of wind turbine

How much electricity does wind power generate in the UK?

The United Kingdom is the world’s 6th largest producer of wind power. In 2018, wind power contributed to 52% of electricity generation from renewable sources, and 18% of all the energy produced in the UK.

What differentiates land wind farms from offshore wind farms?

Since wind power is about 30 to 50% higher in the sea than on Land, offshore wind farms are capable of generating more electricity. However, they are also more difficult to construct and maintain due to more extreme weathering conditions.

How long does it take to build a wind farm?

It currently takes 6 to 8 years for a wind farm to become fully functional.

What are the environmental benefits of wind energy compared to fossil fuels?

Technologies that burn fossil fuels generate greenhouse gases that pollute the air, worsen climate change, and affect health and the environment. Wind energy does not generate any emissions, since its fuel is the force of the wind. In 2018, wind power helped to avoid an emission of 25 million tons of CO2 (the equivalent of CO2 absorbed by almost a million pine trees in a year).

What impact do wind farms have on birds and mammals?

It is necessary to have a positive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to build a wind farm. It is not possible to build wind farms in protected areas or with a negative EIS. Environmental impact studies and environmental monitoring plans are becoming more rigorous and demanding every day, thus ensuring that the impact on birds and mammals is reducing.

Do wind turbines make noise?

Wind turbines are generally not noisy. The evolution of wind technology has made its mechanical noise almost undetectable. The aerodynamic hum of the blades as they pass the tower is the main sound they produce. In addition, strict guidelines determine the permitted noise level of a wind turbine. It is possible to stand under a turbine and carry on a conversation without having to raise your voice. The noise level of a wind turbine at 400 meters is 37 dBA (between that of a microwave and a refrigerator). At this distance, the hum of the running wind turbine cannot be discerned from the surroundings.

Are wind turbines compatible with livestock?

Wind turbines do not disturb livestock. As a result, farmers welcome wind farms since they don’t affect their ability to cultivate livestock.

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everything you should know about the wind industry
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