Policy makers have been talking about the merits of wind power for years. The United States has only recently made a concerted effort to make wind power part of its energy matrix, but a number of European countries have come to rely on it. In fact, last September, Britain’s 3,500 wind turbines broke the country’s records by supplying its national grid with more than four gigawatts of electricity. On the same day, Germany’s 23,000 wind turbines achieved an even more dramatic accomplishment, supplying the country’s national grid with thirty-one gigawatts of power.
Though Wind Power is Becoming More Prevalent, Relatively Few People Understand Precisely How Wind Power Works
Power can be extracted from wind because wind functions in the same way as any fluid in motion does. Air that is moving at a high velocity (over 10 mph) is an abundant source of kinetic energy. In the same way that hydroelectric dams capture the energy in moving water, wind turbines are able to capture and harness the power in moving air.
The science behind how wind power works is not difficult to understand. When wind blows through a wind-electric turbine, it turns a pair or trio of propeller-like blades around a rotor. The kinetic energy that makes these blades turn powers a generator to produce electricity. The electric energy created by the generator can be either sent directly onto the power grid (after some advanced transforming and filtering), used as a stand-alone power source (say for island electricity needs), or stored for later use.
An important question for a community, an island nation, or even an industrial facility, is “how is wind power used, and can it help us?” Everyone immediately thinks of wind farms which is what we see in most pictures. These work great where there are open lands and steady, high winds most of the year. For other situations, like an island community, smaller mid-sized wind turbines can provide power to augment other sources. For an island, this might include an older coal plant, diesel generators, and even solar panels on selected buildings.
This is a major advantage of mid-sized, vertical axis wind turbines such as the Inergy EcoVert series. These have proven that wind power does not only come from large wind-turbine farms. Though these farms are necessary to power large municipalities, smaller communities and individuals can install their own wind power sources.
Larger and More Numerous Turbines Generate Correspondingly Larger Savings
Many countries have recognized the benefits of wind power. For instance, 21 percent of Denmark’s stationary electricity production comes from wind power. Closer to home, the Community Wind South wind turbine farm will soon be generating 30 megawatts of vertical wind power annually – enough electricity to power nearly 10,000 homes. The mechanics behind how wind power works are easy to grasp, and countries in Europe – as well as plenty of communities in the United States – have grasped that wind power comes with a host of advantages. To see these advantages for yourself, contact us here