Anywhere in the world that has a climate which is changeable over the seasons usually has its fair share of windy conditions. Even in mild and calm places the air actually moves a lot more than you may think.
In the UK, we have some of the most suitable weather for different types of renewable energy systems to work at their best. Although both solar and tidal power are renewable energy sources which are being put to good use already, it is wind power that has made the biggest impact on the general awareness of clean power generation.
Wind power generates electricity in an environmentally friendly way because the highly developed windmills that are used don’t produce waste products of any kind. The much discussed ‘fracking’ processes use chemicals and nuclear energy production and results in highly dangerous radioactive waste products.
Wind turbine machining is a highly specialised field of manufacturing as the enormous structures are built to exacting specifications. The towers themselves are impressive constructions but it is the blades that rotate in the wind that are the true marvels of the designs.
When they were first introduced, wind farms were expensive to set up and therefore the energy they produce, although clean, was relatively expensive.
Today, the process of wind turbine blade machining is still a large scale operation but costs have come down and thus the electricity that is generated is cheaper too.
The EU Energy Directive in 2009 saw the UK Government agree to a target of generating 15% of its energy supply from renewable sources by 2020. This means that wind power energy production, along with other approaches, is going to grow year on year.
In fact, the UK has had wind farms since November 1991 and by 2007 approximately 1.5% of UK electricity was generated by the wind. It is estimated that the government will have spent £525 million on the development of wind power projects between 2011 and 2014.
Offshore Wind Power
One area of debate that arises from the use of wind farms is their effect on the landscape. Many people feel that the towers can have an adverse effect on areas of natural beauty, although there are also those who find the structures to be a majestic and pleasing sight in themselves.
One way of avoiding this potential problem, as well as utilising even more powerful winds, is to site wind farms offshore and, in 2008, the UK became the country with the most offshore wind capacity.
More Information on British Wind Power: http://www.bbc.co.uk/climate/
This post was sponsored by Mirage Machines
Image credit: Glen Bowman via photopin cc
Oh dear. I live in sight of around three hundred turbines. Most offshore and some onshore.
When it gets cold with frozen ground they all stand still.
When an Atlantic storm moves in they all stand still.
When the grid is unbalanced they all stand still.
If they stand still for too long they draw power from the grid to turn the blades and prevent pressure from warping their drive shafts or their brakes from seizing.
The monopoles in the sea are corroding.
The grout in the joint of the monopoles is failing as the seawater works it’s magic.
The seawater is corroding the plant no matter how high it sits on the pole. It’s not treating the power collection nodes perched in the sea any better.
The change in vibrations within the water and sea bed is forcing massive change in the areas animal populations.
The change in the way the tides move is having an effect on the life in the mud which supports all the life above the mud, from mollusc to man.
The lifespan of the onshore machines is working out at just under twelve years, less than half of the predicted.
The offshore machines seem to be on track for an actual lifespan of five or six years.
But despite all this the really annoying thing is that twice a day there are tides that ebb and flow with a metronome like regularity that is entirely predictable so why on earth isn’t the money being wasted in subsidising the overseas manufacturers and owners/operators of these white elephants, been invested in tidal energy harnessing?