Wind is not just a complex physical phenomenon. In the modern world, it is used as a source of energy and is an economically valuable product. Wind energy is becoming more and more popular in the world, and scientists from various fields are working on the development of this industry.
How great is the potential of wind energy? What advantages and disadvantages does it have? Where is it used? The time has come to answer these questions.
How it all began
There is a common misconception that wind energy was born only in XVII-XIX centuries. But in fact, wind as a source of energy was actively used by ancient civilizations. Here are some eloquent examples from history:
- As early as the 3rd or 2nd century B.C., the inhabitants of Mesopotamia had invented the first prototypes of windmills for grinding grain. The blades of these devices were driven by the wind and set in motion a large millstone. It, in turn, grinder the grain into flour. Thus, wind energy saved the efforts and time of several hundreds of workers.
- In Ancient Egypt, windmills appeared around the same period.
- In ancient China, wind was used to pump out water masses from rice fields.
- In the twelfth century, technology based on the use of air currents began to spread throughout Europe.
For a long time, wind energy could not boast of good results. It made human life and work a little easier, but could not serve for the benefit of all mankind.
And only in the XX century, technical progress touched this industry. Scientists began to develop equipment to convert the energy of air flows into electricity.
The demand for
Today, wind energy is used by humans more and more actively.
As of 2022, wind energy accounts for 42% of the total energy balance:
- Denmark – 42%;
- Portugal – 27%;
- Spain – 20%;
- Germany – 8,6%.
These countries are leaders in wind power generation. India, the USA and China aspire to join this list.
The leading states of the world are making plans to increase the number of wind farms. China and some EU countries are adopting laws on the use of renewable energy sources and capacity increase. All this contributes to development of wind power engineering.
Wind power is one of the most promising fields of modern power engineering. A clear comparison: wind potential is more than 100 times greater than the potential of all the rivers of the Earth.
Wind farms can be:
- Large. Provide electricity to cities and industrial plants.
- They generate electricity for remote residential areas and private farms.
Offshore construction is gaining popularity: wind turbines are erected right on the water, 10-12 km away from the coastline of the ocean. Such parks are more profitable than traditional ones. This is due to the fact that the wind speed over the ocean is several times higher than on land.
Wind energy has a number of significant advantages, such as:
- Affordability. Wind is a renewable “raw material. It will exist as long as there is sunshine.
- Safety for nature and humans. Like all alternative energy sources, wind is environmentally friendly. Equipment that converts wind energy creates no emissions into the atmosphere and is not a source of harmful radiation. Ways of storing, transmitting and using wind energy are environmentally friendly. Manufacturing equipment is safe for humans, as long as they use it for its intended purpose while following all safety rules.
- Successful competitiveness. Wind energy is a good alternative to nuclear power. These industries are vying for primacy in renewable energy. But nuclear power plants pose a serious threat to humanity. At the same time, not a single case of malfunction of wind energy complex, accompanied by mass deaths of workers and ordinary residents.
- Providing people with many jobs. Statistics recorded that the industry serves 1 million people. The development of wind energy is still going on, so this sphere of national economy provides people with thousands of jobs every year all over the world. This increases the percentage of employment and has a beneficial effect on the economy of a particular region, the country and the whole world.
- Ease of operation and operation. The equipment only requires periodic maintenance. Repairing or replacing turbines is a simple task. Well-trained professionals easily provide wind turbines and their serviceability. It requires only basic skills.
- Prospects. Wind energy is only in the middle of its journey. The potential of this industry is not disclosed by 100%, which means – everything is still ahead. Modern scientific and technological discoveries will increase the efficiency of wind energy and make it more profitable.
- Economic benefits. Any enterprise in the beginning of its work requires large investments. And in the industry of wind energy equipment costs are stable, while electricity prices are increasing. Consequently, production revenues are constantly increasing.
All of these characteristics contribute to the development and globalization of wind energy.
Wind energy does not have any serious disadvantages, but there are problems in this aspect as well:
- High start-up capital. It is very difficult to launch such a business, because the purchase and installation of equipment require large investments.
- The choice of territory. Not all regions of the Earth are suitable for the construction of wind energy complexes. Selection of the location is based on highly accurate calculations. At the same time, the following are taken into account:
- the number of windy days;
- speed of air flows;
- frequency of their change;
- Lack of accurate predictions. It is impossible to accurately predict that the wind characteristics in a given area will remain stable for 10/20/100 years. It is difficult to calculate how much energy wind generators will produce.
People can not “tame” the wind, so it is impossible to talk about stability in the wind farms. However, this applies to all renewable energy sources.
Opponents of wind energy invent various false theories:
- Noise generated by wind turbines harms the ecosystem. Wind farms do make noise, but at a distance of 30-40 meters it is already perceived as background (natural noise level), so it does not cause any damage to the environment.
- Wind turbines kill birds. Yes, this is indeed true. However, as many birds die from wind farms as from high-voltage grids and cars.
- Near wind farms, the TV signal is ruined. The equipment does not affect the signal quality of satellite, digital and analog TV in any way.
The main purpose of such fictions is to attract more people to the side of traditional energy, which is more profitable for modern entrepreneurs.
The leap in the development of wind energy has made life easier for humans. Wind energy is used in large industrial plants and in small agricultural complexes. It is this branch of energy is the most in demand and promising.