Hall: Wind projects OK if planned well – Daily Advance

Hall: Wind projects OK if planned well

Military readiness and wind energy facilities like the Amazon Wind Farm US East in Pasquotank and Perquimans counties can coexist as long as an adequate planning process is followed in siting them, Larry Hall, secretary of the N.C.   Click Here For Full Article

Energy From Wind – How Viable Is It?

Alternative energy is very much a topical issue today, given how pricy fuel has gotten. Wind energy is one such alternative energy source, and the spotlight has set on the efficiency of wind farms. Using wind as an alternative energy source means having a renewable power that is incredibly clean. Wind is caused by differences in the temperature on the ground, which comes from the heat of the sun, so in essence wind power could be said to originate from solar power. The wind is thus channeled to generate electricity.

Wind farms as a large-scale means of capturing the energy generated by wind has been adopted by many nations. Working like propeller blades but in reverse, the power of the wind is collected by the big blades of a number of wind turbines that have been set up in a suitably windy location. These farms are able to produce electricity in large amounts, when the wind turbines work in concert. The potential of wind farms will become plain when you are familiar with how they function. How wind turbines function is, the propeller turns a shaft when the gusts of wind turn the propeller blades. The shaft that is turning is connected to a power source, which is cranked by the spinning action, creating electric power. Using the power inherent in the flow of water instead of wind, hydropower is made in the same way.

One turbine by itself will not produce energy for more than a home or farm, so it takes more than one to create energy for a huge area. When the ability of a turbine is multiplied by having groups of them, like you find on a wind farm, the combined amount of electric power that can be created is very big. Whole towns can be run by the energy that is stored in battery-like storage cells, or existing utility power grids. The technology behind wind turbines has grown remarkably, so that now they are effective irrespective of which way they face compared to the wind – even swirling winds can be utilized.

Larger turbine blades and taller turbines also make for better efficiency. With a lot of factors that affect how well a wind turbine will operate, determining its production efficiency is not a straightforward task. There is no constant, when it comes to wind farms, since they deviate so much in terrain, size of turbines, and the amount of wind. In general, though, you can expect a wind turbine to turn into electrical energy more or less 20% of the energy contained in wind. When the wind is blowing between 5 and 20 mph, that is when the yield is the most cost-effective.

Compared to solar energy, wind power generation, rated 20% efficient, is roughly 6 percentage points better, but solar doesn’t vary as much as wind. Wind technology is coming along, and in comparison with other renewable sources, it is favorable. Amongst alternative sources of energy it has become essential, but has not yet found worldwide favour. One nation decided to invest a lot is Germany.

Wind Power as a Viable Solution to Meeting Alternative Energy Needs

Although it is much less expensive to initially get hooked into the local electric company’s grid than it is to set up and hook into wind turbines, in the long run one saves money by utilizing the wind for one’s energy needs—while also becoming more independent. Not receiving an electric bill while enjoying the advantages of the modern electrically-driven lifestyle is a wondrous feeling.

Electric bills and fuel bills are rising steadily—but the cost of wind turbine energy is zero, and the cost of installing and hooking up a turbine is steadily coming down as demand rises and more commercial success is realized by various companies producing the turbines and researching technologies to make them ever more efficient. In addition, people are moving away from the traditional electric grids and the fossil fuels for personal reasons including desire for greater independence, the desire to live remotely or rurally without having to “go primitive”, political concerns such as fears of terrorist strikes on oil fields or power grids, or concerns about the environment. Again, this motivation to get away from the traditional energy sources is the same one that causes people to seek the power of the wind for their energy, giving more business opportunities to profit from wind turbine production and maintenance, which drives their costs down for the consumers. In nearly thirty states at the time of this writing, homeowners who remain on the grid but who still choose to use wind energy (or other alternative forms) are eligible for rebates or tax breaks from the state governments that end up paying for as much as 50% of their total “green” energy systems’ costs. In addition, there are 35 states at the time of this writing where these homeowners are allowed to sell their excess energy back to the power company under what are called “net metering laws”. The rates that they are being paid by the local power companies for this energy are standard retail rates—in other words, the homeowners are actually profiting from their own energy production.

Some federal lawmakers are pushing to get the federal government to mandate these tax breaks and other wind power incentives in all 50 states. Japan and Germany already have national incentive programs in place. However, “A lot of this is handled regionally by state law. There wouldn’t really be a role for the federal government,” the Energy Department’s Craig Stevens says. And as might be imagined, there are power companies who feel that it’s unfair that they should have to pay retail rates to private individuals. “We should [only have to] pay you the wholesale rate for … your electricity,” according to Bruce Bowen, Pacific Gas & Electric’s director of regulatory policy. However, the companies seem to be more worried about losing short term profits than about the benefits, especially in the long run, of the increased use of wind turbines or wind farms. Head of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies of California V. John White points out, “It’s quality power that strengthens the grid.”

How Wind Turbines Work

When driving by a wind turbine farm, it’s impossible not to marvel at the sheer size and power of these machines. While the science may seem modern day, the concept has been around for millenniums. Its predecessor, the simple windmill, can be traced as far back as 200 B.C. when it was used for simple farming like grinding grain and drawing water. It’s not until 1888 when the first electricity producing wind turbine would be brought to the U.S. Today, it powers everything from neighborhoods to schools to telecom towers.

While we’ll leave the specifics up to the engineers, have you ever wondered what keeps these massive propellers in motion? We’ve wondered the same, so we put together a simple guide on how wind turbines work, which you can see below.

How Wind Turbines Work

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These impressive machines now supply 4.5% of the electricity in the U.S. While that may seem small, it’s equivalent to about 15.5 million U.S. homes! Better understand the energy options available in your area by visiting and start paying less for electricity today.

Photo by Charles Cook / CC BY