Natural winds are used to power wind turbines and generate electricity. Wind power is the second fastest-growing alternative energy source after solar energy. Most wind farms rely on windmills to harness the power of the wind. These farms are then connected to the main transmission grids.
Wind farms generate variable electricity, so their energy output fluctuates over time. Wind energy is consistently present for longer periods of time, but has dramatic fluctuations in the short-term.
Induction generators and large capacitor banks were used in old wind power systems for power correction. Today’s plants use variable speed generators with multiple power converters and collector systems.
Advantages of wind power generation
Wind energy has a variety of benefits, some of which are listed below.
- It is cost-effective- The cost-effectiveness of wind power makes it one of the cheapest renewable energy sources. As of today, wind energy has little to no market and can therefore be considered a free source of energy. In addition to being a free source of energy, wind farms have very low operational costs as compared to other forms of energy.
- A domestic source of power- Wind power requires an abundant supply of wind in the local region. The majority of wind power systems are domestic, i.e., they benefit their local users.
- Renewable and eco-friendly- Locations suitable for wind farms have consistent wind generation throughout the year. Despite the day-to-day fluctuations, wind energy is regarded as a stable source of renewable energy in most places. It is also an environmentally friendly source of energy with a low carbon footprint.
- Provides power to remote locations- Where strong and continuous winds prevail, wind power is feasible. These places are generally geographically isolated; such as hilltops and coasts. Solar power is also often rendered ineffective by the nature of the weather. In such instances, wind power systems might be able to provide electricity to residents.
Challenges faced by wind energy industry
The wind energy industry faces significant challenges today, despite its growing popularity. Below, we discuss some of the challenges facing wind energy today.
- Challenges in Erecting Wind farms- The majority of wind farms are located in remote regions, far from major cities and infrastructure. Establishing a wind farm requires significant capital, resources, and time investments.
- Wind farms are not profitable for land-use- Although wind energy is environmentally friendly, the sheer size and scope of windmills makes them a waste of land. Such wind turbines can be built on land that can provide short-term profits.
- Location-specific Wind Farms – one of the biggest drawbacks to wind power. Significantly strong winds are needed for wind power to be viable. Due to the limited number of places that have such weather conditions throughout the year, this technology has a limited application.