Wind power

Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form of energy, such as using wind turbines to produce electrical power, windmills for mechanical power, windpumps for water pumping or drainage, or sails to propel ships Large wind farms consist of hundreds of individual wind turbines which are connected to the electric power transmission network

For new constructions, onshore wind is an inexpensive source of electricity, competitive with or in many places cheaper than fossil fuel plants Offshore wind is steadier and stronger than on land, and offshore farms have less visual impact, but construction and maintenance costs are considerably higher Small onshore wind farms can feed some energy into the grid or provide electricity to isolated off-grid locations Wind power, as an alternative to fossil fuels, is plentiful, renewable, widely distributed, clean, produces no greenhouse gas emissions during operation and uses little land The effects on the environment are generally less problematic than those from other power sources

As of 2011, Denmark is generating more than a quarter of its electricity from wind and 83 countries around the world are using wind power to supply the electricity grid In 2010 wind energy production was over 25% of total worldwide electricity usage, and growing rapidly at more than 25% per annum Wind power is very consistent from year to year but has significant variation over shorter time scales As the proportion of windpower in a region increases, a need to upgrade the grid, and a lowered ability to supplant conventional production can occur

Power management techniques such as having excess capacity storage, geographically distributed turbines, dispatchable backing sources, storage such as pumped-storage hydroelectricity, exporting and importing power to neighboring areas or reducing demand when wind production is low, can greatly mitigate these problems In addition, weather forecasting permits the electricity network to be readied for the predictable variations in production that occur Wind power can be considered a topic in applied eolics History Wind power has been used as long as humans have put sails into the wind For more than two millennia wind-powered machines have ground grain and pumped water

Wind power was widely available and not confined to the banks of fast-flowing streams, or later, requiring sources of fuel Wind-powered pumps drained the polders of the Netherlands, and in arid regions such as the American mid-west or the Australian outback, wind pumps provided water for live stock and steam engines The first windmill used for the production of electricity was built in Scotland in July 1887 by Prof James Blyth of Anderson's College, Glasgow Blyth's 10 m high, cloth-sailed wind turbine was installed in the garden of his holiday cottage at Marykirk in Kincardineshire and was used to charge accumulators developed by the Frenchman Camille Alphonse Faure, to power the lighting in the cottage, thus making it the first house in the world to have its electricity supplied by wind power Blyth offered the surplus electricity to the people of Marykirk for lighting the main street, however, they turned down the offer as they thought electricity was "the work of the devil

" Although he later built a wind turbine to supply emergency power to the local Lunatic Asylum, Infirmary and Dispensary of Montrose the invention never really caught on as the technology was not considered to be economically viable Across the Atlantic, in Cleveland, Ohio a larger and heavily engineered machine was designed and constructed in the winter of 1887-1888 by Charles F Brush, this was built by his engineering company at his home and operated from 1886 until 1900 The Brush wind turbine had a rotor 17 m in diameter and was mounted on an 18 m tower Although large by today's standards, the machine was only rated at 12 kW

The connected dynamo was used either to charge a bank of batteries or to operate up to 100 incandescent light bulbs, three arc lamps, and various motors in Brush's laboratory With the development of electric power, wind power found new applications in lighting buildings remote from centrally-generated power Throughout the 20th century parallel paths developed small wind plants suitable for farms or residences, and larger utility-scale wind generators that could be connected to electricity grids for remote use of power Today wind powered generators operate in every size range between tiny plants for battery charging at isolated residences, up to near-gigawatt sized offshore wind farms that provide electricity to national electrical networks Wind farms Main articles: Wind farm and List of onshore wind farms

A wind farm is a group of wind turbines in the same location used for production of electricity A large wind farm may consist of several hundred individual wind turbines distributed over an extended area, but the land between the turbines may be used for agricultural or other purposes A wind farm may also be located offshore Almost all large wind turbines have the same design — a horizontal axis wind turbine having an upwind rotor with three blades, attached to a nacelle on top of a tall tubular tower In a wind farm, individual turbines are interconnected with a medium voltage, power collection system and communications network

At a substation, this medium-voltage electric current is increased in voltage with a transformer for connection to the high voltage electric power transmission system Feeding into grid Induction generators, often used for wind power, require reactive power for excitation so substations used in wind-power collection systems include substantial capacitor banks for power factor correction Different types of wind turbine generators behave differently during transmission grid disturbances, so extensive modelling of the dynamic electromechanical characteristics of a new wind farm is required by transmission system operators to ensure predictable stable behaviour during system faults In particular, induction generators cannot support the system voltage during faults, unlike steam or hydro turbine-driven synchronous generators Doubly fed machines generally have more desirable properties for grid interconnection

Transmission systems operators will supply a wind farm developer with a grid code to specify the requirements for interconnection to the transmission grid This will include power factor, constancy of frequency and dynamic behavior of the wind farm turbines during a system fault Offshore wind power Offshore wind power refers to the construction of wind farms in large bodies of water to generate electricity These installations can utilise the more frequent and powerful winds that are available in these locations and have less aesthetic impact on the landscape than land based projects However, the construction and the maintenance costs are considerably higher

Siemens and Vestas are the leading turbine suppliers for offshore wind power DONG Energy, Vattenfall and EON are the leading offshore operators As of October 2010, 316 GW of offshore wind power capacity was operational, mainly in Northern Europe

According to BTM Consult, more than 16 GW of additional capacity will be installed before the end of 2014 and the UK and Germany will become the two leading markets Offshore wind power capacity is expected to reach a total of 75 GW worldwide by 2020, with significant contributions from China and the US At the end of 2012, 1,662 turbines at 55 offshore wind farms in 10 European countries are generating 18 TWh, which can power almost five million households As of August 2013 the London Array in the United Kingdom is the largest offshore wind farm in the world at 630 MW This is followed by the Greater Gabbard Wind Farm, also in the UK

The Gwynt y Môr wind farm is the largest project currently under construction Wind power capacity and production Worldwide there are now over two hundred thousand wind turbines operating, with a total nameplate capacity of 282,482 MW as of end 2012 The European Union alone passed some 100,000 MW nameplate capacity in September 2012, while the United States surpassed 50,000 MW in August 2012 and China's grid connected capacity passed 50,000 MW the same month World wind generation capacity more than quadrupled between 2000 and 2006, doubling about every three years The United States pioneered wind farms and led the world in installed capacity in the 1980s and into the 1990s

In 1997 German installed capacity surpassed the US and led until once again overtaken by the US in 2008

China has been rapidly expanding its wind installations in the late 2000s and passed the US in 2010 to become the world leader At the end of 2013, worldwide nameplate capacity of wind-powered generators was 318 gigawatts, growing by 35 GW over the preceding year According to the World Wind Energy Association, an industry organization, in 2010 wind power generated 430 TWh or about 2

5% of worldwide electricity usage, up from 15% in 2008 and 01% in 1997 Between 2005 and 2010 the average annual growth in new installations was 276%

Wind power market penetration is expected to reach 335% by 2013 and 8% by 2018 The actual amount of electricity that wind is able to generate is calculated by multiplying the nameplate capacity by the capacity factor, which varies according to equipment and location Estimates of the capacity factors for wind installations are in the range of 35% to 44% Several countries have already achieved relatively high levels of penetration, such as 28% of stationary electricity production in Denmark, 19% in Portugal, 16% in Spain, 16% in Ireland and 8% in Germany

As of 2011, 83 countries around the world were using wind power on a commercial basis Europe accounted for 48% of the world total wind power generation capacity in 2009 In 2010, Spain became Europe's leading producer of wind energy, achieving 42,976 GWh Germany held the top spot in Europe in terms of installed capacity, with a total of 27,215 MW as of 31 December 2010 Growth trends In 2010, more than half of all new wind power was added outside of the traditional markets in Europe and North America

This was largely from new construction in China, which accounted for nearly half the new wind installations Global Wind Energy Council figures show that 2007 recorded an increase of installed capacity of 20 GW, taking the total installed wind energy capacity to 94 GW, up from 74 GW in 2006 Despite constraints facing supply chains for wind turbines, the annual market for wind continued to increase at an estimated rate of 37%, following 32% growth in 2006 In terms of economic value, the wind energy sector has become one of the important players in the energy markets, with the total value of new generating equipment installed in 2007 reaching €25 billion, or US$36 billion Although the wind power industry was affected by the global financial crisis in 2009 and 2010, a BTM Consult five-year forecast up to 2013 projects substantial growth

Over the past five years the average growth in new installations has been 276% each year In the forecast to 2013 the expected average annual growth rate is 157% More than 200 GW of new wind power capacity could come on line before the end of 2014

Wind power market penetration is expected to reach 335% by 2013 and 8% by 2018 Capacity factor Since wind speed is not constant, a wind farm's annual energy production is never as much as the sum of the generator nameplate ratings multiplied by the total hours in a year The ratio of actual productivity in a year to this theoretical maximum is called the capacity factor Typical capacity factors are 15–50%; values at the upper end of the range are achieved in favourable sites and are due to wind turbine design improvements

Online data is available for some locations, and the capacity factor can be calculated from the yearly output For example, the German nation-wide average wind power capacity factor over all of 2012 was just under 175% = 01746), and the capacity factor for Scottish wind farms averaged 24% between 2008 and 2010 Unlike fueled generating plants, the capacity factor is affected by several parameters, including the variability of the wind at the site and the size of the generator relative to the turbine's swept area

A small generator would be cheaper and achieve a higher capacity factor but would produce less electricity in high winds Conversely, a large generator would cost more but generate little extra power and, depending on the type, may stall out at low wind speed Thus an optimum capacity factor of around 40–50% would be aimed for In a 2008 study released by the US

Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the capacity factor achieved by the US wind turbine fleet is shown to be increasing as the technology improves The capacity factor achieved by new wind turbines in 2010 reached almost 40% Penetration Wind energy penetration refers to the fraction of energy produced by wind compared with the total available generation capacity

There is no generally accepted maximum level of wind penetration The limit for a particular grid will depend on the existing generating plants, pricing mechanisms, capacity for energy storage, demand management and other factors An interconnected electricity grid will already include reserve generating and transmission capacity to allow for equipment failures This reserve capacity can also serve to compensate for the varying power generation produced by wind plants Studies have indicated that 20% of the total annual electrical energy consumption may be incorporated with minimal difficulty

These studies have been for locations with geographically dispersed wind farms, some degree of dispatchable energy or hydropower with storage capacity, demand management, and interconnected to a large grid area enabling the export of electricity when needed Beyond the 20% level, there are few technical limits, but the economic implications become more significant Electrical utilities continue to study the effects of large scale penetration of wind generation on system stability and economics A wind energy penetration figure can be specified for different durations of time On an annual basis, as of 2011, few grid systems have penetration levels above 5%: Denmark – 29%, Portugal – 19%, Spain – 19%, Ireland – 18%, and Germany – 11%

For the US in 2011, the penetration level was estimated at 33% To obtain 100% from wind annually requires substantial long term storage

On a monthly, weekly, daily, or hourly basis—or less—wind can supply as much as or more than 100% of current use, with the rest stored or exported Seasonal industry can take advantage of high wind and low usage times such as at night when wind output can exceed normal demand Such industry can include production of silicon, aluminum, steel, or of natural gas, and hydrogen, which allow long term storage, facilitating 100% energy from variable renewable energy Homes can also be programmed to accept extra electricity on demand, for example by remotely turning up water heater thermostats Variability Electricity generated from wind power can be highly variable at several different timescales: hourly, daily, or seasonally

Annual variation also exists, but is not as significant Because instantaneous electrical generation and consumption must remain in balance to maintain grid stability, this variability can present substantial challenges to incorporating large amounts of wind power into a grid system Intermittency and the non-dispatchable nature of wind energy production can raise costs for regulation, incremental operating reserve, and could require an increase in the already existing energy demand management, load shedding, storage solutions or system interconnection with HVDC cables Fluctuations in load and allowance for failure of large fossil-fuel generating units require reserve capacity that can also compensate for variability of wind generation Wind power is however, variable, but during low wind periods it can be replaced by other power sources

Transmission networks presently cope with outages of other generation plants and daily changes in electrical demand, but the variability of intermittent power sources such as wind power, are unlike those of conventional power generation plants which, when scheduled to be operating, may be able to deliver their nameplate capacity around 95% of the time Presently, grid systems with large wind penetration require a small increase in the frequency of usage of natural gas spinning reserve power plants to prevent a loss of electricity in the event that conditions are not favorable for power production from the wind At lower wind power grid penetration, this is less of an issue GE has installed a prototype wind turbine with onboard battery similar to that of an electric car, equivalent of 1 minute of production Despite the small capacity, it is enough to guarantee that power output complies with forecast for 15 minutes, as the battery is used to eliminate the difference rather than provide full output

The increased predictability can be used to take wind power penetration from 20 to 30 or 40 per cent The battery cost can be retrieved by selling burst power on demand and reducing backup needs from gas plants A report on Denmark's wind power noted that their wind power network provided less than 1% of average demand on 54 days during the year 2002 Wind power advocates argue that these periods of low wind can be dealt with by simply restarting existing power stations that have been held in readiness, or interlinking with HVDC Electrical grids with slow-responding thermal power plants and without ties to networks with hydroelectric generation may have to limit the use of wind power

According to a 2007 Stanford University study published in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, interconnecting ten or more wind farms can allow an average of 33% of the total energy produced to be used as reliable, baseload electric power which can be relied on to handle peak loads, as long as minimum criteria are met for wind speed and turbine height Conversely, on particularly windy days, even with penetration levels of 16%, wind power generation can surpass all other electricity sources in a country In Spain, on 16 April 2012 wind power production reached the highest percentage of electricity production till then, with wind farms covering 6046% of the total demand In Denmark, which had power market penetration of 30% in 2013, over 90 hours, wind power generated 100% of the countries power, peaking at 122% of the countries demand at 2am on the 28th October

A 2006 International Energy Agency forum presented costs for managing intermittency as a function of wind-energy's share of total capacity for several countries, as shown in the table on the right Three reports on the wind variability in the UK issued in 2009, generally agree that variability of wind needs to be taken into account, but it does not make the grid unmanageable The additional costs, which are modest, can be quantified The combination of diversifying variable renewables by type and location, forecasting their variation, and integrating them with dispatchable renewables, flexible fueled generators, and demand response can create a power system that has the potential to meet power supply needs reliably Integrating ever-higher levels of renewables is being successfully demonstrated in the real world: In 2009, eight American and three European authorities, writing in the leading electrical engineers' professional journal, didn't find "a credible and firm technical limit to the amount of wind energy that can be accommodated by electricity grids"

In fact, not one of more than 200 international studies, nor official studies for the eastern and western US regions, nor the International Energy Agency, has found major costs or technical barriers to reliably integrating up to 30% variable renewable supplies into the grid, and in some studies much more – Reinventing Fire Solar power tends to be complementary to wind On daily to weekly timescales, high pressure areas tend to bring clear skies and low surface winds, whereas low pressure areas tend to be windier and cloudier

On seasonal timescales, solar energy peaks in summer, whereas in many areas wind energy is lower in summer and higher in winter Thus the intermittencies of wind and solar power tend to cancel each other somewhat In 2007 the Institute for Solar Energy Supply Technology of the University of Kassel pilot-tested a combined power plant linking solar, wind, biogas and hydrostorage to provide load-following power around the clock and throughout the year, entirely from renewable sources Predictability Wind power forecasting methods are used, but predictability of any particular wind farm is low for short-term operation For any particular generator there is an 80% chance that wind output will change less than 10% in an hour and a 40% chance that it will change 10% or more in 5 hours

However, studies by Graham Sinden suggest that, in practice, the variations in thousands of wind turbines, spread out over several different sites and wind regimes, are smoothed As the distance between sites increases, the correlation between wind speeds measured at those sites, decreases Thus, while the output from a single turbine can vary greatly and rapidly as local wind speeds vary, as more turbines are connected over larger and larger areas the average power output becomes less variable and more predictable Energy storage Main article: Grid energy storage See also: List of energy storage projects

Typically, conventional hydroelectricity complements wind power very well When the wind is blowing strongly, nearby hydroelectric plants can temporarily hold back their water When the wind drops they can, provided they have the generation capacity, rapidly increase production to compensate This gives a very even overall power supply and virtually no loss of energy and uses no more water Alternatively, where a suitable head of water is not available, pumped-storage hydroelectricity or other forms of grid energy storage such as compressed air energy storage and thermal energy storage can store energy developed by high-wind periods and release it when needed

The type of storage needed depends on the wind penetration level – low penetration requires daily storage, and high penetration requires both short and long term storage – as long as a month or more Stored energy increases the economic value of wind energy since it can be shifted to displace higher cost generation during peak demand periods The potential revenue from this arbitrage can offset the cost and losses of storage; the cost of storage may add 25% to the cost of any wind energy stored but it is not envisaged that this would apply to a large proportion of wind energy generated For example, in the UK, the 17 GW Dinorwig pumped-storage plant evens out electrical demand peaks, and allows base-load suppliers to run their plants more efficiently

Although pumped-storage power systems are only about 75% efficient, and have high installation costs, their low running costs and ability to reduce the required electrical base-load can save both fuel and total electrical generation costs In particular geographic regions, peak wind speeds may not coincide with peak demand for electrical power In the US states of California and Texas, for example, hot days in summer may have low wind speed and high electrical demand due to the use of air conditioning

Some utilities subsidize the purchase of geothermal heat pumps by their customers, to reduce electricity demand during the summer months by making air conditioning up to 70% more efficient; widespread adoption of this technology would better match electricity demand to wind availability in areas with hot summers and low summer winds A possible future option may be to interconnect widely dispersed geographic areas with an HVDC "super grid" In the US it is estimated that to upgrade the transmission system to take in planned or potential renewables would cost at least $60 billion

Germany has an installed capacity of wind and solar that can exceed daily demand, and has been exporting peak power to neighboring countries, with exports which amounted to some 147 billion kilowatt hours in 2012 A more practical solution is the installation of thirty days storage capacity able to supply 80% of demand, which will become necessary when most of Europe's energy is obtained from wind power and solar power Just as the EU requires member countries to maintain 90 days strategic reserves of oil it can be expected that countries will provide electricity storage, instead of expecting to use their neighbors for net metering Wind power hardly ever suffers major technical failures, since failures of individual wind turbines have hardly any effect on overall power, so that the distributed wind power is highly reliable and predictable, whereas conventional generators, while far less variable, can suffer major unpredictable outages

Capacity credit and fuel savings The capacity credit of wind is estimated by determining the capacity of conventional plants displaced by wind power, whilst maintaining the same degree of system security, However, the precise value is irrelevant since the main value of wind is its fuel and CO 2 savings, and wind is not expected to be constantly available Economics Wind turbines reached grid parity in some areas of Europe in the mid-2000s, and in the US around the same time Falling prices continue to drive the levelized cost down and it has been suggested that it has reached general grid parity in Europe in 2010, and will reach the same point in the US around 2016 due to an expected reduction in capital costs of about 12% Cost trends Wind power is capital intensive, but has no fuel costs

The price of wind power is therefore much more stable than the volatile prices of fossil fuel sources The marginal cost of wind energy once a plant is constructed is usually less than 1-cent per kW·h This cost has additionally reduced as wind turbine technology has improved There are now longer and lighter wind turbine blades, improvements in turbine performance and increased power generation efficiency Also, wind project capital and maintenance costs have continued to decline

The estimated average cost per unit incorporates the cost of construction of the turbine and transmission facilities, borrowed funds, return to investors, estimated annual production, and other components, averaged over the projected useful life of the equipment, which may be in excess of twenty years Energy cost estimates are highly dependent on these assumptions so published cost figures can differ substantially In 2004, wind energy cost a fifth of what it did in the 1980s, and some expected that downward trend to continue as larger multi-megawatt turbines were mass-produced As of 2012 capital costs for wind turbines are substantially lower than 2008–2010 but are still above 2002 levels A 2011 report from the American Wind Energy Association stated, "Wind's costs have dropped over the past two years, in the range of 5 to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour recently

about 2 cents cheaper than coal-fired electricity, and more projects were financed through debt arrangements than tax equity structures last year winning more mainstream acceptance from Wall Street's banks Equipment makers can also deliver products in the same year that they are ordered instead of waiting up to three years as was the case in previous cycles 5,600 MW of new installed capacity is under construction in the United States, more than double the number at this point in 2010 Thirty-five percent of all new power generation built in the United States since 2005 has come from wind, more than new gas and coal plants combined, as power providers are increasingly enticed to wind as a convenient hedge against unpredictable commodity price moves" A British Wind Energy Association report gives an average generation cost of onshore wind power of around 32 pence per kW·h Cost per unit of energy produced was estimated in 2006 to be comparable to the cost of new generating capacity in the US for coal and natural gas: wind cost was estimated at $55

80 per MW·h, coal at $5310/MW·h and natural gas at $5250 Similar comparative results with natural gas were obtained in a governmental study in the UK in 2011 The presence of wind energy, even when subsidised, can reduce costs for consumers by reducing the marginal price, by minimising the use of expensive peaking power plants

In February 2013 Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported that the cost of generating electricity from new wind farms is cheaper than new coal or new baseload gas plants When including the current Australian federal government carbon pricing scheme their modeling gives costs of $80/MWh for new wind farms, $143/MWh for new coal plants and $116/MWh for new baseload gas plants The modeling also shows that "even without a carbon price wind energy is 14% cheaper than new coal and 18% cheaper than new gas" Part of the higher costs for new coal plants is due to high financial lending costs because of "the reputational damage of emissions-intensive investments" The expense of gas fired plants is partly due to "export market" effects on local prices

Costs of production from coal fired plants built in "the 1970s and 1980s" are cheaper than renewable energy sources because of depreciation The wind industry in the USA is now able to produce more power at lower cost by using taller wind turbines with longer blades, capturing the faster winds at higher elevations This has opened up new opportunities and in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, the price of power from wind turbines built 300 feet to 400 feet above the ground can now compete with conventional fossil fuels like coal Prices have fallen to about 4 cents per kilowatt-hour in some cases and utilities have been increasing the amount of wind energy in their portfolio, saying it is their cheapest option Incentives and community benefits The U

S wind industry generates tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of economic activity Wind projects provide local taxes, or payments in lieu of taxes and strengthen the economy of rural communities by providing income to farmers with wind turbines on their land Wind energy in many jurisdictions receives financial or other support to encourage its development Wind energy benefits from subsidies in many jurisdictions, either to increase its attractiveness, or to compensate for subsidies received by other forms of production which have significant negative externalities

In the US, wind power receives a production tax credit of 15¢/kWh in 1993 dollars for each kW·h produced, for the first ten years; at 22 cents per kW·h in 2012, the credit was renewed on 2 January 2012, to include construction begun in 2013 A 30% tax credit can be applied instead of receiving the PTC Another tax benefit is accelerated depreciation

Many American states also provide incentives, such as exemption from property tax, mandated purchases, and additional markets for "green credits" The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 contains extensions of credits for wind, including microturbines Countries such as Canada and Germany also provide incentives for wind turbine construction, such as tax credits or minimum purchase prices for wind generation, with assured grid access These feed-in tariffs are typically set well above average electricity prices In December 2013 U

S Senator Lamar Alexander and other Republican senators argued that the "wind energy production tax credit should be allowed to expire at the end of 2013" Secondary market forces also provide incentives for businesses to use wind-generated power, even if there is a premium price for the electricity For example, socially responsible manufacturers pay utility companies a premium that goes to subsidize and build new wind power infrastructure Companies use wind-generated power, and in return they can claim that they are undertaking strong "green" efforts

In the US the organization Green-e monitors business compliance with these renewable energy credits Small-scale wind power Small-scale wind power is the name given to wind generation systems with the capacity to produce up to 50 kW of electrical power Isolated communities, that may otherwise rely on diesel generators, may use wind turbines as an alternative Individuals may purchase these systems to reduce or eliminate their dependence on grid electricity for economic reasons, or to reduce their carbon footprint Wind turbines have been used for household electricity generation in conjunction with battery storage over many decades in remote areas

Recent examples of small-scale wind power projects in an urban setting can be found in New York City, where, since 2009, a number of building projects have capped their roofs with Gorlov-type helical wind turbines Although the energy they generate is small compared to the buildings' overall consumption, they help to reinforce the building's 'green' credentials in ways that "showing people your high-tech boiler" can not, with some of the projects also receiving the direct support of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority Grid-connected domestic wind turbines may use grid energy storage, thus replacing purchased electricity with locally produced power when available The surplus power produced by domestic microgenerators can, in some jurisdictions, be fed into the network and sold to the utility company, producing a retail credit for the microgenerators' owners to offset their energy costs Off-grid system users can either adapt to intermittent power or use batteries, photovoltaic or diesel systems to supplement the wind turbine

Equipment such as parking meters, traffic warning signs, street lighting, or wireless Internet gateways may be powered by a small wind turbine, possibly combined with a photovoltaic system, that charges a small battery replacing the need for a connection to the power grid A Carbon Trust study into the potential of small-scale wind energy in the UK, published in 2010, found that small wind turbines could provide up to 15 terawatt hours per year of electricity, saving 06 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emission savings This is based on the assumption that 10% of households would install turbines at costs competitive with grid electricity, around 12 pence a kW·h

A report prepared for the UK's government-sponsored Energy Saving Trust in 2006, found that home power generators of various kinds could provide 30 to 40% of the country's electricity needs by 2050 Distributed generation from renewable resources is increasing as a consequence of the increased awareness of climate change The electronic interfaces required to connect renewable generation units with the utility system can include additional functions, such as the active filtering to enhance the power quality Environmental effects Compared to the environmental impact of traditional energy sources, the environmental impact of wind power is relatively minor in terms of pollution Wind power consumes no fuel, and emits no air pollution, unlike fossil fuel power sources

The energy consumed to manufacture and transport the materials used to build a wind power plant is equal to the new energy produced by the plant within a few months While a wind farm may cover a large area of land, many land uses such as agriculture are compatible, with only small areas of turbine foundations and infrastructure made unavailable for use There are reports of bird and bat mortality at wind turbines as there are around other artificial structures The scale of the ecological impact may or may not be significant, depending on specific circumstances Although many artificial structures can kill birds, wind power has a disproportionate effect on certain endangered bird species

An especially vulnerable group are raptors, which are slow to reproduce and favor the high wind speed corridors that wind turbine companies build turbines in, to maximize energy production Although they have a negligible effect on most birds, in some locations there is a disproportionate effects on some birds of conservation concern, such as the golden eagle and raptor species However, a large meta-analysis of 616 individual studies on electricity production and its effects on avian mortality concluded that the most visible impacts of wind technology are not necessarily the most flagrant ones, as: Prevention and mitigation of wildlife fatalities, and protection of peat bogs, affect the siting and operation of wind turbines There are anecdotal reports of negative effects from noise on people who live very close to wind turbines Peer-reviewed research has generally not supported these statements

Politics Central government Nuclear power and fossil fuels are subsidized by many governments, and wind power and other forms of renewable energy are also often subsidized For example a 2009 study by the Environmental Law Institute assessed the size and structure of US energy subsidies over the 2002–2008 period The study estimated that subsidies to fossil-fuel based sources amounted to approximately $72 billion over this period and subsidies to renewable fuel sources totalled $29 billion

In the United States, the federal government has paid US$74 billion for energy subsidies to support R&D for nuclear power and fossil fuels from 1973 to 2003 During this same time frame, renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency received a total of US$26 billion It has been suggested that a subsidy shift would help to level the playing field and support growing energy sectors, namely solar power, wind power, and biofuels History shows that no energy sector was developed without subsidies According to the International Energy Agency, energy subsidies artificially lower the price of energy paid by consumers, raise the price received by producers or lower the cost of production

"Fossil fuels subsidies costs generally outweigh the benefits Subsidies to renewables and low-carbon energy technologies can bring long-term economic and environmental benefits" In November 2011, an IEA report entitled Deploying Renewables 2011 said "subsidies in green energy technologies that were not yet competitive are justified in order to give an incentive to investing into technologies with clear environmental and energy security benefits" The IEA's report disagreed with claims that renewable energy technologies are only viable through costly subsidies and not able to produce energy reliably to meet demand In the U

S, the wind power industry has recently increased its lobbying efforts considerably, spending about $5 million in 2009 after years of relative obscurity in Washington By comparison, the US nuclear industry alone spent over $650 million on its lobbying efforts and campaign contributions during a single ten-year period ending in 2008

Following the 2011 Japanese nuclear accidents, Germany's federal government is working on a new plan for increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy commercialization, with a particular focus on offshore wind farms Under the plan, large wind turbines will be erected far away from the coastlines, where the wind blows more consistently than it does on land, and where the enormous turbines won't bother the inhabitants The plan aims to decrease Germany's dependence on energy derived from coal and nuclear power plants Public opinion Surveys of public attitudes across Europe and in many other countries show strong public support for wind power About 80% of EU citizens support wind power

In Germany, where wind power has gained very high social acceptance, hundreds of thousands of people have invested in citizens' wind farms across the country and thousands of small and medium sized enterprises are running successful businesses in a new sector that in 2008 employed 90,000 people and generated 8% of Germany's electricity Although wind power is a popular form of energy generation, the construction of wind farms is not universally welcomed, often for aesthetic reasons In Spain, with some exceptions, there has been little opposition to the installation of inland wind parks However, the projects to build offshore parks have been more controversial In particular, the proposal of building the biggest offshore wind power production facility in the world in southwestern Spain in the coast of Cádiz, on the spot of the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar

has been met with strong opposition who fear for tourism and fisheries in the area, and because the area is a war grave In a survey conducted by Angus Reid Strategies in October 2007, 89 per cent of respondents said that using renewable energy sources like wind or solar power was positive for Canada, because these sources were better for the environment Only 4 per cent considered using renewable sources as negative since they can be unreliable and expensive According to a Saint Consulting survey in April 2007, wind power was the alternative energy source most likely to gain public support for future development in Canada, with only 16% opposed to this type of energy By contrast, 3 out of 4 Canadians opposed nuclear power developments

A 2003 survey of residents living around Scotland's 10 existing wind farms found high levels of community acceptance and strong support for wind power, with much support from those who lived closest to the wind farms The results of this survey support those of an earlier Scottish Executive survey 'Public attitudes to the Environment in Scotland 2002', which found that the Scottish public would prefer the majority of their electricity to come from renewables, and which rated wind power as the cleanest source of renewable energy A survey conducted in 2005 showed that 74% of people in Scotland agree that wind farms are necessary to meet current and future energy needs When people were asked the same question in a Scottish renewables study conducted in 2010, 78% agreed The increase is significant as there were twice as many wind farms in 2010 as there were in 2005

The 2010 survey also showed that 52% disagreed with the statement that wind farms are "ugly and a blot on the landscape" 59% agreed that wind farms were necessary and that how they looked was unimportant Scotland is planning to obtain 100% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020 In other cases there is direct community ownership of wind farm projects In Germany, hundreds of thousands of people have invested in citizens' wind farms across the country and thousands of small and medium sized enterprises are running successful businesses in a new sector that in 2008 employed 90,000 people and generated 8 percent of Germany's electricity

Wind power has gained very high social acceptance in Germany Surveys of public attitudes across Europe and in many other countries show strong public support for wind power Community Many wind power companies work with local communities to reduce environmental and other concerns associated with particular wind farms In other cases there is direct community ownership of wind farm projects Appropriate government consultation, planning and approval procedures also help to minimize environmental risks

Some may still object to wind farms but, according to The Australia Institute, their concerns should be weighed against the need to address the threats posed by climate change and the opinions of the broader community In America, wind projects are reported to boost local tax bases, helping to pay for schools, roads and hospitals Wind projects also revitalize the economy of rural communities by providing steady income to farmers and other landowners In the UK, both the National Trust and the Campaign to Protect Rural England have expressed concerns about the effects on the rural landscape caused by inappropriately sited wind turbines and wind farms Some wind farms have become tourist attractions

The Whitelee Wind Farm Visitor Centre has an exhibition room, a learning hub, a café with a viewing deck and also a shop It is run by the Glasgow Science Centre In Denmark, a loss-of-value scheme gives people the right to claim compensation for loss of value of their property if it is caused by proximity to a wind turbine The loss must be at least 1% of the property's value Despite this general support for the concept of wind power in the public at large, local opposition often exists and has delayed or aborted a number of projects

While aesthetic issues are subjective and some find wind farms pleasant and optimistic, or symbols of energy independence and local prosperity, protest groups are often formed to attempt to block new wind power sites for various reasons This type of opposition is often described as NIMBYism, but research carried out in 2009 found that there is little evidence to support the belief that residents only object to renewable power facilities such as wind turbines as a result of a "Not in my Back Yard" attitude Turbine design Main articles: Wind turbine and Wind turbine design See also: Wind turbine aerodynamics Wind turbines are devices that convert the wind's kinetic energy into electrical power

The result of over a millennium of windmill development and modern engineering, today's wind turbines are manufactured in a wide range of horizontal axis and vertical axis types The smallest turbines are used for applications such as battery charging for auxiliary power Slightly larger turbines can be used for making small contributions to a domestic power supply while selling unused power back to the utility supplier via the electrical grid Arrays of large turbines, known as wind farms, have become an increasingly important source of renewable energy and are used in many countries as part of a strategy to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels Wind turbine design is the process of defining the form and specifications of a wind turbine to extract energy from the wind

A wind turbine installation consists of the necessary systems needed to capture the wind's energy, point the turbine into the wind, convert mechanical rotation into electrical power, and other systems to start, stop, and control the turbine In 1919 the physicist Albert Betz showed that for a hypothetical ideal wind-energy extraction machine, the fundamental laws of conservation of mass and energy allowed no more than 16/27 of the kinetic energy of the wind to be captured This Betz limit can be approached in modern turbine designs, which may reach 70 to 80% of the theoretical Betz limit The aerodynamics of a wind turbine are not straightforward The air flow at the blades is not the same as the airflow far away from the turbine

The very nature of the way in which energy is extracted from the air also causes air to be deflected by the turbine In addition the aerodynamics of a wind turbine at the rotor surface exhibit phenomena that are rarely seen in other aerodynamic fields The shape and dimensions of the blades of the wind turbine are determined by the aerodynamic performance required to efficiently extract energy from the wind, and by the strength required to resist the forces on the blade In addition to the aerodynamic design of the blades, the design of a complete wind power system must also address the design of the installation's rotor hub, nacelle, tower structure, generator, controls, and foundation Further design factors must also be considered when integrating wind turbines into electrical power grids

Wind energy Wind energy is the kinetic energy of air in motion, also called wind Total wind energy flowing through an imaginary area A during the time t is: where ρ is the density of air; v is the wind speed; Avt is the volume of air passing through A; Avtρ is therefore the mass m passing through "A" Note that ½ ρv2 is the kinetic energy of the moving air per unit volume Power is energy per unit time, so the wind power incident on A is: Wind power in an open air stream is thus proportional to the third power of the wind speed; the available power increases eightfold when the wind speed doubles Wind turbines for grid electricity therefore need to be especially efficient at greater wind speeds

Wind is the movement of air across the surface of the Earth, affected by areas of high pressure and of low pressure The surface of the Earth is heated unevenly by the Sun, depending on factors such as the angle of incidence of the sun's rays at the surface and whether the land is open or covered with vegetation Also, large bodies of water, such as the oceans, heat up and cool down slower than the land The heat energy absorbed at the Earth's surface is transferred to the air directly above it and, as warmer air is less dense than cooler air, it rises above the cool air to form areas of high pressure and thus pressure differentials The rotation of the Earth drags the atmosphere around with it causing turbulence

These effects combine to cause a constantly varying pattern of winds across the surface of the Earth The total amount of economically extractable power available from the wind is considerably more than present human power use from all sources Axel Kleidon of the Max Planck Institute in Germany, carried out a "top down" calculation on how much wind energy there is, starting with the incoming solar radiation that drives the winds by creating temperature differences in the atmosphere He concluded that somewhere between 18 TW and 68 TW could be extracted Cristina Archer and Mark Z

Jacobson presented a "bottom-up" estimate, which unlike Kleidon's are based on actual measurements of wind speeds, and found that there is 1700 TW of wind power at an altitude of 100 metres over land and sea Of this, "between 72 and 170 TW could be extracted in a practical and cost-competitive manner" They later estimated 80 TW However research at Harvard University estimates 1 Watt/m2 on average and 2–10 MW/km2 capacity for large scale wind farms, suggesting that these estimates of total global wind resources are too high by a factor of about 4 The strength of wind varies, and an average value for a given location does not alone indicate the amount of energy a wind turbine could produce there

To assess the frequency of wind speeds at a particular location, a probability distribution function is often fit to the observed data Different locations will have different wind speed distributions The Weibull model closely mirrors the actual distribution of hourly/ten-minute wind speeds at many locations The Weibull factor is often close to 2 and therefore a Rayleigh distribution can be used as a less accurate, but simpler model See also Notes ^ For example, a 1 MW turbine with a capacity factor of 35% will not produce 8,760 MW·h in a year, but only 1 × 0

35 × 24 × 365 = 3,066 MW·h, averaging to 035 MW ^ California and Minnesota are exceptions References Further reading Robert Gasch, Jochen Twele, Wind power plants Fundamentals, design, construction and operation, Springer 2012 ISBN 978-3-642-22937-4

Erich Hau, Wind turbines: fundamentals, technologies, application, economics Springer, 2013 ISBN 978-3-642-27150-2 Siegfried Heier, Grid integration of wind energy conversion systems Wiley 2006, ISBN 978-0-470-86899-7 Peter Jamieson, Innovation in Wind Turbine Design Wiley & Sons 2011, ISBN 978-0-470-69981-2 Alois Schaffarczyk, Understanding wind power technology, Wiley & Sons 2014, ISBN 978-1-118-64751-6 Hermann-Josef Wagner, Jyotirmay Mathur, Introduction to wind energy systems Basics, technology and operation

Springer 2013, ISBN 978-3-642-32975-3 External links World Wind Energy Association Tethys – an online knowledge management system that provides the offshore wind community with access to information and scientific literature on the environmental effects of offshore wind developments

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