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What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Wind Power?
By admin February 23, 2021

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Agricultural landscape of green field with two windmills (wind turbines)

PIRNA, SAXONY, GERMANY – 2020/04/27: Agricultural landscape with a yellow blooming rapeseed (Brassica napus) field, two wind turbines in the distance. (Photo by Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Wind Power: What are the advantages and disadvantages? We were prompted to publish this blog following the Texas snowstorm/power grid failure. If you recall, Gov. Abbott of Texas falsely claimed that wind turbines were to blame for the power grid failure. Of course, this is totally untrue. Texas primarily relies on Fossil Fuels and approx. 50% of its electricity is generated from Natural Gas and 37% from Coal, most of which is imported from Wyoming. Although Texas produces a quarter of Wind Energy production in the U.S, i is actually a very small part of the energy mix equation within Texas. Nevertheless, Abbott got us thinking. We deal with Renewable Energy all the time so we thought we would provide a quick primer on Wind Energy.

Overall Growth & Statistics:

First, let’s look at the rapid growth of Wind over the last few years as it as emerged as one of the top sources of energy throughout the world.  In 2019, the global wind power market grew 19%, with just about 60 GW of new capacity added to the world’s electric grids, including over 54 GW onshore and over 6 GW offshore. This was the second largest annual increase in capacity to date. Having accounted for one-tenth of additions in 2019, offshore wind power plays an exponentially significant position in the global wind industry.  According to IEA: “Wind capacity additions will reach 65 GW (including 5.3 GW offshore) in 2020, 8% more than in 2019.” Meanwhile, IRENA notes that offshore wind capacity is estimated to reach 520 GW by 2050 — buoyed by next-generation turbines offering longer blades and higher output.

Imatge

Although COVID-19 measures led to onshore construction activity slowing down from February to April of 2020, project developers and equipment manufacturers adopted to the “new normal” and accelerated construction activity in May.” The growth trend of offshore wind energy is impressive: From 2016 to 2017, it grew by about 25%. — installed capacity in the market grew and accounted for around 10% of total wind capacity additions per year. Compared with record 32% growth in 2017, offshore wind electricity generation increased only 20% in 2018.”

Here are the global leaders in Wind Energy (source):

  1. China — China is the leader in wind energy, with over a third of the world’s capacity. The country has an installed capacity of 221 GW. It is also home to the world’s largest onshore wind farm, in Gansu Province, with a capacity of 7,965 megawatt (MW), which is five times larger than its nearest competitor.
  2. United States — Following China is the United States, with 96.4 GW of installed capacity, and six of the 10 largest onshore wind farms in the world, including the Alta Wind Energy Centre in California, with a capacity of 1,548 MW, making it the world’s second-largest onshore wind farm. By itself the state of Texas produces a quarter of the US’s wind power with 24.9GW, generating more wind energy than 25 other US states do, combined.
  3. Germany — With 59.3 GW, Germany’s installed wind capacity is the highest in all of Europe. Its largest offshore wind farms, the Gode Wind Farms (phase 1 & 2), have a combined capacity of 582MW. It is also home to the Nordsee One offshore wind farm, which has a capacity of 382MW and provides electricity to 400,000 homes. According to Wind Europe, Europe installed 11.7GW of wind energy in 2018. Leading the way, Germany had 29% of this capacity, with just under 3.4GW—2.4GW onshore and just under 1GW offshore.
  4. IndiaIndia’s total capacity of 35 GW gives it the second-highest wind capacity in Asia (after China). The country also has the third- and fourth-largest onshore wind farms in the world: the 1,500-MW Muppandal wind farm in Tamil Nadu and the 1,064-MW Jaisalmer Wind Park in Rajasthan. The wind market in India is expected to expand significantly in the foreseeable future since the Indian government plans to install 60GW of wind energy by 2022.
  5. Spain — Holding a capacity of 23GW covering 18% of Spain’s electricity supply, the country is fifth in the world despite none of its onshore or offshore wind farms being in the top 20 largest by capacity. Although Spain is a strong performer in wind energy, the Spanish wind industry has declined over the past few years, with nothing added in 2015, 38 MW in 2016, and 66 MW in 2017, a far cry from when it installed gigawatts annually.

In the U.S., the Wind sector emerged as the top provider of new utility-scale power generation in the nation in 2019, with 9.1 GW of large wind power projects coming online. In its 2019 Wind Powers America Annual Report 2019, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) noted that wind energy accounted for 39% of all new U.S. generation capacity last year.  In the first quarter of 2020, the industry put in over 1,800 megawatts (MW) of new capacity for wind power. Additionally, according to the new Wind Powers America First Quarter Report 2020, the volume of projects under construction set a new record. The AWEA’s 2020  American report indicated that U.S. project developers installed more than double the amount of wind capacity in the first three months of 2020 than in the first quarter of 2019.

Wind Vision | Department of Energy

Per the Energy Department (source):

“Wind energy offers many advantages, which explains why it’s one of the fastest-growing energy sources in the world. Research efforts are aimed at addressing the challenges to greater use of wind energy. Read on to learn more about the benefits of wind power and some of the challenges it is working to overcome.

Advantages:

  • Wind energy is cost-effective. Land-based utility-scale wind is one of the lowest-priced energy sources available today, costing 1–2 cents per kilowatt-hour after the production tax credit. Because the electricity from wind farms is sold at a fixed price over a long period of time (e.g. 20+ years) and its fuel is free, wind energy mitigates the price uncertainty that fuel costs add to traditional sources of energy.
  • Wind creates jobs. The U.S. wind sector employs more than 100,000 workers, and wind turbine technician is one of the fastest growing American jobs. According to the Wind Vision Report, wind has the potential to support more than 600,000 jobs in manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and supporting services by 2050.
  • Wind enables U.S. industry growth and U.S. competitiveness. New wind projects account for annual investments of over $10 billion in the U.S. economy. The United States has a vast domestic resources and a highly-skilled workforce, and can compete globally in the clean energy economy.
  • It’s a clean fuel source. Wind energy doesn’t pollute the air like power plants that rely on combustion of fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas, which emit particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide—causing human health problems and economic damages. Wind turbines don’t produce atmospheric emissions that cause acid rain, smog, or greenhouse gases.
  • Wind is a domestic source of energy. The nation’s wind supply is abundant and inexhaustible. Over the past 10 years, U.S. wind power capacity has grown 15% per year, and wind is now the largest source of renewable power in the United States.
  • It’s sustainable. Wind is actually a form of solar energy. Winds are caused by the heating of the atmosphere by the sun, the rotation of the Earth, and the Earth’s surface irregularities. For as long as the sun shines and the wind blows, the energy produced can be harnessed to send power across the grid.
  • Wind turbines can be built on existing farms or ranches. This greatly benefits the economy in rural areas, where most of the best wind sites are found. Farmers and ranchers can continue to work the land because the wind turbines use only a fraction of the land. Wind power plant owners make rent payments to the farmer or rancher for the use of the land, providing landowners with additional income.
Rope access technicians work on wind turbines

ZMIR, TURKEY – FEBRUARY 19: Rope access technicians carry out maintenance service on wind turbines including repairs, blade inspections and cleaning in Izmir, Turkey on February 19, 2021. In Turkey, where investments in renewable energy has increased, there are wind tribunes over 3,500. Turbines, where huge cranes and high platforms are used during the installation phase, require routine maintenance and repair work in certain periods. Technicians, who arrive at the wind park, stop the turbines to be maintained and repaired and the field mission of rope access technicians begins. The work of crews descending from a height of approximately 100 meters to perform maintenance and repair work take approximately 1 hour on each wing. (Photo by Mahmut Serdar Alakus/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Challenges:

  • Wind power must still compete with conventional generation sources on a cost basis.  Even though the cost of wind power has decreased dramatically in the past several decades, wind projects must be able to compete economically with the lowest-cost source of electricity, and some locations may not be windy enough to be cost competitive.
  • Good land-based wind sites are often located in remote locations, far from cities where the electricity is needed. Transmission lines must be built to bring the electricity from the wind farm to the city. However, building just a few already-proposed transmission lines could significantly reduce the costs of expanding wind energy.
  • Wind resource development might not be the most profitable use of the land. Land suitable for wind-turbine installation must compete with alternative uses for the land, which might be more highly valued than electricity generation.
  • Turbines might cause noise and aesthetic pollution. Although wind power plants have relatively little impact on the environment compared to conventional power plants, concern exists over the noise produced by the turbine blades and visual impacts to the landscape.
  • Wind plants can impact local wildlife. Birds have been killed by flying into spinning turbine blades. Most of these problems have been resolved or greatly reduced through technology development or by properly siting wind plants. Bats have also been killed by turbine blades, and research is ongoing to develop and improve solutions to reduce the impact of wind turbines on these species. Like all energy sources, wind projects can alter the habitat on which they are built, which may alter the suitability of that habitat for certain species.”

Original Article: Link

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Thanks for sharing !


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