Importance of Wind Energy
The topic covers importance of wind energy.
Wind is the natural movement of air across the land or sea. Wind is caused by uneven heating and cooling of the earth's surface and by the earth's rotation. Land and water areas absorb and release different amount of heat received from the sun. As warm air rises, cooler air rushes in to take its place, causing local winds. The rotation of the earth changes the direction of the flow of air.
Why wind energy?
- The project is environment friendly.
- India has good wind potential to harness wind energy.
- A permanent shield against ever increasing power prices. The cost per kwh reduces over a period of time as against rising cost for conventional power projects.
- The cheapest source of electrical energy. (on a levelled cost over 20 years.)
- Least equity participation required, as well as low cost debt is easily available to wind energy projects.
- A project with the fastest payback period.
- A real fast track power project, with the lowest gestation period; and a modular concept.
- Operation and Maintenance (O&M) costs are low.
- No marketing risks, as the product is electrical energy.
- A project with no investment in manpower.
A country like India or any region where energy production is based on imported coal or oil will become more self-sufficient by using alternatives such as wind power. Electricity produced from the wind produces no CO2 emissions and therefore does not contribute to the greenhouse effect. Wind energy is relatively labour intensive and thus creates many jobs. In remote areas or areas with a weak grid, wind energy can be used for charging batteries or can be combined with a diesel engine to save fuel whenever wind is available. At windy sites the price of electricity, measured in Rs/kWh, is competitive with the production price from more conventional methods, for example coal fired power plants.
Pollution saving potential of wind energy
The pollution saving from a WEG having an average output of 4,00,0.00 kWh per year has been estimated as:
- Sulphur - dioxide (SO2): 2 to 3.2 tonnes
- Nitrogen - oxide (NO) ; 1.2 to 2.4 tonnesy
- Suitable terrain and good soil condition
- Carbon - dioxide (CO2) : 300 to 500 tonnes
- Particulates : 150 to 280 kg. nes
- Particulates : 150 to 280 kg.
Comparison between Fossil Fuels and Wind
|Availability||Usable as it exists||Have to be procured and made usable through laborious and environmentally damaging processes|
|Limitation on availability||Inexhaustible resource||Limited in reserves, expected to get completely exhausted in the coming 60 years|
|Transportation||Used where it is available||Have to be transported from the site for further processing exposing environment to danger|
|Use in production||Zero emission||Used in producing electricity releasing green house gasses|
|Geo-political Implications||Reduces our reliance on oil, safeguarding national security||Over-reliance on oil as a resource has undermined our energy security. E.g. OPEC crises of 1973, Gulf War of 1991 and Iraq War of 2003|
|There is no adverse effect on global environment. The whole system is pollution free and environment friendly.|
- Wind machines must be located where strong, dependable winds are available most of the time.
- Because winds do not blow strongly enough to produce power all the time, energy from wind machines is considered "intermittent," that is, it comes and goes. Therefore, electricity from wind machines must have a back-up supply from another source.
- As wind power is "intermittent," utility companies can use it for only part of their total energy needs.
- Wind towers and turbine blades are subject to damage from high winds and lighting. Rotating parts, which are located high off the ground can be difficult and expensive to repair.
- Electricity produced by wind power sometimes fluctuates in voltage and power factor, which can cause difficulties in linking its power to a utility system.
- The noise made by rotating wind machine blades can be annoying to nearby neighbors.
- People have complained about aesthetics of and avian mortality from wind machines.
Source : National Institute of Wind Energy