“Wind is the fuel for
wind power station”
Energy, in science is
defined as how much potential it has to change the form of a physical system.
In physics, it is property of matter. It can be transferred from one form to
another but cannot be destroyed.
Energy in economics, is
described as fuel or electricity generation.
Types of Energy
All the above types of
energy can be measured and amount of energy can be given a number.
SI units for energy are
In this paper we will
talk about only renewable energy which comes from renewable sources.
Renewable resources are
nothing but resources which can be repeatedly used and replaced naturally like wind,
sunlight, rain , tides, waves, fresh water, oxygen and biomass. These types of
resource harvesting do not produce pollution nor contribute to global warming.
Gasoline, coal, natural gas and other fossil fuels are considered as
non-renewable resources because they take millions of years to be made and
cannot be renewed in human lifetime.
sources, which derive energy from hydro or wind, from sunlight indirectly or
directly are expected to supply the energy for at least next 1 billion years,
exist all over the globe, but are concentrated in limited number of countries.
Usage of renewable resources to provide energy would benefit in energy security
and economic benefits. Renewable energy would reduce environmental pollution,
improve the public health.
Renewable Energy can be
Wind Turbine can be used
to convert the kinetic energy of moving air(wind) into electricity and other
forms of energy. Capacity of wind power generation depends on the rotor blades
which can easily generate electricity to a small home to a big industry.
Conversion of sunlight
into electricity with the help of photovoltaics(PV) or concentrated solar power
or a combination is known as solar power. PV’s were initially used for small
and medium-sized applications, like calculators (single solar cell) to homes (off-grid
rooftop PV system).
energy or power produced from water. Dams and reservoirs can be used to produce
hydroelectricity depending upon the energy demands. Hydropower is generated in
150 countries worldwide.
Wind Energy is nothing
but the kinetic energy of flow of air in motion. Differences in air pressure in
atmosphere causes moving air which is also known as wind. As sunlight heats the
soil, the surface heats the molecules of air lying above it. As cool air is denser
than warm air, warm air rises like a hot air balloon. Even the cool air flows
into the warm air surface to get heated. The convection cycle is completed when
the warm air in turn cools and reaches to the ground surface. This convection
cycle is repeated if solar energy is present in the atmosphere. The medium of
air that passes through the earth’s surface due to the circulation of above
phenomena are called winds. Wind is inexhaustible and renewable, as discussed.
The origin of the wind
is basically known as the direction of the wind. For example, southerly winds
blow from south to north and likewise easterly winds blow from east to west.
Wind Power: Conversion
of wind resources into useful form of energy, like wind energy to electrical
power is known as Wind power. Wind power is an excellent replacement of fossil
fuels to generate electricity, which is renewable and can be used widely across
the globe which is clean and has no negative effects such as emission of
greenhouse gasses. It requires less amount of land surface area to generate
power. As it is renewable, it creates no problems for the environment unlike
other power generation resources. Wind power is directly proportional to the
cube of wind speed.
History of Wind Turbine
Since ancient times wind
has been used as a source for many purposes like for propelling boats, pumping
water etc. Invention of wind mill is not exactly recorded but, it was first
originated in Persia in 500-900 A.D. that wind mill was used for grinding
grains and pumping water. It was made by a light weight wood consisting of
vertical sails attached to vertical shaft. Panemone, was the design which was
least efficient wind mills ever made in history. Windmills have been used in
china by more than 2000 years ago and it was the place where vertical axis
windmills were invented recorded as 1219 A.D by the scientists.
Persian vertical axis
windmill in sistan A.D 1300
The same design was
widespread across the European continent during 1270 A.D. and horizontal axis
were used instead of vertical axis. The horizontal axis wind mills had central
post, where four blades have been mounted. The Dutch and English used the wind
mill technology to create a tower mill where blades are permanently fixed to a
stationary tower. This immensely improved technology was used to pump water, grind
the grains and also used to process spices, dyes and tobacco.
Dutch style concept of
wind mill with rotor driving repeatedly for the piston to raise.
Rotor with a concept of
According to Schmidt,
drive sketch by Heron
Cross section view of
Dutch WindMill with living rooms.
The same design
technology was spread to United States and first windmill was manufactured by
Daniell Halladay in 1854 in connecticut. It has the same functionality as in
Europe to pump water which helped in expansion of roads and railroads.
Eventually, more than 100,000 windmills were sold by the industries and and
manufacturing companies and over six million were sold during 1850 to 1970 only
in United States. Over time, high winds destroyed the wind mills in certain
locations and that led to the invention of rotor blades from steel and iron
materials, eventually, calling it a Wind Turbine generating power.
This was the first wind
turbine which generated electricity was invented in Cleveland, Ohio by Charles
W. Brush. This was invented in 1888 which had 144 rotor blades and turbine
diameter of 17 meters, generating 12 kW(kilowatts) power. This amount of power
was more than enough to supply electricity for 350 light bulbs which he
experimented in real, in his own large estate. The concept he used was a post
mill. It was 18 mts high with post diameter of 36 cm. Mr. Brush’s wind machine
which generated electricity was the best developed aerodynamic and structural
concept of technology. Wind Mills were soon replaced by wind turbines and were
incorporated by farmers and others to generate electricity varying from 5kW to
25 kW of power depending upon the usage.
In 1931, Russia made
developments on large scale wind turbine which was used to generate electricity
with power of 100kW. It ran for two years generating more than 200,000kWh in
Russian wind turbine
with 100 kW power and 30 mts diameter.
Small Wind Electric
Small wind electric
systems can easily generate power to one house if installed on a tower where
there is enough wind to rotate the blades. This is enough to lighten the nation’s
energy needs. Advantage of installing the small wind electric systems is that
we can decrease the electricity bill by 50%-90 which is the most effective way
of using the renewable energy systems.
Producing of wind energy
systems is more practical if the area has wind resources in good amount. The
area need to have at least one acre of land. Government even has restriction of
height in some areas where some structures are not allowed. By installing a
wind turbine in the backyard neighbors might be having a noise concern too.
Wind turbine size varies
depending upon the appliances you use in home. To charge the batteries of
vehicles like sail boats etc, a micro turbine is used which generates 20 watts
to 500 watts. For the application of pumping water 1 kW to 10 kW producing wind
turbine is needed. For the residential applications, 400 watts to 100 kW is
used depending upon the energy budget established. On an average, a residential
home uses 830 kWh per month and 10,000 kWh per year. To satisfy this condition,
we need to install a wind turbine rated of range 5-15kW with an average wind
speed of 14 mph (mile-per-hour) .
Horizontal axis wind
turbine with two or three blades with material made of fiberglass are used
these days. As power is directly proportional to the diameter of the blades,
the generation of electric power completely depends on the diameter of the
component is wind tower on which the turbine is places. If we need to generate
more power, the turbine need to be placed high on top. To yield high returns in
power generation, a small investment are need to rise the tower height. Two types
of towers residential home owners use are self-standing tower and guyed tower.
The least expensive type of towers which are widely used are guyed towers with
components consisting of tubing and guyed wires. Compared to self-standing
tower, guyed towers are easier to install.
Installation cost for
small turbine can be ranging from $3000 – $15000 depending on the zoning, size
and application. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) says installation
of wind turbine is cheaper which costs $32000 for 10kW compared to installation
of solar panels which cost way more than $80000. The installation cost for an 80-foot
tower with batteries and inverters for a residential cost typically costs
$15000- $30000 for 5kW – 10kW.
Wind Farm – Onshore Wind
Installation of wind
turbines in wind farm is a big project which requires a lot of officials to
work on concept, planning, installation and maintaining. Sources say that wind
farm located where the wind resources are high can effectively double its wind
power generation capacity. Constraints like location prohibition, the risk of
wildlife, permits from government are evaluated in the project.
AWEA suggests the best
location to plan a wind farm is which has a wind resource of 13 mile-per-hour.
excessive winds can make the equipment strain and project go out of budget
requirements. Wind maps can easily help us identify the direction of winds and
location where the wind speeds are relatively high. Anemometer- a tool which is
used to measure wind energy at specified locations can also be used. Engineer
can use specialized tools like GHWindFarmer and windNavigator to assess the
aerodynamic conditions, topography and weather conditions at specific
Before installing the
wind turbines, analyzing the risks and financing would be the better option.
Area where there is a wildlife with many birds, bats, waterfowl and raptors is
prohibited and The US Fish and WildLife organization clearly restricts the area
from building any projects which endanger the species. Site developer goes
through the government agencies to build the project where they can reduce the
death of wildlife.
Again like in small wind
power system, depending upon the electricity demands, the number of wind
turbines are to be planned. wind turbines can cost $1.3 million per megawatt
capacity. The utility development for wind power facilities is cheaper than
private investors because it reduces cost by 30%. To develop a wind farm
government stimulus program provides production tax credits of about 2.3 % per
Compared to the past,
wind turbines now are more sleeker and bigger which can provide more energy or
power when placed in precise wind resource location. The more electricity
generation needed, larger the wind turbine. A 1.5 megawatts turbine can provide
electricity for 500 homes which is widely used in present. Leading wind turbine
manufacturers are General Electric, Nordex, Siemens, Enercon, Goldwind, Gamesa,
Ming Yang, United Power and Vestas.
develop a wind farm, irrespective of wind turbine component, we also need
transformers, electrical power collection systems, substations and
communication systems. SCADA (Supervisory control and data acquisition) system
is used for monitoring the performance of wind turbine. Initially roads are to
be built to transport large wind turbine equipment and installation can take
large hole is to be created with concrete filled for stabilization
requirements, and it is more different and difficult in rocky surface and
offshore wind turbine installation. The turbine is erected as soon as the
foundation is done. Electrical wiring and systems are to be placed and
operational tests are done to ensure that all the equipment is working
properly. It takes few weeks in additional to eliminate all the kinks and errors.
Tuscola County Wind farm, MI.
installation and build of a wind farm is completely different and requires lot
of strategies and human power. For installation, the equipment like tower,
nacelle, hub and 3 blades are needed upon that transportation is needed from
the staging port to the wind plant. Heavy cargo ship is needed to transport the
blades from the staging port. Offshore substations are to be planted and
horizontal drilling rig is needed for landfall operations.
to National Renewable Energy laboratory (NREL), the total costs for ports,
staging and vessels needed is for $600 million. High amount of cost is needed
for cable laying vessel followed by heavy lift vessel and jack up vessel.
Wind Industrial support, developed an ECN O&M tool which is a specialized
tool to estimate the annual energy costs of and offshore wind farm. Average
data of long term like wave and wind statistics, costs of parts, failure
ratings uses as inputs for average values like cost and time.
required for installation are vessel accommodation, access of helicopter,
trained crew and parts storage plant. Vessel
accommodation has the advantage of time reduction in accessing the repairs and
inspections, operating out of land. Helicopter access is needed for faster
travel, and the disadvantage is that nothing can be transported through the
helicopter. Safety and cost risks are high on the helicopter usage. As this is
an offshore project, trained crew is needed for the tasks on water which can
result in minimizing the errors and accidents during the operational tasks. All
the other parts which are not needed during the operation on sea are kept in
storage site at harbor where a separate storage part is needed.
advantages and challenges
wind energy is the fastest growing and most widely used power generating
resource it has its own disadvantages advantages and challenges. Scientists and
researchers are putting their own efforts to overcome the challenges and to
minimalize the errors caused by wind energy and wind turbines
power is one of the lowest and cost-effective power resources among all the
renewable energy sources. It costs between three and seven cents per one
kilo-watt-hour, making it one of the best power generating source. As wind cannot
be created by human sources, it has been the same price for 20 years despite of
fuel generating power prices hiking now and then.
power has been creating more than 100,000 jobs since 2016 As per US Bureau of
labor statistics. The wind vision report says the wind power has the capacity
to increase the jobs in installation, transportation and maintenance by 600,000
is zero pollution by wind power as its fuel is wind which is natural unlike
fossil fuels emitting nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide which causes sever
turbines can be built in any area, where there is wind resources. Farmers can
even do plantation in wind farms where wind turbines take only fraction amount
present, wind farm might not be as competitive as general power generating
sources regarding cost. It is cheaper than investing on solar panels, but it is
still costly and has high on investment compared to fossil fuel generators
wind resources sites are located at remote location away from the city where transmission
lines are to be laid for a long distance to transport the power to the city
made by the turbines causes disturbance and aesthetic pollution. And the
rotation of blades may cause death of birds and other wildlife creatures,
can overcome these challenges and reduce the problems by proper conceptual
planning on the area, technological development and by better siting of wind
Michigan – great lakes
ranked no.14 among the states in onshore wind generation potential.
Michigan uses 29000MW of
electricity per yr. 129MW of power from wind, mostly from John Deere Renewable
Energy’s Michigan Wind park. Consists of 46 turbines.
Researchers say that
state could generate 16,564 of power on land and additional 448756MW offshore.
Michigan is ranked one f
three states that will contribute more than 20GW to a national energy portfolio
of 20% wind energy by 2030.
first large offshore wind farm was built in 2002 at Horns Rev, Denmark (Figure
1). In 2009, 1.2 percent of all wind energy production globally was generated
by offshore wind installations 5. Twelve nations, including 10 countries in
Europe, currently have offshore wind farms. The United Kingdom and Denmark – the
two largest producers – account for more than half of the world’s offshore
capacity. China increased its offshore capacity in 2009 with a 21 megawatt
(MW)1 wind farm near Shanghai, and Japan has a single offshore turbine. Similar
project has been proposed at the Great Lakes, Michigan which would generate
power for the whole town and create a good amount of employment.
found strong offshore wind resources. Michigan Renewable Energy Program and
Michigan Great Lakes Wind Council tried to avoid underwater archaeological
sites, sensitive habitats and military operation areas, thus finding 475 sq.
miles of bottomland that are the most favorable and most appropriate for
offshore wind energy leasing. Southern Lake Michigan, Northern Lake Michigan,
Central Lake Superior, central lake huron and southern lake huron.
figure is the most favorable locations for the offshore wind farms
and Maintenance Strategies to Reduce the Cost of Offshore Wind Energy B. Maples,
G. Saur, and M. Hand National Renewable Energy Laboratory