Wind energy advantages and disadvantages

Wind energy is one of the best known renewable energies. This is probably due to the fact that the famous windmills that serve to produce this energy are quite characteristic. It is possible to spot them easily in a lot of different places, from environment.

Different types of wind energy

Although it is an energy that uses the force of the wind to produce electrical energy, it is possible to find different types of wind energy depending on the function we intend to obtain from it. Basically, what we are going to find are small differences in the so-called windmills or wind turbines. Thus, they look for a certain shape or structure, depending on the needs or what is going to be sought with them.

The origin of wind energy

In the first place, we commonly define as a windmill, it is usually used to extract water from the subsoil in rural areas. These mills are much simpler than the models we are going to see below, but they really carry out their function in a very efficient way. Thanks to the numerous blades they have, they are able to start pumping water with practically a breeze.

Wind turbines: the key element for electricity generation

A more advanced version of these windmills would be the so-called wind turbines, which can be either vertical or horizontal. This arrangement depends on the position they occupy. Wind turbines are already specially designed to produce electricity and are available in various sizes and power ratings. Therefore, it is the leading technology in wind energy and basically they are in constant evolution to be able to produce more energy.

Wind turbines are composed of two main elements, on the one hand we find a rotor which is formed by a shaft and its blades and on the other hand a generator which is the one that moves by the drag of the rotor. Depending on the position occupied by the axis of rotation, we find, as mentioned above, vertical and horizontal wind turbines. Each has its strengths and weaknesses.

What types of wind turbines are there?

Vertical wind turbines The main advantage of vertical wind turbines is that they do not necessarily have to be oriented in the direction in which the wind is blowing. That is to say, regardless of the wind direction, the rotor is driven. Another important aspect is that the power generation equipment is located at the base of the wind turbine. Therefore, maintenance tasks are much simpler and more localized.

Horizontal wind turbines Horizontal wind turbines need the plane of rotation of their blades to be perpendicular to the wind. This is in order to capture the greatest amount of energy. In this way, in order to optimize this energy, it is able to adapt to the different directions. For this, it is necessary to install a mechanism that allows the installation of these turns. Despite all this amount of additional material required to ensure that these wind turbines are always in the most favorable position, they are able to capture all the necessary energy more efficiently due to their ability to adapt. Therefore, this is one of the most demanded models. That is why they are the most common to see in any installation.

How is electrical energy formed?

Regardless of the model used, the procedure is the same. Basically, it is a matter of harnessing kinetic energy. This energy, by which the blades move thanks to the force of the wind, generates mechanical energy. The mechanical energy, concentrated in the rotor, is used to generate electricity by means of an alternator. For this, it is necessary to use a multiplier, which increases the number of rotor revolutions.

Relationship between wind energy and solar energy

Although they may seem to be different renewable energies, in reality they have a lot in common. This is because solar radiation causes pressure and temperature changes in the atmosphere. By means of which, the air is set in motion. In this way, this air is as we have seen above, used by these wind turbines to produce electricity.

Of course, the rest of similarities, would be that both are a type of renewable energy since both are clean and of course, come from an inexhaustible source.

What are wind farms?

A wind farm is the grouping of these turbines or wind turbines to produce electricity on a larger scale. In this way, advantage is taken of locations that may be more prone to these winds. These can be areas near the coast due to the amount of thermal currents that are caused between the sea and the land or mountainous areas, where strong winds or continental plains occur.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of wind energy?

The main advantage of wind energy is its essence, that of a renewable energy. It is a clean energy that does not produce any waste during its production. In this way, we can produce electric energy without polluting and in a quite simple way.

In solar energy, we have the certainty that the sun will rise every day, but with wind energy, it is often quite difficult to predict whether there will be wind or not. In this way, it is possible that at certain times much less energy is produced due to the lack of this wind, which can leave the demanders without electricity supply. Therefore, it is complemented with other types of energy.

Another of its main disadvantages is noise pollution. This is due to the fact that the turning of the blades produces a great deal of noise. However, they are usually located in areas far from the population.