Renewable Energy Review: Wind

What is it? Wind can be considered a form of solar energy; the uneven heating and cooling of the atmosphere causes wind. Wind power is the use of air flow through wind turbines to power generators for electric power. This is an excellent alternative to fossil fuel, and it is plentiful, renewable, widely distributed, clean, and produces no greenhouse gas emissions during operation. Wind power also consumes no water and uses little land. It is inexpensive, causes little disruption to the land it uses, and can be collected both on- and offshore. Additionally, it has a low life carbon footprint—builders can expect to breakeven on carbon output (work back the energy it took to create the wind turbines) in around eight months.

How is it sourced? Wind flow is captured by wind turbines, which convert the energy into electricity. Wind farms consisted of many individual wind turbines, which are often connected to the electric power transmission network. When the wind blows, the turbine’s motion catalyzes generator power.

How is it used? Wind power is used to generate electricity for a variety of situations. Additionally, the power generated by a wind farm is not restricted by location.

Are there any downsides? Wind power is variable—it is consistent from year to year but may have significant variation over shorter lengths of time. This means that it is often used in conjunction with other electric power sources; it is necessary in order to provide a reliable supply. Wind farms can also harm or kill birds and bats, and the turbines may be loud for those living close to them.