Wind Energy

How to harness wind power

Wind energy is a sustainable power source that has the potential to reshape the way we generate electricity. For example, in the last half of the first decade of the 21st century, worldwide generation and usage of wind power more than doubled. Globally, wind energy accounts for about 2 percent of all electricity, but some countries, notably Denmark, Spain and Portugal, generate large amounts of their power using the wind; nearly one-fifth of the electricity produced in Denmark comes from wind energy sources.

To supply large areas with power, wind energy generation takes place on large "farms," which consist primarily of dense networks of wind turbines. You can also generate residential wind energy on a smaller scale by using products like wind powered generators and pumps.

Advantages and Drawbacks of Wind Energy Generation

The benefits of using wind energy sources are considerable. Wind is a renewable resource which is in abundant supply. It is available everywhere and could, one day, put an end to the "haves" and "have-nots" of the global energy game. Producing electricity from wind energy sources does not lead to the emission of any harmful gases or byproducts, and wind itself is an extremely clean and safe source of power.

However, there are some disadvantages to wind energy which has, to some degree, prevented it from taking a stronger foothold. First, the electrical output generated by wind energy must be used when it is available; it cannot be stored in a power grid and used only when needed. Because wind is, by nature, somewhat unpredictable, it is not feasible to rely on it as a primary or sole source of power. Finally, there are those who find wind farms displeasing aesthetically, and there are some environmental concerns with wind power generation. It seems to change climates on a micro level, as wind harvesting leads to changes in the air flow over the local area. Wind farms are considered an endangerment to birds, and they also require a comparatively inefficient use of land resources.

The future of wind power is bright, despite these concerns. Scientists are becoming more and more convinced of the feasibility of air-suspended wind turbines, which could capture the stronger and more regularly occurring winds in the upper atmosphere without affecting weather on the ground or using up large tracts of land.